Adult 640 #21: A final reflection

Post_Mortem-Final_Typed_SansParticipation in a post-mortem is always so much more enjoyable when done in a group setting. Couple the discussion with a liquid libation and the conversation really begins to flow.  As I am doing this reflection sans either of the above, it may be a little bit dry. I will, however, be brief. I tend to be rather wordy, which may cause readers to disconnect with the content.

Historical and conceptual foundations of eLearning:         Connectivism

I look back at several of the blog entries written at the beginning of this course of study. Several salient ideas from my blogs are:

(Links to previous blogs are linked with ideas.)

  • Moore’s Theory of transactional distance makes the operator’s ability to offer instruction transportable.  When coupled with the ever-changing world of technology and tools, the possibilities are endless.
  • Several ideas from the discussion of connectivism pulled from the TedX talk were bulleted by me:

    “The act of showing others how we are learning is an instructional task.” (11:14)

    “Every expression is an opportunity for connection in a digital space.” (11:23)

    “Problems can’t be solved by an individual. They can be solved by a network.” (14:16)

  • My thinking was pushed in when considering constructivism and how it applies to the learning and teaching for this course.  I considered:
    • Understanding how to apply adult learning theories, particularly constructivism, may have been in need of discussion. I would be interested in learning if this researcher has refined the ideas suggested in her work. When planning for learning in this model, I was mindful of what might be of interest to an individual who instructs adults.

When considering Identify design elements, instructor and student roles, community building strategies, and the role of feedback and assessment in creating online learning experiences.

  • I found the learning in terms of content and resources to be energizing which forced me to stretch my thinking.
  • There was relatively little community engagement from my perspective, which I found rather disappointing. Feedback was inconsistent and often not helpful for me as a learning.  On most occasions, I pushed myself to include a “Something to Chew on” where I hope to extend the conversation and engage in thinking and conversation with classmates.  This did not occur.

Activities- in terms of most and least effective in achieving my goals:

  • Reading-the reading for this course was stimulating.  I appreciate being pushed to consider topics that were not necessarily covered in other courses.
  • A Feedly account was not as beneficial to me as I thought it might be.  I find that several individuals whom I consider as vital to my PLN (Professional Learning Network) are the best ways in which to stay abreast of what’s new.
  • I “follow” adult learning and as a result, receive timely articles on my phone nearly every day.
  • Twitter is useless for those who are not committed to using it for learning purposes.  When individuals tweet 1-2 times a semester, it’s not a useful tool for them.  What makes it work for me is the fact that I “unfollowed” everything not related to learning and education.  Prior to doing this, I found that Twitter was just too much noise.
  • Virtual learning intrigues me.  Positioning it to the beginning of the course may have provided motivation to explore it more fully for use in my module. I can see the value of it in designing learning for my students outside of the module and am excited about how it may influence my practice.

Looking ahead to the next rotation of this course-

  • Digital tools are a component of my current practice as an educator. I envision that they will continue to support the learning I facilitate, but not replace it. It would be valuable to offer the 641 course, Social Media for Adult Learners, first and this course second, in my opinion.  Taking that course early in my Adult Learning graduate program was beneficial to me as a learner. Establishing a Professional Learning Network as well as understanding the environment in which one learns best was instrumental in navigating self-direction.
  • The human component of learning is the essence of who I am as an adult.  I think that it would support adult learners in this course in a hybrid setting more effectively than in an asynchronous setting. While this is just my opinion, my thoughts are valid. It’s difficult in a digital setting to develop a relationship with a learner, to let them know that you care and wish to help them learn.

While I may not have addressed each of the questions posed as part of the reflection, the twenty-one (21) blogs coupled with the learning module created show evidence of my learning, thinking and questioning. The learning developed through this program will serve me well in the future.  Learning in context supports me as I strive to make what I am learning and thinking visible.

Lab chewing a bone
Something I’ve been chewing on all semester…

I did not begin with the tacit knowledge of how to design learning for digital learners. Through this course of study, I have advanced my learning of digital cultures and e-learning.  I am now more able to reflect on the tacit knowledge as it becomes visible in future performance.


Adult 640 #20: Not quite the final…

It’s almost time to put this project to bed.  I’ve one last blog entry, which is a final blog reflection.  As I have just finalized and “clicked” publish, I am sure that I’ll think of something else that I should have added or now that I think of it, a word that I recall was spelled incorrectly.  Little things like that bother me. Unless one’s a grammar nerd or snob, one will read along with the text and not even notice it.  Life goes on…


Here is the site for my project:   Andragogy:    e-learning project Adult 640

As far as how to evaluate my blog, I wrote a full description of what I would like in terms of feedback.  The individual who was slated to partner with me has yet to provide feedback. I used the information provided by friends to make it more user-friendly. Here is the blog that was written to solicit feedback in Blog #16: Not quite the Dust.  With that being said, I hope that feedback will surface one day.

As far as how I would access my project, I am fairly pleased as a for the first attempt in learning. There were times when I felt as though I was really talking to myself.  I know that there are viewers both from those who follow my blog and from those who read it via LinkedIn. (i.e Pattie…smile…thank you for reading and liking.)

When assuming the role of an adult educator in a CCR setting, the learning in this class really began to have a purpose. For much of my graduate experience, many of the artifacts created are still sitting in cyberspace or worse, the hard drive of my computer.  This was one of the first times in which I felt as though I had both a context in which to apply this work as well as a group of people with whom I could relate. When considering how I posed questions and established pages and task I thought about those who work around me and the value with which they would apply this module.

