Multiple Intelligence – how do you learn?

Thank you to Ms. H. McKnight for this great little video on multiple intelligence.

How do we ensure our e-learning development connects to those who learn in a manner other than visually, let’s say in a tactile or naturalist way?

Howard Gardner's (of Harvard university) Multiple Intelligence ...

If you add an element of music or create an interaction in a forest to deliver a lesson on leadership would the naturalist’s or musical learner’s needs be met and if so, how would we do this?

I believe that some of the learning style requirements could be met through gamification.

Gamification allows us to think in multiple and engaging scenarios that allow for a more creative and broader environment within the e-learning content. Having more options to chose from can only help to meet the learning needs of the various styles.

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“College has been focused on individual work and social interaction, but the world is becoming a place of collaborative work and social isolation.”

“College has been focused on individual work and social interaction, but the world is becoming a place of collaborative work and social isolation.” (p.228) Teaching Naked How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning; Bowen, Jose Antonio

My team is in Toronto and Hyderabad. I work in what is called an “agile” environment; this means that I don’t actually have a desk in any of our locations. I “hotel” which means I book a different space in one of our two offices a couple of times a week – the other days I work from home.

While this arrangement is great, and allows me freedom and the ability to balance my work and my personal life, and a recent study which suggested that over 60% of office workers believed being in the office was no longer required to be productive (Gibson), 20% of my work week is spent alone.

While at home alone, my time is spent collaborating virtually using a program called LYNC. My teammates and I can share programs, open up a white board and see what each other looks like using the video feed.

With the push to reduce our “carbon foot print” and corporations need to reduce both their carbon foot print and the costs associated with physical space; Deloitte Finland is reducing office space and investing in more sustainable ways of working. Expected benefits include a 36 percent savings in annual real estate costs and a 40 percent decrease in its carbon footprint. (Deloitte) I can only see physical workspace getting smaller and individuals becoming more isolated.

The world is getting smaller. The e-learning curriculum that I write are delivered across Canada and to our team in Hyderabad. I’ve just been told by my boss that we will need to start researching content in Spanish! In order to meet the needs of my learners and the mandate of the firm, our learners must be able to take this training at the time and place that is convenient for them. While I am sleeping, my team on the other side of the world is awake and working.

My personal situation is defined by this quote.

It would be very easy to spend five days out of the week working from home – it would save me time, money and the stress having to load my laptop and files into the car or onto the train.

Would five days at home be a good thing for my work relationships? I think that some care has to be taken to ensure that we don’t isolate ourselves from the human race. Online collaboration is great and I am a staunch supporter, I could not do my job without it, but humans are herd animals and we need humans around us; we need the social interaction that comes from physically spending time with your work colleagues or your boss. As stated by (Braccio-Hering, 2011) “Much of what takes place in companies is done through the informal social network,” Patterson says. “For instance, people solve important problems over lunch — and if you work out at a health club alone, you find yourself out of the loop.” So, if all of our interactions with our colleagues are spent in a virtual environment, would we then be “out of the loop?”

To ensure I stay “in the loop”, I make a point of spending at least three of my five working days going to one of our offices. While the electronic tools at my disposal allow me to do my job very effectively at a distance, human contact is, at times, necessary. I need to see and be seen by my co-workers and my leadership team who work in our local offices.

I think that as members of the learning community, we need to be sensitive to the human condition and try to build in, where we can, opportunities for humans to reach out to other humans. We need to ensure that our “on line” collaboration process is, in fact, collaborative.

As stated by (Markham, 2013) High-performance collaboration requires training and the development of key personal skills. How do we ensure that this is so? When creating any type of e-learning content, we need to build in opportunities for learners to share their experiences by making online collaboration tools like Yammer and Kanban Flow part of our program content.

Including these types of tools in your e-learning, gives your learners an arena to interact with each other, share ideas, successes and frustration and provide an opportunity for them to remain in contact with each other and in the loop.

