Sunday, March 15, 2009

Week 3 Bits

Week 3: Discussion on Quality and eLearning Guidelines:

The project that I hope to use for the Evaluation is related to quality aspects of a new eLearning course that I am presently assisting in getting up and running here at UCOL. Briefly, the project is an eLearning Solution to a new Short Course in Preparing for and Enhancing your Career (Level 2).

With this course, the students use a 'virtual visit' to a large Company, as a platform for discovering the neccesary skills and experiences that are important as a job seeker. While they 'visit and observe' all the departments in the Company and 'talk' to relevent people, they are also completing an online electronic CV (which will eventually be hosted by the following company, ( The elearning component is called GETSET (the 'Virtual Tour'), and UCOL have created additional materials to make it into a 15 credit Level 2 programme, with material such as Stress Management, how this affects you in the workplace, along with the neccessary Interview Skills. Currently, the GETSET component is used in a f2f situation, with students being stepped through the programme in a traditional classroom environment. However, with the new UCOL programme, the students will be distance students, studying off campus and will be stepping themselves through the GETSET programme. Therefore all the
neccessary guidance and interaction/feedback will need to be included in the form of extra instructions, with tutor support and learning/feedback e-tivities built into the Elearning part of the course.

The end result of this programme, is that students will have a better understanding of what employers are looking for, understand more of their own traits and skills, how they can contribute to a workplace, resulting in the production of a relevent and
current CV, and to eventually have that CV verfied by UCOL (whilst completing the course). Embedded into the course are 3 Unit Standards, relating to Interview Skills, Problem solving and Stress Management.

One of my concerns is that the students may simply scroll too quickly through the virtual Company Tour, just so that they can get their CV up and running, and therefore possibly not engaging in the real learning aspect of the programme.
We also want to them add as many details as they can to their CV, and if they skim through the programme too quickly, some of the subtle learning that we would want occurring may be missed.

So, these are two of the issues that relate to quality in elearning:

1. Is their enough interaction with the students- how will the tutuors know when the students are struggling? How can we get
them to engage fully?

2. Is the extra course material relevent / will the students use it to add to their current experience?

Following on from the e-Guideline that I looked at last week (which I misquoted actually- it was SD 5 I referred to, not SD 4(

Listed under (Students/Learning Design/Good practice) are some guidelines that can be related to the (quality) issues, the two I hope to explore further for this course are as follows:

SD 3:Do students gain knowledge relevant to employment and/or current thinking in their field?

SD 5: "Do students aquire the learning skills for successfully completing the course?"

In the example of my course, if we were evaluating aspects of the course in terms of quality, I'd still ask "Did the use of interactive tools and forums help the student complete the course"?

By asking such questions, we can evaluate the technology-assess the interaction and check that the knowledge gained is relevent by the CV verifcation process (verify the content). If the CV is verifiable- we could say that the intended outcome is acheived...

There is another quideline as well, that is relevent-
ST 9: Do the technologies employed help students successfully meet the learning outcomes?

I would ask- can the students successfully engage and complete the course in an eLearning format with no f2f contact (apart from the "Interveiw" at the end of the course (to verify the CV)?


sam said...

Debra that sounds really exciting!! It sounds like something out of second life! How do you go about making the virtual company? In terms of quality, some of things I am encountering are definately about look and is easy for the e-learning to look like a conglomerate of microsoft documents and feel like you are just reading rather than interacting.....I have been looking at things like articulate for rapid authoring....and, I think used in a purposeful way they can be extermely helpful and cut the need for the entire department of web designers! My experience so far has been that for students to find the e-learning a quality experience they are intere3sted in look and feel.....the swishness and clickability.....wondering what your thoughts are?

Rachel said...

What a great idea, I am going to watch this idea as it does sound very exciting and a great way to be able to apply learning. I am very interested in how students engage with elearning as I am new to this field, having only experienced f2f teaching and a little bit of online discussion through other courses I have studied. Interaction seems to be a key.

Minhaaj said...

Real amazing guidelines. Specially about the interaction of students and facilitators online is crucial to avoid certain expectations and disappointments.

Stoneleigh31 said...

Hi Sam-Rachel-Minhaaj-not sure if this is the best way to reply- or should we use the email-forum??
I think I might have made the project sound too interesting now....I have just been told we need to get the programme up and running within 3 weeks- it'll be 4 weeks (Easter thankfully gets in the way). The virtual company was created by the outside provider- but we have to wriete soem study guides and notes for the students to prompt them more I think.
I'll have to investigate the 'rapid authoring tool'- it sounds like something we should have looked at on the Technical Tools course wth Grant last semester. But all of us agree, its the interaction that counts. However, I also think we have to take into account the Level of Learning that the student is immersing themselves into. Too many 'technical tools' and the students might be put off (if they are at a lower level, and are perhaps 'second chance learners'. But looking around here at UCOL, with all the younger students here just at present- the "swishness and clickability" in terms of 'look and feel' must certainly be what they are expecting...they look so much at ease on the computers...

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Debra this is a great example to evaluate and you have posted an excellent critique of your ideas for an evaluation and the elearning guideline options.

Your concerns re the Virtual Company Tour resource are well founded. Often users of resources like this do skim through if they are not guided to engage on a deeper level. So your idea for adding study guides and notes to prompt the students is a good one. A series of well designed activities to encourage them to engage with the Tour will certainly help.

In your plans for interaction are you also going to encourage them to interact with each other as well as the tutors?

Your choice of guidelines is very relevant for your proposed evaluation. As this is a pilot launching of a new course, it will come under the auspices of formative evaluation. May I suggest you look at things such as usability of the Virtual Tour resource - you could ask students how they used it as observation is probably out of the question. I wonder has usability testing previously been done when the resource was in the development phase? It might be good to include this data as well. I am looking forward to seeing how your evaluation plan unfolds.