Most recently, I led a book talk for a seminal readings course in adult learning.  Taking a break from this work to prepare a discussion of Situated learning Legitimate peripheral participation, by Jean Lave & Etienne Wenger. While the time to prepare meant hours away from this module, the discussion questions that I created for that group prepared me to consider more thoroughly how I would ask participants to reflect on their learning.  While not identified in the survey with a header, the questions engaged the topics of persons, activities, knowledge and social world. The learning which will occur in this module is situated in a real-life setting. A graphic that I used to help participants guide their discussion was this one: Legitimate Perpherial Participation

While this blog is not about that course or presentation, I considered how adult educators who may be new to the position, such as myself, may transition from their role as “peripheral participant” to that of “Newcomers” through engagement, interaction, and the development of knowledge. Old-times, those with many years of experience with this program are able to interact electronically with others through collaboration and the sharing of knowledge through the Google+page.  With that being said, I recognize that Google+ has experienced many difficulties and is slated to close in 2019. If used by my current organization, a site which is both secure and approved by the DOE will be a welcoming spot for individuals to engage in discussion.  The inclusion of a Diigo bookmarking and sharing site was created for this program.

Over the course of this project, having a purpose for learning, creation and publication are most crucial when time and effort are so precious.  My hope is that the module will be well received, that the feedback will be useful when improving it for use in the field.  Until participation occurs, I won’t know for sure how easy it is to navigate.

Lab chewing a bone
Something to chew on…

When constructing a research paper for the above-mentioned course, I have determined that further study of how to cultivate communities of practice are of greatest interest to me. When reading and writing, the audience for this module will be in the forefront of my mind.  In education, the phrase “Professional Learning Community” is applied rather loosely to teams which meet periodically.  What I discovered as a public educator is that what actually occurs is lesson planning.  When meeting with the PLC of my CCR group, it will be interesting to learn more about the individuals who might use the module that I’ve created.

Adult 640 #12: TPACK Lesson #1 Revision

Please note:  This blog was posted on time. I inadvertently resubmitted the first TPACK lesson with it.  It did not surface in the blogroll with the rest of the class.

TPACK Lesson #1:  Andragogy 

Note:  revisions in bold/larger font

Lesson Description:

  • The main Content (C) of this lesson is andragogy and the 5 assumptions of the adult. learner.
  • The main Pedagogy (P) of this lesson is the understanding and application of the principles for lesson planning, implementation, and assessment of adult learners in a College and Career Readiness (CCR) program (formerly known as GED).
  • The main Technology (T) of this lesson is Twitter, YouTube, Sound Cloud (podcast) and Google+.Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)


Instructor Role: Pedagogical, Managerial, Social & Technical

Pedagogical: course designer, profession-inspirer (dialogue activity)

Social: Social rapport builder (build online learning community-Google+ page)

Managerial:  organizer and planner

Technical:  media Designer (Screencast), technical coordinator for reference, when requested

Activity:  Video introduction to the course goals and directions for use of tools, created by the instructor. Transcription is provided by the instructor. 

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Activity:  Anticipatory Set of Questions

Method: Google Doc (Quiz format/pre-assessment)

Assessment:  Response choices calculated through Google Docs

An Anticipatory Set of Questions (ASQ)  is used to assess the learner’s beliefs/assumptions about the learning needs/styles of adult learners. Two modalities of learning, visual and auditory represent the content material. The presentation of Knowles assumptions of adult learners, along with the principles of andragogy clarifies misconceptions (visual). Consideration of possible bias is addressed through a podcast of the learning styles of adults vs children (auditory/participant response). An asynchronous discussion board links curriculum and post-assessment through a series of clarifying questions. This pedagogy is applicable to the content as it activates prior knowledge, presents seminal work in the field of adult learning, identifies implications for adult learning in a classroom setting, engages listeners by welcoming comments to Sound Cloud and through a discussion board.

Support:  Attitudes vs. Actions Richard T. LaPiere (research) (Ideas within can apply to lesson planning.)  Writing a Lesson Plan: Anticipatory Sets  (informal)


Digital Support for Instruction: Google+ creation, and Google Forms, Screen Cast (I have used Jing in the past.) Sound Cloud, YouTube Channel

How to make a ScreenCast

How to Use Sound Cloud 

How to use Google+

How to use Google Forms

How to create a YouTube Channel

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)

Activity:  Sound Cloud, YouTube, and Google+page

Resources for learning:  Screencast to guide learners to use Sound Cloud for listening and posting comments. Screencast to guide learners on how to use Google+ page for Conversation. Screencast and transcript created by the instructor. 

Assessment:  Conversation on Google+ Students will provide feedback of listening experience by responding to questions posted in Google+ page. 

Describe:  The technology selected for this lesson, Sound Cloud, YouTube, and Google+ is suitable for adult learners.  YouTube is a natural tool for learning for many adults.  Students who watch videos can make stronger connections between content and outcome through visual models.  Sound Cloud engages current educators to share opposing voices when describing the difference between the instruction of adult and child learners when considering Knowles Assumptions. Podcasts are accessed easily through mobile devices. Students engage in the conversation when posting written comments.  Google+ is a ubiquitous platform.  The student learner is able to share learning, reflection and engage in discussion with other learners in an asynchronous environment.  Google+ communities can be closed groups of individuals in similar training and learning situations thus allowing the discussion to continue after the formal program concludes.

Support:  Why and How Should Teachers Use Podcasts for LearningGoogle Cloud Platform for Higher EducationVideo Strategies (NTTI)

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)

Describe:  The particular technology selected for this lesson has the potential to change the teaching practices of CCR educators and learners.  Educators should continually improve their practice.  Learning from and communicating with others through technology stimulates interest and reflection. When participating in a learning culture, digital curiosity motivates adult learners to share best practices, to examine dispositions and/or biases as well as to empower learners through equitable access.