While I may never get to be in the same physical space as my team members in Hyderabad, LYNC video feed gives me an opportunity to see my team member in real time, meet his new baby girl and get know him as a colleague and a friend. We have shared successes and frustrations and have been able to resolve issues much quicker by sharing a screen and explaining what the problem is.

Social isolation and online collaboration is becoming the norm – what we can do, as instructional designers, is to utilize the technology as best we can to ensure we meet the needs of the human condition.

 

References

Braccio-Hering, B. (2011, 05 27). Smart socializing with co-workers. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com: http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/05/25/smart.socializing.coworkers.cb/index.html

Deloitte. (n.d.). Retrieved from Deloitte.com: http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/sustainability-member-firms-initiatives.html

Gibson, R. (n.d.). Generation Y. Retrieved from http://www.generationy.com/: http://www.generationy.com/agile-working-environment/

Markham, T. (2013, April 18). How to foster collaboration and team spirit. Retrieved from Mindshift: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/04/how-to-foster-collaboration-and-team-spirit/

“They understand that learning is emotional and that mental models (often called deep learning) change slowly.”

“They understand that learning is emotional and that mental models (often called deep learning) change slowly.” (p.86) Teaching Naked How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning; Bowen, Jose Antonio

Who doesn’t remember the milestones events in their life? A wedding, a death, a new baby, a new car, a new home, divorce or starting a job – each one of these events is emotionally charged and we can recall them easily. We can remember where we were, what we were wearing and who was with us. As stated by (Bohannon, 1988) (Brown & Kulik, 1977) the emotional events in one’s life tend to be remembered with great clarity and detail.

I know that any deep learning I have gained has come with an emotional tag. It has been that “ah ha” moment when the proverbial light-bulb goes off and suddenly you see with perfect clarity what the intent is. You ponder the concept, read the journals, finish the exam or write the paper and know that you have “got it”; there is an associated feeling of satisfaction and completion that comes with the task; a general feeling of well-being.

Why do we remember those moments so clearly? I believe that any moment in our life that causes an emotional reaction to occur makes a memory. Science has proven that memory and emotion are clearly aligned; either positively or negatively.

Nothing changes overnight, however, and it is only through the consistent application of the lesson that the behavior begins to change. As instructional designers, we must be able to solidify the lesson in the learners mind and provide a way for that learner to scaffold the knowledge to what they already know. As stated by (Golding, 2011) we scaffold student learning by providing guidance and support that they need to construct knowledge. We need the learner to emotionally connect to the material, to have that “ah ha” and, at that point, it then becomes easy for the learner to recall the content and begin to apply it to real life situations.

Money and emotion – those are the two big “stick” reminders – if it costs you money – you’ll remember it or if it touches you emotionally (good or bad) you’ll remember it.

How then do we evoke emotion in our learners through e-learning? We know emotion is important in education–it drives attention, which in turn drives learning and memory. (Sylwester, 1994) How do we then tap into those feelings and emotions on a consistent basis to engage the learner and make that emotional connection?

The computer, by its very nature, is non-emotional – it’s a tool – no different than a hammer or a saw. What makes you or I react emotionally on the computer or react emotionally to what was built by the hammer and the saw, can and will be completely different. What is key, is to find that commonality that transcends individualism and reaches the masses and, we need to do that in more than one way; we need to ensure maximum exposure and engagement.

One extrinsic motivator is recognition and success; we all like to be told we are doing a good job; either in the form of your supervisor “catching you doing something right”, a colleague who tells you “way to go”, or an e-learning module that says “Well done – you’ve made it to the next level!” These words of encouragement inspire us; evoke an emotion in us, and spur us on to continue to achieve and, in this continuation to achieve, the deep learning starts to root. As stated by (Shan, 2008) The sense of satisfaction comes from success and also the effort on work comes from seeking for success, which can be said to be one of the basic motivations of human beings.

