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Digital Learning with City & Guilds

Tasked with supporting a variety of departments at an FE/HE College that covers everything from construction, to hair & beauty, motor vehicle maintenace, creative and performing arts I came across this from City & Guids.

A significant part of all the courses were deliver are City & Guilds so I am surprivised not to have come across these before. What is the point in us reinventing the wheel and creating interactive learning that already exists - for a price? 

City & Guilds Digital Learning


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Excited about ThingLink upgrades

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I have used ThingLink extensively over the last 18 months so am delighted with the upgrades even if several of them require me to learn some new techniques:

Not only is it becoming, far, far easier to use but upgrades include:

·         Content can be downloaded to use offline.

·         Audio can be added ‘in real time’ to the screen you are looking at.

·         All text added using the ThingLink editor automatically includes Immersive Audio greatly improving accessibility.

With education in mind and giving students access to the platform for project work:

·         Content can be shared, so a project can be developed collaboratively.

·         Content can be developed as an assignment with grades given for responses. So a Health & Safety tour now becomes an interactive quiz with grades given out at the end.

And much more besides! 

A choice of 65 instant language versions, tags in 360 video …

Tours themselves are already far easier to create as images are linked by selecting thumbnails of the image you want to ‘teleport’ to, rather than having to use a 27 digit URL.

 

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Elearning for Students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

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Projects for the next four months with Open Access release in the New Year. 

Using a Cash Machine (ATM)

Learning points: 

1.       How many numbers are in an individual pin

2.       How to protect yourself from others seeing your pin number

3.       The colour of the button you press once you have entered the pin number

4.       In the home screen what does each tab mean i.e. cash withdrawal, printed balance, onscreen balance etc

5.       Who should know your pin number and why is it important that no one knows your pin number (outcomes)

Approach: Linear video with synched slides and bold caption on Planet eStream. 

Crossing the Road/Puffin/Pelican crossing

Learning points: 

1.       Where and how to stand when crossing the road (well back from the edge of the kerb, looking and listening for dangers etc)

2.       Look at the dangers of crossing the road (not paying attention, walking across the road when traffic is coming, not using crossing points)

3.       Colours of the Pelican Crossing lights – Green mean go or stop

4. When crossing still be looking and listening out for traffic

Approach: Linear video with synched slides and bold caption on Planet eStream. 

The Learning Resource Centre, Broadwater 

Learning points: 

1.       Who to go for help and what help they can offer (buy pens, change password and computer advice)

2.       Where the quick read books are within the LRC

3.       360 tour of the LRC, especially chill out room (is it a chill out room?)

4.       How to start the computer

5.       How to use the printers

6. Swiping in and out of LRC

Approach: ThingLink 360 tour with interactive hot spots, tour links and voice over narration. 

Independent Travel Training

Approach: Scenario-based elearning. Video with voice over, text and interactive prompts.



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In at the Deep End

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Developing the use of 360 images and tours with 'tags' for teaching and training

Everything I learnt completing the MA ODE from 2010-2013 indicated that creating e-learning elements, or as Jilly Salmon quaintly called them 'e-tivities' required time.

My experience is that educators lack this time

The time they have to teach is precious and taken. Therefore there is a role for the Learning Technologist as the enabler, who floats between the tutor or teacher, the course content and its objectives and the students. Compared to such roles in the commercial world, the Learning Designer comes to mind, the Learning Technologist is by and large a solo operator.

The role is evolving, as are the teams and our responses. Whilst invigorated by the chance to turn things around quickly and give them a go, my hope is that as learning technologists become more closely involved in longer term curriculum planning and preparation. Over time these 'e-tivities' will get greater investment in their creation. 

In the above the use of 360 cameras have been used in a number of sports to provide classroom insight to second year BTEC Sports students. By exploring the environment they can both assess the quality and nature of teaching and coaching provision, and also do a risk assessment. 

 

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Gamification of the First World War

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 28 Aug 2014, 08:45

 Fig.1. The BBC's First World War 'game'

Powerful. Rich. Fast. Makes you think. The perfect morning opener to a history lesson - though the 'F***!' word would not be welcome. I'd question its use. Many soldiers were 'God fearing, church-going Quakers'. And it will be a barrier to its use in many schools. 

