A Microlearning Framework — from jvsp.io and Pablo Navarro
This infographic is based on the experience of different clients from different industries in different training programs.


From DSC:
I thought this was a solid infographic and should prove to be useful for Instructional Designers, Faculty Members, and/or for Corporate Trainers as well. 

I might also consider adding a “Gotcha!” piece first — even before the welcome piece — in order to get the learner’s attention and to immediately answer the WHY question. WHY is this topic important and relevant to me? When topics are relevant to people, they care and engage a whole lot more with the content that’s about to be presented to them. Ideally, such a piece would stir some curiosity as well.





Why Professors Doubt Education Research — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young


You found that professors really care about their teaching, and yet they are skeptical of education research. It sounds like a lot of people ended up teaching the way that they had been taught, or the way that they felt good as a student in classes they had had.

That’s right. People sometimes ignore the research precisely because they care about teaching. Different faculty arrive at the point where they’re teaching college students from wildly different experiences of their own. Some have wanted since they were small children to be professors at a university, and some fell into it later in a career.

For faculty who think that research is a good way to learn how to teach, they will devour the literature on learning sciences. They’ll reach out to experts across a number of disciplines and within their own discipline to try and learn what the best way to teach is

For faculty who believe that teaching is an art, that it is just something that you develop with experience and time, that you can’t learn from a book, you need to learn by doing more or learn from your students, no amount of exposure to learning science research is going to disrupt their sense that this is something they learn by doing, or that they need to follow their gut on.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to change someone’s mind to either adopt or consider more of this evidence-based research?

People can always change their perspective. If you’re trying to communicate the value of a technology or an approach, or even of learning science or education research as a field, you have to start with the person you’re speaking to. They may come to that conversation with a sense of, “I know that people get PhDs in education. People get PhDs in curriculum design, and I’ve never even taken a class where we’ve talked about curriculum design. I would like to know what they know.”

Then there are people who will say, “I’ve been teaching since I was a graduate student. My students are very happy with the teaching. I feel pretty good about my teaching. I understand that you have a PhD in curriculum design, but I don’t really need that.”

You need to approach those two different faculty members differently, understanding that there are some people who are interested in hearing about evidence-based practices, and just pointing them towards the resources is great.

Excerpt from the question:
What about your own teaching? I’m curious. Are you someone that tries different techniques that are based on research?

There is so much literature, and there are so many right ways, and there are so many recommendations that incorporating all of them into your practice at the same time is literally impossible. Many of them are contradictory. You have to choose a suite that you’re adhering to, because you can’t do the others if you’re doing these. Trying to embody best practices while teaching is really complex. It’s a skillset that you develop. You develop with time, and instruction, and you can master, but you’re always going to have to continue to perfect it.



Also see:

Personalized Faculty Development: Engaging Networks, Empowering Individuals — from er.educause.edu by Jill Leafstedt


During the meeting, I chose to spend my time focused solely on sessions in the Faculty Development and Engagement track. My goal: return to my home campus energized and ready to tackle the age-old problem of how to move faculty from being content experts into dynamic educators.

Luckily for me, I was not the only one looking for this inspiration. The faculty development sessions were packed with people trying to answer questions such as, “Why don’t faculty want help?” or “Why don’t faculty attend my workshops?” On the whole, the sessions reaffirmed my belief that faculty development does not happen in a workshop, nor does it happen through training. Improving teaching is a long, messy, reflective process that must be approached from multiple angles with many entry points.

Sound challenging? It is, but there is reason to be hopeful; our colleagues are working hard to find and share answers. Two themes came through loud and clear from the sessions I attended. First, meet faculty where they are. Don’t expect them to come to you ready to learn; go to them and start where they are. Second, build networks for ongoing learning.


From DSC:
Both of the above articles present a HUGE issue in terms of improving the level of teaching and learning. Both articles seem to be saying that anyone interested in really improving the teaching and learning that’s going on needs to meet with each individual faculty member in order to meet them where they are at. When you have hundreds of faculty members plus an over-flowing job plate that’s asking you to wear numerous hats, that’s a very tall order indeed.





Who’s Teaching the Teachers? — from chronicle.com by Elizabeth Alsop

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Last fall, the academic career coach Jennifer Polk conducted an informal Twitter poll: How many of you, she asked her followers, received any meaningful pedagogical training during graduate school?

