Fads in E-Learning: Microlearning

digitalchalk-what-is-micro-learningWhile reading Jennifer Yaros’ new post, it lead me to Microlearning: The e-Learning method taking off around the world. Then, I thought about my own learning and experiences.

I am a trivia geek. My husband and I can slay anyone in trivia matches. Not to mention I’m gaining momentum in the iOS app, Trivia Crack. I love learning useless (IMHO – not so useless) facts. I love nonfiction ANYTHING and thrive on the humanities and science as a way to live my life passionately. I take a lot of the knowledge that I possess and develop common sense strategies and answers for questions that pertain to any subject. I find that this way of info-blasting and microlearning has helped my overall well-rounded knowledge.

Microlearning defines learning experiences that are much briefer than a traditional course – referring to relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities.

Chunk it UP & dice it! Pick out only the best pieces and roll with it!

This idea of spewing a ton of information in a short amount of time has been going on for a few years now. Headings and subheadings with small paragraphs that get to the nitty-gritty are my most favorite pieces of literature, and I hope this style never goes away. I LOVE the idea of reading “just the facts” without any lingering details (which are always completely unnecessary). But that’s how my brain works! My brain does not have time or energy for fluff.

I have a feeling, though, that the world will eliminate the fluff sooner or later.

So, let’s transition from Buzzfeed-esque articles to e-Learning. Microlearning is a blast of information in a short amount of time. Isn’t that what everyone is given? A short amount of time? How appropriate! Translate this idea to all 9-5 job situations: “Mr. So-and-so…I need you to learn this new aspect of your job by yesterday. Can you do that for me? That’d be grreeaaatt.”

Yeah well, yesterday already happened…so…

From a business perspective, almost 90% of associations use some form of technology to enable or enhance learning and more than half (52.8%) of associations that use technology for learning have increased their organisation’s net revenue from educational offerings.

Fewer than a third (31.5%) of organisations that report using technology for learning say they use technology to repeat, reinforce, or sustain learning after participants complete an educational product or service. Another 29.4% say they plan to in the coming year.

Close to 50% of organisations integrate the data they collect in their learning technology platforms with the data from other technology platforms they use.

Well, I’m happy. Why? I am not too sure microlearning is just a fad- it could be here to stay!

Gen Zidians

I was teaching Algebra I to some eighth graders one day. I was 23 at the time, brand new, and the coolest teacher in the entire school. One student raised their hand at the end of the class and said…”you know, you’re in our generation, right? You are at the very beginning of our generation and we’re all at the very end, but we are in the same generation.”

I almost had a panic attack. But okay…they were kind of right! These kids learned like me, talked like me, and had similar ideals. But they were on the cusp. So much so that I already had problems with the levels of entitlement that I was not use to in my YEARS of being alive.

I digress.

My colleague sent an article to us today, from eCampusNews. The article was about the differences between Millennials and Gen Z, their expectations for their futures, and what that means for e-learning.

This generation seeks to “have it all” in their careers, with 42 percent describing their future careers as “suiting their specific interests.” Their career choices also are quite different than current college-aged students: they tend to envision careers in technology, such as computer science and video game development, whereas Millennials are more likely to seek careers in the fields of health/medical and education.

Gen Z self starters

True Gen Z individuals have not known a life that was not surrounded by technology. Those little eighth graders I taught still remembered the innocence of boybands, pretend play, and eating play doh.

*Shudder*

However, we, as e-learning specialists and instructional designers, HAVE to be ready for these money-hungry heathens.

Unlike Millennials, who have broadly adopted technology, Gen Z has adopted a technology-centric lifestyle. They define themselves in online, digital terms. Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between devices or online territories. It is one continuous, multi-faceted, completely integrated experience – connecting social, academic and professional interests.

I’m only kidding, but not by much. These students are different. A lot different than what a lot of us are used to. To succeed in getting through to them is not reading a bunch of articles about how it’s going to be now…we have to live it. We have to immerse ourselves in the new ways of educating.

How do we do it? First of all, we’re in the right place. We are developing content that is readily available for all Gen Zidians.

This collaborative studying isn’t just happening in-person – technologies such as Skype, Facetime, chat/IM, Facebook and other online tools are being used to help foster group studying online as well. Whereas one may say the Internet has created a user-generated society, Gen Z is taking it to another level by engaging in the co-construction of knowledge, and likely the co-construction of their educational content in the future.

They want it faster, better, stronger…and we need to give it to them. Not to say that brick and mortar universities will be a thing of the past, but that we are the next big thing, if we aren’t already.

I’ll be honest. I chose online education for my M.Ed because I wanted my degree yesterday. These kids do not have TIME to go to school (if they decide to go to school at all) and sit in lecture halls and maaaaaaaybe learn something beneficial to their current start-up company they founded from the help of Kickstarter. They want that slip of paper in less than four years and REAL, WORTHY experiences in which they’re….entitled to 😉

#Simulations in #eLearning

I went to the I/ITSEC Conference back in November of 2015. I was able to witness and try a lot of physical simulators geared towards the field of aeronautics and military forces. Simulators from Lockheed Martin, Meggitt, and Engility are some companies that work directly with the department of defense.