Support:  International Society for Technology Education Standards

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

Describe:  The knowledge gained from the sources described in this lesson are easily accessed, copyright free and equitable for all learners.  Ethical practices when using digital tools is modeled for adult learners. The benefit of using multiple mediums allow for equity in learning styles, experiences, and orientation to learn. This lesson models for CCR colleagues digital tools and resources that may be new or unfamiliar for use in GED instruction. The ideal fit for this lesson is one that employs reading, listening, viewing, short response and active discussion.  Self-direction is necessary to engage independence in time and setting of learning. This event involves adult learners in the active as opposed to passive learning, such as through a lecture. Learners shared previous experiences through the anticipatory set of questions, they are given time to reflect on the relevance of what is discussed in the podcast. An asynchronous discussion encourages adults to determine how the learning will impact their practice. This lesson is problem-centered.  It asks the learner to distinguish between assumptions and reality, to process what makes adult learning unique and asks them to consider how this new knowledge will inform their practice. The best practices for adult learning model Knowles 5 Assumptions of Adult Learning and the Principles of Andragogy.

Support:  ISTE Standards Framework:   Knowles: 5 Assumptions of Adult Learners, 4 Principles of Andragogy

Concluding Activities: Learners take the Anticipatory Set of Questions posed at the beginning of the module. (Google form) The instructor will post the results of the True/False statements from both sets of responses on the Google+ page.  Engage participants in a discussion about the similarities and differences between the two forms. Lead students to consider how knowledge will impact their practice. 




Adult #640 #19: Wow! I can see it!

Woman VR  A philosophy of e-learning prior to this course would have evoked a rather flip if not an overtly sarcastic response from me. Engaging young students born in a digitally infused world may embrace such tools as fun and engaging. When considering my learning module for older adults, I was not so enthusiastic. “Was-past tense” being the operative word.

The reading for this week ISTE 5 Virtual Worlds provides me with opportunities to consider how and when this type of learning is most useful.  Hands down the most compelling component were Sandra Winkler’s  presentation regarding the use of virtual reality and amputees.

As a former volunteer in a hospital setting, my organization has provided funding for faculty and staff who’ve created telemedicine programs for patients.  The ability to see one’s self as an avatar managing the transportation and one’s medical equipment is so powerful. Adults who can see themselves executing everyday tasks in a natural context is liberating for who find life challenging to comprehend without a limb.  Virtual Health adventures is an amazing way in which learning for all can be realized!

The salient points from the reading and links suggested by ISTE:

  • Collaboration allows educators to build knowledge together as opposed to isolation.
  • Socializing is key to the experience.
  • Voice tools can heighten collaboration.
  • Adult learners with disabilities are able to navigate virtual worlds with greater ease ultimately leveling the playing field.
  • What the avatar does can be translated into real life.
  • The more that the avatar resembles the learner the better the translation!

Virtual Reality Can Transform online learning:


Screencasting is a tool that I’ve used infrequently and have found to be very time-consuming.  When considering how to engage with learners in an e-learning environment I drew from my past because that is what I knew.  While the tool has merit for some settings, the tools and research presented by Jeremy Bailenson were both compelling and convincing to me.

The “Teacher Superpowers” most compelling to me:

  • It’s not possible to speak and look directly at each and every student during instruction in a face-to-face setting for the entire lesson.  If I created an avatar of myself for this module, each participant could perceive that they were receiving an “eye gaze!”  How powerful is this idea?
  • From the standpoint of the module I am creating for this course, the AE who is hesitant to learn in an e-learning environment may find the avatar and voice of the teacher a way in which to enhance completion rates. Completion is an essential component of funding purposes.  Programs must show evidence of that goals were met. 
  • Attention is the precursor to getting influence.  Getting the attention of the student is half of the battle as most educators know.  How cool would it be to have data that measures the engagement of a student?
  • Attendance and engagement of students in a College & Career Readiness program could be greatly enhanced by the use of a teacher avatar.  I’m not suggesting that the avatar replace the teacher, but that it be a method to engage students who may fall even further between the cracks.
  • Many of the individuals who participate in this type of learning environment have not achieved success in a traditional setting.  Bailenson referenced programs to create teachers who resemble the student in terms of gender and ethnicity.  A dearth of educators who relate to students in marginalized groups may negatively impact learning for all.  Could virtual reality address such scarcity of educators?
  • Inclusiveness and diversity are of importance to institutes of higher learning.  The CCR setting in which I work is very diverse.  Very few of my students look like me. I don’t wish for this fact to impact the learning by both my students and those who participate in the learning module. Again, if attention is the precursor of getting influence, could the process described by Bailenson be one way in which to combat achievement gaps? 
Lab chewing a bone
Something to chew on…

The research in this week’s learning was far more engaging than anticipated.  I’m really energized by the idea that I could be created into an avatar for this module.  The module is still in the “soft” stage of development as it has not been viewed and interacted by classmates yet.  The learning environment for such a creation would probably be best met in meeting and working with individuals who are well versed in the creation of avatars for instruction. It’s important to me that the learning be useful and in context for adult educators.  The technology engaged to do so should not detract from the learning but be seamless and enhancing to adults.



Adult 640 #18: In search of cognitive tissue

In an e-Learning course, one would expect to engage and fully support all things technology.  Digital culture, as the three (3) readings for this week suggest, has participated in the good, the bad and the ugly side of education and adult learning.  Learning in a Massive Open and Online setting captured my interest beginning in 2012 with my first course, e-Learning and Digital Cultures offered through the University of Edinburgh and Coursera. Rather than revisit and discuss my participation again, referencing components that influence my possible work as a designer are more relevant than an overview of what occurred six (6) years ago.

The Hopeful-    I blogged about :  My first experience

MacDonald and Ahern, in Exploring the Instructional Value and Worth of a MOOC discusses the assessment, value, and worth of a MOOC for adult learners.

