Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reflective Synopsis.

By creating my Professional Blog, I have discovered that computer literacy is a key requirement to be a successful learner in the 21st century. Therefore, I was willing to take the risk by stepping out of my technological comfort zone, to discover new technology and extend my current Information Communication Technologies (ICT). I was indeed open to understanding the importance of managing continuing learning with interactive technologies and creating e-learning experiences where learners actively use technology to research, interpret, analyse and communicate knowledge as well as to develop students` higher order skills and creativity.
Technology should be seen as a toolbox. It should increase students` engagement and not increase teacher workload. By combining real-life learning experiences and ICTs, students and
teachers working together, will achieve planned learning outcomes.

So what is e-learning? In my opinion, e-learning is to classroom learning as mobile phones are to public phones. For example, as I discovered, e-learning allows you to learn anywhere and usually at any time, as long as you have a computer and, or a mobile phone. E-learning can be CD-ROM-based, Network-based, Intranet-based or Internet-based. It can include text, video, audio, animation and virtual environments. It can be a very rich learning experience that can even surpass the level of learning you may experience in a classroom. It's self-paced, hands-on learning. The quality of the electronic-based learning, as in every form of learning, is in its content and its delivery. E-learning can suffer from many of the same pitfalls as classroom learning, such as boring slides, monotonous speech, and little opportunity for interaction. The beauty of e-learning, however, is that new software allows the creation of very effective learning environments that can engulf you into the material.

After completing the set activities for assessment task 1 for this course, I have been able to identify definite advantages of e-learning over traditional classrooms. For example:

It's self-paced

It moves faster

It provides a consistent message

It can work from any location and any time

It can be updated easily and quickly

It can be easily managed for large groups of students

There are many advantages to e-learning, and even the potential disadvantages (i.e. boring text-based courses, technophobia, loneliness) can be alleviated with properly designed learning experiences. E-learning can incorporate many elements that make learning new material or a new process more fun. Making learning more fun or interesting, in my opinion, is what makes it more engaging and therefore more effective. Obviously, every type of learning can't be turned into e-learning (eg Physical Activity), but many can with excellent results. The keys to successful e-learning that I would include in my planning would be: to vary the types of content I use such as images, sounds and text working together ; creating interaction that engages the attention like games; providing immediate feedback to students by using ClassMarker and encouraging interaction with other e-learners by setting up chat rooms, discussion forums, instant messaging and e-mail.

I have had an enriching journey taking risks and experimenting with unfamiliar e-learning tools. By profiling my future learners, discovering their learning styles and designing pedalogical strategies to achieve learning outcomes, my future as a learning manager will definitely include many of these e-learning tools that I have discovered.

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