From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

With an eye towards the future…what questions should we be asking about learning experience design (#LXD)? [Christian]

From DSC:
Some of the following questions came to my mind recently:

  • In this age of the Coronavirus, how can we think differently about learning experience design (#LXD)?
  • How can *teams* of people come together to reimagine what learning could look like in the future? Who might be some new players at the table? More students? Artists? Actors? More animators? More technicians and people from A/V? Specialists in XR? Corporate trainers coming together with Instructional Designers from higher ed and from K-12? #learningecosystems #future
  • How can we better tighten up the alignment between K-12, higher ed / vocational programs, and the corporate world?
  • How can we make self-directed learning more prevalent (which would release an enormous amount of energy & creativity)? #heutagogy

Maybe those aren’t even the right questions…

If not, what do you think? What questions should we be asking about learning these days?

#LXD #learningecosystems #future #lifelonglearning #onlinelearning #highereducation #K12 #corporatelearning #heutagogy

 

The main thing we need to remember is that this space no longer serves as an accessory to face-to-face teaching. It is now our main contact point with learners, so it needs to play different roles: communication channel, learning path, interaction platform and community space. Teachers therefore need a certain degree of freedom to design this space in the best way that suits their teaching style and philosophy as well as their course content and learning objectives.

What became obvious in the past months is that when it comes to teaching and learning
 fully online, the learning experience design aspect, including look, feel and logic of the platform from the users’ perspective- be it teachers or students-, are at least as important as the content.

(source)

 

Online, personalized learning considered the future for education in wake of pandemic — from purdue.edu

Excerpt:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — COVID-19 has changed the outlook for education, highlighting the potential for online learning and the need for more personalized learning options for students, according to a Purdue University College of Education professor.

William Watson, associate professor of learning design and technology, said student education levels are more likely to be spread all along the spectrum this school year based on what educational support they received at home.

Using personalized approaches to online instruction allows learning to be based more on each student’s individual strengths, weaknesses, goals and motivations, he said.

“A personalized approach to learning supports student autonomy and the direction of each student’s learning process,” Watson said. “It values a student’s self-direction, motivation and engagement beyond simple knowledge acquisition.”

 

Another type of learning ecosystem (online, but from beautiful places!)

From DSC:
I instantly see the inequities involved here — as only those with the resources can choose this route. Also, one would have to be careful about how many others are around you choosing to do the same thing. (Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of social distancing, and one might as well be back in a physical classroom.)

All that said, I post this because I’m intrigued by the different ways people are enhancing their learning ecosystems. The creativity out there is wonderful to see. Learning should be fun.

For that matter, a few words could be interchanged to create a slightly different perspective here…

Teach from here instead

Work from here instead

 

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments — from gettingsmart.com by Kyle Wagner

During the time of remote learning, our students have become more independent and empowered. They have been given more freedom in establishing their own learning outcomes, and organizing schedules and deadlines to meet them. When they return to us in the fall, whether for an in-person, hybrid, or a 100% online learning experience, we will have to offer them something different than we have in the past. Instead of disconnected, impersonalized, one-size-fits-all learning, we will need to offer our students deep, personalized, and more connected learning experiences.

Our role as a result will shift from being the ‘sage on stage,’ to a ‘facilitator of learning experiences.’ To make this transformation possible, we will have to make 12 key shifts.

The 12 shifts are the result of conversations and insights from expert practitioners worldwide, who have not only adapted to an uncertain education climate, but thrived.

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments

From DSC:
This was a great article with numerous solid ideas and suggestions! What I saw several times was offering the students more choice, more control. In fact, the point hit close to home. Our son finally said, “I actually want to learn this stuff!” (i.e., how to act and thrive within the world of the theatre). When we’re able to tap into students’ intrinsic motivation, we unleash a *huge* amount of creativity,  energy, and effort!!!

 

2020 trends in online student demographics -- from bestcolleges.com

2020 trends in online student demographics — from bestcolleges.com, with thanks to Lisa Marquez for this resource

A Note from BestColleges on Coronavirus and the Transition to Online Education
The data reported here was collected shortly before the coronavirus outbreak. The students who participated in this study had already chosen or were planning to take online courses. Their insights into the challenges of becoming successful online students, including lessons learned along the way, help to inform the development of future online programs.

 

Tips for managing remote culture fatigue — from trainingmag.com by Jo Deal, Chief Human Resources Officer, LogMeIn
Making sure employees know which virtual meetings/social gatherings are mandatory, giving them the freedom to prioritize other tasks, and learning from those who already have experience working remotely are all important lessons for finding the right cultural fit.

Excerpts:

1. Be clear about what is and isn’t mandatory.
2. Reinforce a healthy work/life balance.
3. Overhaul your meetings.
4. Learn from remote employees with experience.

 

Learning experience designs of the future!!! [Christian]

From DSC:
The article below got me to thinking about designing learning experiences and what our learning experiences might be like in the future — especially after we start pouring much more of our innovative thinking, creativity, funding, entrepreneurship, and new R&D into technology-supported/enabled learning experiences.