Of importance for me to consider as a novice are:

  • The participant’s time is of value.  This value should be established at the beginning of the course and should be a “fair trade” on the part of the learner and the design team.
  • Value and worth are partner’s in the success of a MOOC.  Designers must consider what will maintain the active engagement.
  • Learners are engrossed, excited and alive when excited about what they learn.
  • A sense of meaningfulness is crucial in motivating participants to be engaged in their learning.
  • When considering the location of participation, select one location and the day of the week in which to participate.
  • Participation dwindles as both the week and the course progress.

My experience:  Two months prior to the beginning of the digital cultures course, the instructors suggested that participants explore social media formats as a way in which to prepare for the course.  The explosion surrounding the connections that emerged far surpassed their expectations.  Groups subdivided numerous times into smaller groupings, which ultimately maintained my participation.  Quad-blogging, the suggestion of a participant, connected me with individuals.  Google Hangouts were tricky with members who live in multiple time zones across the world but were the best part of the experience for me. Placing a face and voice with a speaker added the dimension necessary to move from peripheral participation to full participation in the weekly discussion threads.

The Realistic-

MOOCs were indeed rampant in the cyber world of e-learning. In his reflection, MOOC rampant, Jon Baggaley, suggests that this platform is probably the easiest to implement.  As I am learning, implementing and designing, are two different beasts. The time necessary to design my module for this course is comparable to any other coursework I’ve completed in higher education. When planning for learning experiences, the rule of thumb is 3-4 hours of preparation for 1 hour of instruction. In his reflection, he referenced an incident which occurred at the University of Virginia in 2012.  It’s one that sparked my interest in understanding this movement.  In referencing it in the above blog, I am reminded how far institutions can move from the ideals of learning and education.

Reality can bite:

  • I can lose my intellectual property?  In any setting where I have worked, what I’ve created is the property of my organization.  What I own and what the organization owns are two (2) difference beasts.  As an educator, ownership is not my priority. Learning for all and the placement of the learner in the curriculum is of greater value to me than that of intellectual property.
  • The disruptive and interpersonal effects don’t necessarily need to be a negative component, in my opinion, of collaboration and learner-centered learning.  Learning in a group is composed of paradoxes.  Establishing the ground rule for participation is crucial to maintaining collaboration.  I’ve taken Learning in Groups and Teams a well as Group Dynamics.  As the facilitator, I am expected to use what I’ve learned for the success of the group.
  • Accommodating cultural differences is a HUGE component of e-Learning, as I experienced.  Again, establishing ground rules and the concept of microaggressions is crucial.  A dimension of understanding is lost when learning is purely digital.  Planning for and anticipating it is necessary.
  • Discussion is an important component of the module created for this course.  AS facilitator, I am reminded to revisit the page and establish expectations for behavior.  As the moderator, I chose to approve posts, which may not adhere to the nature of open dialogue.
  • Rating and vying for the top dog position was evidenced in several MOOCs.  Competition rather than connection was rewarded.
  • Connectedness doesn’t always ensure interaction, as suggested in Baggaley’s reflection. Providing a safe place in which to do so is my responsibility as the moderator. It is the reason why participation in the module is closed, monitored and held in a space for those who provide the unique instruction of my work setting.

My experience: When considering how MOOCs have transitioned from my initial participation of open educational resources, I notice how many have options for certificates for purchase.  This was not an option in 2012. I have identified my participation on my Linkedin page.  It’s one component of my development as a learner. Certificates of completion are the ways in which I verify completion of required staff development as a way to maintain my license and position. To transition from open and free to “please purchase our program” reeks of bait and switch.  It is the reality of programs offered online in 2018.

And now for the snarky…

Robert Zamensky holds relatively little back in his With a MOOC MOOC HERE…

Of consideration to me at this stage in my development are:

  • My module will not have tens of thousands of participants.  I am not comfortable being in the limelight.  I want the learning, connections, and reflection to be of greatest importance to learners.
  • A digital platform will be an open door as long as the learners possess the correct key with which to open it.  As discussed in an earlier blog, the demographics of the participants in the course are composed of individuals who matriculated through full-time work sans digital learning.  Treading lightly with a very welcoming front door is essential for full participation to thrive.
  • Module users may have similar needs in terms of knowledge applicable to their work, however, expectations and scaffolding may be more complex.
  • This module will not sell itself as world-class.  There’s no price to pay aside from time, which is certainly of value to most.
  • It is my hope that the ROI (return on investment) will propel resistant learners to engage more fully.
  • Completion rates in the module are of great importance.  Benefactors, in the form of grantors, expect participation.  The onus falls on the learner, the designer, and the technician who creates the site.

My experience: It is not my desire to be a “merchant of learning.”  I’m not selling a product.  The module will sell itself when participants connect with others who provide similar services to adult learners who provide similar services to adult learners.  Connective tissue, as suggested by Zaminsky, plans for connected and meaningful learning exercises. Understanding how individuals measure meaningful inquiry leads to the embodiment of learning as opposed to content dump and regurgitation. One “O” in MOOC, he reminds us that one size does not fit all.  As the moderator, understanding the pulse of participants means shifting expectations and timelines.


Lab chewing a bone
There’s a lot to chew on…

One of the best ways to really evaluate and determine how relevant a MOOC may be for one’s module is to experience a MOOC.  I have completed three (3) MOOCs but have participated in many without completion.  What is your experience and how did it inform your decision regarding the module that you are creating for this course?


Baggaley, J. (2013). MOOC rampant. Distance Education34(3), 368-378.

MacDonald, P., & Ahern, T. C. (2015). Exploring the instructional value and worth of a MOOC. Journal of Educational Computing Research52(4), 496-513.

Zemsky, R. (2014). With a MOOC MOOC here and a MOOC MOOC there, here a MOOC, there a MOOC, everywhere a MOOC MOOC. The Journal of General Education63(4), 237-243.

Adult 640 #17: Advancing the Dialogue

Adult Learning students in the Master of Education program at VCU are well acquainted with theories of adult learning.  Seven years after taking the introductory course, I can still visualize the theory posters which adorned the walls of the class for the entire semester.  Constructivism was discussed as a component of adult learning, but not within an e-Learning environment.

