Sunday, 6 August 2017
I have learned a wealth of information about developing an effective online course. Besides the technical specifications, understanding some of the different theories used in general education such as constructivism, in the classrooms and how it can translate into an online format was enlightening. Developing an effective online course requires a lot of insight on not only the course content but also considerations for the generations of learners you will be teaching.
After completing the activities, assignments and reflecting on my own past experiences with online courses, I have developed a greater appreciation for the amount of time it can take to develop and facilitate online courses. Having only been on the student side thus far, I have mostly resonated with student challenges when it comes to eLearning. At times I have found with eLearning that life can get in the way and may cause a delay in completing the course work required. I have found that by having open and good communication with my instructors helpful in overcoming these types of challenges. This would definitely be something I would want to emulate in the future courses I may teach online one day.
After completing the challenges and opportunities of eLearning assignment I have gained more knowledge in what challenges can arise for instructors, as well as how to minimize them. In addition, I have developed a better sense of the importance following some form of quality guidelines to ensure the course is not only successful and more positive for the learners and students but also effective and efficient.
This course was an excellent start to gain new learning and look back at underlying techniques in which education can be applied to online courses. I feel that for my online course I would need to research a bit more on approaches best used for healthcare eLearning courses. I would also like to try and follow approaches that create a supportive and positive learning environment as those types of courses in my past online learning journey have been the most memorable and enjoyable for me.
With constant growth and fast-paced changing technologies information about almost anything is available to anyone with just a quick “google search.” As a result it important that online courses maintain a standard in which educational institutions, faculty, and students can adhere to. The importance of developing and following quality guidelines when creating an online course can help ensure success not only for the learners but also make the course enjoyable to teach for the instructor. If quality guidelines are not used effectively within an online course, the potential of misuse and misunderstandings can occur. This could potentially result in failed learning experiences and comprehension of critical information. By developing and following my own checklist or ones recommended by an educational institute I will be better able to meet the needs of my learners. I feel that this is very important especially in healthcare professions as we are held accountable to provide the most beneficence to our patients in terms of following the best evidenced based practices and research. The same can be said for when developing quality guidelines in terms of educating learners.
Canadian Recommended E-learning Guidelines provides a great outline in which I would definitely like to try and incorporate into my own checklists (Barker, 2002).
Athabasca University (2017). Accreditation. Retrieved from:
Barker, K. (2002). Canadian Recommended E-learning Guidelines (CanREGs). Retrieved
Several generations of learners have evolved throughout the years. Traditionalists were born before 1945. This generation prefers a more structured form of education. Members of this generation may also be ideal mentors in the classroom (Panopto, 2017 and Woodward, 2015). Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They prefer a more personally-focused learning structure with elements of participation, reflection, and feedback within the classroom. Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980. Learners of this generation are identified one of the most independent of the four groups (Panopto, 2017 and Woodward, 2015). They prefer more of self-directed approach to education which allows them to learn on their own schedule. Millennials also known as generation Y were born after 1980. This generation has grown up with the internet. Their learning preferences are more personalized on a self-directed schedule (Panopto 2017 and Woodward, 2015). As a result this generation prefers to have access to information when they see fit through various means of accessibility. Over my journey through online education I have had the opportunity to work with all of these types of learners all different generations all bringing both rewarding challenges and insightful learning experiences.
I fit into the millennials generation of learners and do prefer many of the characteristics that this generation favors when it comes to learning. Based on this I feel like I’m very self-directed in terms of when, where, and how I chose to pursue my education. As a learner growing up with the internet, I have developed a strong passion for online education based on the convenience it offers me. I love the fact that I can work on a course on my own time and reflect accordingly. Even though this type of education is my preference, many generations may not feel as comfortable but may be forced to pursue some form of online education or training. For the older generations, I have found that it can be challenging for them to adapt to technology and perhaps ever become frustrated. With that said I have also found that these generations to be very disciplined and willing to learn or at least try new ways of learning. As well these generations will always add great insight and perspective to the courses based on a greater depth of experience, whether from work or life in general.
Learning more about specific characteristics and preferences that each generation generally has, has defiantly helped me develop a greater appreciation of the importance of being open and accepting of different types of learning. What may be straightforward to one generation may not be the case for another. However with that said I believe it is important to not place these generalizations to all generations of learners. Often they just need to be shown or guided into new technologies and are then able to create and navigate through various types of online media.
I do feel that I have already started to apply this new learning to this course and will continue to apply it when the time comes to develop and facilitate an online course. For example, I feel that the wiki assignment was a great collaborative learning process of different generations in which I feel like both partners learned a great deal from each other. I was very impressed by my partner’s efforts in trying to learn how to use a type of social media tool she was unfamiliar with. As well looking into the future I feel as though I will need to have various methods, resources, and supportive approaches for when I hopefully will teach in a dental hygiene course. This is mainly because there will most likely be a wide range of generations enrolled that will require different techniques of learning. Again by being aware of the specific characteristics each generation prefers I feel that I am already taking a proactive approach in helping to reduce the potential challenge eLearners can face.
Panopto (2017). Are You Ready to Support 4 Generations of Learners? Retrieved from: https://www.panopto.com/blog/are-you-ready-to-support-4-generations-of-learners/