LMS vs. LXP: How and why they are different — from blog.commlabindia.com by Payal Dixit
LXPs are a rising trend in the L&D market. But will they replace LMSs soon? What do they offer more than an LMS? Learn more about LMS vs. LXP in this blog.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on the foundation of the LMS, the LXP curates and aggregates content, creates learning paths, and provides personalized learning resources.

Here are some of the key capabilities of LXPs. They:

  • Offer content in a Netflix-like interface, with suggestions and AI recommendations
  • Can host any form of content – blogs, videos, eLearning courses, and audio podcasts to name a few
  • Offer automated learning paths that lead to logical outcomes
  • Support true uncensored social learning opportunities

So, this is about the LXP and what it offers; let’s now delve into the characteristics that differentiate it from the good old LMS.


From DSC:
Entities throughout the learning spectrum are going through many changes right now (i.e., people and organizations throughout K-12, higher education, vocational schools, and corporate training/L&D). If the first round of the Coronavirus continues to impact us, and then a second round comes later this year/early next year, I can easily see massive investments and interest in learning-related innovations. It will be in too many peoples’ and organizations’ interests not to.

I highlighted the bulleted points above because they are some of the components/features of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision that I’ve been working on.

Below are some technologies, visuals, and ideas to supplement my reflections. They might stir the imagination of someone out there who, like me, desires to make a contribution — and who wants to make learning more accessible, personalized, fun, and engaging. Hopefully, future generations will be able to have more choice, more control over their learning — throughout their lifetimes — as they pursue their passions.

Learning from the living class room

In the future, we may be using MR to walk around data and to better visualize data


AR and VR -- the future of healthcare

 

 


Below is a snapshot from a video that
Kim O’Leary, Professor at the WMU-Cooley Law School did regarding the topic of giving (and receiving) individualized feedback.

As a relevant aside here, I want to send a shout out to Kim, as she is incredibly devoted to the craft of teaching and learning and to developing solid, competent learners and lawyers. She is a fantastic professor, as well as a caring, hard-working person — an excellent colleague whom I’m very grateful to have the privilege of working alongside.

Daniel: Do our learning environments and systems promote our students' self-motivation? I don't think so. No way.

When I saw this quote from Thomas Friedman, I wondered…

  • Are our school systems creating students who are self-motivated?

Sorry…but my answer (based on what my own learning experiences in K-16 were like as well as from having observed the learning experiences of our three kids) was, “No way…at least not yet.” And the ramifications of this are getting increasingly serious as our kids need to be able to navigate an often chaotic, quickly-changing world from here on out.

  • We don’t offer nearly enough learner agency.
  • We create gameplayers who only focus on grades.
  • We tell students what to learn.
  • We don’t offer nearly enough choice and control to students.

 

 

Per Kim O’Leary, here are some resources re: the topic of giving/receiving feedback:

 

Other items re: feedback worth checking out:

How ‘Learning Engineering’ Hopes to Speed Up Education — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

One insight Lepper brought is that when education software tools simply list all the errors students made and points out what they should have done instead, what many end up hearing is, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong.” For students, this is a discouraging engagement, Lepper says.

“That kind of feedback would be perfect if you had a robot learner on the other end,” he says. “The robot learner would be delighted to have you say, ‘Okay, you made three errors in problem number one,’ and being a robot learner, they’d be able to take out those bugs and do better the next time. Real kids, especially real kids who are kind of phobic about math and who think they can’t do it, they leave and say, ‘See I can’t do it.’”

Don’t water down feedback to your student — from teachingprofessor.com by John Orlando

RetrievalPractice.org/feedback

From OLC session “Carl Rogers, Teaching Presence, and Student Engagement in Online Learning” Cheng-Chia (Brian) Chen, Denise Bockmier-Sommers, & Karen Swan (emphasis DSC)

  • Use student’s first name in feedback
  • Speak directly to them
  • Paraphrase their words
  • Provide video feedback
  • Sandwich method — Include the strengths of student’s reasoning or responses in addition to your constructive critique(s)
  • Acknowledge student contributions
  • Let them know you care and appreciate them
  • What’s timely feedback? The quicker the better, but whatever your availability is, tell what students can expect, and stick to that. Put that into your syllabus along with communication methods (email, LMS message, phone, other)

Leveraging Feedback Experiences in Online Learning — from er.educause.edu by Erin Crisp

4 dimensions of feedback

Here are some design tips to increase the probability for success.

  • Structure the course so that there are opportunities for instructors and peers to provide formative feedback several weeks before final projects/papers are due.
  • Identify key time frames in the course when instructors will be heavily engaged in providing written or video feedback that is individualized and moves the learning forward.
  • Create a bank of content-specific feedback comments that instructors can use for common issues and errors.
  • If end-of-course survey evaluations are low, implement strategies to provide feedback that directly connects to learners as individuals.
  • If you teach and grade papers in a professional discipline, provide feedback related to the course and program learning outcomes, and focus less on grammar and language usage.
 