Replies ranged from the encouraging to the mostly dispiriting, with one doctoral candidate noting that the only training the program had offered took the form of “trial by fire.” Just 19 percent of the 2,248 respondents said they had received at least “decent” training — a number that, however unscientific, is also symptomatic.

This statistic reflects something that many of us could confirm firsthand: Teaching remains undervalued in the context of doctoral training and the profession at large. The result, by this anecdotal reckoning, is that less than one-fifth of aspiring college teachers are effectively taught how to teach.

The American Association of University Professors estimates that over 70 percent of all faculty positions are non-tenure-track, so these are teaching, not research, appointments.

Ennobling as such rhetorical constructs may be, they obscure not only the very real labor of teaching, but the fact that teaching is teachable: something that results not from divine, Dead Poets Society-like bursts of inspiration, but, as in other career fields, from study, apprenticeship, and practice. There are any number of books — including Ken Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do, John Bean’s Engaging Ideas, and Cathy Davidson’s The New Education — that offer excellent advice for college instructors.

It’s also worth noting that the resistance to addressing pedagogy in graduate education may be practical, as well as philosophical: Teaching someone to teach is hard. Like writing, teaching is a craft, learned not just in a single class, practicum, or workshop. Rather, it’s a recursive process, developed through trial and error — and yes, by “fire” — but also through conversation with others: a mentor, a cohort, your peers.





Deeper Thinking about Active Learning — from facultyfocus.com by Maryellen Weimer

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

I keep worrying that we’re missing the boat with active learning. Here’s why. First, active learning isn’t about activity for the sake of activity. I fear we’ve gotten too fixated on the activity and aren’t as focused as we should be on the learning. We’re still obsessed with collecting teaching techniques—all those strategies, gimmicks, approaches, and things we can do to get students engaged. But what kind of engagement does the activity promote? Does it pique student interest, make them think, result in learning, and cultivate a desire to know more? Or is it more about keeping basically bored students busy?

Teaching techniques are an essential part of any active learning endeavor. But they aren’t the center or the most important part of student learning experiences. Techniques provide the framework, the structure, the context. What really matters is what we put in the structure—what students are thinking about and sharing when they’re pairing.

Larry recommends selecting things that confront students with their ignorance—so they see clearly what they don’t know, can’t understand, don’t see the reason for, or can’t make work. When you’ve got an artifact in front of you, there’s motivation to deal with it. 


Think for a moment of what happens when you give most any of those millennial students a new electronic device. Usually, without the instructions and no attention to technique, they start playing with it to see how it works. Do they mess up and make mistakes? Do they give up or worry about looking stupid? Does active learning in our courses look anything like this?



From DSC:
This article reminds me of a great conversation that I had with an elderly gentleman a few months ago. He’s still involved with instructional design, after several decades of related work experiences. He said to me that learners need to truly ***engage*** with the content to make it meaningful to them.

And then I read a quote from Robert Greenleaf’s book, On Becoming a Servant Leader (p. 304), that said:

Nothing is meaningful to me until it is related to my own experience.





The number of Americans working for themselves could triple by 2020 — from work.qz.com by Amy Wang

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Americans are as eager to work as ever. Just no longer for somebody else.

According to FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting company that has conducted a study on self-employment for two years, the number of Americans working for themselves looks to triple—to 42 million people—by 2020.

The trend, gauged in a survey of more than 2,700 full-time US workers in traditional, independent, and small business roles about their career plans, is largely being driven by millennial workers. FreshBooks estimates that of the next 27 million independent workers, 42% will be millennials. The survey, conducted with Research Now, also finds that Americans who already work for themselves are suddenly very content to keep doing so, with 97% of independent workers (up 10% from 2016) reporting no desire to return to traditional work.



From DSC:
With the continued trend towards more freelancing and the growth of a more contingent workforce…have our students had enough practice in selling themselves and their businesses to be successful in this new, developing landscape?

We need to start offering more courses, advice, and opportunities for practicing these types of skills — and the sooner the better!  I’m serious. Our students will be far more successful with these types of skills under their belt. Conversely, they won’t be able to persuade others and sell themselves and their businesses without such skills.