The idea of having linear drama interspersed with choices is a 'cross media' or 'multi-platform' gold standard that was dreamt about, even proposed, a decade ago - but quite impossible except at huge expense and on DVD. It offers an interesting way into narratives such as 'Sliding Doors' or 'Back to the Future' where you as the viewer and protagonist could make choices about what you do and how you respond. 

A detailed report in Creative Review

Watching Horizon last night on Allergies I was tempted to go online. Try transcribing what is said in these programmes and you might not fill a couple of sides of A4: they don't say much. For me this is a simple example of how video is often the last thing you need as a piece of learning: a TED lecture would be better, a dozen TED lectures better still.

For all the buzz and excitement around distance and online learning I wonder if the connectedness of the Internet and the gargantuan levels and variety of content is the e-learning legacy - creating the environment in which people can travel virtually rather than prescriptive learning.

More WW1 games from the BBC 

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Where did you join the throng and what's missing?

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Fig. 1. The Video Arts development journey from linear storytelling on film to multisourced, chunked, networked and open learning.

Professionally I came in with VHS - shot on Umatic then Betacam, edited on 1" tape then digitally. In 1986 Abbey National still distributed staff news on an AV slide carousel - there has always been inertia, though today change, new versions and upgrades are built into the system - or an accepted way of life. Visiting a regional BBC TV Station in 1989 I thought it was behind the production processes used in Soho and Covent Garden - the advertising industry, events and training business were all quicker to develop.

DVD are missing, as are intranets. Computer based learning in house, in a learning lab, then dispersed on internal systems developed in the mid 1990s.  You can put the Philips Laser Disc in there too - mid to late 1980s before the CD-ROM took over.

Streamling and downloads needs to be expressed very differently too - I'd give it a very thin wedge to start with. Great expectations of bandwidth from 2000 for the next decade meant that the DVD quality of 3D animationa, video and so on was impossible - yet the DVD market died. Someone the ease of distribution and ease of response on the network was considered more important.

Production values remain the thing that set Video Arts apart - and humour. If you are not paying suitable attention to the messages then it is fun to spoke the likes of Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant playing bank branch managers or other actors whose names immediately escape you but you recall from a period drama or a sit come, pops up with their arm in a sling with a health and safety story or as a junior manager with autocratic behaviours.

The laptop, after the desk top, was our first 'mobile computer' of course and today as well as the tablet Smartphones are a devise that plays a role in learning - for a start, everything I can do and read here I can manage on a Smarphone.

You do find new ways to learn - my favourite, a genuine creative problem solving technique according to an Open University MBA module I took - is to express some ideas such as this, or have a first swing at answering part of an assignment - then nod of. A ten minute sleep will do it. Either sinking into unconsciousness or coming back to consciousness I will be aware that I am dwelling on some condundrum and I just may have figured something out. Just don't do this a few hours before an assignment is due and decide as a result of your 'dream spirits' that you are going to rewrite from the top.

 

 

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Girl with a pearl earring and the use if linear narrative in e-learning

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E–learning supposes that it is online and interactive, this doesn't preclude the use of narrative. If I watch the film, Girl with a pesrl earring' then a BBC 4 Documentary in Johannes Vermeer and I go online to interact with fellow viewers, undertake research and write a blog entry or two – this is interaction, I am engaged.

Not that any learning instution has the funding to produce a movie that cost many millions. I wonder though how an executive producer might exploit the assets in this movie, certain scenes or still images for example. I like to paint and draw so the way it is illustrated in film fascinates me, in this film, shot with the eye of a Dutch Master we get some key moments in the creation of a film demonstrated, from first inspiration, to the initial presentation, the first layers and the art of mixing paints. On this score which films do I rate as showing what it is to be an artist and which do not?

Titanic. Kate Winslet - Rubbish La Belle Noissease. Emanuelle Beart - Brilliant One Summer. Liv Tyler - OK

There are many, many others. I'll add to this list and fix any inaccuracies as I go along. Please do offer your suggestions.

Back to the use of narrative, a story well told, that is memorable, relevant and inspirational. This takes craft skills that producers (production managers) and clients (sponsors) need to be reminded cost a good deal to get right. It matters that the words spoken ring true, that characters are cast with imagination, that the direction is subtle and professional. Even with a photostory scripting requires care if it is to appear authentic, and we must remembered, as shown in 'Girl with a pearl earring' that we communicate a great deal through facial expression and body language rather than by what we say.