Complexity Pedagogy and e-Learning: Emergence in Relational Networks was a discussion in need of much sifting on my part.  There were many interesting and relevant components gleaned from this reading. Several salient components were:

Andragogy, heutogogy, and complexity pedagogy


The-Pedagogy-Andragogy-Heutagogy-Continuum-Aspect-Pedagogy-Andragogy-HeutagogyThe table embedded within the article indicates that it was extended to include the qualities of complexity pedagogy. I wonder what Chris Argyris would think of infinitely recursive learning?  Triple loop learning is employed by organizations during times of transformation. In order for collective learning to occur, the ways in which individuals contribute to and participate in learning must be agreed upon and upheld by the members of the collective.  Too often online learning, in my limited experience, is content dump and regurgitation. If learners show up regularly, contribute consistently, respond with thought-provoking reactions to others the community works.  Learning as a collective can work.  Notice that I stated “can” as opposed to “will” because all participants do not come to the group with the same skill set and participation ethic. Sorry, but reality does bite.  Returning to the concept of Community of Inquiry, participants learn together; a tenant of Complexity Pedagogy. An e-Learning environment is an instance to revisit the concept of how learners learn.

Social Constructivism, suggests York University researchers, should focus on the role of interactions and the ways communities process for the development of knowledge.  On-line learning can be rather isolating. When individuals fail to show up, does this impact how the collective directs the learning?

Who is my neighbor? The idea of a neighbor is not a person, but rather an idea, a hunch,  queries or possibly other manners of representations.  (They cited Davis & Sumara, 2009, p. 40). My assumption is that their platform Daagu, which appears to be available to just their university, is an example of new ways to consider “neighbors?”

The ability to “let go” in order to allow learning to emerge in a non-linear, uncontrolled and unexpected manner may be rather challenging for both the instructor as well as the learner.  To participate in such a setting, while free of constraint means that learners must be socialized for such an experience. The research team at York University states that they have engaged Daagu for two years. Spaces of difference and diversity require participants to agree to methods in which to do so.  In her book, Rising Strong, Brene’ Brown suggests that one have a firm back, a soft front and the ability to be civil when confronting difference.  I would be interested in knowing more about how York supports such learning spaces in this current political climate. I’m not opposed to such as space, in fact, I support it. I am just curious as to how it’s modeled and monitored to ensure that there’s a place for the philosophy to thrive. Overall, I was intrigued by the Daagu.  I am typically an early adopter.  I would consider such a space for learning with those who have already progressed from self-directed to self-determined with confidence first.

When creating the Google+ discussion page for the module, Andragogy, the facilitator starts the discussion while inviting learners to participate.  I am reminded that it is important to provide a space in the discussion board for reflection on learning both as it happens and after the module is completed.  It is my hope that new ideas about how to facilitate learning in the CCR environment will arise from the discussion.

The “Teacher as perturber and connector’…hum…that first word will bring lots of laughter from participants.  When considering what it actually means, I wonder if the facilitator is truly expected to stimulate mental uneasiness or to simply stimulate thought? While the phrase doesn’t roll off of my tongue, stimulating thought in a Socratic method is useful.  Consider “what else?” “so what?” and “what next?” as important ways in which to push learners to think more critically about the topic.

Huang’s considerations in Toward constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments was published in 2002.  Understanding how to apply adult learning theories, particularly constructivism, may have been in need of discussion. I would be interested in learning if this researcher has refined the ideas suggested in her work. When planning for learning in this model, I was mindful of what might be of interest to an individual who instructs adults.

The knowledge gained through the module is dynamic and meaningful.  Discussion threads allow learners to share and explore what is discovered through learning. The context of the learning has a great impact on what is discovered and how it may be applied to those in this unique setting. The physical distance between learners may be minimized when others within a regional office also participate in the module.  Peer interaction may help to retain human connection and prevent the negative consequences of working in isolation.

Huang’s discussion of pre-authentication is something I considered for the module sans the benefit of a description. If I understand the concept correctly, it was my responsibility and challenge to consider how to provide learning materials and an environment that simulates the real world of the learner. Is the real world the classroom/regional office of the learner?  If so, I can only use my setting as a frame of reference.  Learning may certainly impact what translates to the classroom. I’ve provided support for learners in terms of scaffolding as well as to prompt ways in which digital tools used in the module could impact learning in a real setting.

Teaching and learning are learner-centered in a constructivist model.  Anticipatory questions, discussion threads, collaboration, readiness to learn, scaffolding and application are tools to anticipate the needs of the learner.  Through collaboration, those with more experience are able to share their knowledge rather than hoard it.  Most important is the need to provide a safe environment in which to learn.  Suggestions for how to proceed for those with limited comfort or preparation to learn in an e-Learning environment is considered in this module. Learning for all is valued.



Huang, H.M. (2002). Toward constructivism. British journal of educational technology, 33(1). 27-37.

Mitchell, G.J., Cross, N., George, O., Hynie, M., Kumar, K.L., Owston, R., Sinclair, D., & Wickens, R. Complexity pedagogy and e-Learning: Emergence in Relational Networks. International research in higher education, 1(1). 206-215. doi: 10.5430/irhe.vlnlp206




Adult 640 #16: Lost in the dust…

lost in the dust
Lost in the dust..


Creating learning events is something that I’ve done for over twenty (20 years).  A good lesson is fulfilling to both the learner and the facilitator.  A great lesson is one in which the facilitator is lost in the dust.  The learning is so powerful that it greatly overshadows the teacher and engulfs the learner. My hope is to be left in the dust.  I want the learning to be the central component of this module.

