Rósa's blog page – Instructional Design

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand” –Chinese Proverb–

Tag: Education

The Future of Online Education

“The future of education isn’t learning about something, it’s about learning how to fluidly adapt to change. And it’s definitely not about going to a place to get “educated,” it’s about accessing and customizing the ocean of knowledge that already surrounds us in the cloud” (Uldrich, 2012).

Being able to adapt to the changing world that surrounds us is a quality that most people do possess.  The world of technology is constantly changing and if you are going to get ahead of the game, you will need to possess a good technological literacy.  The Internet is an example of technology that is constantly changing, adapting and expanding.  Online education has dramatically expanded in the last few years due to the fact the technology that powers the Internet, computers and the connectivity, has evolved tremendously in the past 10 years.  Things like streaming media in real time would have been unthinkable over the internet only few years ago but now we stream media, make phone calls and collaborate with classmates, co-workers and peers, through the means of more connectivity and additional bandwidth.

If we look at some statistics we see that 6,700,000 students were enrolled in at least one online course in 2012 that is whopping 32% of university enrollment (Lepi, 2013).  The universities that offer online education are constantly growing and in 2012 it was estimated that 89% of universities offered some sort of online learning (Lepi, 2013).  Online courses are growing fast and spreading around the globe like the yearly influenza, and the growth rate is 10:1 compared with traditional courses (Lepi, 2013).  With this growth rate and technology evolvement online education is here to stay and will get more established in the future.  One of the new forms of online education, the MOOC, has been establishing itself in the past few years.  A MOOC is massive open online courses where you can enroll in a free class and in some cases earn credits and certificates for a class finished (Lepi, 2013).

An instructional designer needs to be well technological literate to survive the ever-changing environment associated with online education.  Societal perceptions of distance education need to be turned around and people made aware that online degrees are not a secondary paper.  According to the equivalency theory, it does not matter how the knowledge is acquired so long as the end results are the same (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  By increasing public awareness of the quality of online- learning, the attitudes toward online learning will shift and it won’t matter for prospective employers where the degree was received (Uldrich, 2012).  The instructional designer must speak well of online education and not be afraid to educate people on the benefits it brings.

Barack Obama pledged $500 millions for online courses and materials in 2009 and since then online education has grown tremendously and will keep on growing, advancing and evolve (Online Colleges, 2010). Instructional Designers worldwide will continue to promote online and distance education as a valid option versus brick and mortar education.  The field of distance education is comparatively new and will change as more experience is gained on how it is possible to educate through additional connectivity and the upcoming technological breakthroughs of the future will make the online student’s life much easier.  Distance Education is here to stay.



Lepi, K. (2013). he Past, Present, And Future Of Online Education. Retrieved from Edudemic: http://www.edudemic.com/the-past-present-and-future-of-online-education/

Online Colleges. (2010). History of online learning. Retrieved from Online Colleges: http://www.onlinecolleges.net/images/HistoryOnlineEducation.jpg

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.

Uldrich, J. (2012). The Future of Higher Education: A Cloudy Forecast. Retrieved from Jump the curve: http://jumpthecurve.net/education/the-future-of-higher-education-a-%E2%80%9Ccloudy%E2%80%9D-forecast/


Scenario: Converting a traditional face-to-face course into a distance learning format

Converting a traditional face-to-face course into a distance learning format

The scenario is as follows: A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.


preplanningThere are numerous pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before he converts his program to an online course.  He needs to decide what type of delivering system he is going to use.  He also needs to design a storyboard and a site map and choose the delivery mode (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  The trainer must also have some idea on what kind of activities are going to be used during the course and how he is going to evaluate the activities (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  According to Dr. George Piskurich in the video podcast “Planning and Designing Online Courses” it always comes down to ADDIE when designing new online learning courses (2010).  The trainer must also decide upon ratio of the face-to-face instruction versus the asynchronous instruction in the distance learning module as this will be a blended training course.

Converting to a distance learning

converting There could be quite a few aspects of the original program that can be utilized in the online format.  The assignments could be used, either partly or as a whole.  The discussion topics in the face-to-face course could be moved into the online discussion forum and made mandatory, increasing the quality of the communication among trainees.  The training manager should make sure there are multitude of resources available for the students but must provide a training on how to use the technological components utilized in the distance learning environment (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  According to Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford (2006), “distance learning can be as effective as traditional instruction when the technologies are appropriate for the instructional tasks” (p.190).

Instructor vs Facilitator

The role of the trainer will change and his role will now be more of a Facilitator.  Facilitators do not lecture the students but point out ways in order to improve learning experiences (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  Facilitators guide the learners in the right direction so they will get the most out of the distance learning experience.  The role of the instructor as known in the face-to-face classroom is no longer relevant as within the distance learning experience the students are supposed to study the given materials and make their own learning experience (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).


