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Q is for QStream

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014, 12:15

 

Format for a randomized control trial used by 'Spaced-Ed' (now QStream)

Ok, this is an odd one, but for me, over the last four years, finding out about, then reading the papers on this learning platform has shaped a good deal of my thinking and motivation. Developed by a Harvard Medic and masters postgraduate Dr Price Kerfoot, 'Spaced-Ed' as it was first called tackles the problem of forgetting; it is, to put it simply, an electronic set of flash cards. Say this to junior doctors with a hundred such cards to learn over a few months in order to pass a compulsory written exam though. Content is vital of course, but then the platform simply feeds you the 'cards' by email and link to a webpage as frequently or as infrequently as you wish - six questions in batched of three twice a week worked for me. You get all the questions back at least three times even if you get them right, while you keep getting the questions for those you get wrong UNTIL you have got it right three times. It works. Randomised controlled trials with hundreds, even thousands, show that it is an effective way to put knowledge into heads. That's just the start though. Education changes behaviour, yes, it makes better doctors, it improves decisions making, it gets them through exams.

Quality Assurance of course ought to be my 'Q' but this is like enthusing about cars Top Gear style and then saying you must remember to check the oil, breaks and tyres and have an annual MOT. I have worked professionally in QA too - it matters to check everything in the finest detail if learning is to work and clients are to be pleased.

QR Codes is simple a form of link to webpages that can be used for learning. There are other quick links to the web, including 'near field codes' and image recognition. This is like replacing the traditional car key with an electronic fob; it speeds things up. There are imaginative ways to use QR codes. During H818 I developed the idea of putting them on Commemoration Poppies to link directly to people remembered from the First World War.

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Learning in extremis

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012, 18:13
My wife went into labour at 2.30am, we'd planned a home birth (this is her second) however our hospital was some 37 miles away and our allocated Midwife was another 20 miles beyond that. SHe spoke to my wife betweenp contractions – she wouldn't make it. Call an ambulance and she'd be over in due course.

"Emergency Home Birth!" my wife exclaimed pointing at a book on pregnancy and childbirth.

Chapter six looked like it needed half an hour to read and the same again to digest; there wasn't time. Thankfully om the facing page of Chapter six the editor had laid out the essentials in clear bullet points – towels, scissors and string are the ones I remember, probably because I required all three, these and the reminder that the umbiliacal cord can get caught around the baby's throat.

And so it was, at around 3.20am, my wife on all fours at the end of the bed, towels in place that our son was born. First his head, the umbiliacal chord wrapped tightly around his throat. I eased this over his chin and around his head, surprised at how thick and tough it was – then one,the both shoulders and he feel into my arms like a muddy rugby ball out of a scrum. My wife rolled around and sitting at the end of the bed she took him into her arms.

A few minutes later the midwife arrived, thought everything was going well and went to run a bath. In due course she showed me how to cut the umbilliacal cord then took my wife to the bathroom.

Learning in extremis? I didn't need a book, or a training video and given this was 1996 I wasn't going to have Google, Quora or YouTube offer some advice.

I've had no further need for these particular parenting skills, though it's been an adventure following two infants through childhood into their early teens.

Learning works best when it is pished, when there is a challenge of time and circumstances, where it can be applied and seen to work.

How do we apply this to formal education, to stuyding for exams through secondary and tertiary education? What is the difference with learning in the workforce, between physical actions on a factory floor, in a mine, power station or warehouse, out on a civil engineering building site or in an office or boardroom?

There need to be exams – from mocks to annual exams and finals.

Essays and regualr assignments are part of this best practice. And how about tests, even the surprise test, not so much for the result, but for the pressure that ought to help fix some learning in our plastic, fickle minds?

In advertising we often spoke of 'testing to destruction' that nothing beats a clear demonstration of the products power, staying power or effectiveness in memorably extreme conditions.

I like the idea of working Against the clock, of competition too, even learning taken place, as I have heard, as someone cycles around Europe, or drives a Russian Jeep from Kazikstan back to Britain.

I believe in the view that 'it'll be alright on the night' – that you can galvanise a group to rally round when needed and those new to this game will pick up a great deal in the process; personally I loved the all nighters we did in our teens breaking one set then building another in the Newcastle Playhouse, some sense of which I repeated professionally on latae night and all night shoots, often in 'extreme' places.


Then there's another kind of learning extreme - pscking it in - QA on 240 links or proofing eight 40 frame PowerPoint e-learning wireframes.