What has been done…

The purpose of the module is to provide learning for educators in the College & Career Readiness program in Virginia.  I have selected this organization as a result of a previous relationship with specialists on the state level.  I am now an individual who has secure employment to provide such learning to adults.  In no way have I been instructed to create this training module by the state.  It is purely for learning purposes.

In the event that it is determined useful for professional development, it is important for evaluators to understand that a technical support staff member would integrate the module into an approved site  With this information in mind, the site, discussion board and forms are employed in order to visualize the module.

The learning module that I am creating for CCR educators is finally materializing.  (I have shared the module as well as the Google+ page with those who are participating in the course.  It can also be accessed through the course site.)

Peer ReviewModule:  Please consider the following:

Digital Support:  if you were a technician…

  • Which components of the module would be easy to translate into an approved source?
  • Are there components that seem clunky?
  • Is there a way in which to provide instant feedback to the learner regarding the  Are You Ready? assessment that I could use right now just to show what the learner would receive?  i.e. Your Online Readiness Results with suggestions for how to proceed.Note:  I used a readiness source from UNC-Chapel Hill to help me consider how to formulate the questions for the readiness component.  The online readiness questionnaire was originally created and licensed under Creative Commons by Penn State University.
  • NOTE:  I am not thrilled with the podcast discussion between the pedagogy instructor and the andragogy instructor.  IF this module is used, I would suggest that an actual podcast is created by specialists.  It would be more meaningful to hear the voices of those with experience in the field.

Instructional Learning:  if you were a participant…

  • Does the module provide the learner with a balance of different ways in which to learn the material? (i.e. VARK) (Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing & Kinesthetic)
  • Is the module structured in such as way that the pertinent information is easily extrapolated from the page?
  • Is the module overly wordy?  If so, where?

Instructional Support:  if you were a participant…

  • Is the learner provided with adequate support in terms of
    • how to navigate through a module with ease
    • support for those with >5 strongly agree or agree with statements
  • Do I need to include a “How to” in the form of a document in addition to what is provided in the module page?

Google+ Discussion board:

  • Are discussion questions clear and easy to follow?
  • Do questions lead the participant to think more critically about their practice?
  • What are your experiences with Google+ discussion?

Technical-Support    Self-disclosure time… I am not a technical person.  I realize that a component of the TPACK lesson was the discussion of my role in terms of the technical components.  This is a weak area for me.  I am entirely self-taught, which may be self-evident when looking at the site.  I value digital learning and consider myself to be a digital resident.  It’s the first place I go for information.  I would work best in an educational setting where I did the research and handed it over to someone else.

The last component of this module, aside from making corrections based on feedback, is the creation of a screencast.  I’ve made several of them, but it’s been a while since I’ve done so.  It takes a long time to create one that appears seamless.  With that being said, I recognize that a component of digital learning is the ability to learn at one’s own pace. The kinesthetic learners are able to emulate the pattern of movement necessary to navigate the site.

I am mindful of the fact that those who participate in this module are primarily retired individuals. I have observed frustration on the part of many learners who are instructed by those who do not understand a world prior to digital learning. Those who reside “outside” of a digital world find residency both challenging and intimidating.  It is my hope that a screencast makes the module more user-friendly. Moderating and participating in a digital discussion such as Google+ allows students to see faces with a post as well as to participate in a discussion facilitated by the instructor.  When sharing how I am learning and growing in the field of adult learning, I am modeling the transparency necessary for the co-learning that I discussed in a previous blog post. It is my intent to learn alongside other CCR instructors.


Dog tired
Lots to digest this week…



What is left to be done…

  • Editing and revision
  • Creation of a screencast
  • The inclusion of the post-assessment
  • Creation of a survey (via Google forms)
  • Revisiting the TPACK and Module requirements to make sure that it’s all there!





Adult 640 # 15 The Art & Science of Leading

Teacher, where are you leading me?

In the last blog entry, I considered the individuals who would be learners in the module that I am creating for this program.  When asked to consider what made them unique, it was challenging to respond to this question when initially not part of the actual cadre of learners.  September presented the opportunity to become one of them.  A month into the program does not make me an expert but does give me a reason to make learning in this module more meaningful.

“Experience is the adult learner’s living textbook,” suggests Eduard Lindeman. (Lindeman, p. 10). The learners who come to the module have a wealth of knowledge about what it means to be an adult learner. They will possess a myriad of ways in which they have developed experience through both formal and informal educational settings. With this knowledge in mind, it is important to ask adults to describe their own learning experiences before they consider the formal learning that will occur.

In my formal schooling, I have completed one hybrid and one asynchronous Graduate level e-Learning experience.  Informally, e-Learning has transpired through MOOC learning. I completed two such programs through Coursera.  Engagement between myself and the instructor was limited in the hybrid program and non-existent in the asynchronous one.  Participation in the MOOC, as the name suggests, was indeed “massive.”  As student-centered learning, one core difference between pedagogy and andragogy was absent, I have no actual experience in participating in one where my experience and goals were considered as a component of the facilitation. The MOOC programs, are a topic of consideration further in this academic program and thus discussed in a subsequent blog.  I’ll withhold discussion regarding how adults learn without the presence of a teacher for that blog.

The important work of Knowles is familiar as an integral component of the Adult Learning Master’s program of study.  The salient components of this week’s reading arose from his discussion of the implications of the assumptions for practice.  More specifically, the adult learner’s self-concept and the teachers’ concepts of the learner.