Online Communication

            The trainer needs to make sure the participants understand all the technological tools that the student is expected to use within the training course.  Some kind of orientation guide should be made available for the students to follow and learn how to use the various tools online environment demands (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  “To promote an open, supportive, and respectful online environment, an instructor can create a discussion area where students post their questions and the instructor posts answers” (Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford, 2006, p. 191).  In addition there should be other discussion areas where students can post questions, assignments and  receive feedback from both instructor and peers.  An asynchronous discussion forum  can be used for a wide variety of assessment activities and students can discuss course material within the discussion forum environment simulating the discussion that takes place in a traditional face-to-face class (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

Server hosting

hosting      The training manager should consider a Course Management System (CMS) where he can store all material in one place.  CMS’s have “become the de facto standard” in the online and distance education delivery and are used both for asynchronous, synchronous and blended courses (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 183).  There are various options available for the trainer to consider because there are many different CMS systems available.  Some are open-source or free to use while others require a paid licence (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  It is advisable to start with a free CMS and see if the transition from face-to-face to the online environment is successful, then the trainer can explore more options if the company is willing to pay for licences and more reliable hosting options.


Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for Enhancing Student Interactivity in an Online Environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190-193.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Dr. George Piskurich with Jacqueline Chauser on Planning and Designing Online Courses. [Video Podcast].

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance, foundations of distance education (5th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

My learning curve


Rosa’s learning tree

All through my live I have been learning. Been placed in different schools, with different teachers learning different things and always in different ways.  In my early schooldays I would say that the behaviorist teaching strategy was used to teach me basic learning.  As I got older my learning evolved up to the cognitive and constructivist learning methods and if I were to place me in the learning theory jungle at the moment I’m without a doubt located in the connectivism tree that has branches of adult learning strategies growing out on top.  At the beginning of this course I located myself as a cognitive and constructivist learner that learned best by the aid of visual tools like mind maps and learning by doing.  As of today I have totally revised my opinion and now I look at myself as a connectivism learner.

I have always been technologically inclined (or computer NERD) and have owned a PC since 1987.  It has given me advantage over my peer students being well computer and technological literate. rosanordEspecially during my Bachelor degree I felt the advantage compared to other adult students that were learning to turn on computers.  When studying for Bachelors degree we learned a lot about learning theories, teaching strategies and learning styles but I cannot recall any mention to the connectivism theory but by then I was already pursuing my studies in that style. I will have to say that this learning theory suits me well as I work with computers every day and when I’m not working I am pursuing my number 1 hobby – computers.  I use the internet widely when I need information but I have to say that my best friend is Mr. Google – if I have a problem, need information or is just plain curious, I put in a search string in Google and up comes the results. In my studies I search for information in various scholarly databases like Eric or ProQuest.  What would we do if one day there was no Google?  My life would probably be severely disrupted as I rely heavily on the internet during my work and in my personal life.

Kids today

Found this image rambling on the net – felt it was appropriate during the connectivism discussion.

Childrens social connections are advancing - http://www.caglecartoons.com/ - Jeff Parker, Florida Today and the Fort Myers News-Press

Children’s social connections are advancing – http://www.caglecartoons.com/

Connectivism journey

Once upon a time learning was just about books, teacher, paper and a pencil.  When I was finishing my primary school education computers were just beginning to emerge in the school system but I did not receive any formal training in computer related studies until going back to University in the year 2007.  Then I had owned a computer for over 20 years and never seen any point in taking a course as I was a kind of a computer geek – people came to me for guidance regarding their problems.  As an IT technician I had been on a work related training courses regarding operating systems and specific programs but it was in the autumn of 2007 when I received my first computer tuition by an educational institute.  The class was mind maps and mind mapping software.

I still remember the feeling of euphoria going through my entire body – there in front of me was something that I felt was going to change my whole learning experience, something that I could relate to instantly.  During my entire University stay I used mind maps throughout every class.  Mind maps are in fact responsible for me being where I am today – back on the educational wagon.

My learning journey has changed so much from my first school days in the 80’s.  The technological evolution has been tremendous and as before you could not attend school without paper and a pencil, today you are lucky if your students bring something to write with to school.  Computers and the internet have changed the way we learn and the way our students learn.  My typical learning journey these days start with a question, either from myself or a student.  If I don’t know the answer I will go to the computer and open up Google – and most of the time Google is my friend!  Few years back it would have been a trip to the library and searching for books on the matter that would have given me the right answer.  Because we get our answers much quicker now I find society moving quicker as well.  Everything is in a much faster pace nowadays than it was 10-15 years ago.  As I’m highly dependent on computers and the internet nowadays I can’t imagine where we and I would be without it.

Connectivism?  Well I would say that my own learning journey in the past five years is a connectivism one.  Internet based research, resources, courses, articles, answers, bookmarks, social connections, video-conferencing, discussion threads, videos, chat-rooms and the list goes on and on and on.  Even now while writing this post, the WordPress application is showing me spelling mistakes on the go and appropriate links I can apply to my blog post so I can continue my Connectivism journey after I press the “Publish” button.

