Thursday, July 28, 2011

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Please link to my Module 4 Graphic Organizer at the above address.
You will be directed to the home page, then to the desgnated
page for the graphic organizer strategies/tools display.

As you will see from my colorful Inspiration graphic organizer, the online and distance education environment is rapidly becoming limitless in its functionality. I see multiple gains for both instructor and student, thanks to a welcomed and embraced non-linear approach. But the aspect that innervates me the most, particularly when I wear the educator's hat, is the pedagogical road map given to students with clear expectations (Durrington, Berryhille, & Swafford, 2006) and learning outcomes. Accordingly, everybody is on the same page literally, and that, I suppose, is the way it ought to be in any learning environment -- online or not.

Given the time I've spent in education over the years, I'm frankly not surprised by the gains that continue to be made in distance education. Durrington et al. (2006), in their work on malleable strategies to bring about more effective collaboration online among students, pointed to a detailed syllabus and a designated area to  answer student questions, all under the aegis of participation and engagement. It's hard to argue with that kind of useful expertise, and I believe as more neophyte online learners become increasingly comfortable with the distance education environment, student participation and engagement will begin taking on a whole new -- and even more increased -- positive personna.

So, from my vantage point, which involes roles as both a student and an educator, things are looking up even more these days for online and distance education. It's the kind of paradygm shift Siemens (Laureate, 2008) referred to that began in the 1950s, and one which seems to be reaching a sort of crescendo at this point in the 21st century. For educational technologists and aficionados, it doesn't get better than this.


Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in
an online environment. Heldref Publications.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008) (Executive Producer). Learning communities (Program Video). Available from

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