Another extrinsic motivator is cash – virtual coin (incentive) can be written into our e-learning modules by employing the concepts of gamification into our design. Virtual worlds are built and managed by billions of people every day and purchases are being made in online currency like Bitcoins. Can we, as instructional designers, have our learners tend their respective “learning gardens” and be rewarded in virtual coin for a reaping a successful L&G crop? The possibilities are as endless as the code they are written in. The trick is to build the right lock, provide the learner with the right keys and give them the necessary foundation to unlock their learning potential.

References

Bohannon, J. N. (1988). Flashbulb memories of the space shuttle disaster: A tale of two theories. Cognition, 179-196.

Brown, R., & Kulik, J. (1977). Flashbulb memories:. Cognition, 73-99.

Golding, C. (2011). The Many Faces of Constructivist Discussion. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 479.

Shan, G. (2008, May). Emotional Teaching – An Effective Approach to Improve CET. International Education Studies, 142-144.

Sylwester, R. (1994). How Emotions Affect Learning. Reporting What Students are Learning, 60-65.

Enhanced Learning and Teaching through utilization of web-based technologies

Found this great article on line written by Nader Jarmooz – and posted to e-Learning Industry April 17, 2014.

Article – Enhanced learning and teaching…

The article referenced a program that was created for Forth Valley College which focused on Project Management skills. What struck me about this article was its direct alignment to the structure of 3240 – the course content is managed through Moodle; the assignments, instructions, quizzes, and activities are centrally located through the software.  Th PM course included a forum, also on Moodle, for student collaboration and also two additional pieces of software: Blackboard for shared workspace and Mahara for management of individual e-portfolios.

Another point that struck a cord with me was the importance of aligning the learning content to learner specific goals and objectives. I have heard this statement so many times….”why do I need to learn this – I will never use it on the job”. This program gave the student an immediate tool in which to use in their day-to-day work as assignments were written in such a way that at the completion of the task the learner had a tangible tool that was in direct relation to what they were doing. The learner would be able to see an immediate return on investment and when dealing with adult learners, this type of ROI produces engagement.  As an adult learner, the last thing I want to do is waste my time.

This, to me, is well written and more importantly, well thought out e-learning content geared towards an adult learner.

One of the most useful and informative courses I have taken in this journey through the SIE was Curriculum Development. The tools that I learned in that class are put into use almost every day at my job as I design curriculum for various types of learners; there was an immediate ROI of my time and commitment that was tangible and in direct relation to what I do.

Podcast – Enhanced learning and teaching…

Emotions, Learning and Memory…oh my

So I’ve really been interested in how emotions, memory and learning are aligned. Been doing a lot of research in this area and most of my papers for this class seem to focus on this topic – that and serious games.

I’ve come across some great papers and this really interesting YouTube video that connects emotion to memory and recall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZxGi8eMaw0

Can you recall the major events in  your life and the emotional responses around them?

I certainly can. All the “biggies” – my wedding, my milestone birthdays, the death of my mom – all those memories come with associated and corresponding emotions.

What I would like to be able to do is to ensure my e-learning modules harness and tap into these emotions. This is where serious games come into play.

This voice in this link reminds me of War Games with Mathew Broderick lol but the point remains the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CMVLxu2qk

If e-learning can be written to incorporate serious gaming that stimulates an emotional response in the learner that helps the learner recall lesson – then the objective will have been reached.

Motivation and engagement – what is it but more importantly how do you access it?

How many times have I heard – why do I have to take this – I will never use this in my job – it reminds me of high school – why do I need to learn algebra – it has no real life meaning unless I’m going to be an astronaut? Not much has changed from then until now. Learners are still lamenting the same song – why?

In developing curriculum and e-learning training one of the biggest challenges is how do you motivate the learner to learn in the first place and once you have them, how do you keep them engaged? Developing phenomenal e-learning modules is the goal but a challenge with limited time, corporate constraints and bland branded templates.