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Testing and proof reading

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012, 05:55
I find it remarkable to be in such a valued and valuable role for e-learning. Testing might be a nearly finished or finished e-learning product, but proof reading can start with the initial proposal document and the first plans, or blue prints or wireframes for the course itself. I am therefore being a second pair of eyes to support sales, project management, learning design, build and graphics. I am looking to support, comment on or correct grammar and spelling, but also thinking about how well something communicates, whether it works or not - anything to ease the user experience, while adhering to appropriate style guides of course. Along the way I am having my own usage and abusage of English fixed, so at last I can correct who to whom, while deleting commas, and reducing the use of parentheses to aid clarity of communication.
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Quality Assurance in e-learning production

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012, 02:07
Quality = fitness for purpose

Looks right

Works

Stands up to cost-benefit analysis

This is from a book that came as the box of resources in 2001 when the MAODE was called a MAODL and the term 'e-learning' hadn't come into common usage - we called it 'online learning', or 'web-based learning' and in practice meant 'migrating content to the Web' which as an interactive DVD would typically fail to upload or play thus for a decade web-based learning was a poorer cousin of the bespoke DVD with 3D animations and oodles of specially commissioned video.

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Applied e-learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 7 Jul 2012, 13:58

If the OU MAODE is the wood, and the trees are clients or individual e-learning projects then working in Quality Assurance for a global company you could say I am like a botanist up the tree with a magnifying glass and a noteback (although in my case that would be an iPad).

All day, every day viewing and reviewing e-tivities, or learning objects, as well as scanning copy, checking layout, thinking about usability and generally as forester or gardener helping to nurture these things through.

It'll be fascinating to do my last MAODE module while in this environment (if I have any energy left at the end if each day/week).

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:02

DSC04156.JPG

I read this last in 2001; I was on the Masters in Open & Distance Learning (as it was then called).

Whilst there are hints at e-learning the closest this gets to interactive learning is the video-disc and the potential for CD-Rom. Actually, there was by then a developed and successful corporate training DVD business. In 2001 the OU sent out a box of resources at the start of the course. 16 books and a pack of floppy discs I recall to loud 'ListServe' or some such early online collaboration tool.

 

The nature of evaluation


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Evaluation Stages

  • Identify an area of concern
  • Decide whether to proceed
  • Investigate identified issues
  • Analyse findings
  • Interpret findings
  • Disseminate findings and recommendations
  • Review the response to the findings and recommendations.
  • Implement agreed actions.

There's an approach to everything. When it comes to evaluation it helps to be systematic. At what point does your approach to evaluation becoming overly complex though? Once again, think of the time and effort, the resources and cost, the skill of the person undertaking the evaluation and so on. Coming from a TV background my old producer used the expression 'pay peanuts and you get monkeys': skill and experience has a price. Evaluation or assessment, of the course and of the student (in the UK), of the student in the US.

Improvement as a result of evaluation (Kogan 1989):

The idea of summative versus formative evaluation i.e. the value of the course to achieve a task vs. aspects of the course that can be addressed and revised.

Anthropological vs. 'agricultural-botanical'.

Illuminate evaluation. People are not plants. An anthropological approach is required: Observe, interview, analyse, the rationale and evolution of the programme, its operations achievements and difficulties within the 'learning milieu'. Partlett & Hamilton (1972)

CIPP (Stufflebeam et al 1971) evaluation by:

  1. Context
  2. Input
  3. Process
  4. Product

CONTEXT: Descriptive data, objectives, intended outcomes (learning objectives)

INPUT: Strategy

PROCESS: Implementation

PRODUCT: Summative evaluation (measured success or otherwise)

UTILIZATION: None, passive and active.

CONCLUSION

 

IMG_2787.JPG

 

There are other ways to quote from this chapter:

  • Handwritten and transcribed
  • Reference to the page but this isn't an e-Book.
  • Read out loud and transcribed for me using an iPad or iPhone
  • A photo as above.

Does the ease at which we can clip and share diminish the learning experience? Where lies the value of taking notes from a teacher and carefully copying up any diagrams they do? These notes the basis for homework (an essay or test, with an end of term, end of year then end of module exam as the final test?)

GLOSSARY

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REFERENCE

Daniel, J (1989) 'The worlds of open learning', in: Pained, N (ed) open Learning in Transition, London. Kogan Page.

Partlett, M and Hamilton, D (1981) 'Evaluation as illumination: a new approach to the study of innovatory programmes. Originally published as a paper 1972 for University of Edinburgh Centre for Research in the Educational Sciences. in: Partlet, M and Dearden, G (eds), Introduction to Illuminative Evaluation: Studies in Higher Education, SRHE, University of Surrey, Guilford.

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