Faculty Learning Communities: Making the Connection, Virtually — from by Angela Atwell, Cristina Cottom, Lisa Martino, and Sara Ombres

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Research has shown that interactions with peers promotes faculty engagement (McKenna, Johnson, Yoder, Guerra, & Pimmel, 2016). Faculty learning communities (FLC) have become very popular in recent years. FLCs focus on improving teaching and learning practice through collaboration and community building (Cox, 2001). Usually, FLCs are face-to-face meetings hosted at a physical location at a specific date and time. We understand the benefit of this type of experience. However, we recognize online instructors will likely find it difficult to participate in a traditional FLC. So, we set out to integrate FLC principles to provide our faculty, living and working all over the globe, a similar experience.

Recently, our Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence took the plunge and offered a Virtual Faculty Learning Community (V-FLC) for instructors at our Worldwide Campus. The first experience was open only to adjunct instructors teaching online. The experience was asynchronous, lasted eight weeks, and focused on best practices for online teaching and learning. Within our Learning Management System, faculty led and participated in discussions around the topics that were of interest to them. Most topics focused on teaching practices and ways to enhance the online experience. However, other topics bridged the gap between teaching online and general best teaching practices. 




Hacking Real-World Problems with Virtual and Augmented Reality — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush
A Q&A with Tilanka Chandrasekera


Oklahoma State University’s first inaugural “Virtual + Augmented Reality Hackathon” hosted January 26-27 by the Mixed Reality Lab in the university’s College of Human Sciences gave students and the community a chance to tackle real-world problems using augmented and virtual reality tools, while offering researchers a glimpse into the ways teams work with digital media tools. Campus Technology asked Dr. Tilanka Chandrasekera, an assistant professor in the department of Design, Housing and Merchandising at Oklahoma State University about the hackathon and how it fits into the school’s broader goals.


Also, on a different note, but also involving emerging technologies, see:
Campus Technology News Now Available on Alexa Devices — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly


To set up the audio feed, use the Alexa mobile app to search for “Campus Technology News” in the Alexa Skills catalog. Once you enable the skill, you can ask Alexa “What’s in the news?” or “What’s my Flash Briefing?” and she will read off the latest news briefs from Campus Technology.




A WMU Professor Is Using Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology to Teach Aviation — from news.elearninginside.com by Henry Kronk


Computer simulations are nothing new in the field of aviation education. But a new partnership between Western Michigan University and Microsoft is taking that one big step further. Microsoft has selected Lori Brown, an associate professor of aviation at WMU, to test out their new HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. The augmented reality interface will bring students a little closer to the realities of flight.

When it comes to the use of innovative technology in the classroom, this is by no means Professor Brown’s first rodeo. She has spent years researching the uses of virtual and augmented reality in aviation education.

“In the past 16 years that I’ve been teaching advanced aircraft systems, I have identified many gaps in the tools and equipment available to me as a professor. Ultimately, mixed reality bridges the gap between simulation, the aircraft and the classroom,” Brown told WMU News.








VR and AR: The Art of Immersive Storytelling and Journalism — from er.educause.edu by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva


Storytelling traces its roots back to the very beginning of human experience. It’s found its way through multiple forms, from oral traditions to art, text, images, cinema, and multimedia formats on the web.

As we move into a world of immersive technologies, how will virtual and augmented reality transform storytelling? What roles will our institutions and students play as early explorers? In the traditional storytelling format, a narrative structure is presented to a listener, reader, or viewer. In virtual reality, in contrast, you’re no longer the passive witness. As Chris Milk said, “In the future, you will be the character. The story will happen to you.”

If the accepted rules of storytelling are undermined, we find ourselves with a remarkably creative opportunity no longer bound by the rectangular frame of traditional media.

We are in the earliest stages of virtual reality as an art form. The exploration and experimentation with immersive environments is so nascent that new terms have been proposed for immersive storytelling. Abigail Posner, the head of strategic planning at Google Zoo, said that it totally “shatters” the storytelling experience and refers to it as “storyliving.” At the Tribeca Film Festival, immersive stories are termed “storyscapes.”