Remote collaboration and virtual conferences, the future of work — from forces.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpts:

Ten weeks ago, Jesse Damiani, writing on Forbes.com, told the story of a college professor who turned his course about XR into a research project about remote collaboration and virtual conferences.

He and his students reimagined the course as an eight-week research sprint exploring how XR tools will contribute to the future of remote work—and the final product will be a book, tentatively titled, Remote Collaboration & Virtual Conferences: The End of Distance and the Future of Work.”

This is a chapter of that book. It will be available on June 15.

The thing everyone wants is not a technology, it’s engagement. The same kind of engagement that you would have in real life, but better, faster, cheaper *and safer* than it was before.

Also see:

 

What is unschooling? A parents guide to child-led home education — from yahoo.com by Nicole Harris

Excerpt:

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling that emphasizes a child’s interests, rather than a structured academic curriculum. “It’s a curiosity-led approach to education that relies on the natural creativity of young people,” says Krystal Dillard, co-director of the Natural Creativity Center, an unschooling center in Philadelphia. “There is no prescribed curriculum; rather, children are empowered to explore with adults offering guidance along the way.”

Parents who practice unschooling don’t set aside hours or places for education. Instead, they encourage learning as a natural part of everyday life. “As a result, self-directed education looks different for everyone, and can constitute anything from climbing a tree to building a computer to producing a film,” says Dillard. Unschooling can happen in the home, in the yard, at unschooling centers, or virtually anywhere else.

“As a result, self-directed education looks different for everyone, and can constitute anything from climbing a tree to building a computer to producing a film,” says Dillard. Unschooling can happen in the home, in the yard, at unschooling centers, or virtually anywhere else.

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but the seed got planted in me by a former colleague, Quin Schultze (which I blogged about in January of 2018). I’m calling it, “My Learning Journal.The purpose of this device is to promote your metacognition  — helping you put things into your own words and helping you identify your knowledge gaps.

I realize that such a learning strategy/tool could take some time to complete. But it could pay off — big time! Give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.

And, with a shout-out to Mr. James McGrath, the President of the WMU-Cooley Law School, the article listed below explains the benefits of taking the time for such reflection:

Reflective learning – reflection as a strategic study technique — from open.edu

Excerpts:

Rather than thinking of reflection as yet another task to be added to your ‘to do’ list or squeezed into a busy study schedule, view it as something to practice at any stage. The emphasis is on being a reflective learner rather than doing reflective learning. 

Developing a habit of reflective learning will help you to:

  • evaluate your own progress
  • monitor and manage your own performance
  • self-motivate
  • keep focus on your learning goals
  • think differently about how you can achieve your goals by evaluating your study techniques, learning strategies and whether these best fit your current needs, identifying your skills development needs or gaps in knowledge
  • think about and overcome what may be blocking your learning by using a different approach, or setting more pragmatic (realistic/achievable) goals
  • support and enrich your professional practice ensuring that you are better placed to respond to and manage new, unexpected and complex situations – a key requirement at Master’s level.

From DSC:
Pastors, trainers, K-12 educators, student teachers, coaches, musical teachers, and others: Perhaps a slightly modified version of this tool might be beneficial to those with whom you work as well…?

And for educators and trainers, perhaps we should use such a tool to think about our own teaching and training methods — and what we are (or aren’t) learning ourselves.

Addendum on 5/14/20:

Perhaps someone will build a bot for this type of thing, which prompts us to reflect upon these things. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about or something like Woebot, which Jeremy Caplan mentioned here.

 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

From DSC:
NOTE: The K-12 education system that I’m talking about in this posting is the pre-COVID-19 education system.



What Cory Henwood describes here…

The paradigm of one -- as described by Cory Henwood

is what I describe as the quickly moving K-12 education train that stops for no one!

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

(image source)


This becomes especially troublesome for those on either side of the 80% bell curve.
I know about this, as one of our daughters has been living through this phenomenon for years. We are seriously considering homeschooling for her as we want her learning experiences to be more positive ones for her. We want to provide more choice, more control for what she wants to learn about — and the pace at which she can go through those experiences. We want there to be more joy in her learning experiences. This will hopefully help her build more positive perspectives about learning in general.

This is not a mute issue…nor is this a topic that’s focused on just students with special needs. In fact, this topic is relevant to every single student in America — as everyone is now required to be lifelong learners these days. Grades need to diminish in importance. The enjoyment of learning needs to rise.

Note: There were some times in public and charter schools that provided courses and topics of great interest to her, and provided some great joy to her. Plus, there were some incredibly-dedicated teachers and staff that created a team around our daughter. I’m very grateful for them and for their efforts. But positive learning experiences were becoming too few and too far between. The train left the station *for everyone* at such-and-such a time, and stopped *for everyone* at such and such a time. The education system required that she and her classmates move at a certain (high) speed — regardless of their mastery of the content. Teachers know what I’m talking about here…big time.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about when he discusses competency-based education.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about competency-based education.

Plus, we need to get to a place where there is:

 

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