May 11, 2014

ocTEL Week 3 Activity 1.2: Reflecting on strategies for Learning Technology - #ocTEL

This activity is about strategy and how you or someone in your role might contribute to a strategy for using Learning Technology in face to face, blended or online learning context.

Strategy for introducing the Learning Management System to a new cohort of teachers.

I am going to use the SAMR model to look at this question.

I work in a duel-sector University where an established Learning Management System (LMS) has been established for some time. However it has been taken up by the HE sector for a lot longer. Part of my role as an Instructional Technologist is to "promote" the LMS to the Vocational Educational (VET) sector. It is also part of the Office of Learning and Teaching Strategy to have an online unit for each course that is taught. I suspect that this strategy was chosen because it was easy to measure rather than actually look at the implications of that, however, it's there! Written down! Must be done!

It appears that the initial online units created have basically been a SUBSTITUTION. A dump of material (*shudder*) and requirements for print-and-submit kind of assessments. In some cases this has not even been seen as an "Enhancement" but rather just another way of looking at the same thing. Much like when you first read an e-book, without using any of the online features.

Much like this blog post that combines both the SAMR model and Gartner Hype cycle, I thought I would map some of the events and LMS features that impact the strategy by using these models. From here I can suggest some pointers that could influence the strategy to move forward.
Diagram by Wendy Taleo 2014 based on

The interesting point is that different parts of the organisation are at different areas of these models. For example, digital badges are just starting their hype cycle and have yet to be implemented in the LMS. Gamification has been on the agenda and is used in pockets. Will this really move across to redefinition? Yet in other parts there are a lot of un-released units created that have stalled. The teachers of these units are definitely in the trough of disillusionment about the technology and are "happily?" continuing to teach without using the LMS.

One of the reasons for the units not to be released is the realisation that the combination of systems that make up the LMS are designed, primarily for the HE system. A working group has been setup to look at this. There is also extra staff being hired to look at some new units that will bring extra dollars into the system. However this needs to be broader in addressing all the learnings from the units that have been on the LMS for a number of years and apply the most effective design principles to the new units.

Staff professional development is so critical here. To move the teaching pedagogy from a print-and-submit kind of assignment to eAssessment via gamification might sound great, but needs to be appropriate for the student base and be managed properly. At this stage there are some units they have online tests but the effort of the teacher goes into trying to replicate the paper version rather than looking at a redefinition of how the student could be assessed in these areas. There needs to be a lot of staff support here to assist them to move into new areas and towards MODIFICATION or REDEFINITION. Exemplar units need to be part of this strategy. For example, showing staff how ePortfolios would look and be assessed or how interactive materials could be customised to their field of teaching.

One part of this model layering that doesn't really work is that not all newly introduced technologies fit into the Substitution box. Virtual Learning Environments (VLE's) would be part of that. Using Second Life for learning is a REDEFINITION and fits into the transformation of learning. The other aspect is that not all learning technologies has to move into the transformation arena. However for my purposes I would definitely want to shift the way that that learning technologies are used from the Substitution box into at least Modification. That is where the student will get the most benefit or at least that needs to be the focus or the technology chosen. The important aspect of the Gartner curve is that you want to minimise the impact to the student by following hype and get to the point of effective learning through the use of the technologies.

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