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The Secret to Highly Effective eLearning

Figure with arms raised in front of a laptop

Most people in the workforce today have had the experience of attending online or web-based training at some point. Many of us have taken college courses, job training courses, or had some other learning experience that involved information being delivered to us via a computer screen. And it’s probably also safe to say that some of our experiences were good, some were marginal, and some of them may have felt like a complete waste of our time.

So what makes an eLearning course good? Or perhaps a better question, what can make it great?

Here are some secrets to creating an eLearning environment that is effective, engaging and yes, even great.

Read More: The Secret to Highly Effective eLearning.

Blended Learning Course Design Mistakes to Avoid


Blended learning course design entails more than simply converting content for online delivery or finding ways to supplement an existing face-to-face course. Ideally, designing a blended course would begin with identifying learning outcomes and topics, creating assignments and activities, determining how interaction will occur, and selecting the technologies to best achieve those learning outcomes. However, a variety of constraints often affect the way blended courses are developed, which can compromise their quality.

In an interview with Online Classroom, Veronica Diaz, associate director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, talked about how to avoid common mistakes in blended course design.

Full Text: Blended Learning Course Design Mistakes to Avoid | Faculty Focus.

What’s needed from eLearning support systems?


What do your teachers and students really need from systems supporting blended and e-learning?

On Monday, Im headed to New Orleans for the BBWorld DevCon. This is Blackboards annual conference for partners and developers on their various information systems that proceeds the LMS giants user conference, BBWorld. I was originally scheduled to give the keynote, but then Blackboard went and bought Moodlerooms and Sakai, shocking just about everyone involved in the e-learning space. Not surprisingly, my keynote slot is now going to be a roundtable with executives from all of the companies.

However, this got me thinking. The average school technologist, let alone the average teacher or administrator, has a lot to wade through in terms of selecting systems that support blended learning initiatives. Sure, most principals know that their school needs a platform where students and teachers can share information, assignments are readily accessible, and teachers can curate resources for students. But if the Blackboard-Moodlerooms-Sakai deal was suprising and confusing to those of us who follow this for a living, how can educators be expected to sort out a much larger market?

Full Text: LMS? SIS? SIF? LTI? Alphabet soup and blended learning | ZDNet.

School concludes that devices enhanced learning

Gazette.Net: Rockville private school gives the iPad a classroom trial

Before this year, Joie Chen would have never found her son huddled in a corner, reading a book.

Now, it happens all the time. Evan Goldberg, 12, will be so entranced by a story on his iPad, he will bump into the walls of their Bethesda home as he walks and reads, his mother said.

While some parents were concerned when Green Acres School in Rockville gave each of its fifth- and sixth-grade students an iPad this year, most now say that it has excited their children’s interest in school and enhanced their learning.

Full Text: Gazette.Net: Rockville private school gives the iPad a classroom trial.

In Minnesota schools, teaching and tweeting

Mahtomedi High School language arts teacher Sarah Lorntson

Mahtomedi High School language arts teacher Sarah Lorntson reminds her students about assignment deadlines and shares writing advice even when they’re not in her classroom.

She takes to the social media sphere, using Twitter to capture students’ attention in 140 characters or less.

Lorntson said many of her students have smartphones and are constantly plugged into social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. So, it made sense for her to start tweeting, giving her another way to reach out to them.

“My students’ constant complaint is that I don’t tweet enough,” Lorntson said. “They want more communication from us. They want that engagement.”

Full Text: In Minnesota schools, teaching and tweeting –

Learning with ‘e’s: Bear pit pedagogy

Via Scoop.itThe eLearning Site

In our digital literacy teacher training programme at Plymouth University we create environments that encourage critical thinking. My colleague Peter Yeomans (AKA @ethinking on Twitter) says we create the ‘bear pits’ for our students. In other words, we enable digital and physical learning spaces in which they can freely explore ideas, argue with each other (and us) over concepts and theories and in so doing, develop their reasoning and thinking skills. In order to develop key critical thinking skills, learners need to be able to argue effectively. They need to be aware that there are alternative perspectives and they need to be able to defend a position from attack. They must also investigate theories critically, because if they simply accept a theory as ‘truth’, they may be leading their entire classroom down a blind alley. Too much bad theory has crept into the classroom in recent years, as I have previously commented, and we want to ensure that our trainee teachers are aware of flaws, counter-arguments and alternatives to all theories. That’s why we encourage our students to critically engage with course material, and then to extend their knowledge by creating their own additional content around it.

Google’s Apps for Education and the New Privacy Policy — THE Journal

Via Scoop.itThe eLearning Site
In late January when Google announced that it was replacing 60 different privacy policies across its multiple sites and services with a single one, you might have thought Congress had taken up SOPA and PIPA again. That’s how loud the outrage was from much of the social galaxy, as reflected in this Gizmodo headline: “Google’s Broken Promise: The End of ‘Don’t Be Evil.'” Other observers, such as Forbes “privacy pragmatist” Kashmir Hill, questioned what the big deal was; after all, she wrote, Google wasn’t changing much other than how it targets ads to users and creates new innovative services: “Using information from Gmail to suggest more appropriate YouTube videos or reminding an Android smartphone user that they have a Google calendar appointment in a half hour on the other side of town doesn’t strike me as the work of Lucifer.” But what has been ignored in these discussions is the impact that could be felt by schools that have signed up for Google Apps for Education. Will the new privacy policy affect the agreements Google has with K-12 schools? According to Google, the short answer is no, but with a nuance.