Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: social learning

Peermark – a tool for group feedback.

Recently Coventry University released a new plugin for Moodle around the idea of group and peer feedback. A colleague highlighted the new tool to me and at first glance I thought it looked like a promising solution to one of the requirements many academics have while running group work: the ability for students to score the contribution of individuals within the group and provide either public or anonymous feedback to group members.

Currently Moodle provides various options to support group work and peer learning, because Moodle HQ realises that these approaches hold an important place in the arsenal of many academics. Firstly, Moodle provides a generic framework for creating groups – these can then be allocated to an activity (such as discussion boards, wikis or group assignment submissions).

Secondly, and with a greater focus on the use of peer learning, Moodle provides the Workshop tool.

While groups can be Moodle Workshop screenshotadded and used within the Workshop, the idea is predominantly that students add a submission. The submission is then allocated to a specified number of their peers, who then grade and provide feedback on it.

If you haven’t used the Workshop tool in anger, here is a quick overview of how to use it as a peer-assessment tool:

  1. All students submit their work (traditionally this will be an essay, but it could be work in some other format).
  2. The work is allocated to the other students. This can be scheduled and automated if required.
  3. Every student marks the assessments they have been given (academics can also provide feedback, although this is not a requirement).
  4. Each student receives a final grade for the submission and a grade for their ability to assess the work (academics can overwrite grades should they feel the process has proven unfair).

This tool provides students a fantastic opportunity to reflect on their own writing and work while comparing it to that of their peers. However, it does not allow for a group to provide anonymous feedback to their peers on projects. To do this academics currently have to find solutions outside of Moodle. The most notable option for this is TeamMates. TeamMates allows groups to feedback on the overall project work and then score the engagement of the rest of the team throughout the project.

We now have a new Moodle-based solution! Peerwork, created by Coventry University, is an integration with Moodle that provides a peer feedback option for group work. You can learn more about this approach from the video they have produced:

While working through Peermark, I was really impressed with its simplicity of set-up and use. I created the framework as an academic, but also completed the process as a student. Using multiple test accounts, I was able to understand how the process would work from both sides and see how you can adjust the overall grade given to a group though the peer reviews on the work.

The only criticism was really just my understanding of what the tool did (so not really a criticism of the system). When I uploaded a document as a student it cascaded it to each other members of the group. Each student does not need to upload a file, it is targeting the students for feedback on their peers and how the group worked throughout a project. The upload was almost a secondary consideration to the process.

Peermark is not the Workshop reimagined. They are two very different tools that serve a specific purpose.

The Workshop facilitates a student writing a piece of work, submitting it and other students provide feedback and evaluation of that work.

Peermark allows groups to discuss, rank and analyse how the entire team worked together over the course of the project. The work is created by the team for evaluation by the academic but the feedback given by the group on each other member will directly affect the shared grade of the team.

Peermark is currently on a test installation of Moodle.

If you would like a demonstration to see whether it would fit your need, please contact tom.langston@port.ac.uk

Image taken from Unsplash :John Schnobrich
John Schnobrich

Lynda online learning – user survey

User survey

Since August 2017 all students and staff at University of Portsmouth have had access to Lynda.com, an online, on-demand learning resource designed to help users gain new technical, business and creative skills.

Lynda.com can be used in numerous ways. A student, for example, might use it as part of their course, or to learn additional skills such as Excel. A member of staff might use it for personal development, or to embed its resources into Moodle, create playlists and support students. We’d really like to learn about your experience of using Lynda since it was launched – so please take a couple of minutes to complete our user survey. Results from the survey will go towards improving and tailoring our provision of digital resources.

University of Portsmouth Lynda.com User Survey

Never heard of Lynda.com?

If you still haven’t used Lynda.com you’ve been missing out! Nearly 3,500 staff and students have used it since we launched, accumulating over 4,000 hours of instructional time. Lynda.com is available anytime, on any device, and as well as supporting your own learning it is possible to share courses, create playlists, and embed courses into Moodle – all helping to support the learning of students and staff.

With Lynda.com you get:

  • Unlimited access –  Choose from more than 5,000 video tutorials covering business, creative and technology topics.
  • Relevant recommendations –  Explore the most in-demand skills based on your interests.
  • Expert instructors –  Learn from industry leaders, all in one place.
  • Convenient learning –  Access courses on your schedule, from any desktop or mobile device.
  • Helpful resources –  Reinforce new knowledge with quizzes, exercise files and coding practice windows.
  • Relevant content – Map content to support the learning of your students and staff.

For further information:

www.port.ac.uk/lynda

Online Training for everyone – Lynda.com

adrian.sharkey@port.ac.uk

@adrianjsharkey

Episode 2 – The Moodle Quiz and Chromebooks for Assessment with Gavin Knight and Emma Coppins

TelTales Podcast
TelTales Podcast
Episode 2 - The Moodle Quiz and Chromebooks for Assessment with Gavin Knight and Emma Coppins
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Copyright Information:

Nowhere Land – Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

SoloLearn – Learning where you want, when you want

 

We all learn in different ways and personally I’m a hands on learner. I need to be learning and doing at the same time, otherwise it’s not going to stick.

