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, ways in which individuals contribute to and participate in learning must be agreed upon and upheld by the members of the collective.  Too often on-line 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 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.  Her in 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 the that there’s a place for the philosophy to thrive. Overall, I was intrigued by the Daagu.  I am typically and 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 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 is 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.

Adult 640 #11: Online Learning Activities

Online Learning Activities for Career and College Readiness Adult Education 

Online Learning Activities
Online Learning Activities-how do make all of the puzzle pieces fit correctly?

Professional development for adult educators in the CCR program through an online learning module may be a new concept for participants.  In a discussion with specialists, it is understood that adult educators come from a variety of backgrounds, with most retired from the K-12 sector.  With this fact in mind, the modules will use a limited number of activities to provide for greater success for all. Conversation, Icebreakers, Google Docs, Role-Playing, Social Bookmarking and YouTube are the activities that are being considered for this series of modules.


Conversation: interactive communication between the instructor and participants will occur through a Google+ page established for each module.  Instructor support: The creation of a screen cast, describing how to engage with the discussion page, guidelines for the quality and frequency of posts as well as a conclusion date provide organizational structure allows the participant to review the material at an individual pace.

for example: the instructor culls through previous comments or dialogue in a conversation setting such as Google+ or from Sound Cloud and isolates a statement from an outside source and asks for participants to complete the thought, provide clarification or to consider the flip side of an argument or supposition. 

Icebreakers-Developing a sense of community is necessary for an organization of individuals who may have relatively little or no previous interaction. A prior knowledge assessment, in the form of an Anticipatory Set of Questions, engages learners in the first module with thinking about adult learning. Icebreakers can be quite successful in establishing a friendly rapport with members of a learning group. Participation in this series of learning modules allows individuals to support the overarching goals of the organization.  Success in this module is inclusive of all as opposed to competitive in nature. Cohesion as a group supports all. Icebreakers should support the learning.  When one isn’t readily available or applicable, then it becomes counterproductive.

for example:  posting a comic, a short video clip or a current event that relates to the learning in the module should engage the participants in thinking and problem-solving.  Hooking the learner allows one to refocus attention from outside stimulus. 

Google Doc: K-12 educators are familiar with Google Classroom. To engage those who are not, a screen cast is a suitable way in which to provide more individual instruction regarding how to use the site for the purpose of learning in the module.

for example:  the Lifespan Issues module engages CCR educators with ways in which to differentiate for the adult learners with an IEP/504 as a student. 508 compliance ensures adaptive and quality services for adult learners.  Collaborative writing and the planning of lessons allow participants to use the materials learned in the module to create lessons for classroom use. The instructor is able to access learning through lesson creation and commenting on the part of the student. 

Problem Solving: engaging the learners in real-world situations experienced by the students in the CCR setting allows multiple voices to share in the learning.  Presenting a situation in short video format with a directive to discuss in the conversation setting or in a larger setting, if the module is used for professional group development, allows CCR educators to engage in authentic experiences.

for example: as a facilitator, the instructor can interact in a synchronous manner through video conferencing.  Recording a learning event allows for multiple learning experiences.  As an instructor, I am able to review the material and use reflections for the conversation board.  It also allows me to model skills presented in future modules, such as feedback. 

Role Playing:  a component of the instructional modules engages learners with Cultural Literacy.  The students within the CCR community comprise a wide range of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.  Culturally responsive teaching allows individuals to understand the role of culture in diversity. The ability to exhibit competencies in working with others is a component of the CCR standards.

for example: watching cultural diverse roles digitally allows participants to hear the voices of those in their program. Conversation occurs through the Google+ page. 

Social Bookmarking: I have used Diigo as a graduate student and find it a useful way to share materials with others.  The sharing of resources helps to build community and trust among members.

for example:  creating a common, free site to share materials allows students to bond socially through collaboration and contribution. 

YouTube:  while YouTube was not technically identified in the site provided, creating a free and easily accessible channel for teaching learning is certainly useful.

for example:  the time frame allotted for these modules, 5-10 hours, may limit the number of digital resources suitable for a single module.  Generating a channel allows learners to activate the sources for further learning. 

Something to chew on…

Making a screencast takes a long time in the beginning.  I think that creating a video and publishing it on my YouTube channel would be a way in which I could grow as an instructor.  I think that providing students with a way in which to build skills is a way to provide scaffolding. We certainly use YouTube in my family to learn how to do all kinds of things.



