Unit 3 | Refining Digital Learning Resources and Reflecting on the Process
In this two-week unit you will continue to polish the digital learning design you have been developing, add some finishing touches, and continue your programmatic process of reflection. The element of the Facilitation or Learner Guide is a combination of ideas captured in your ongoing Design Note and instructional design processes of documentation.
This Unit addresses Course Learning Outcome B – Design and create a digital learning resource; and C – Critique a digital learning resource.
Learning Activities and Assignments
- Activity 1 – The Value of Reflection (Blog)
- Activity 2 – Creating a Learner Guide or Facilitator Guide
- Activity 3 – Course Project Completion
- Assignment 4 – Digital Resource Design and Learner or Facilitator Guide (Individual)
Activity 1 – The Value of Reflection (Blog)
Broad Concepts of Graduate Education
The first invitation of Unit 3 is to reflect for a moment on the elements of graduate education in a time of significant social and systemic change. There has been a slow burn of technology-enhanced and fully online teaching and learning that has been evolving for 25 years or more in post-secondary and corporate training contexts. If you’re interested in exploring some of the history of educational technology, Dr. Martin Weller’s 25 Years of Ed Tech is a fantastic read on this topic [this is an optional activity for the course].
The slow burn of educational technology evolution has recently turned into a stampede of rapid and agile needs for virtual options to keep people connected while working and learning. The dreaded virus Covid-19 has brought many issues to the front of peoples’ minds about health, life, working, and learning. For the foreseeable future, how humans interact in face-to-face contexts has fundamentally shifted. You may be thinking that you are quite lucky to have selected an online graduate program focused on the very thing that educators and learners need most right now – well-designed, digital learning experiences. However, in a time of frantic “just do it” shifts to remote and virtual learning and working, it is more important than you might have imagined to think more deeply and bring better-informed perspectives to the table in your work and learning contexts.
In order to engage in deeper thinking about this course and in your work practice, review the OpenLearn UK course Succeeding in Postgraduate Study, Session 2: Reflective thinking, reflective learning and academic writing. Stick to the first 6 content items related to reflection and consider the activities you have engaged over the past 7 weeks. This review will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. Ask yourself what might be a reflection benefit for you now, what might be a benefit for you toward completing your studies, and how will you capture your reflections?
Using the Wilfrid Laurier University (n.d.) WriteOnline segment Reflective Writing as an additional guide, develop an LRNT 527 reflective blog post to be posted in your MALAT program blog. Your post is due at the end of Week 8. Your work should capture your experience in this course so far and include information about how you envision your digital learning resource expanding into a final element of your MALAT Program. Minimum 400 words. This element is part of your Contribution to the Learning Community assessment grade.
Some concepts you might consider:
- What was the most surprising thing that you learned by participating in the design thinking process and designing and developing your digital learning resource?
- What suggestions and improvements did you receive? Did you get any feedback that you did not expect? What feedback needs further investigation?
- What are the next steps you would like to take to build upon your digital learning resource?
- What reflection channels and processes do you prefer (in addition to, or instead of blog posts) to support your lifelong learning?
- Also, consider how you might utilize the design thinking process for the design and creation of digital learning resources in the future, or for other tasks that you may encounter within your instructional context.
Activity 2 – Creating a Learner Guide or Facilitator Guide
Using the Professional Development Facilitator’s Guide (Reed, n.d.) as a model, consider how you will create a detailed and supportive guide to accompany your digital learning resource. This example guide is highly detailed and represents the type of information that would be conveyed for a facilitator working to partner with learners in a full-day workshop. Notice the supportive attention to detail that the workshop designer provides, anticipating elements that may be outside the facilitator’s control, and providing advice on how to manage discussion and timing throughout. This thoughtful consideration of how an end user (in this case a facilitator) would like to be supported in the implementation of a learning resource (in this case a workshop design) is a great example of Empathy in Design Thinking.
Consider the user of the digital resource you have designed. Based on your needs analysis, what might the user (whether learners or a facilitator) want to know about your motives for designing the resource? What might they want to know about their choices in how they use the resource? What about optional or supplemental choices to further the learning past the resource itself?
For this part of your final assignment, you can and should use your creativity to provide support materials that suit your users best. They may prefer a video or an infographic, a guide with a table of contents, or a pre- and post-learning experience survey that helps them know whether they achieved the learning outcomes, or helped you solve an explicitly stated problem of practice. Your guide can be a combination of these things.
Create a draft Guide and test it with your Users (the same group with whom you partnered to explore your preliminary Empathy method). You may gain some valuable additional insight to finalize your resource. If Users are not available, please connect with one or more course peers to provide you with feedback. Refine your guide as appropriate.
Activity 3 – Course Project Completion
Pulling the work of nine weeks, and indeed, many prior courses together into the design of a digital learning resource is a multi-staged task that represents a mature stage of learning and synthesis. You will be drawing on the stages of this course, your ongoing professional practice, and elements of each of the MALAT courses you have completed to finalize a polished iteration of this resource. Even as you test and refine your resource with Users (learners or participants – there are many roles to consider for them) your resource is perpetually in an iterative state. Each time it is used, there may be an opportunity to improve it. If you are very lucky, the resource you design will fully solve the problem of practice for which it was intended, and you will not need to keep refining. Some digital learning resources fulfill their purpose and are retired! These possibilities are all highly contextual to your situation, the context of your practice, your Users and the purpose of the resource.
Using all the tools and processes you have practiced in the multi-stage process of developing your digital learning resource, finalize and submit Assignment 4 according to the rubric provided. Participate in a one-on-one consultation with your faculty member to confirm ideas and discuss options as you complete the building phase of your design.
Assignment 4 – Digital Resource Design and Learner or Facilitator Guide (Individual)
The purpose of this assignment is to combine lessons learned in Units 1, 2, and 3 to create a refined and informed digital learning resource. The resource solves (in part or in full) your problem of practice and it is ready to test with potential learners. In addition to your resource, you will create a Facilitation Guide (if your resource requires a facilitator) or a Learner Guide (for a self-directed learner). This assignment helps determine your achievement of course Learning Outcomes A – Identify a need that can be met by a digital learning resource; and B – Design and create a digital learning resource. Instructions for the assignment and the assignment rubric are found on the Assignment 4 page.