This is where gamification can help – I think by making learning less like learning and more like fun learners will want to learn – to start it at least? Why wouldn’t I want to spend an hour playing a game and get paid for it?

Accessibility is another key factor for motivation – if I can use my commuter time to do e-learning as a game – well, I’m playing games anyway to kill time so why not – a good example of extrinsic motivation.

How do you tap into the intrinsic motivators? According to some, extrinsic and intrinsic motivators are at opposite ends of the scale – I disagree. I think they are symbiotic. What motivates me externally motivates me internally – for example – if I get all the words right on my language app, I earn hearts – the more hearts I earn the more competent I feel and the more I feel the more I want to play. The external taps into my internal process of “job well done” and that motivates me to continue.

Small successes – I think that’s the key – don’t make the goal too large or too far away – it’s a case of ongoing wins not one ginormous win– I don’t want to say the proverbially dangling carrot but something along those lines. Keep bringing them back to the water cooler – how may did you score today – I got X – start the competition – make it game – have a learning super bowl. Create the right environment not only within the e-learning module but within the organization itself. But that is topic for another day… how to create a culture of learning within your organization.

http://elearningindustry.com/gamification-intrinsic-motivation-lasting-engagement

Remembering how to…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to this blog and need to remember how to do that lol

I’m a private person so online journaling is not something I feel entirely comfortable doing.  Saying my piece out their for the world to see – really?

I’m not opposed to sitting down over dinner and having a great discussion on the world and all it’s travails but I am not one to share that in an unrestricted open forum. Are you? then you have one up on me.

I know many people who do this on a daily basis – somehow cathartic I suppose – but all my journaling was done in a binder, tucked away in a drawer and not to be shared.

As long as I keep this to education, adult learning, and it’s related themes I suppose I will be able to handle it – but I will not share my deepest darkest secret, my next vacation plans or if my best friend broke up with her boyfriend.

My private life will continue to remain… private

Current and emerging trends

In reviewing the NMC Horizon Report 2013 Higher Education Edition – some of the trends outlined over the next 5 years are as follows:

  • MOOCs
  • Gamification
  • Learning Analytics
  • 3D Printing
  • Wearable Technology
  • Tablet Computing

MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses are expected to increase over the next 12 months. Some universities already offer these courses, free, to participants with costs incurred only if you want to obtain learning credits for the topic. MOOCs open the door to quality life-long learning using the virtual platform.

Gamification takes learning to a fun level, avatars, on-line–real time communities, scenarios in which avatar interaction occurs to problem solve within the community. What a great way to learn anything in a fun and collaborative environment.

Learning analytics is about data mining.  Gathering information on what students think and feel about the content, the materials, the facilitators, or virtual delivery. Taking that data and using it to create a better learning experience.

3D printing is the way of the future – to be able build something using a printer that produces it in a 3D format is next gen. I see this technology being utilized in architectural design or engineering in a major way.

Wearable technology is already here.  We carry out iPods on little clips attached to our clothes and can listen to TED talks or down load sessions from iTunes U anywhere at anytime.

Tablet technology is here – from classroom to office to the restaurant down the road, everyone is carrying a tablet – it is everywhere and visible.

These trends are what Horizon is tracking in the next 12 months to 5 years – exciting times for education.

One topic that has recurred in my research outside the scope of this assignment and that I find relevant at the moment isn’t on the technology side of trends but on the human side: that being–emotional intelligence.

I’ve been asked to lead a team to write and deliver a workshop on stress: how you are perceived under stress, its effects and repercussions.  The session starts with identifying right brain and left brain participants, teaming them up, giving them a stressful situation to work in and then videotaping the interaction.  The group will review what they look like giving instructions under stress, talk about how others may perceive them, and then, as facilitators, we will give them tools on how to prepare before going into a stressful situation, how to reset after and damage control if it all goes horribly wrong.