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B822 BK2 Technique Library 'Other People's Viewpoints'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012, 05:07

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  • List three or four key people or roles
  • Allocated these to different groups
  • Get the groups to present their ideas

REF: de bono

REFERENCE

Henry, J. and Martin J.N.T. (1997) Creative Problem-Solving Guide, B882 Residential School Booklet, The Open University.

 

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When TV bends towards interactivity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 9 Feb 2011, 15:30

For a year, 2000/2001, I worked between companies and across platforms promoting a kind of experience on TV/Computer Screens that has yet to be realised.

Julius%20Ceaser%20GRAB%202.JPG

I was presenting cross-platform projects (Web and TV) with Anthony Geffen at NABs (Las Vegas) and Mip-com (Cannes).

All credit to Anthony, every pitch he made was followed by my pitch to 'make it digital.' I followed him into pitching sessions in London too ... he had a documentary to finance, could I sell the interactive element behind him.

The wrong time to have big ideas. The bubble burst.

A decade on it intrigues me that the linear experience of the TV documentary is becoming increasingly 'chunked,' more a digital experience than it cares to imagine.

Watching Rome unwrapped you'll miss something if you blink. Go for the ride. I enjoy the irrevant truth of it.

Bloke pontificating to camera amongst ruins and traffic? Not here, not often.

I blogged my way through the experience of 2000/2001.

I may see what has happened to all those people I met; they will have moved on, but I have their name, former company and email address on a piece of card (how quaint). At Learning Technologies my name badge bar code was zapped; anyone asking for a card was living in the last century.

Some Linking In to do here.

They'll find it odd or intrigueded that I can recall, almost verbatim, that conversation we had.

Anyone had a good idea recently?

On the other side of the fence are the clips that managers in Learning and Development Departments can batch together on ready-made platforms, as Video Arts are doing.

You see everyone can be creative, and it's cheaper than bying in the ... the creative.

Someone, somewhere, will have had the right combination of experiences and insights to make all of this work in a new and revolutionary way.

Rome re-lived in a virtual world?

Rome experienced with your finger on the 'zapper' through time, jumping back and through events as you would online?

Or simply watching a linear experience out of the left eye, while the right eye plays a video game on the same screen as my 12 year old does?

The mind boggles

And somewhere out of all of this we extract worth.

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The value of voice recognition software

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Feb 2011, 14:05

I have in front of me a script for a video production dated 1986. I could have typed it in by now. However, I have twenty of these to do and if I want to digitise 2.5m words from old journals and letters I may need something faster than typing it up or scanning it in.

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Voice recognition seems to be the answer and this seems to be the product.

I've been familiar with the oddly named, though brand creating 'Dragon Speaking Naturally' since it came out. Now I feel a need. I doubt it'll solve an OU H800 essay crisis, though often reading something out loud is the best test of its sense.

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Any recommendations or warnings?

I could also skip the writing/typing process entirely and turn into text what I record verbatim, for example, poolside coaching or teaching to inform fellow coaches. They can have it as a podcast and/or as text.

My aim is to find ways to get the contenst of my mind

On verra.

With all the production materials, scripts, schedules, budgets and other plans it feels retrograde to be taking a linear video production and turning it into a Power Point style presentation, but this is the plan. And to treat this as the penultimate draft before segments are replaced with video and interactive and assessment components are added.

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The topic is The Great Picture which illustrates the struggle Lady Anne Clifford had to keep an inheritance her father bequeathed to his brother Henry during his lifetime for a cash sum, so denying his then 15 year old daughter what she considered to be her rights. The painting is dated 1646.

I have the permissions to use pictures of miniatures and other portraits dated from 1986 which I'll have to renew, including the lute music copyright. I own photographs of the picture I took between 1974 and 1990 and have broadcast quality video footage of the picture too. I also have and this replica which I've just photographed on the top of the piano where the figures are the size of Ken and Barbie rather than life-size.

The Voice Artist who 'played' Lady Anne will be replaced simply because I want to re-conceive it so that 'Harry Potter style' all the figures in the painting (and the painitings of paintings) tell their own story.

We'll see.

And this is simply an exercise to see if I can make the Adobe eLearning Suite 2 software I picked up at Learning Technologies sing.

 

 

 

 

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The importance of the words

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:15

Writing is everything.

