Friday, April 27, 2012

Implementing and evaluating your course

IN ADDIE, we call the final stages of course development the Implementation and Evaluation stages. In my model of course development, in the final two stages, I first determine if my expectations have been met, and review all my goals, actions, activities, resources, and expectations.

So how do I do that? First I have to ask myself: what are my expectations for this course? Way back in the beginning, I set the goals of this learning experience. A typical goal in corporate training is to improve performance, so my goal may be to "Increase sales by X% by the second quarter". In academia, the goal may be to "Apply instructional design principles to create pedagogically sound learning materials" (by the end of this course). The elements that each goal have in common? There is an action that must be completed to a specific standard within a specified time frame. 

To determine if my expectations have been met, I review the rubrics I made for each activity. If I find that most of my learners performed poorly, I'll have to determine what went wrong.Were my goals too vague? Too stringent? Did I provide relevant job aids, practice exercises, and other resources? If not, why not?

I can't rely on just my opinion! At the conclusion of every period of instruction, we have to see what the learners thought of the instruction - and the instructors! (Remember, we also solicit this information throughout the course of study) The best way to survey learners and faculty is probably via an anonymous questionnaire. (hint: survey monkey is a great place to host an online survey). When we get the survey results we'll know which elements of the course worked and which didn't...and then we make the modifications and run through the cycle again. Remember, all developments are ongoing. Every time we run a course, we should always be looking at the experiences of our learners and instructors and make changes as required.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Creating learning activities

Last month I wrote about the first 2 elements of my learning model. Today I'm going to revisit the third element: Create, which focuses on creating activities that help learners practice their actions, and Provide, which focuses on providing resources to help learners complete the activity.

Envision the following scenario: the objective is to help the learners develop good presentation skills. It's an online class, so they will use your web conferencing platform to deliver a short presentation on a topic of their choice. They can use the the whiteboard app, application sharing or web tour, whichever they like. They have 5 minutes to present.

My preparation: I've shown the learners a number of online presentations, both good and not so good. We've discussed what makes a good presentation and pitfalls to avoid. I've also begun to prepare a rubric that they can use to help them prepare their presentation -  reproduced below. As part of their preparation, each group will add the remaining criteria to this rubric. When all groups have finished this task, we'll get together for a discussion.

When the rubric is finished the learners will use it as an aid to help them polish their presentations. When the presentations are finished, the students and the instructor will use the rubric to score and comment upon the presentations. We'll have a number of sessions like this one, finally reaching the point where each learner creates and delivers a 20 minute presentation online.

Next time, we'll talk about the last 2 elements of my model: