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The Journey Concludes

Last week I submitted my final assessments for my Master eLearning course through B Online Learning. It was somewhat bittersweet in that it meant that the course was coming to an end but at the same time I felt a sense of accomplishment now that I was finished.

The third and final part of the course focused on facilitating in an online environment which is something that I haven’t done before. Part of what we did was to put together a 15 minute webinar and facilitate it with other students. I found this wasn’t as easy as it looks but a good learning experience nonetheless.

I don’t have much online facilitation experience, I have however, been a student in a few online courses in the past and in my experience this is where they tend to fall down. There’s usually a lot of good resources to be found but not much in the way of involvement from the facilitator. This wasn’t the case in the MEC. In fact, one of the strengths of the course was our Learning Coach Ruth and it wasn’t so much what she taught in terms of content (which was good) but how she facilitated throughout the course. She set the example by being supportive, encouraging and providing regular updates and feedback. Even though there are quite a few people completing the course, there’s certainly a good level of personalisation and this is one of the things that sets the MEC apart from other online courses that I’ve completed.

I’ve written a couple of posts how if we can satisfy people’s needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness we can improve their motivation towards the course they are completing. The MEC is does this and is probably the reason the course didn’t feel like work as I was completing it. For me, some key takeaways include:

  • always keep the learner at the centre of eLearning design
  • the importance of supporting learners during their online course
  • the need to keep developing your skills, there’s always something new to learn.

I’d definitely recommend the MEC to anyone starting out in eLearning as it provides a solid foundation as to how much goes into creating an eLearning module or course. It would also be beneficial to anyone wanting to brush up on their skills. You do need to put in a fair bit of work into the course and manage your time but it’s definitely achievable even if you are working as well, you just need to pace yourself. My advice to anyone thinking of doing the MEC would be to commit some time each week to complete the work rather than leaving it until the end. You should also check out ‘Connect’ which is where you can share resources and make contact with other students.

So while the journey of the MEC has come to an end, my own journey in the world of eLearning has a long way to go…. Oh, and by the way, I passed the course! Yay!

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

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in eLearning

 

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The Journey Begins

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.

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