I'd master it now. Keeping a blog is a sure darned way to do that. Handwritten is fine; find yourself the perfect pen.

Writing, or rather the ability to write.

It is the key to communication, to learning and to e-learning, and a great deal else besides.

On my passport it says 'writer, director.'

I like that, though I think of my skill as a visualiser and the writing and directing is rarely TV, but corporate and classroom training, desk-top learning, and product launches, change brand and change management.  Still there can be drama in it, and tears, and death, and love, and life, and music and dance. We go underwater and scale mountains, enter shear caves of nuclear power plants and wade through sewers, track super-models along catwalks in Paris and record the last words of a man dying of cancer in Carlisle.

I see things in pictures.

Perhaps the MA in Fine Art IS what I should have started a year ago ... though I fear I may have missed out.

It's easy enough I find to get my 'hand back in' if I want to draw something as it is rather like riding a bike, or skiing in deep powder snow, or racing a Fireball, or pushing off a wall in Breaststroke and emerging from a legal transition half way down a 25m pool ... once you've put in the days, months, years (even decades) learning to do these things, barring ill-health and great age, you ought to be able to do them for some time to come.

Which reminds me, I want to crack written French in 2011.

Clients think of me as something in addition to writing and directing (I produce), but no. that's not it; there are words, voices, images, cut together and linked in various ways that form linear and non-linear assemblages, but to them I am 'a problem solved', a job delivered, with passion, on time, on budget (of course), sometimes as a team of one, but sometimes in a team of a few or many more. I do wonder if sometimes an email with the finally agreed Creative Brief is the end of the process, rather than beginning.

Today, once you've solved that you can invite everyone to come up with their own creative execution.

Now there's a thought I'd not heard coming.

All of this takes words, expressing and solving the problem and sharing this requires words. A fast, reliable typing speed helps too. So perhaps my Mum was right to get me a typewriter when I was 13 when I wanted an electric guitar.

Sometimes I find the problem for the client and share it with them in all its beautiful ghastliness.

This is what good writing means. And experience. And judgment. And belief. And your approach and thoroughness. And the write people around you. And sometimes conviction that £60,000 will deliver the job, but £600 will not.

Good writing is less about the words chosen and put on the page (unless you are a novelist or poet, and I am neither), no, good writing is a good idea, clearly expressed, in as few words as possible. (Which in due course requires editing something like this).

Who is it who said the selling is a good idea?

That all it takes to sell something, is to have a good idea.

Good writing has a purpose and the author knows how to put the words to work by addressing a problem, because you know your audience and whether you or someone else is the subject matter expert, it is your responsibility, even if the words are hidden by a creative brief, a synopsis, treatments and scripts, to get the message across ... like, with some or many images (photos, graphics, cartoons), or with the spoken words and/or similar images that move ...

A swimming club session plan written on a whiteboard to take a squad of swimmers can be beautifully written if it is magically composed, and serves its immediate purpose. The good swimming coach rarely leaves such things in the head. It is thought-out, it is planned, it fits into the scheme of things, it is the right session for that hour or two.

Good writing hits a chord; it too is of the moment.

I conclude that a good teacher, a good tutor, educator, practitioner of e-learning ... all have this ability to write well at the core of their being. They are confident with words, words that are as carefully chosen even if spoken on the fly, as a result of their experience and all the lesson plans or scripts, or class programmes, they have written in the past that bubble up to the surface when faced with a problem - a fresh student.

(My only caveat is the from the podcasts I've heard before an educator is interviewed they should at least have the wisdom to do some media training).

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Educational Technolgy or E-Learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Dec 2010, 04:18

It is interesting when the OU advertise and promote postgraduate research in e-learning that it is called technology enhanced learning.

Why? Is one the brand name, the other a descriptor.

Postgraduate Research Studentships. Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology.

'With an international reputation for research, a supportive environment and excellent research facilities, CREET offers unique opportunities for postgraduate research to study the theory, application and practice of Education, Technology Enhanced Learning, and Languages and Literacies.'

Why isn't it the Centre for Research in Education and E-learning?

Or just the Centre for Research in Education?

Was there ever a Centre for Research in Web-based learning, or computer-based learning or interactive learning?

Or is m-learning a subset of e-learning which is a subset of technology enhanced learning that is a subset of learning that is a subset of education?