Currently I have dipped my toe into the world of coding. This is something I’ve tried my hand at over the years but each time I pick it up, without practise I lose what I’ve learnt. So I started to search for apps that could help me learn and practise basic HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) throughout my typical day.

So what did you find?

After a few clicks and swipes I came across SoloLearn – a free mobile social platform that offers coding courses which can be completed via the Web on iOS, Android or Windows.

The aim of the game with SoloLearn is to learn through playing. The courses consist of bite-size guides and quizzes to keep you engaged and your progress is saved each time you reach a ‘checkpoint’. To practise and play with what you have learned, there is the ‘Code Playground’ where learners can experiment with what they have learned so far and save for future reference. This is excellent for when life gets in the way and you need to put the app to one side for a while, making for a easy return when you pick it back up. Another benefit is regardless of what platform you happen to be using, Sololearn will sync up, so you can access your course in a range of situations via your mobile device and the app will know where you left off from.

A very important part of SoloLearn is that although their name suggests otherwise, you are in by no means ‘solo’ in your learning. On each course there is a space for comments at the bottom of each page from the global SoloLearn community to ask questions or find handy tips from other learners taking part in their course. Many learners also share code they have written to be used by others for practise.

This is all well and good, but why should I learn to code at all?

Many people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at being told by a friend that they might be learning a spoken language such as French, but telling them you’re learning a digital language? That can get you a few funny looks. Although a genuine interest in the first place doesn’t hurt, there’s no harm in learning a new skill and adding another string to your bow. There’s no escaping that we live in a digital age and learning to code can only benefit you in the long run. Having a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS can help your career, such as being able to improve your employer’s website, or quickly publish your own content on your own website or digital platform.

You can find out more and join up by visiting SoloLearn here.

Image credits:  https://pexels-photo-9204.jpeg

Learning Technologies Conference 2017 – Reflection

The 2017 Learning Technologies conference took place on 1st and 2nd February. There were two sections to the conference, the paid sessions and the open floor with free talks. The free talks were to some degree or other essentially sales pitches from trade stands on the floor. That being said, they did attempt to not be too “salesy” and provided some very useful ideas and concepts.

Learning Technologies to me implied educational technologies and this is very true about the subject matter and stands of the show, however, it looked at a wider sphere of corporate learning and systems that develop the skills required to train and enhance business learning.

I was keen to listen to as many of the shows as I could and had plenty of choice with about 81 free session to choose from. 11 Theatres (Open floor spaces) with sessions on a wide range of topics and varying perspectives on similar topics.

For the rest of this post I will summarise my notes from each session with key points that will help with your eLearning.

The sessions I attended were:

  1. Beyond the Buzz: use social learning to supercharge your training program
  2. Transforming the real learner experience
  3. OMG not another seminar about eLearning
  4. Harnessing the power of social learning
  5. (Traditional) eLearning is dead – here’s what the future holds
  6. Meet the modern learner: digital strategies to engage millennials

Beyond the Buzz: use social learning to supercharge your training program

Hosted by Docebo.

The session was ironically a lot of buzzwords and talked very little in depth about anything however the main focus was around the 70:20:10 model for learning.

Looking at how to blend formal, experimental and social learning with the split being 70% on real life experience, on the job experience and tasks and problem solving encountered through real world problems. 20% can be achieved through observation and social environments. The final 10% from traditional formal training including both face to face and online training.

It stressed that click through learning objects that are created as digital learning that might give you a quiz score and a tick to say the training is complete are not the only option to learning (This was actually a key feature of many of the presentations).

A progress line was illustrated along the Who/What/When/Why/Where idea that featured the focus of Who are the champions of the company, What can they share and offer, When can they offer this and how, Why should the information be learned? A reward system for the learner to achieve goals towards many tasks and Where can this all be hosted or acquired for others to develop their knowledge, A central location for knowledge transfer that is simple and easy to investigate is key to the process.

As this wasn’t a direct sales pitch some of the answers were left to the potential to talk to them on the trade stand and look at the product that they offer.

Conclusion:

It was an interesting starting session for the conference and looking back at my notes it actually echoes through all the session I attended. It offered a model of learning with experts available to talk through this, however reading subsequent literature the 70:20:10 model of learning has had criticism leveled at it towards the effectiveness of the model.

Transforming the real learner experience

Hosted by David Perring from Fossway.com

This session looked at the statistics behind a learners needs and key importance drivers, starting with “What makes a compelling learning technology?”

It was argued that as developers and educators we should hold higher ambitions than just acceptable. The role of acceptable is not adequate in the 21st century learners portfolio and each resource should be able to offer a great user experience and provide the information.

The question of key drivers behind what influences a good learning platform were ranked:

  1. Usability
  2. Deliver engaging learning experiences
  3. Expertise
  4. Ability to deliver learning impact
  5. Quality of partners and support
  6. Learner engagement features.

It was then asked, How can we improve with the increase in demand from many organisations to have more solutions for their learners to access content.

