March 8, 2006

Reflections from 3/2-3/8

This was my second time around reading the Reiser articles having read them in my very first class in the program (Intro to IST). It was beneficial to read them again, however, because I have learned much about learning theory, instructional design, and the history of learning in the last few years. I am still struck by how Skinner's behaviorist theories and the military mindset molded the early field and still permeate some of the thought, designs,and models today. Although Bloom's and Gagne's work are useful, I think some people still try to cling to them rigidly without acknowledging that information processing theory, cognitive theory, and constructivist ideas have advanced some of the ideas in design.

People still confuse instructional media with educational technology, instructional design, instructional technology, or even learning technologies. I constantly have to define and explain the concepts to people when I tell them what I am studying and what I plan to research. The tools, of course, are important (and fun!), but they are just tools. It is what we do with the tools that is interesting.

In choosing the Rovai article for Thursdays class, I attempted to find something that spoke broadly about evaluating distance learning. There was almost nothing written that provided a nice overview. The Rovai's article's framework was the closet that I found. In general, articles tended to be focused around student perceptions and satisfaction of the class, usability analysis of the course and its features and interactions, and outcomes assessments of learning occurring in the classes. Those three areas appear to the main foci, and the Rovai framework adds an upfront analysis piece, a process analysis, and transfer (long term retention) evaluation.

Kelly chose the Frizell and Hubscher article because we liked the way that design patterns can be thought of broadly as guidelines. We were trying to avoid the "20 best tips" approach and instead find a useful framework to think about designing distance courses.

Posted by danil003 at March 8, 2006 4:20 PM

Gene -
The RER piece I sent you today corroborates your review of the evaluation of online learning.


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