E-Learning Analysis

E-Learning Analysis

I am really excited about the opportunity to convert a face-to-face learning to e-learning! The subject is timely and high-need- Chinese Language for Preschoolers. Since I have taught a pilot class face-to-face and am redesigning it for e-learning what are some of the differences?

There are some good articles on the internet that discuss these differences. The first is by CBT Training Courses, a computer training company and gives a brief compare and contrast between the differences, although it is slanted towards sales. They categorize affordability, multiple modalities, learning scenerios, and flexibility. Although these are significant considerations for a large-scale, commercial training, they do not really apply to my situation. In fact, flexibility is easier to achieve with face-to-face when doing an individual course. It would be an issue if I was to scale the course up to a school district level.

The second is by Accelerated Business Results, also a training development company. Their list of significant factors is geography of learners, shelf life of content, type of content, scheduling and equipment and facilities and facilitators. Here facilitators will become an important difference. Teaching preschoolers it is important to establish a productive relationship with them. They are excitable and lack focus. Having face-to-face I was able to establish a positive teacher relationship with them quickly with their primary teachers assistance. I doubt this could be done with e-learning. The relationship will not be as genuine, as I will have to resort to standards of edutainment that other e-learning products have.

What are some of the constraints I have faced? The constraints of e-learning are well documented by scholars, in education and by professionals.  But is there a way to organize these and apply it to e-learning? Hacher and Yen (2005) present a poignant discussion of this topic focused on the Theory of Constraints (TOC). They present a tool that applies TOC to e-learning. They apply Fredenall’s classification of constraints to e-learning to result in the following table:theory of constraints and elearning.jpg

This table simplifies and organizes constraints so they can be easily identified and dealt with. When I apply it to my projects learning constraints I come up with the following table:

Physical Constraints

Policy Constraints

Paradigm Constraints

  • Availability of computers

  • Students ability to use computers

  • Student assessment and privacy

  • Institutional policies for childrens safety

  • Suitable content has to be created

  • Communication with parents

 

All of these constraints affect the design of the learning and the relationship that the e-learning product will have with the learner and their family. The physical constraint of accessibility is especially challenging. I will have to talk to the lead teacher, local library and parents to discover a solution. I may also have to investigate different learning platforms that can successfully deliver the content.

Suitability of content is another significant constraint. It is easy to judge what content and presentation is working when face-to-face. In e-learning I will have to rely on research, best practices and perhaps even trial and error. Also I will have to worry about the bandwidth and how to keep the students engaged. Truly this will be a challenge of my practical creative solution skills!

Whenever designing learning it is important to pay attention to constraints and differences in presentation. But it is more important to find the best solutions to these situations.

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