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Category Archives: MOOC

2013: My Blog Writing Rookie Year

I’ve never kept a diary or journal before and I’ve never been one to write on a regular basis, let alone make it publicly available on the internet. If you had told me in April (when I posted for the first time) that I would have written 26 posts by the end of the year I probably would have laughed and said “I don’t think I’ve got that much to say”. But, by taking the time to reflect on my experiences and document what I’ve learned along the way, it turned out that I had a bit to say after all.

I’ve found that writing this blog has helped me organise my thinking on a number of different topic areas (motivation, gamification, instructional design, cognitive architecture and PLNs) and the feedback and comments I’ve received have both challenged and consolidated my ideas, so I’m all the better for both. Its also helped me to become a better writer – although I’ve still much to learn.

My top posts for the year based on views are:

  1. Letting go of Learning Styles
  2. Integrating Motivation with Instructional Design
  3. Working with Cognitive Load
  4. Video Games and Motivation
  5. 25 Tips for Successful Online Facilitation

2013

I’d like to thank everyone who has read, commented on or shared any of my posts throughout the year. It means a lot that people have found a post personally useful or thought it was worth sharing with others who may find some value in it.

In trying to improve my writing and also to learn from others in the field, I started reading and subscribing to other blogs – another first for me. There’s a lot going on in the learning field and there are plenty of different perspectives that shine through from the blogs I read. While I don’t believe that there are necessarily good blogs and bad blogs as every writer has their own unique style and point of view, the following posts (in no particular order) were memorable to me as I think back over the year:

Finally, I’ve been fortunate enough to interact, connect with and learn from many amazing learning and development people over the course of the year. Thank-you all for inspiring, challenging and supporting me during 2013.

Merry Christmas and cheers to a happy, healthy and educational 2014!

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Exploring Personal Learning Networks: O Week

Earlier this week, the Exploring Personal Learning Networks open online seminar that I’ve enrolled in began. This will be my second MOOC experience and I’m looking forward to growing my PLN and strengthening relationships with other members of my network who are also participating. I wrote a post a few weeks ago where I started to think generally about PLN’s. I’m sure this seminar will provide an opportunity for me to connect, explore, think, reflect, and engage with others about this interesting and emerging area.

One of the things to do this week was to try something new. For me it was using Google+ which something quite new to me – hangouts, circles, posting to different sections. While a little frustrating at times, I’m finding that Google+ is pretty cool and I’m getting used to it with a little help from my friends.

It’s been terrific to start making connections with other participants by reading their backgrounds and getting to know them a little bit. In some posts that I’ve read, people have created a visual for their PLN. My version looks like this:

My PLN

There’s me at the centre of the network. I’ve put the Twitter and WordPress logos next as they have been the main two tools that have connected me to others in what I now know is my PLN. The surrounding circles represent different levels of contact and interaction between me and other people. The closer they are to the centre, the stronger the connection. The network itself isn’t fixed, people move in and out, some stay close for a long time and others for a shorter period. In a way it reflects relationships we have in our everyday lives. Each person within my PLN would probably have their own diagram similar to above which increases the interconnectedness between everyone. The thing about PLN’s is that some people might be aware they are part of your network and other my not even know. After all, you don’t send out a welcome pack and issue membership cards!

The rapid expansion of my PLN has come via the use of twitter. About a year ago, I started using twitter as an experiment to see how it works. At the time, I followed Cathy Moore and Ryan Tracey as I knew they were in the learning field and I was a reader of their blogs (I also followed friends and a few celebrity types). Back then I was an infrequent user. It pretty much stayed that way for a long time and then I found a few more learning practitioners and I started looking at articles and retweets they posted which led to discovering more people. I noticed some people were quite active and others not so much. It was the links from one to another that have led to the growth of my PLN. I’ve since ditched the celebrities and I’d say that about 95% of the people I follow on twitter working in the learning and related fields. I’m learning much more via informal channels now. On the downside, the larger your PLN the more information is coming through and as a result, I’m sure I miss stuff coming through but that’s ok because chances someone else may pick up on it and share again.

