Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taseday2010 - key message: Design for the Learner

Julian Ridden's key message that I connected with was "design for the learners".  Learners want engaging material.  E-learning needs to be more than a series of PDFs and a quiz.  Use videos, images and interaction to liven elearning up - not as bell and whistles but purposefully.  For example instead of converting an existing classroom quiz into a multichoice online version use some of the Moodle plugins and learning objects that are out there (on LORN or made yourself using ARED) to enrich the quiz experience.

As a trainer I like Moodle because its a great container to put all your learning material into at the same time as tracking a student's progress through it.  But as a learner I hate it because its a closed space that is separated/disconnected from the rest of my personal learning environment.  But apparently it doesn't have to be that way.  Using plugins like BIM you can allow students to link to their own blogs and there are ways to give the student some control over the look and feel - changing themes and colours.  Its a step in the right direction at least.

Other Moodle plugins that Julian mentioned were:

  • Sloodle - Secondlife integration (not a fan of Second Life myself but I can see that it would have its applications)
  • Lightbox - a way to provide a gallery of photos
  • Certificate - which allows you to produce a unique certificate when requirements have been met
  • Book - which is looking quite sophisticated in its latest form
  • Mahara Assignment - which gives Mahara some capacity to be used with assignments
  • as well as a number of quiz plugins and others that allow iPhone and Android integration.

A must have Moodle "block" for teachers in larger institutions is "ungraded assignments" which takes you directly to all the unmarked assignments that you are responsible for grading.

I would have liked to have heard a longer presentation from Stephen Downes as the time given only allowed a  quick skim look at the all the roles an "educator" can play these days. I hope if there is a fuller version of the presentation available in the future that it gets posted to

Always good to hear Leigh Blackall present.  The concept of Networked Learning (as distinct from Networked Teaching) needs more time spent on it a future workshop, maybe with a forum of actual learners talking about how it has worked for them. Someone in the Networked Learning session made the good point that learners need to know how best to learn this way and the assertiveness to demand it as a delivery method .