In my work and life experience, adult learning oscillates between pedagogy and andragogy.  There are components of life in which learning is imposed.  It can range from the simple, routine aspects of what one needs to learn as a young adult about driving and the law.  An example of formal learning for adults is the tangible product of skill-based learning necessary to earn a license or certificate.

e-Learning is a suitable way in which to disseminate information and assess for understanding. As a public educator, I still maintain a license to teach.  Completing a module about Virginia civics last year reflected the pedagogy model where information was passed down.  As evidence of my learning, the certificate that I earned allowed me to retain my license and earn recertification points necessary to continue teaching.  This was an example of learning that was self-imposed on me. The Commonwealth of Virginia determines the information necessary for exposure.  In this manner, an asynchronous top-down approach to information presentation may be the most suitable and cost-efficient approach to instruction. There is no instructor other than a program. peda-v-andra (1)

When considering the implications for my practice, it is important for me to consider the following;

Role of the Learner:  teach me or lead me?  Knowles suggests that a spirit of mutuality between the learner and the teacher could produce a joint inquiry. Rogers & Freiberg, in Freedom to Learn, describe the transparent realness that can be felt between the learner and the facilitator.  When the student is trusted to develop, as in a spirit of “adultness”  the teacher is a co-learner with the student (Rogers & Freiberg, p.167).

Self-direction:  how important is this to the learner?  How does the learner perceive him/herself to be? When assessing for learning in a digital space, the concept of readiness may need to fluctuate between teacher led to co-learning. Such fluctuation occurs from topic to topic. Pre-assessment provides an opportunity to pose questions to guide the role of the instructor from that of direct instruction and teacher, to facilitation and co-learning.

Diagnosis of Needs:  Involving adult learners in the process of their learning is essential to the success of the module.   Creating a space supports the climate of “adultness” described by Knowles. In the module, a Google+ page is where students reflect and discuss the salient points of the learning.  If this module is used by my organization, a web designer will suggest the approved methods through which to do so.  Learning and staff development are through approved and developed media. The discussion in Google could be a closed space by invitation.

When examining Knowles’ model, McGrath reminds me to remember that the learners in this module must understand why they are learning the material before full participation will occur (McGrath, p. 99). To assume that all content is familiar to the learner is a grave mistake.  Again, I reiterate the need to diagnose. It has not occurred in my e-learning experiences.  I am proposing this component of data collection based on my own face-to-face teaching experience. Such experience supported learners in the past and engages seminal work with practical experience.

The planning process:  In a face-to-face setting, scaffolding can be more readily accessible when considering how to facilitate learning.  Ultimately, the philosophy of the instructor must be one of student-centered learning. When struggle surfaces,  scaffolding, and Socratic teaching methods are easier to employ.  In an e-learning setting, the presence of the facilitator may need to be more visible on a daily basis as opposed to a one class experience. I use the word may because I have no frame of reference from which to apply ideas. Knowles suggests that the imposition of the will of the teacher should be congruent with the adult’s self-concept of self-directivity (Knowles, p. 48). That’s a mouthful.  The implications for my practice:  be visible, don’t impose my will above the readiness, self-concept, and needs of the learner. 

Orientation to Learning:  An immediacy of application is crucial for an adult learner.  The purpose of learning is addressed at the beginning of the learning.  Ways in which to apply what is learned makes the opportunity cost worthwhile for the adult learner (Knowles, p. 53). As the facilitator, I can’t make the adult learn the information.  I can provide a climate in which learning is inevitable.

Along the continuum of learning: In order to move the learner from complete dependency, pedagogy, to self-directedness, instructional practices must include choice. Choice, in my opinion, respects personal learning style and life experience. If adult learners are to see themselves as producers of products which relate to their learning, then an opportunity to be a doer is essential.

As both a kinesthetic and visual learner, my understanding of how and where the principles of andragogy engage me as a learner are strengthened through participation. I possess this knowledge of myself as a learner through life experience and as a result of direct instruction. Assessing, modeling and facilitation of learning allow adults to put words, ideology, and experience together for optimum learning.

I can anticipate that there may be challenges in doing so in an asynchronous setting.  What will surface could be different with each module offering. The learners will be different. Their background, readiness to learn and needs are unique to them.

Digital tools are a component of my current practice as an educator. I envision them to continue to support the learning I facilitate, but not to replace it.  The human component of learning is the essence of who I am as an adult.  I think that I will support adult learners in a hybrid setting more effectively than in an asynchronous setting. It’s difficult in a digital setting to develop a relationship with a learner, to let them know that you care and wish to help them learn.

Lab chewing a bone
Something to Chew on…

To paraphrase Knowles…

folded arms  Adults may be completely self-directed in every aspect of their lives. When they enter an environment labeled, “education,” many sit back, cross their arms and ask to be taught.  How have you approached adults in this setting?  Which tools do you have in your arsenal to soften the stronghold of previous learning? How could these ideas transfer to my e-learning module?


Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education (revised and updated).

      New York, NY: Cambridge.

Lindeman, E.C. (1970). The meaning of adult education. Ann Arbor, MI: University of


McGrath, V. (2009). Reviewing the evidence on how adult students learn: An 

     examination of Knowles’ model of andragogy. Adult Learner: The Irish Journal of

     of Adult and Community Education, 99, 110.

Rogers, C. R., & Freiberg, H. J. (1994). Freedom to learn. (3rd ed.). Princeton, NC: Merrill.





Adult 640 #14: Supporting online learners-one size does NOT fit all

Good bulleting boards are like good bumper stickers. One such board was displayed in a Geometry classroom.  “When you hit a wall you have (3) choices:  stare at the wall, go around it or find a way to climb over it.” This one resonates with me.

Did you notice that I’ve been AWOL in this course?  If so, this is where I have been.  Stare at the Wall


When considering the learner for this course, I hit a wall.  Who were these individuals?  I had ideas about what made them unique, but nothing substantial to support my ideas.  There’s nothing worse than creating a program for an imaginary group of individual only to discover that it is irrelevant or redundant.  A new role surfaced for me two weeks ago thus allowing me the ability to become one of the individuals for whom I am creating this module. Destiny, fate or serendipity?  Participation in a conference this summer along with training for new instructors provides a stronger platform from which to address the questions for this week’s readings.