Surprisingly the figures had video resources as the key improvement, followed by Mobile, Blended and User generated content.

The top 5 demands of what a learning platform should offer the students were:

  1. Learner engagement
  2. Mobile learning
  3. Social / Collaborative learning
  4. Analytics and dashboard features
  5. A Virtual Classroom.

Many organisations focus on the short term operational performance but lose site of the long term and need to have a future readiness that can adapt to changing market places and challenges.

Fossway have developed PLASMA Learning.

Plan – What do I need to know?

Learn – How can I learn?

Apply – How am I using the information?

Sustain – What am I doing to achieve the long term learning goals?

Measure – How well am I doing with my targets?

Analyse – Where do I need to go next?

This model takes experiences that we want to create and looks at how to use the technology we have available to achieve that. Real learning experiences are not just the technology  but how we use it to engage the learners own learning.

It is not possible to assess learning through checklists and tick box activities, it is developed through a story and describes a journey of what a learning experience should be.

Conclusion

This was the most interesting talk of the day with a real look at the data behind the student experience. It clarified many of the ideas that we all now understand behind student learning and how the technology is key to the learner experience but is not the central point.

OMG. Not another seminar about eLearning

Hosted by Learning Heroes.

The presenter was very candid about the purpose of these free seminars and how they were offered to them due their investments in the show. The short session was focussed on old elearning skill vs the new skills required. The old model looked at the creator of resources, In-house production of materials. The new model it was argued was as the curator of materials. These would be a person that can gather information from multiple sources and evaluate the experience of other experts rather than being a subject matter expert. The ability to think laterally and find content for free over expensive charged for content.

This last part was not just about it being completely free but developing the model of a singular paid for experience per user, when you can source and disseminate materials for unlimited usage.

Conclusion

This was a very short session that felt under prepared (especially compared with the previous session). It had a the glimmer of a great idea regarding the way subject experts should develop and curate their learning information but it was lost in the fact the slides were uninteresting as was he about delivering it.

Harnessing the power of social learning

Presented by AstraZeneca

This felt irrelevant to me as from the start they were talking about compliance training for a corporate audience, however they underlined their ability to take a small team of developers and produce a resource that was beneficial to all the people within the company that required training.

The key message was that they got the end user to record and share their experiences of learning, and get others to ask questions of that experience so that everyone was learning from everyone else a little each day.

The importance of story telling and keeping information simple and understandable with the learner helping take the subject matter and distilling it down into relevant examples that then develop overall understanding.

They created a search feature for the question “How do I?” that provides each user with a blend of experience and activities that enable the learner to reach the answer to the question.

It showed again how it’s not just a tick box exercise to say you now understand the subject, or pass a test to show competency but an ongoing process of learning and reflection.

Conclusion

The session was interesting to hear a case study for the Fuse Universal product, but was focussed on compliance training.

The confusion for me came when after they finished the talk the showed a video (shot like a documentary) that was essentially the talk again. It felt that they had spent all this money on a video and decided they had to show it.

Traditional eLearning is dead what the future holds

Presented by Juliette Denny of Growth Engineering

This was the presentation that OMG (See above) wanted to be. The presenter was also dressed as a superhero (did I miss that bit out before?) but had a very positive attitude, well designed presentation and had worked hard to get the content and message to be understood.

They key point raised was this; eLearning assumes one off learning is effective. Create one resource, tick a box and you have learnt the subject. This is a flawed concept. Bloom’s Taxonomy was brought in and the idea that the goal should be to change behaviour of the learner, and key to that is making learning fun. Entertainment beats education, people want to play games and they gravitate to what they like. Learning can be seen as boring, but why should that be the case? Research from the University of Colorado shows that game based scores for activities are 11% higher than the equivalent standard test.

Mobile learning is also over taking traditional desktop learning, so the need to make content that is fun and engaging, competitive as well as multi device friendly is a major task. She posited that the human attention span has gone from 16 seconds to on 8 seconds (less than a goldfish at 9 seconds). This was why micro-learning is a more efficient way of learning for current students, apparently 17% more efficient but I was unable to get the data source for this.

Echoing back to the opening session of the day the idea of social reinforcement with 90% of learning being informal and the social aspect is the bridge into changing and adapting the learning behaviour. The idea is to make each area campaign driven and more exciting.

Conclusion

This was a very enthusiastic session and passionate towards the product that was being sold (albeit indirectly). Growthengineering.co.uk is the framework for creating competitive games that feed into their own LMS/VLE platform. They are working hard to change the approach taken by corporate clients but I am not sure that it would transfer to HE.

Final Thought

The conference was extremely interesting with a large selection of products on offer. The free seminars were interesting despite being a little sales orientated, there was still a lot of information worth reflecting on and transferring into our future decisions.

I still have a bag full of flyers to investigate and decide what might be worth considering for implementation.

The conference was vast and I hope to attend again next year as it drives learning within the business sector which will tie to what a HE institution should be offering students who study while on placement or within a role. For free, it was worth the money!

Image credits: http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/

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