In addition to these companies, there were many simulators that lined up directly with supportive e-learning. When I asked specificially if they could gear a program towards X, the cost went through the roof. How do universities combat the price of simulations just yet? Grants. Who has time to write grants when you’ve got a course to develop? When is it worth the time and effort?

Currently, I’m working with a course developer who wanted to add in a project management simulator to her IT-PM course. Awesome! So, where do we look for simulations that are cost-effective and worthy of students’ time?

Mind you, these are students will full-time jobs and families. They need to pass this class in 9 weeks to fulfill a degree to move up in their company and provide for their family! It is important that they receive worthy information and spend their time wisely to learn as much as they can.

I think it is awesome when someone can appreciate the free gems of the internet. That Project Management Game is a very simple tool that is free to use as many times as necessary. In our course, students will be using this tool to make notes on whether or not it would be a beneficial simulator for trainees. Is it comparable to the workplace? What could be added to make it better? What benefits or disadvantages do you see to this tool?

For a little more substance and rigor, we are also going to use the Havard Business Review’s Project Management Simulation v2 at an awesome price. With 90 minutes of simulation time, students can grab it for $15. For a masters degree program, that’s a pretty good deal!

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The second release of this simulation adds a new scenario with multiple unanticipated events and the ability to add prototypes to the project plan. In this single-player simulation, students take on the role of a senior project manager and manage a team tasked with developing a new product for an electronics manufacturing company. The primary objectives are to execute a project plan successfully and deliver a competitive product on time and on budget. Instructors can assign up to 6 scenarios that expose students to realistic challenges that project managers often face, especially when working in a highly competitive industry. Some challenges require students to react to unanticipated outside events, such as a staffing crisis, while others require students to respond to strategic changes mandated by upper management. A new project lever for specifying prototypes allows students to explore the benefits of this essential component of agile project management.

I am so excited for this course! I am thrilled to be working with my course developer. We have developed two courses so far and she’s a rockstar!

Structured Day

Organization-skills-can-help-you-juggle-2-jobs-NRIAJ07-x-largeHow do you structure your day as an Instructional Designer? What are your organizational approaches to starting and ending the day? Do you get the most important emails answered or do you take on the smallest tasks first? Does every day look the same or are you constantly having to juggle different responsibilities as you move through your week?

I feel like I am still new to the game even though I’ve been learning and working for five months. To be honest this is the first time I am working in an office and in charge of my own projects. It is the first time I have had creative control of the material that I develop.

It’s difficult to have so much free range and then attempt to make every day as structured as possible. The difficulty is such a gift. I’m glad to have this challenge because I am excited to have this flexibility in my career, day in and day out!! When something is difficult, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad – it’s just something new and challenging that pushes growth!

My senior instructional designer sent us all this email from Getting Things Done‘s Newsletter. There’s a ton of great motivational aspects to the newsletter, but I feel as though there is a bigger message. The message is that nothing will ever get done unless YOU make them happen. We are the sole contributor to our day-in-day-out functions and we create those conclusions at the end of the day.

So to me, to get myself organized and structured is my own doing. I am reponsbile for myself and my actions. It’s time to get started!

#Trends in #elearning

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Universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. Distance learning is coming on fast.” – Peter Drucker, 1997

The article below is a great read. A lot of the trends listed are obvious, but the reasons behind them dig deep into that quote. Wow, 1997. I was just venturing into second grade at that point. Little did my brain know that my career would engage in the wild and crazy future of education.

IF, and only IF universities do not survive, what does that mean for the world as we know it? Forget freshman year on campus and Leadership Safari – I did not build my social skills from those instances.

My main focus and worry is the lack of human-to-human interaction. If universities do not survive, what does that mean for K-12 education? We are already glued to our electronic devices and human communication is dwindling- where do we go from here? Is this a world we want to be a part of 20 years from now? 50 years?

All these trends are great and will keep a nice cash flow in my bank account, but that quote is something to really think about. That means that it is OUR job as IDDers to incorporate as MUCH human interaction as possible.

How? What is the best method of including human interaction in e-learning courses? Do you think the quote is valid? Why haven’t universities crashed and burned yet? Will it ever?

The following article was created for my virtual presentation “Global Trends in the eLearning Industry” at the International Congress on eLearning 2013 organized by the Philippine eLearning Society.

Source: Future eLearning Trends and Technologies in the Global eLearning Industry

Resolutions

  It’s January 1st.

To say that I am going to do all of these magical things is far fetched. I like to be pleasantly surprised at my successes than completely disappointed that I didn’t achieve my goals.

I have to get my barings in place.

I am looking to enhance my craft, to do well always and do a better job every day than the last. I want to take up extra work and find myself meeting and working with new people. 

I want to collaborate, learn, present, and explore.

In terms of your career, what are your goals for this year?