As part of the toolkit we are providing participants on how to prepare for a stressful situation, is understanding how your emotions drive your actions.  My section is on emotional intelligence and the more I read about it the more interested I become.  Emotions dictate our actions.  What we feel we need or lack drives us to make decisions in a particular fashion or how something makes us feel causes us to react in a particular manner.  In a classroom situation, feelings can dictate how we perform; feeling anxious about an assignment or concept can cause us to procrastinate on completing it, or dissuade us from participating in classroom discussion or conversely, feeling unskilled in a particular area can cause us to either go back to school to learn the skill or not start at all for fear of failure.  Emotions are our driving force.

As a facilitator I think it is extremely important to understand how emotions work inside the classroom. Being emotionally intelligent and understanding how emotions drive your student’s behavior may make or break the experience for both you and the student. Being EI savvy, will ensure a better learning experience for your students if you understand the emotions that underpin their decisions.  As a student, understanding how your emotions drive you and being empathetic to others, can make or break you as a teammate or leader.

Emotional intelligence is gaining more awareness in the learning community. Its importance on how emotions affect learning is becoming more and more prevalent and facilitators are looking to gain more insight into how and what EI is. EI classes are being offered to hone your EI skills and there are numerous EI testing agents and programs out there to assist in gauging your EI quotient.

I believe that as we go forward, more and more emphasis will be placed on understanding how emotions motivate and drive not just learners, but humans in general, in both the workplace and the classroom. If facilitators can understand how our emotions motivate or alternatively, hold a participant back, we have gained a powerful tool to assist our students in bridging the gap and making the connection between the content, the message and their own life experience.

Insights into the roles adult educators play

In my research into the role that adult educators play, it has become clear that they have a myriad of role expectations.  As our world shrinks and students engage from all over the planet using new and emerging technology, educators must keep pace with all of the trends, the shift in the environment, the shift in delivery mechanisms, the sophistication of the learners, the age of the learner, their cultural norms and expectations along with the need for facilitators to continue their  own practice of life-long learning to maintain their relevance and keep pace with the changes; it becomes apparent that the role of a 21st century facilitator is mufti-dimensional.

Add to this, the business paradigm that is incumbent to any professional role and the responsibilities and requirements of teachers becomes two-fold.  Not only do facilitators need to stay current in the trends of teaching but they must also be politically savvy to deal with the ongoing day-to-day business of being a teacher. Organizational skills, time management skills, planning and communications skills are important factors necessary to the business of being a teacher.

On the learning side of the equation, one of the most prevalent threads I have read, is how the instructor no longer “teaches” the students but actively works as a bridge between the students and the knowledge. Following upon what I have learned about constructivism, the time for Socratic teaching methods has passed.  Instructors no longer stand up in front of the class and pontificate for hours on end.  They have become not only a teacher but a participant in the learning environment; equally learning along with the students as they learn. In bridging the gap and assisting participants to self-direct their learning, they in turn learn, inspire, teach,  promote and foster life-long learning which in turn perpetuates the cycle.

Instructors must be able to promote thoughtfulness and reflection, assess the understanding of the students, change direction if required, orchestrate discussion and scaffold the student to the next level of awareness and understanding, while at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the lesson and ensuring that the thrust of the content is delivered and assimilated.  Quite the job!

Facilitators must be willing to utilize new and emerging trends to keep the interest of the learner whose sophistication grows exponentially at pace with the technology. A willingness to bring in virtual components to the classroom, such as social media platforms, apps, tablets, and other electronic media engages the learner and makes the session feel relevant and fresh. Facilitators must always be looking ahead  – keeping pace with emerging technology and how it will relate to their subject matter and work for the delivery in their classroom.

The role of the facilitator is a complex one. Not only must they be well versed in the foundations of learning, but they must also be trend savvy, politically adept, agents of change acting as a collaborator, orchestrator and conductor of the content and the session. They must be flexible, sociable,  subject matter experts while at the same time maintaining an open collaborative environment.  A challenging but  rewarding experience for any individual willing and capable of taking on the delivery of the content and the responsibility of the role.