Adult 640 #10: Instructor Role

course designer

TPACK Modules:  College & Career Readiness Educator Professional Development

The modules that I am creating for the CCR (AKA GED) adult educator are a forward-thinking move on the part of specialists as well as me, the developer.  Transitioning educators, many of whom are retired from the K-12 workplace, from a traditional face-to-face experience to that of an online medium is both exciting and daunting. It is my understanding that the digital skills of the CCR adult educators varying in skill level, interest and comfort.

I have given considerable thought to my role in these learning modules. My strengths lie in pedagogical and social roles as opposed to that of managerial and technical.   As indicated by my Gallop Strengths Finder survey results, my role as an online instructor is best utilized through the pedagogical and social dimensions.  I neither enjoy nor gravitate to technical components of course instruction.  My strength and passion is in developing educators as opposed to managing them.

A system’s based approach to learning and change is, I believe, the optimal setting for planning online learning events for adults. In hospital settings, medical teams place the patient in the center of a discussion.  Welcoming all who interact with the patient, the doctor, pharmacist, therapists, social workers and family sit at the table and share in the medical decision planning.

If the above model works in a medical setting, why not use it in an online instructional setting? Educators with strengths in each of Berge’s four dimensions sit at the table.  After years of working in isolation as a public educator, I think that it’s vitally important for each individual to share in the creation, dissemination, and management of learning.  Understanding how each component supports the adult learner helps to provide a positive learning experience. When placing the adult learning in the center of the learning, those who sit at the table support the learning.

We are told repeatedly in adult learning that feedback is a gift.  Unfortunately, it’s often challenging to give as well as to receive if individuals lack skill in doing so.  One of the modules in this set of learning events engages CCR adult educators in exploring and developing feedback to engage learning. It’s an area of challenge for me.  Doing so in a digital setting omits the personal component of learning that is crucial to the development of a learner.

Conversely, becoming the professional inspirer in a digital setting would engage me as the instructor in creative, real-time thinking applicable to the work of the CCR educator.  The concept of a “Community of Practice” is a familiar phrase.  What is often unfamiliar is how to create and participate in one.   The learners in these modules may welcome a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences as opposed to an entirely asynchronous module. It is my hope that these modules will inspire those who engage in creating communities of practice behaviors through the learning events.

My role as the Interaction-Facilitator will be crucial to the success of this series of modules. The democratic environment described in the case study read for this week’s learning described an instructor who felt comfortable in an online discussion forum.  The Google+ environment is an area where I have comfort in scaffolding discussions from previous coursework.  It’s a medium that is free and easily accessible.  It is also closed to those outside of the learning community, which may help individuals who are hesitant to participate feel more comfortable in doing so.  Modeling social presence is a skill developed through numerous experiences, both in graduate and MOOC learning environments.

The organization for which these learning modules are created is composed of specialists who possess skill and expertise in the managerial and technical areas.  I am well versed in organization and planning of learning events for children and am developing my skills in as an adult educator.  The feedback that my peers in this course provide by asking questions are the eyes that are necessary for me to move outside of my head.  The ability to scaffold learning for adults in previous coursework considers the principles of andragogy as opposed to that of instruction for children.

Understanding how a student perceives a course is often quite enlightening! Quite frankly, surveying learners at the conclusion of a course seem counterproductive to me. By asking the questions in the dimension of instructor roles: Pedagogical, Social, Managerial, and Technical at a time other than just the conclusion of the course would allow me to provide greater service to the learner.  Understanding the degree of social presence needed in order to facilitate a successful learning is important to me as an instructor. The summary of the descriptions and issues of online instructor roles is useful when considering how I fit in this new methodology and where I need support.  Understanding how a student in this module might perceive my role as an instructor, as presented by in the case study,  is an essential tool for instructional planning.

Lab chewing a bone
Something to chew on…

Feedback allows for a better learning experience for future engagement with a module. Which strategies or methodology when communicating with learners?


Liu, X., Bonk, C. J., Magjuka, R. J., Lee, S. H., & Su, B. (2005). Exploring four dimensions of    online instructor roles: A program level case study. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks9(4), 29-48.


Adult 640 #9: tpack2 Module #1 (revisions)

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 #8: Learning Module(s): Avoiding the Kudzu…

Pretty creepy, yes?  I’m trying to keep it all balanced and with a clear end in sight.

We have all heard the saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees.  After much thought and consideration, what I initially proposed for my project is a task that I will complete outside of this course. While what I learn from it will certainly influence how I approach my project, the route that I propose provides a medium through which to engage adult learners in the learning objectives of this course.


