Well I just finished this module of learning, I looked at the effect the environment has in online learning. I read Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever and discovered that implementing the seven principles into an online course may not be as difficult as it first appeared to be. Example:
1. Good Practice Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty: “If frequent student-faculty contact in and out of class is a most important factor in student motivation and involvement.” this can easily achieved via the use of Skype, email or a good old fashioned phone call that lets the learner know that you are interested in their learning. The instructor is able to check in frequently with the learner and not just at the end of the course.
2. Good Practice Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students. “Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race”. Connecting the students with each other via forums or group work will help the learners share what they are learning, the more learners talk about their learning, the more the learning is solidified. Learners can learn from each other share successes and mistakes, there is a lot of learning in sharing what worked and what did not.
3. Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques. “Learning is not a spectator sport.” If learners do not learn by sitting and watching then they need be active. Give examples and scenarios that they can problem solve together, tools that will become useful in the workplace.
4. Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback: ” Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses you learning” Instead of focusing on what the learner already knows, lets do a skills assessment that is shared with the learner, so they can identify with the gaps of knowledge that they have and more on with new learning. The learner needs frequent feedback on the new learning so they are aware if they are on the correct learning path. This builds self-esteem in the learner and they will be ready to carry the learning forward
5. Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task: “Time plus energy equals learning” The learner and the instructor must be willing to commit to the task of learning, commit to the goals of the course. Instructors need to make the learning relevant, learners need to commit to completing the required tasks. Technology helps as it will make learning flexible to fit with the adult learners work and family life, allows the instructor to be able to access the learning platform from anywhere.
6.Good Practice Communicates High Expectations: ” Expect more and you will get it. High expectations is important for everyone…” The instructor needs to build a course that helps the learner succeed in the learning. Preparation is the key both on the part of the instructor and learner. If the instructor clearly communicates the expectations of the course, builds the course with activities are related to the goals and expects the learner to commit to the learning, then the learner will be more inclined to engage in the learning. Technology can help with this as it allows for real time collaboration between everyone and for timely feedback.
7. Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning: “Many roads lead to learning” Different learners will bring different skills to the learning experience, some who are weak in some areas will be able to get help from others who are stronger. So if one learner is not proficient with technology they could receive support from someone who is proficient in technology. Supporting learners to help each other assists on building a community of learners. The balance here is to encourage each of the learners to build on what they do not know and not to spend all of their learning time on what they already know and do well.
At intervals throughout a course there needs to be an evaluation done by the learner so that they have an opportunity to say what is going well and what is not. When evaluations are done the instructor can also evaluate the course and make changes if necessary to keep the learning moving forward.
The end result is a learner who is confident and ready to move forward with their learning.