I'd like to visualise this with a set of seven Semeyenov Russian nesting dolls.

Something like this, from the littlest up.

  1. m-learning
  2. computer-based learning
  3. e-learning
  4. technology-enhanced learning
  5. life-long learning
  6. education
  7. life the universe and everything

There are differences, sub-sets and overlaps. Where would i-learning go (interactive, as in Philips laser discs and CD-roms?)


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Web-Based Training (Part One)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 07:19

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Web-Based Training (WBT) (2000)

Margaret Driscoll

I bought this book in 2001. Nearly a decade on I am delighted how apt it remains, even if the term may now have been superseded by e-learning - while cyberlearning had currency for a few years too and before this we had 'interactive learning'.

Even a decade on I recommend the book.

Training and learning are in different camps, one supposing a component of applied engagement (health and safety, fixing photocopiers, burying uranium trioxide, driving a delivery van, making cars, selling phones, employee induction) while the other is essentially cognitive (though with its physicality in this kind of prestidigitation).

Yet we made ‘training programmes’ on things like cognitive behavioural therapy. Corporate and government clients had the money to do these things.

Driscoll’s definition of WBT is somewhat longer than Weller’s definition (2007) of e-learning (electronically enhanced learning with a large component of engagement on the Internet). A bit ‘wishy-washy’ my exacting Geography A’ Level teacher would have said.

Hardly a clear definition if it has a let out clause. But when was anything clear about what e-learning is or is not, or should be? The term remains a pig in a poke; its most redeeming factor being that it is a word, not a sentence, and fits that cluster of words that includes e-mail.

Web-based training Driscoll (2000) says should be:

  • Interactive
  • Non-linear
  • Easy to use graphic interface
  • Structured lessons
  • Effective use of multimedia
  • Attention to educational details
  • Attention to technical details
  • Learner control

I like that. I can apply it in 2011. I did.

I was reading ‘Web-Based Training’ (and using the accompanying CD-rom) in 2001 and then active in the development of learning, or knowledge distribution and communication websites for the NHS, FT Knowledge ... and best of all, Ragdoll, the home of Pob, Rosie and Jim, Teletubbies and the addictive pleasures of ‘The Night Garden.’

We may call ourselves students, mature students even, or simply post-graduates, but would we call ourselves ‘Adult Learners.’

It’s never a way I would have defined my clients, or rather their audiences/colleagues, when developing learning materials for them in the 1980s and 1990s. Too often they were defined as ‘stakeholders,’ just as well I saw them as people and wrote scripts per-the-script, as if for only one person.

That worked, producing for an umbrella term does not.

Adult Learning doesn’t conjure up innovative e-learning, perhaps because of the connotations Adult Learning has inelation to the catalogue of F.E. courses then comes through the door every July or August.

This definition of an ‘adult learner’ would apply to everyone doing an OU course surely?

The special characteristics of adult learners Driscoll (2000:14)

  • Have real-life experience
  • Prefer problem-centred learning
  • Are continuous learners
  • Have varied learning styles
  • Have responsibilities beyond the training situation
  • Expect learning to be meaningful
  • Prefer to manage their own learning

With some of these definitions baring more weight than others, don’t you think?

REFERENCE

And additional references used by Driscoll but not cited above:

References (Adult Learning)

Knowles (1994) Andragogy in action. Applying modern principles of adult learning.

Brookfield (1991) Understanding and facilitating adult learning

Cross (1992) Adults as learns: increasing participation and facilitating learning.

Freire (1970) A cultural action for freedom

Merriam and Caffarella (1991) Learning in adulthood

Kidd (1973) How adults learn

 

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H807 Block 3

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Now the building blocks come out. What stages must be passed through, what needs to be included, to create an effective e-learning course.

Not a teacher, so the reading will be gone over with great care.

Fascinating. Something I should have studied long ago, in the 1980s when I become involved in the production of training videos, in the 1990s when these become interactive in from 2000 as we went online.

My role? Writing and directing the video material that anchored the learning, as 10-20 minutes narrative pieces or as case studies, or vignetters to be inserted into a learning design that was of no concern to me.

Now it is.

Everything here in will be thought through not only with the ECA in mind, but with the scheduling, costing and team-creation for this project which will start looking for sponsors in July.

A focus and an incentive to learn.

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