A Black Box Approach to eLearning Course Design and Review (Steve Lowe at Sharefest)

Steve Lowe started the sessionby explaining that he has been playin g with Moodle for about 10 years. His system (used in a loose sense…aka total chaos) is trying to get some sense into the chaos.

One of Steve’s points was around the fact that eLearning was seen as a money-making machine, and then told the horror story of a course where over 200 students enrolled and only one graduated. There was little feedback around why the course wasn’t working. There was QA but the process often becomes a bottle-neck (zombified) that stops change happening. ELearning cannot be managed as a machine because it is more organic, and has a lot of variables that have a lot of different purposes and create a wide range of outcomes.
You haven't lived until you've died in MUD. --...Image via Wikipedia

When they did MUD they had a million users. Richard Bartle “Designing Virtual Worlds” is a recommended book that looks into how Bartle and his crew increased their income substantially – their model was charging a small fee per month, collecting large amounts of data, and then acting on it. Russel and Norvig (2003) “The Intelligent Agent” (neuroscientist who says we are not quite as clever/complex as we might think we are).

Steve handed around some little gizmos to demonstrate a few key points around design, and some central questions that we need to ask about things such as common goals and outcomes. People are essentially flawed and will often be working toward a common goal, but may have private agendas and be doing other things as well. He suggested that many resource developers have a central script “read, paraphrase, write”.

The general message was to evaluate, pay attention to feedback, and question the systems that are established.

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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