The brain and learning


Photo by TZA – CC licenced

This weeks topic is the brain. How it works and why we remember things differently based on where we store the information.  I have been hunting the internet to find some articles and web sites on the topic and have found many useful sources.  As I searched the same articles kept surfacing so when I took a further look I saw that a lot of them were written by the same woman, Dr. Judy Willis. Her blog post about the need to Teach Teachers About the Brain I found very enlightening and as I read on I discovered that she has written many books and posts about the matter.  On the ASCD web site, there is a group hosted by her, called How the Brain Learns.  There she has linked to all kind of material written by her and I want to feature one of her articles called WHY A NEUROLOGIST BECAME A CLASSROOM TEACHER.  As a teacher myself I find it very interesting that a professional neurologist should find it interesting to go through teacher education herself to find out what is wrong with the school system and the teachers methods. As the content of this article relates directly to this weeks learning resources about the brains function and memory I found it would be appropriate to mention here.  As it says in the article:

Neuroimaging and new brain-wave technology provide evidence that rote learning is the most quickly forgotten, because the information is not stored in long-term memory. As students lose interest in lecture-and-memorize classes, their attention wanders, and disruptive behaviors are a natural consequence. Even for children who are able to maintain focus on rote teaching, the disruptive responses of their classmates are encroaching more and more on teachers’ instruction time as they try to maintain order (Willis, 2009).

This is the part that I found the most interesting as I have so often witnessed this where the teachers effort goes all into maintaining order and not teaching.  As the teachers complain about how ill-behaved their students are, they should maybe look into their own teaching strategy and see if the problem is with them but not the students.

Human brain

Photo by karmaOWL – CC licenced

Other site I found particular interesting is a site called Brains.org, Practical Classroom Applications of Current Brain Research.  There I found many good articles related to the brains functionality and teaching. The site is directed by Dr. Kathie Nunley who uses it to connect current psychological and neurological research to the field of education. There are many interesting articles and one that got my attention straight away called How the Adolescent Brain Challenges the Adult Brain. As a teacher of young people aged 16-20 years old I am always curious about why they sometimes behave like they do. Reading this article and the explanation of how the prefrontal cortex in adolescents is not fully developed sometimes till the age of 20 and thats why they act as they sometimes do  was an eye opener for me (Nunley).

Having resources like these available on the internet is priceless for teachers interested in improving performance in the classroom.  Knowing how to act to certain situations, how to deal with that difficult student and understanding what lies behind certain behavior are key elements for successful teaching and Instructional Design.


Nunley, K. F. (n.d.). How the Adolescent Brain Challenges the Adult Brain. Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from Help 4 Teachers: http://help4teachers.com/prefrontalcortex.htm

Willis, J. (2009, 4 2). Radical Teaching. Classroom strategies from a neurologist. . Retrieved 11 11, 2012, from Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/radical-teaching/200904/dr-judy-willis-rad-teaching-connections-neuroscience-research-the-class

Week 1 Assignment

This weeks blog assignment is to find other blogs related to the field of instructional design and write a post about how I can utilize them in the future.  As I went jumping off one page to another I found many very useful posts about all kind of matters related to instructional design.  As I’m always looking for new ways to embed technology into my teaching methods the blogs that focused on technology related to instructional design were the ones that found most interesting.  Here below I’ll outline three of them but in my Links section you can find more blogs related to technology and instructional design.

Number 1 is the Kristina Hollis blog on Teaching and Technology. Kristina explores many angles of both instructional design and technology related to e-learning. I specially enjoyed her posts about History of Instructional Design where the illustration made the post more alive and for a visual learner like myself very interesting and motivated me to read the entire post.  I sometimes catch myself in the act of skipping posts that do not have interesting pictures explaining the topic – the more interesting the picture is, the more I am likely to read the article/post/news.

Copyright - Rosa GudmundsdottirNumber 2 is the blog of online learning insights, a Blog about Open and Online Education.  The blogs article about 5 Tools and Strategies that Support Group Collaboration Online I found very enlighten and enjoyed reading about how to engage students in collaborative group work. Also the article called Dear Professor, I Really Enjoyed the Online Course But…. where the blogs author, Debbie Morrison, analyzes students responses from the end-of-course surveys that have given constructive suggestions about how the instructor might improve overall students experience of the course.  Many more interesting blogs in there that are related to the field of Instructional Design.

Number 3 is the blog about 21st Century Information Fluency – Leveraging Information.  The blog has not been operational for long but there are many great articles and resources that can be accessed from it.  Among the articles I enjoyed the most reading were the ones about strategies for better Power Point, Animoto as a teaching tool and the post about 10 Free, Must Have Web 2.0 Tools for Your Teaching & Training Needs.  The web page scoop.it seems to be very effective in spreading interesting blog posts around as when I followed one link over there I discovered a lot of other useful sources. Some of them I have bookmarked to view later and others have made my day less productive as I have been stuck reading a lot of interesting information.  If this blog continues in the same way it has been doing for the past couple of months it will be very promising source for the technical aspects of the Instructional Design.