The Journey Begins

20 May

A couple of weeks ago, I began the Master eLearning Course (MEC) that is run by B Online Learning and over the next three months along with the rest of my cohort we will design, deliver and facilitate an eLearning course.

I find that eLearning courses fall into one of two categories, either stand-alone modules developed in an authoring tool (which is usually what I create and develop) or ones like the MEC that are facilitated by a person, a Learning Coach in this case, over a period of weeks or months. I’ve had some experience of this type of facilitated online delivery as a participant and it has generally consisted of a list of resources to be read, activities to maybe complete and very little contact from the facilitator. However, this not how the MEC operates, the structure is clear and defined and the support has been terrific.

Our group is also fortunate that our Learning Coach is Ruth McElhone who is very experienced in this form of design and delivery. She’s like the Obi-wan Kenobi of online facilitators (with Princess Leia looks) and by the end of the course I’m sure our group will become eLearning Jedi.

Luke Skywalker

MEC combines the use of Articulate Storyline modules within the LearnFlex LMS that also has discussion forums and other places to interact and share with students via Connect. So far, there’s been a good amount of information delivered in a variety of ways. Interaction is encouraged and rewarded by using gamification to motivate us to reach ‘Contributor’ status. There are also plenty of resources to download and refer to later depending on what you want to learn more about.

One of the strengths of MEC is that even though it’s mapped to two Units of Competence from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, it doesn’t have the feeling that we are just working through the elements and performance criteria of each unit that you get from other VET courses.

My initial thoughts are that it’s a great course for those who are new to the world of eLearning design and development. MEC lays a good foundation in these areas and while I do have some eLearning instructional design experience, I haven’t been bored and if anything it’s been a good refresher. I wish I had done this or something similar earlier in my eLearning career.

Already in the first module of the course we’ve looked at rapid eLearning, scoping a project, stakeholders involved, copyright, health and safety, learner characteristics, accessibility, authoring tools, Learning Management Systems, SCORM and eLearning development teams.

There’s a lot to take in but like any form of study you need to dedicate time and effort into learning and developing your knowledge and skills. It’s self-paced so you can complete the topics in your own time and as much or as little as you like. I believe that it’s also beneficial to get involved in the discussions and sharing with others in the group. Not because you have to as part of the course but because that’s what helps to build and sustain a community of professionals long after the course is finished.

I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks have in store and as well as sharing the development of my own eLearning course.

This is the first of a series of posts describing and reflecting on my experiences of the Master eLearning Course by B Online Learning.

B Online logo_


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15 responses to “The Journey Begins

  1. tanyalau

    May 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Sounds like it’s structured well to develop practical and immediately applicable skills. I reckon this would be the only one of its kind in Australia – there’s not much in the way of formal courses or qualifications for (self paced) elearning design and development….people tend to fall into it and learn on the job. Having met Ruth at the third place meetup following idesignx, I have no doubt that she would be an amazing facilitator.
    3 months is a long stretch…how often do you have ‘classes’? is it once a week?

    • learningsnippets

      May 21, 2014 at 6:48 am

      Yeah, I don’t know of any other courses like this in Australia (I heard about this one via my PLN) and I was one of those people who learnt about eLearning design and development as I was doing it. What I like about it is that we are going to design and build a short module in a supported environment, which I think will be good especially for those people new to this kind of work.

      iDesignX was the first time I met Ruth too and she’s been terrific – providing weekly updates and she’s supportive and encouraging the Connect area.

      While three months does sound a long time, it does make it manageable when working full-time. The course is divided into three modules (1 per month) and we have the self-paced material, some assessments and some webinars along the way. Plus there is the discussion/sharing space as well.

  2. Zifang

    May 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Sounds like a great course! Looking forward to hearing more about your experience! I’m currently doing an online Master in OPWL from Boise State University and similar to what you have been doing, it’s very well structured, great instructors and the aims are for students to develop skills that can be applied in the workplace.

