1. Articles in category: Latest News

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    1. The Copernican Revolution in Learning -A New Order of Addictive, Adaptive, Experiential, Extreme Student-Centric Learning

      The Copernican Revolution in Learning -A New Order of Addictive, Adaptive, Experiential, Extreme Student-Centric Learning

      “Read, post, respond” was a perfectly reasonable format for online and blended education for a while. The novelty of around-the-clock access to discussions, the ability to easily print out and read articles or to click through PowerPoints was enough. Students who ventured into online were still beholden to ponderous technology. Dialling up, starting downloads, then going to get a coffee, all standard practice.

       

      In my youth and even in recent adulthood, authoritarian systems dictated to us. We read the newspaper in the morning and were beholden to TV schedules in the evenings. My TV had three channels until I was 14 when we got out fourth; called, with sparkling originality, Channel 4. When my kids want to watch seven episodes of 13 Reasons Why, they do. When they want to connect with people, pretty much anywhere in the world, they do. When they want to develop competencies they Google.

       

      Meanwhile at our institutions we persist with the same tools, technologies and forms of instruction antithetical to student interests and preferences. Blackboard was founded in 1997 and while the capabilities and features have certainly been augmented, the fundamental instructor strategies and training has, if anything, ossified. These ambiguities suggest that business as usual (traditional education) should be analysed against emerging technologies, developing innovations and disruptive means of delivery.

       

      Programs in 2015 would be easily recognized by online students from the year 2000; many continue to utilize the same learning management system they did over a decade ago and none have attempted to reinvent online learning based on what current technology is capable of, preferring to continue to deliver a faithful replication of on ground higher education: the weekly lecture, discussion and assignment. A failure of investment coupled with a failure of imagination says Ryan Craig, Forbes Magazine.”
                                                                                                  

      We have been lazy. It worked for a while but we must acknowledge the Copernican shift in our “consumer” demands. As privileged educators and ivory tower dwellers we have to get over the fact that we are no longer at the centre of the Universe. We have paid lip service to Student Centricity for so long we have not actually thought about what it means for a decade or more.


      The centrality is represented by the notion of “me being in control.” It accentuates the ability to meet core psychological needs of mastery, autonomy and relatedness. Mastery energizes and motivates, autonomy provides choice and freedom from control while relatedness ensures that we feel that we matter to ourselves and to others (Rigby, 2014). I think we can accept that education is suffering from a significant amount of deferred maintenance.

       

      While we should certainly be building on inherent strengths, we should also be exploring the Copernican revolution and what it means to our instruction. We should be really putting the student at the centre of their studies; encouraging their autonomy and choice and facilitating their engagement with publisher-quality materials, shaped by emergent principles of learning science, delivered with sides of responsiveness: narrative, competition, cooperation or challenge. As Neil Niman, Associate Dean of Academic Programs at the University of New Hampshire, reflects: “We have not engaged students in a way that has made their educational experience a personal one with demonstrable benefits and a clear rationale for how it is going to make them more successful.”

      The potential of interactive technologies to encourage students to engage with course materials and take an active role in learning is clear. We are seriously short-changing our students if we don’t look at what motivates them to engage with games, social media and gamefully-designed apps and on-demand, any time / anywhere, always on technologies.  To not even be in the conversations is inexcusable.

       About the Author

      Kevin Bell isPro Vice Chancellor of Digital Futures at Western Sydney University. He leads Western Sydney University’s efforts toward the goal of high-quality, digital initiatives and online programs based on industry and academic standards. Before coming to Australia in 2016, he had a career spanning the UK, Japan and U.S.A.

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    2. Must Read: How To Master Your Brain To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

      Must Read: How To Master Your Brain To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

      Wednesday, March 1, 2017

      Imagine if an inner voice was constantly telling you that you are a professional fraud. It's not as uncommon as you would think, and it robs even the highest-achieving individuals of their true potential.  In this Fast Company article, you'll see stories of some people who are plagued by this syndrome, and how it has impacted their careers - and health.  

      This is one of the hardest syndromes for a manager to spot, but if you can spot it, you can literally change a person's life.  Tara Swart is quoted throughout the article, as it's her research and practice that helps a lot of leaders overcome these problems.  She's also the co-author of an award-winning book called: Neuroscience for Leadership: Harnessing the Brain Gain Advantage.  

      This article is a "must read" from both a personal and professional level: https://www.fastcompany.com/3068415/hit-the-ground-running/how-to-master-your-brain-to-overcome-impostor-syndrome .  If you enjoy articles and content like this, please consider becoming a subscriber to Elearning! Magazine.  

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    3. Top 5 Learning Predictions for 2017

      Top 5 Learning Predictions for 2017

      Tuesday, January 30th, 2017

      Online learning continued to grow exponentially in 2016, partially fueled by companies like Udemy, Lynda.com and Coursera, all of whom offer extensive catalogs of courses. More and more students are finding that they can acquire the necessary job skills to land a new job by utilizing this form of online content.  And with employers more willing to accept that this type of courseware is necessary, we expect other related trends to emerge.

      So the first big trend you’re likely to see in 2017 is not what you might expect:

      1. Education Hacking

      The churn in technology advancement - both software and hardware - leaves a lot of traditional educational facilities in a tough spot.  Most times, universities and colleges find that their courseware is being rapidly obsolesced by new advancements that occur in 9-12 month increments. 

      An example of this rapid obsolescence can be seen with some of the new cloud computing companies.  Amazon Web Services boasted that they have over 700 significant changes to their cloud computing infrastructure each year. That means that if you’re going to participate in that arena, you can’t expect to find that content in traditional degree courses.  Those venues are necessarily slowed down by the entire credentialing process that most universities and colleges face.  In many cases the credentialing process for higher education takes longer than the next revision of technology to appear.

      So that leads to next big trend we’ll see in 2017:

      2.  Technology Boot Camps

      These are coding boot camps that compress the learning process into weeks instead of semesters.  Their popularity has spread quickly with venues like General Assembly who have opened up campuses throughout the country to meet demand. 

      But don’t count the universities out just yet.  Many entities are expected to announce their own versions of these technology boot camps, which offer professional courses versus credential courses to their students.  The University of Phoenix has launched one such venture called Red Flint, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  You can expect to see them increase that capability as they re-tool to be more responsive to current trends.

      3.  Micro-credentials

      With demand for traditional campus degrees waning - especially in the technology arena - attention is turning to non-traditional “micro credentials.” These are non-degree courses that offer expertise in niche areas like technology, but also other areas where there is a shortage of talent. These courses cost a fraction of typical education venues and can be stacked to create a customized educational experience, i.e., the “hacked” education venue. 

      With more employers warming to online certificates, and people changing jobs more often, expect this particular trend to grow exponentially. In an age where there is continuous change, the need for continuous learning is a foregone conclusion.

      4.  Apprenticeships

      This is expected to be another area where we’ll see greater growth, as evidenced by the agreement between Amazon and the U.S. Department of Labor announced on Thursday, January 19th.  This particular program announced an apprenticeship program to train veterans for tech jobs at Amazon.  One of the unique benefits of this type of program is that the veterans can earn a salary while learning the skills needed for the job.

      We expect other major software and technology companies to follow this trend, and see apprenticeships taking on a more important role as we move to other sectors of the population besides veterans.  These transitional programs should be welcomed by young families struggling to pay the bills while continuing to keep up with the changes in technology.

      5. Bricks and Clicks

      We see this as a more accepted venue as educators in the corporate space focus on the unique job roles that have to be brought up to speed across their enterprises and ecosystem.  While it was pretty easy to dump everything into the classroom venue in the past, the huge economies of blending online training with classroom venues will continue to push this trend further. 

      We expect that the ultimate solution in the next few years will be the enactment of the 20/80 model.  That model suggests that 20% of the training will occur in the classroom, while 80% of the training is being provided by a combination of online and embedded learning - the latter of which is training within an application, or like in the Amazon apprenticeship program, right on the warehouse floor where employees can access the training at the point of need.    

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    4. The Secret to Happiness

      The Secret to Happiness

      Thursday, December 8, 2016

      The British Journal of Psychology just released a study about what makes people happy.  Terrific news I said.  Let me look through it and I’ll share it with all of my readers.  So what’s the bad news?  You have to pay anywhere from $6 to rent the study for 48 hours to $38 to own it in PDF form.  Doesn’t that just make you angry?!?  These people can tell me what will make me happy, but I’ve got to pay for it!?!

      Well the heck with them.  Let’s come up with our own list.

      This is when it’s good to have strong family roots, because that’s where all of the really valuable knowledge comes from anyway.  To wit, my father once told me that the secret to true happiness is embodied in just 3 things.  Granted he wasn’t a learned scholar, but he was generally loved by everyone he ever came in contact with, including me.  Thus, I’m going with his answer.  He said, “Son, the secret to happiness is just 3 things: something to do; something to look forward to; and someone to love.”

      Doesn’t that just seem to make a lot of sense?  It doesn’t matter if you’re loaded with riches or working 100 hour weeks to pay the rent, take away any one of those 3 factors, and he’s right - you’re probably not going to be very happy. 

      So here’s the action list to getting this done:

      First, let’s tackle “something to do.”  Most of us feel that we have plenty to do in our jobs, but if your job isn’t providing you with stimulation, chances are you spend the time watching the clock and waiting for your work day to end.  The solution?  Figure out what you’d love to get up and do every day of the week, and then find a way to make that your career.  We’re all different, so there’s nothing to suggest there.  However, I love to write, so that’s a big part of my career choices.  Does writing pay big?  Not unless your James Patterson or Lee Child.  But who cares?  Give me a writing chore and I’ll get completely absorbed in it and the time just flies.