The modules that I will create for individuals who provide education to adult learners will include Andragogy, Cultural Literacy, Lifespan Issues, Creating a Flipped Classroom and Feedforward.  Two components will comprise each model, one for training and resource for the adult educator as personal development. The second section for integration of learning into teaching and resources for the adult student as professional development.  The division of each component into learning, teaching, and resources should allow participants to complete sections To comply with the outcome objectives for this project, each section is approximately 30 minutes in length, with each module 90 minutes in length.  Sections can be completed and considered as a stand-alone and able to be engaged prior to use of those which follow.

The objectives identified are drawn from the Workforce Integration Opportunity Act (2014) (WIOA)  In a nutshell…

The term “workforce preparation activities” means activities, programs, or services designed to help an individual acquire a combination of basic academic skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy skills, and self-management skills, including competencies in utilizing resources, using information, working with others, understanding systems, and obtaining skills necessary for the successful transition into and completion of postsecondary education or training, or employment.


Adult Educator:  TSW-

  • develop awareness of and the academic understanding of andragogy,
  • use critical thinking skills for planning and education purposes

Adult Student: TSW-

  • describe self as an adult learner
  • develop self-management skills
  • utilize resources for learning
  • apply skills for transition to post-secondary, training and future employment.

Activities: YouTube Videos, Podcasts, Readings & Asynchronous discussion

Assessment:  Learning Needs Resource Assessment (pre), Quiz,

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

Cultural Literacy

Adult Educator:  TSW-

  • define culturally responsive teaching
  • explore own possible cultural biases
  • identify dimensions of equity

Adult Student:  TSW-

  • exhibit competencies in working with others
  • develop skills necessary for successful interaction with culturally diverse groups as one transition into post-secondary, training and employment

Activities:  YouTube Videos, Podcasts, Twitter Lists, Digital Role Playing, Blog Reading

Assessment: Pre and Post Assessment correlates with the objectives stated above.


Ready for Rigor: a framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching Dimensions of Equity

Lifespan Issues

Adult Educator: TSW-

  • build an understanding of learning styles, behavioral and educational needs of diverse learners
  • engage assisted technology for instructional use
  • exhibit practice with career readiness and workplace skills

Adult Student:  TSW-

  • learn self-management skills,
  • show understanding of diverse learners in the work setting
  • use assisted technology for learning
  • plan for transition from post-secondary education to training to the workforce

Activities:  Microsoft Windows 10 Assisted Technologies, Closed Captioning, subtitling, Creation of YouTube Accounts, Let Me Learn

Assessments: Let Me Learn Inventory, LRNA (Learning Resource Needs Assessment-Pre/Post), Asynchronous Board Discussion

Framework:  Workforce for adults with disabilities

Flipped Classroom

Adult Educator- TSW:

  • Define a “flipped” classroom
  • Explore examples of classrooms
  • Participate in a mock classroom setting
  • Acquire skills to create and manage a classroom

Adult Student-TSW:

  • Show competencies in utilizing resources
  • Develop a working relationship with peers
  • Use digital skills to acquire information

Activities: Create a screencast, explore professional learning community, read blog posts to create Community of Practice, develop YouTube channel, readings of the theoretical basis

Assessment: Learning Needs Resource Assessment (LNRA-pre/post), participation in Flipped Learning Activity, Analysis of Flipped Learning Lesson, think-pair-share, pre-recorded lecture

Framework:  Boom’s Taxonomy-(remembering, understanding-at home/applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating-in class).


Note:  This is a new concept and one that I am currently exploring.  I will certainly flush it out with time. Feedforward, as opposed to feedback, which comes after work, is submitted for evaluation.) 

Adult Educator:  TSW-

  • learn feedforward as a mechanism to impact future student growth
  • develop skills to coach adult students
  • coach adult students in-goal setting and self-evaluation strategies

Adult Student:  TSW-

  • engage in activities to develop critical thinking skills, measurable outcomes
  • develop self-management
  • use knowledge gained through coaching to inform transition from post-secondary, training, and employment

Activities:  PODcasts, Blog reading, engaging Twitter accounts, join Adult Education Community of Practice through a Tweetdeck

Framework:  The Community of Inquiry model is suitable for this module of learning. 

Something to Chew on…

What I’ve outlined about could become mini-courses. While it seems overwhelming, adult educators should be able to access the components that are of value to them at the moment.  It’s not quite a “grab and go” method of learning, yet chunking it will make it manageable.


Brame, C., (2013). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved [June 14, 2018] from

College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. (2017, May 10). Retrieved June 14, 2018, from