Thursday, November 12, 2009

How useful are email games?

I can't really say that I have enjoyed email games in the past. Maybe because they often did not reflect the topic being studied or include tangible activities or clear instruction. Here are some tips to help you design effective email games.

Your email game should engage your participants in a meaningful discussion. For example an opportunity to problem solve or dicuss common issues relating to the topic being explored in their study.

Make sure your game allows the participant to bring their own wealth of knowledge into the game and provides an opportunity to reflect on discussions and findings.

Clearly set out the rules for the game. State when the game will start, how the game should be played, who can play, when can they play, how participants can score points and how the participants will know that the game is over. Define what will happen after the game is over.

Your game can be played using email alone or it could be played in collaboration with other technologies such as discussion forums. It is really important that the relationship is set out clearly in the initial game instructions so the participants know when to use the different technologies.

Another useful technique is to assign each person a role and a topic or challenge for exploration (eg: if your topic was to do with simple strategies to keep the national park tidy you could divide the roles into Park Ranger, Kiosk Manager, Tourist etc). The information can be sent directly to the facilitator for compilation and then later posted on a wiki or discussion forum or you could ask the participant to post their contributions directly during the game.

The design and communication strategies implemented must be appropriate to your group and study requirements. For more techniques and strategies visit It is a great starting point for those of you who are new to e-learning.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do learner's really enjoy the whole online experience?

There has been so much research into this over the years. If you google similar topics you will come up with a multitude of articles and research.

I am not even going to attempt to answer this question in my post but instead I am going to expand on what I consider is not an enjoyable online learning experience for me.

My life is really busy with demands from work, family and friends. Yet somewhere in that mayhem I still need to find time to learn. As an educator I have committed to a journey of life long learning and my future will always hold some form of study or learning.

So if I was to enrol in your course this is what I would need:

Access to content and resource 24 hours per day.

A guideline of dates for submission of assessments and unit completions that is flexible. I want autonomy.

I get bored in courses where there are useless activities and assessments that have no bearing on my life or future career goels. I really get disheartened in courses where I seem to have to do the same things over and over again.

I find some courses think because the nominal hours for a unit is 50 that I need to spend 50 hours doing readings and activities. Often very little thought has gone into these programs. They don't seem to have even considered that I might know something about the unit or that I might have experience in this area through my life, work experience and that I would like draw on this and maybe submit it as evidence of competence.

I want to quickly determine my current skill level, determine what I need to know and then move towards this.

I don't want to be locked in to mandatory chat sessions or online web conferences unless the content is relevant and will assist me to complete the assessment tasks for the units or will draw on learning material in a way that the online course cannot.

Having said this I don't like feeling like I am in some big dark hole and no one else is there. That presents a challenge. I want a sense of community but I don't want to be locked into meetings and chat sessions that are unproductive or at an unsuitable time.

I am really hands on. I look for tangible information, clear and concise instructions, a few bells and whistles to entertain me (but not many) and the quickest shortest path to completing a unit if I am already certain I know and understand the content.

Where sessions are held in chat rooms and web conferences I would like them recorded and made available so that I can cover anything I have missed or listen to them again to cover important information.

If all of this is in place then I generally enjoy the online learning environment.

Use this post to highlight your learning likes and dislikes. Do you agree with my comments or am I difficult student?

I think if we as educators are all honest about our learning preferences it will help us to better develop courses that will engage our learners and provide them with a pathway to completion that is relevant to their circumstances.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How useful is social media in business?

I am currently listening to a presenter at a free online learning session through

The presenter is talking about how they have used social media in a business context. One of the topics is how business can easily get feedback from consumers using web technologies. Consider Kraft and their quest to name its new vegemite variant. On one day alone they received more than 48000 comments about the new name.

Another question raised in this session was 'Can you build relationships online'?

My response is YES, but it will take the same amount of commitment and effort as it would if you were building a relationship in a traditional sense however your approach will be different. You don't just put yourself out there and expect people to find you.

Use this post to comment on how you have built relationships with your customer base.

Facebook was one of the tools mentioned in this session. Watch this youtube video it will set the scene for how you might go about establishing a relationship in person using the same techniques as facebook. Certainly makes you think.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Socialistation in online teaching and learning

Socialisation and participation seems to have developed a ‘third culture’ - the learning culture of the online teaching and learning experience

An interesting article on this topic can be found at

I hope you enjoy reading it