Wednesday, February 10, 2010

e-learning the focus is learning not the e

Your e-learning strategy should highlight appropriate strategies for learning. We sometimes get carried away and focus on the e-tools rather than appropriate strategies to facilitate learning in an electronic environment.

As you start to consider just what some of these strategies might be, consider if you need to capture formal and informal learning. Is there a difference in the way you capture formal and informal learning?

Examples of Formal & Informal Learning include (but are not limited to):

* Attending workshops
* Training programs
* Accredited courses

* Networking
* Information in manuals and instruction guides
* Mentoring & coaching

I am currently discussing this with a variety of educators and some have said that they simply request the learner to create a blog and journal informal learning. My question to you is "Is asking learners to contribute to wikis and discussions forums or other forms of social media an appropriate strategy to capture informal learning?"

I would love to hear your views so please feel free to contribute to these discussions.

E-Portfolios and activities within Learning Management Systems (LMS) are an exciting way to capture formal learning.

E-Portfolios can capture text, graphics, audio and video as a way of providing evidence. Therefore it seems they would also be very useful in capturing evidence of informal learning too. Blogs are great tools for reflection and I don't want to take away from their usefulness, however an e-portfolio has features that a blog doesn't. I encourage you if you are not experienced to do some research and form you own opinions. Why post your comments and questions here for others to learn from?

The difference between an e-portfolio and a learning management system is the control the author (that's you) has over the content and organisation of e-portfolio; whereas the teacher or developer has more control over the LMS (consider course content, activities, assignments etc).

Some useful resources to assist you with e-portfolios can be found at: (you will find a useful demo and if you are a moodle user, this provides an alternative to the e-portfolio plugin provided in moodle)

Moodle's Exabis e-portfolio block

As we are discussing learning and appropriate teaching strategies it is useful to start thinking about how you will develop your course. Is it okay to take your existing face to face teaching resources and strategies and simply put them up online? I don't mean to ruffle your feathers, but to me this is may not demonstrate e-learning at its best.

Sure you can upload text and pictures etc but how engaging is it for the learner.

I have been involved in e-learning for a long time now and I love the challenge of improving my teaching and making my resources more engaging. There are so many great strategies you can use to improve learning and improve the retention of online learners.

The Framework has a really useful resource to assist you to explore some new strategies and technologies I hope you find it useful too.

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