Learners:  The learners targeted for this module are instructors in the Commonwealth’s CCR program, College and Career Readiness (GED) instruction.  I’m not sure if ‘unique’ is the most accurate way in which to describe them. A significant amount of people watching, listening and then participation provides the basis for my ideas about the learners.

  • Well educated
  • Retired
  • Varied professional experiences
  • Digital literacy skills are sketchy at best
  • Literacy and learning are integral to their value system
  • Possess the desire to use professional skills to support others in their learning
  • Not necessarily knowledgeable about adult learning principals and teaching practice

A community of Practicethe creation of a community where learning and support are available is of great importance to these individuals.  The organization encourages faculty to participate in a COP which relates to their practice: ESL, ELA (English Language Arts) and Mathematics.  Participation is encouraged, but not required. One full-day of organizational learning is mandatory as a component of professional development.  It’s natural for teachers to want to share what they know. The dissemination of knowledge is a vital component of learning and teaching. In the introduction to Common Knowledge, Nancy M. Dixon suggests the following:

  • “knowing” is deeply personal.  To ask one to share is to ask them to give of themselves. (p. 8)
  • “If we want people in our organizations to share what they have learned, we would be wise to create the conditions in which sharing results as is of personal benefit.” (p. 9).
  • “If I share my knowledge, that is, give it away, then we can both hold it in common-common knowledge that is known throughout the organization.” (p.9).

Creating a community for the learners in this module is essential to both the development of faculty as learners as well as to the overall mission of the organization. Components of the organization provide learning for adults in rather remote areas of the Commonwealth.  It is simply not feasible for faculty to access face-to-face training and learning as a result of physical distance and allocation of funding.

Addressing the needs of learners: The self-assessment tool created by Athabasca University , “Am I ready” is powerful.  When applying for both undergraduate and graduate study, the potential student divulges copious amounts of information about themselves in anticipation of an offer of acceptance.  Until I took this assessment (yes, all of it), I was never asked questions to make me consider my readiness for the learning expected of me prior to application.  Understanding the types of skills necessary for a particular area of study is an important predictor of how well an individual might do in a given course.  Notwithstanding what life throws at an adult learner, recognizing the strengths and weakness of a digital learning module is important. When training originates with program managers, subsequent learning for faculty should be a natural progression. Additional staff placements fulfilled after whole group training is supported through mentoring as well as through the buy-in of program managers.

Community in our course:  Community is so important for me.  I am a social being who thrives on the development of relationships and through conversation.  The lack of community at the beginning of this course was difficult for me.  In order for me to develop as fully as possible, I need to know that someone is there, will read what I have written and respond to me.  When reading and responding to blogs, I am conversational in my writing, ask questions and consider ways in which to share what I know.  The concept of blog buddies, along with Google Hang-outs encourages me to dig deep into my learning and support the learning goals of others.

Translation to the module:  understanding that many instructors engage the tools that are of greatest comfort to them does not place the learner in the center of the process.  I will need to make adjustments to my module by creating an “Am I ready?” assessment as well as the opportunity for choice.  Learners who need less support or community engagement should make a choice in their learning that supports them.  For example, in a learner component would have two choices for community building:  One learner might engage in sharing through a Google Hangout.  Another might view the hangout posted to the LMS and respond in writing.

Something to Chew on…


In the “Am I ready” assessment on the Athabasca site, the ability to follow a trail for both a NO or a YES response is useful for the learners.  It’s been approximately six (6) years since the site has been updated.  I wonder which research has surfaced in the field of adult learning that could be included in this site?  Were there any particular questions that surprised you?  The one about disability was interesting to me when considering ADA, confidentiality and the ways in which the learner need support to be successful.



Dixon, N. M. (2000). Common knowledge: How companies thrive by sharing what they know. Harvard Business School Press.

Hughes, J. A. (2004). Supporting the online learner. Theory and practice of online learning, 367.

Adult 640 #13: Self Regulated Learning

Flashback time-I know that I am dating myself, but who among us can’t relate to at least the discussion between Joey and Ross? If it hasn’t been over dating problems than fill in the blank ____________________.

After twenty years of teaching, I’ve had numerous experiences in which I have considered the questions, “What went wrong?” “What did I think was going to happen when______?” “What could I have done differently to change the outcome?” “Why didn’t I plan differently?”

Zimmerman’s Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner is one of relevance to me as both a learner and a “future” instructional designer. It was a topic of consideration when working in a K-12 setting where goal setting and the regulation of one’s behavior are a challenge for many learners.  In a hyper-standardized assessment driven society, where does one find time to help learners to “transform their mental abilities into academic skills (Zimmerman p. 65)? Learners who understand the relationship between goals, behaviors, and self-assessment recognize the correlation between one’s ability to set and achieve goals.

After this week’s reading, I think that I may be remiss in not creating an introductory segment which addresses the concept of goal setting, values, and expectations for learning.  Taking time to ask learners what they wish to achieve supports engagement and the ability to follow through with an event.  When asking students to consider the way they think and control success and failure, the instructor must think critically of one’s own goals and motivations. The salient act of modeling and identifying goals, behaviors, and metacognition makes learning tangible to all.

I’ll preface the following statement by saying that I am careful to avoid microaggressive statements in my writing. Those who pursue a high school equivalency diploma setting may find the ability to do so without self-regulating skills challenging. A high-quality self-regulated process needs to be taught, as suggested by Zimmerman.  With this knowledge, an additional module of learning in this professional development track might be useful for CCR adult educators.   A module regarding Self-Regulated learning could enhance learning for all.

For the professionals to follow through with sequential modules, they must be satisfied with their learning.  An optimistic future envisions participation in all of the modules with the goal to enhance the teaching capabilities of instructors in the CCR program.

Something to chew on..

The (8) component skills described by Zimmerman are ones that I will consider when creating threads for conversation in the learning modules. How will you use them?


Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into practice41(2), 64-70.