Blog 3: Managerial Issues

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I will attempt to succinctly summarize the process at my organization where I am eLearning Manager and how it compares to the Bates and Khan models. Upon joining this organization there was one temporary elearning specialist on staff and one eLearning program that had launched on the newly deployed LMS. There were no other projects in development for online delivery.  In my first months on staff I met with each department to understand their eLearning needs and developed a draft 12 month developmental plan. The initial programs developed were webinars, Camtasia on-demand elearning programs, and repurposed programs that were captured from live conferences. As we progressed in taking more programs online there was a need to hire an instructional designer and Articulate Storyline software to develop custom interactive eLearning programs.  The challenge was that we had several in house content developers that previously produced content in silo (lone ranger) as this all that they knew. It was my goal to develop an eLearning development and delivery strategy that worked for everyone. For each project we had weekly or bi-weekly team meetings that consisted of the content developers, instructional designer, eLearning manger (myself), a nurse planner (required as we are accredited and sometimes the same person who is the content developer) and our Director of Education as available. Our current “project management“ style and our people, process, project method as described by Khan is as follows:

  • All team members discuss project outline, develop timeline, and commit to assigned roles and responsibilities in project “kick off meeting”.
  • As content is completed for a section/chapter it is handed off to the instructional designer for storyboarding. Storyboard includes proposed eLearning interactions, images, and assessment/knowledge verification skills.
  • Storyboards go through several rounds of edits with content developer and instructional designer. Once a section/chapter is signed off on as approved the instructional designer begins the development process in Articulate Storyline.
  • Articulate Storyline module alpha version is review by me for user experience and interface testing (e.g. all interaction, functionality are working properly. Edits are made as needed.
  • Module is published in final format and integrated into the learning management system.
  • Upon completion of all sections/chapters in the above process the entire eLearning course is sent out for pilot testing. Feedback is taken into consideration and any clinical/glaring errors, if any, are corrected.
  • Evaluation process is put in place to ensure quality of programming for future program development.
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Blog 2: Planning Your Vision

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The readings and other assignments really resonated with me in this module as I have direct experience with challenges in the implementation of eLearning within an institution. In the Dr. Johnson interview he discusses the challenges of overcoming the negative perception of eLearning and also setting up the expectation that an online course will be the same as a face to face. In my experience at my nonprofit organization we first hand are looking to overcome push back from our nursing instructors in the testing procedure we took online in mid-2012.

Originally a face to face testing procedure for those that need recertification to teach an Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course we determined a need to take the live testing process and manual scoring to an online format. The challenge was that many of our seasoned instructors were reluctant to change and uncomfortable with the technology. I don’t necessarily agree with Bates that vision is more important than planning, but I think that one cannot exist without the other. Without a clear vision what are you planning for? In the case at my organization we could have done better with developing our vision with all leaders and stakeholders to ensure readiness for taking the process online. If we had better understood the importance in automation so as to prevent human errors and manual processes we could have then educated the instructors on why the change should be made and had them be an integral part of the planning process. Instead they felt uninformed and uncomfortable with the online testing and outcomes were less than stellar. Bates said, “…the decision about whether or not to use technology in the first place should be reached through a strategic planning exercise that takes into account the overall needs of learners and the teaching goals or mission for the institution or department.” (45). My organization made the decision to automate the testing process based on their need to reduce staff time and failed at strategically developing a solid vision and plan with those that it would directly impact.

Bates, A.W. (2000.) Chapter 2. Leadership, Vision, and Planning in a Post-Fordist Organization.

First Official Blog: What is eLearning?

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I define eLearning as learning that occurs through the leveraging of technology. The management of eLearning I define as the all-encompassing management of all aspects of the design, development, implementation, and continued maintenance of eLearning.  I suspect both of these personal definitions will change over the period of the semester. I also think that the management of eLearning has so many components that it is far too complex to try and sum it all up in a brief definition that I feel comfortable with.

As we are currently studying Tony Bates’s, “Managing Technological Change,” I was quite curious how he defines eLearning. I did a search of his website and shortly located his definition. He defines eLearning as, “all computer and Internet-based activities that support teaching and learning – both on-campus and at a distance,” (Bates 2008).  In some ways I question his definition because to me it seems inclusive of academia. I would argue that anytime learning is occurring regardless of the audience or content elearning is taking place. If my argument is valid, then would surfing the internet and learning something new from a webpage be eLearning?

References.

A.W. Bates (2005). Managing Technological Change

A.W. Bates (2008). What is eLearning?  Retrieved from: http://www.tonybates.ca/2008/07/07/what-is-e-learning/