One of the themes that we’ll be working towards during the next few weeks is the use of PLN’s in an organisational context. At this early stage, I’m a little uncomfortable with this. I think this is because for me, my PLN is separate from my organisation and I’m in control of it. My organisation, still benefits from what I’m learning but its informal and I engage with my network in my own time. My concern is that if organisations become involved things could change and I’ll lose that level of control and it won’t be the same – my world’s could collide! (maybe watch the clip if you don’t know what happens when world’s collide).

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this learning experience and where it takes us.

learn-network-op1-crop

 
 

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Game Elements for Learning: Week 3

ge4l

Well, all good things must come to an end and the same can be said of my micro-MOOC #GE4L. Although, while it might be the end of the MOOC, my journey into the world of Gamification has only just begun. As I said in my last post, I’m keen to start applying what I’ve been reading and learning about in this course and I intend to do this in the near future.

Some reflections about this course:

  • I’ve been exposed to a rich array of resources and examples which has both consolidated what I already know about Gamification and expanded my thinking on the subject
  • I need to play more games!
  • Gamification (if done well) should make learning more interesting, enjoyable and fun for the learners
  • Creating a gamified learning experience will take some time in the planning, design and creation but we need to start (as always) with our learners and what they need to be able to do ( I also believe this extra effort is worth it)
  • Some people I would recommend to learn more about Gamification are – Karl Kapp, Jane McGonigal, and Amy Jo Kim. If you know of others, let me know!
  • I’ve made some great connections because of this course and hopefully we’ll stay in contact in the future.

From an overall MOOC experience, I’ve learned that:

  • Ryan Tracey’s 10 Hot Tips for MOOCers was very useful and worked well for me
  • It’s best to not be overwhelmed by the amount of resources and discussion threads, look for things that interest you or might be useful to you and focus on them
  • You only get out what you put in (a cliché but its true)
  • Participate as much as you can and get involved somehow (and do this regularly)
  • MOOCs seem suit people who are self-directed learners so they might not be for everyone.

Last but not least, a huge thank-you to our Game Masters: Robin Bartoletti, Whitney Kilgore, Heather Farmakis and Michelle Pacansky-Brock. You are great facilitators and provided a lot of support to participants, clear instructions, a large variety of resources that covered a number of different fields and you encouraged all of us to contribute and share with others in some way. The time and effort that you put into creating and running this course was terrific and greatly appreciated by me and I’m sure all of the other participants. I would definitely participate in another MOOC.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Gamification, MOOC

 

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Game Elements for Learning: Week 2

ge4l

To be honest, I didn’t participate too much in the course this week. I did look through the readings though, and again there is a great variety of links and sources of information for participants, that cater for different areas of education.

There comes a point when you can only read so much information on a topic, then you need to start applying what you’ve learned about and give it a go on a real project. Obviously, I still don’t know everything there is to know about gamification but I reckon I know enough to start creating a module and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more along the way. I’m keen to see examples of gamification being used in online learning, specifically workplace e-learning. I read a great post from Karl Kapp on The Gamification of Retail Safety and Loss Prevention Training in Learning Solutions magazine. I’d love to see more, so if you have any examples or know of any, please let me know.

I have a new module that I need to start working on for my organisation (I work in local government). The topic is our Code of Conduct – exciting stuff! It’s a compliance course and traditionally they are quite boring given the content. We don’t have an online course for this topic at the moment so while I’ve got a blank canvas to work with, I want this one to be different. We’ve also just purchased an Articulate Storyline licence (which I’m excited about) in which the module will be created.

What I intend to do is blog about the development of the course as it progresses and throw around some ideas in the process. I’m more than happy to take suggestions – I’m actually hoping to get them. It will be an example of showing my work, which is something else I want to do more of. I’ll be keen to receive feedback or ideas from you, in a collaborative kind of way as it goes along.