    • learningsnippets

      May 21, 2014 at 6:48 am

      Thanks for your comments. I’d be interested to hear more about your course but it sounds like there are similarities between the two of them.

  3. Activate Learning Solutions

    May 21, 2014 at 5:03 am

    I did the same course some years ago and loved it. Ruth was a great facilitator but I did give her grief with my questions. I liked how it made you think to cover off on all aspects when designing a blended learning course.

    • learningsnippets

      May 21, 2014 at 6:49 am

      Good to hear that you’ve done the course too and loved it! You’re right it does make you think about design and development in a holistic way. As for the questioning, there’s always one 😛

  4. Dianne Hope

    May 23, 2014 at 3:18 am

    I’ve also done this course Matt – which you probably know from my blog. I procrastinated for quite a while before finally signing up for it. Looking back, I don’t know why, except that I have done some very poorly structured courses before and am now a little cautious – so I guess I was looking for evidence that the course was worthwhile. I can totally provide that evidence first hand!

    Ruth was an awesome facilitator and so supportive during the time I was completing the MEC. I think your blog posts will be a great way to continue helping to promote B Online Learning and the MEC.

    I had never used rapid authoring tools or developed an eLearning course before, which is what you are challenged to do in this course, so I found I needed all the time Ruth gave me to do this and the three months goes very quickly.

    The community that’s set up for learners is fantastic and I had many purposeful conversations with Ruth on how to encourage collaboration amongst learners. You will see some of my contributions when you get into the collaborative environment.

    Good luck and I’m looking forward to reading your posts as you work through the course.

    • learningsnippets

      May 23, 2014 at 6:23 am

      Thanks for your comments Dianne. I thought you had completed the course and I found out via this post that Helen Blunden has also done it before. It’s been good to hear that you both enjoyed it and word of mouth is always the best recommendation! I’m more than happy to promote the course especially for those new to eLearning and for me, new to the online facilitated side.

      It’s no wonder that Ruth has won the best facilitator award and she is very supportive in the Connect forums or if your e-mail her. In my experience the low level of facilitator interaction has been where a lot of these types of courses fall down.

      I’m looking forward to what’s ahead and sharing the development of my course. While you can create a course for your workplace, I’m going to create one that I can use as part of my portfolio. I might get in touch with you along the way for some feedback if that’s ok?

      You’ve come a long way since your MEC days as evidenced by the work on your blog and in the weekly challenges so well done Dianne 🙂

      • Dianne Hope

        May 27, 2014 at 2:48 am

        More than happy to provide feedback on the course you develop for the MEC Matt – and what a great idea to create something for your portfolio.

        The MEC was totally the springboard I needed to start me off – and yes, when I look back at what I created then I have come a long way! I really appreciate your kind words – give my regards to Ruth when you next speak with her – and remind her that when she’s looking for someone to do some freelance work, I’m available!!

      • learningsnippets

        May 28, 2014 at 1:04 am

        Thanks Dianne, I’d appreciate your feedback. It funny when you look back at earlier work (no matter what field) and see how much its improved. I’ll let Ruth know too 🙂

  5. DaveHallmon

    May 23, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I look forward to hearing more about this.

  6. Virginia McMurray

    May 29, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Hi Matt, this sounds fantastic. As a trainer and assessor in a business college, most of our courses are delivered in a F2F environment. It’s become very evident to me that this approach has its limitations and I’m very keen to learn news ways of facilitating learning for my students. I’d would really love to develop some eLearning skills to enhance what we do, so I’m keen to hear how this program works out for you. Do you mind me asking what UoC’s you’re completing as part of this course – TAEDES503A from the Dip VET?

    • learningsnippets

      May 29, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hi Virginia,
      Thanks for your comments, So far we are looking at eLearning design but I’m really looking forward to the online facilitation part as I’d like to develop my skills in this area. I’m happy to share my experiences with you.
      You are right with the unit that you mentioned and we are also covering TAEDEL501A – Facilitate eLearning.

      • ginnmac

        May 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

        Fantastic. Thanks Matt


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