      Now for number two, “something to look forward to.”  That’s a lot easier for most people, but not everyone.  When I was going through some tough times, someone asked me to describe what would be a “perfect day” for me.  Without going into details, I couldn’t do it!  So a friend said to break it down into smaller chunks.  What things made me laugh?  Easy: funny movies.  What things would I do if money wasn’t an issue?  Easy: travel; start a business; and several more.  Before I was done, I had a list of 20 things that could make me happy.  So I planned to do them all.  Some were baby steps like going to a movie this coming Saturday, followed by dinner.  But you just have to take that first step.

      And lastly, we need to address “someone to love.”  Love comes in a wide variety of forms, from a spouse to children, to parents.  Sometimes those relationships have become strained by years of giving up happiness in exchange for happiness that would come sometime in the future.  Well, I’m not going to tell you to go onto Match.com - unless you’re single.  But the best advice is to do the things that you enjoy doing, but open up your sensors to the people who enjoy those same activities.  Maybe this most elusive piece will fall into place somehow.

      Regardless, I wanted to point out that I’ve saved you anywhere from $6 to $38 with this amateur advice.  Maybe you should just go take in a funny movie?

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    5. Top Five Expert Tips for PowerPoint Design

      Top Five Expert Tips for PowerPoint Design

      Tuesday, December 6, 2016

      PowerPoint is like the hammer of presentation tools. Experts and amateurs, teachers and students, businesses and volunteer organizations – everyone uses slides when they present.

      For a tool that’s used by virtually everyone, though, there’s an awful lot of ways we can go wrong. At least when we’re using a hammer, most of us know which end to hold onto.

      We should all know the cardinal rules of slide design by now: use large fonts, few words, high-contrast colors, and attention-getting, data-clarifying charts and graphs. The layout should be simple enough to facilitate easy reading, but also have visual appeal. Let’s get beyond the basics.

      Experts’ Top 5 Tips for PowerPoint

      In the interest of preventing yet another death-by-PowerPoint disaster, here are 10 experts weighing in on what to do (and what not to do) when creating and using slides.

      Limit the number of slides. Guy Kawasaki, Silicon Valley author, speaker, marketing executive, and venture capitalist, originated the 10/20/30 Rule for presentations, in which the “10” means 10 slides. According to Kawasaki, this is the optimal number of slides for a PowerPoint presentation. It makes sense; covering more than 10 concepts in one meeting actually constitutes information overload for most people. If we can’t get our ideas across in the course of ten slides, it’s probably time to take a step back, assess, and refocus on what the important stuff actually is.

      Use slide masters. Ellen Finkelstein of the PowerPoint Tips Blog says many presenters apparently aren’t aware of this feature or don’t know how to use it. Instead, “they create all sorts of workarounds like putting full-slide images on every slide,” she says, “which makes for a HUGE file.” Slideshows look best when they’re cohesive in style and consistent in format, so creating a “master” template that can be applied to multiple slides can not only be a time-saving and space-saving measure, but a great design strategy. The master slides can include branding, headers and footers, copyright notices, font sizes, spaces for charts or graphics, and even pictures. If we take the time to learn how slide masters work, we can save ourselves hours of future labor.

      Find or customize an attractive theme. Similar to slide masters, PowerPoint “themes” provide a template for the deck’s colors and backgrounds. The program comes with a number of built-in color themes, which Dummies.com calls “the best things to come along since Peanut M&Ms.” Applying a new theme will change your text colors, backgrounds, accents, and hyperlinks to a coordinated palette. It’s usually not hard to find one you like, but if you want to create a theme in your company’s colors or prefer a custom feel, it’s also simple to make and save changes. Voila – you’ve created your own theme that you can use again for other presentations.

      Don’t overuse animations. According to Geetesh Bajaj of Indezine.com, “there’s a thin dividing line between mere movement and utter confusion.” Any element in PowerPoint can be animated or have effects added to create interest or attract attention. Animation can also be a useful tool for building or layering content on a slide so everything doesn’t display at once, which can have a great impact. However, it’s very easy to overdo it, creating visual clutter that distracts or annoys the audience. Less is more in this case, and any animated element, says Baja, “needs to have focus and direction, and more importantly, a reason to move!”

      Don’t fear white space. Good slide design, as in any field of design, includes negative space as well as text, graphics, and other visual elements. Termed “white space” even if the background doesn’t happen to be white, these open spaces actually serve an important purpose and don’t necessarily need to be filled up. “Slides dense with text should be avoided,” says Dave Paradi, author of The Visual Slide Revolution. Balancing the slide’s elements with some white space is “more inviting to the eye” and actually helps the visual elements gain more focused attention.

      Whether we’re using PowerPoint, Google Presentations, Apple Keynote, or any other presentation tool, we would do well to keep the experts’ advice in mind. After all, there’s a wrong way to use everything – even a hammer.

      Reprinted with permission from Baker Communications

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