I’ll post more about this in the coming weeks!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Gamification, MOOC

 

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Game Elements for Learning: Week 1

ge4l

Another week down in GE4L and its been a good, solid week. I’m finding that there is a LOT of info/resources provided by our Game Masters and other participants, which is great but it does mean that I’m probably a bit selective in what I read. I really like how you can read as much as you want to or need to. However, a couple of key things that I took away from this week (both are quoted from the MOOC) which will be helpful in gamification design were:

The “Seven Core Concepts for Smart Gamification” which were outlined by Amy Jo Kim in a video clip:

  1. Know who’s playing – design for their social style
  2. Build Positive Emotions (PERMA) into your core activity loop
  3. Build a system that’s easy to learn and hard to master
  4. Design for Onboarding (Tutorial), Habit-Building (Grind), and Mastery (Elder Game)
  5. Use Progress Mechanics to “light the way” towards learning and mastery
  6. As players progress, unlock greater challenges and complexity
  7. Deliver intrinsic motivations like Power, Autonomy and Belonging

There was also The PERMA model, which are five essential elements that should be in place for us to experience lasting well-being. These are:

Positive Emotion (P)

For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion like peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.

Engagement (E)

When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present. This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.

Positive Relationships (R)

As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time-and-again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter!

Meaning (M)

Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.

Accomplishment/Achievement (A)

Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.

For me, both of these provide some good considerations when designing a gamified learning experience. They also highlight the complex and multifaceted nature applying gamification in a meaningful way.

Image from GE4L MOOC site

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Gamification, MOOC

 

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Game Elements for Learning: O-week

ge4l

A couple of weeks ago I enrolled in my first MOOC: ‘Game Elements for Learning’ through the Canvas Network and Academic Partnerships. This one is a micro-MOOC and it lasts for 4 weeks. I’ve read a little bit about Massive Open Online Courses via blog posts and Twitter and I wanted to experience one for myself. I’ve studied online before with a cohort of about 60 people who were located in various parts of the world but I wanted to experience what its like with hundreds, maybe even thousands of participants! This particular one caught my eye because it’s about gamification, which is something else I want to learn more about.

One of the first things I did this week was to re-read Ryan Tracey’s ’10 Hot Tips for MOOCers’ blog post as there’s some good advice for first time MOOCers like me. I’ll probably read it again as I progress through the course.

This MOOC is a cMOOC (with the ‘c’ standing for connectivist) which is different from an xMOOC (which is a more instructor-led, traditional higher education approach). As such, there is a lot of encouragement for us to contribute to forums and connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc. and to share our resources, knowledge and experiences. I’ve started to do this although I need to jump into the discussions forums a bit more.

By the end of the course we, should be able to:

  • Define game thinking and design
  • Locate game elements for use in learning
  • Apply or create a game element to a learning activity.

I’ve worked my way through the first topic and it was a good introduction to the course and the area of gamification itself. There were a few different activities – I created an avatar, posted to a forum, watch some video clips, read some introductory info and completed a gamification quiz where I earnt a badge!

Some initial thoughts:

  • Really good communication from the Game Masters (facilitators) leading up to the start of the course, providing plenty of instructions and support
  • Plenty of opportunities to collaborate and link to personal blogs and social media
  • The response time to other participants questions and posts seems quite quick given the numbers
  • The site itself is easy to navigate and there’s plenty to explore
  • You really need to be a self-directed learner so this type of may not  be for everyone.

While I am keen to learn more about gamification, I’m also looking at the course from a design and facilitation perspective. The reason games are motivating is because they satisfy our basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness (as per Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory). I’m interested to see if the course does this (so far so good) and how I can incorporate these techniques into my courses. Also, as someone who wants to continue to develop my skills as an online facilitator, I’m hoping to pick up some ideas from our Game Masters as we go along.

Overall, a great start to the MOOC. I’m looking forward to working through the next topic as well as meeting and learning from other MOOCers.

GE4L MOOCers, how was your first week?

Image from GE4L MOOC site

 

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