Virtual Reality in Education: How VR can be Beneficial to the Classroom — from edtechtimes.com by Coralie Hentsch


Learning through a virtual experience
The concept to use VR as an educational tool has been gaining success amongst teachers and students, who apply the medium to a wide range of activities and in a variety of subjects. Many schools start with a simple cardboard viewer such as the Google cardboard, available for less than $10 and enough to play with simple VRs.

A recent study by Foundry10 analyzed how students perceived the usage of VR in their education and in what subjects they saw it being the most useful. According to the report, 44% of students were interested in using VR for science education, 38% for history education, 12% for English education, 3% for math education, and 3% for art education.

Among the many advantages brought by VR, the aspect that generally comes first when discussing the new technology is the immersion made possible by entering a 360° and 3-dimensional virtual space. This immersive aspect offers a different perception of the content being viewed, which enables new possibilities in education.

Schools today seem to be getting more and more concerned with making their students “future-ready.” By bringing the revolutionary medium of VR to the classroom and letting kids experiment with it, they help prepare them for the digital world in which they will grow and later start a career.

Last but not least, the new medium also adds a considerable amount of fun to the classroom as students get excited to receive the opportunity, sometimes for the first time, to put a headset viewer on and try VR.

VR also has the potential to stimulate enthusiasm within the classroom and increase students’ engagement. Several teachers have reported that they were impressed by the impact on students’ motivation and in some cases, even on their new perspective toward learning matter.

These teachers explained that when put in control of creating a piece of content and exposed to the fascinating new medium of VR, some of their students showed higher levels of participation and in some cases, even better retention of the information.


“The good old reality is no longer best practice in teaching. Worksheets and book reports do not foster imagination or inspire kids to connect with literature. I want my students to step inside the characters and the situations they face, I want them to visualize the setting and the elements of conflict in the story that lead to change.”






How to Use Questions to Promote Student Learning — from scholarlyteacher.com by Spencer Benson


Developing Faculty Generated Questions
Developing good questions that enhance student learning and engage all students is difficult. The challenge is constructing questions that engage learning and are “un-Googleable” meaning that students cannot find the answer with a simple online search engine. Some ways to help make questions “un-Googleable” are to

  • Avoid questions that simply ask for facts or definitions,
  • Ask the students to answer the questions based on their own personal experience,
  • Ask students for their personal opinion on an issue,
  • Ask students to describe the answer a different person might give, e.g., a relative, a famous person (historic or present), the textbook or assigned readings author, etc.



These three questions align with the various levels of Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy, “what” asks about facts and content (remembering), “how” asks about relationships (understanding and analyzing), and “why” asks about higher cognitive level skills (creating and evaluating).




The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner! Make plans to attend this conference -- you won't regret it!

The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner!

Take a look at the latest agenda.

Here is just a fraction of what you can expect:

  • Explore what’s next in learning spaces + design thinking that breaks the barriers of tradition and inspire innovation
  • Retool your learning environments with virtual & augmented reality
  • Connect your learning space design with strategic planning initiatives
  • Discover next generation learning solutions during our networking breaks
  • Overcome institutional and financial roadblocks to building active learning spaces
  • Redesign spaces with limited budgets


From DSC:
I am honored to be serving on the Advisory Council for this conference with a great group of people. Missing — at least from my perspective — from the image below is Kristen Tadrous, Senior Program Director with the Corporate Learning Network. Kristen has done a great job these last few years planning and running this conference.


The Advisory Board for the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference

The above graphic reflects a change for me. I am still an Adjunct Faculty Member
at Calvin College, but I am no longer a Senior Instructional Designer there.


This national conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on February 26-28, 2018. It is designed to help institutions of higher education develop highly-innovative cultures — something that’s needed in many institutions of traditional higher education right now.

I have attended the first 3 conferences and I moderated a panel at last year’s conference out in San Diego. I just want to say that this is a great conference and I encourage you to bring a group of people to it from your organization! I say a group of people because a group of 5 of us (from a variety of departments) went one year and the result of attending the NGLS Conference was a brand new Sandbox Classroom — an active-learning based, highly-collaborative learning space where faculty members can experiment with new pedagogies as well as with new technologies. The conference helped us discuss things as a diverse group, think out loud, come up with some innovative ideas, and then build the momentum to move forward with some of those key ideas.

If you haven’t already attended this conference, I highly recommend that you check it out.





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