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Anna Greathead

TMA01 and innovations I would like to see in my context

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Sunday, 10 Mar 2019, 19:35

TMA01 is not flowing! This is a shame as it's very well suited to me. My context is one in which innovations in eLearning and innovation generally is encouraged. Our ideas are often more innovative that software, technology, person hours and staff capacity can manage! I think I could write the whole document based on my ideas and experience but I know I've got to reference other experiences, ideas and attempts. This is what's killing me! The OU library can be like an Aladdin's cave of wonder.... or it can be otherwise!

So here's the bones of my TMA without the academic underpinnings - just purely a list of which innovations I think could work for us and why.

1. Adaptive learning - this is a grandchild of learning analytics. Learning Analytics tracks the engagement of individual learners - the number of times they login, the length of time they stay logged in, the number of clicks, the results etc. and this is used as a proxy for how hard the student is working. In fairness it's probably reasonably accurate for being so blunt. The use of cohort data - both current and historical - can enable some predictive analysis where patterns can be identified from former learners and recognized in current learners giving the learning institution some statistical insight into likely outcomes. If hundreds of students have been studied in the past and all of those who passed gained over 50% in a particular exercise then students scoring 49% can be identified and intervention can be offered. Adaptive learning is the third generation where the analysis of data from a large number of students is analyzed and a individualized learned program is then automatically generated. Learners who struggle with one subject area, or one type of exercise, or one question format can not only be identified but their own specific needs can be met by refresher sessions in their area of struggle, extension lessons on their area of strength and where subjects have been fully mastered the system can know not to revisit them. 

In my context this would be a HUGE amount of work. To begin with we would need to move to an alternative software provider which could collect tracking data. We would then need to retrospectively code our questions for subject area, skills being tested, question format and any other qualities which may make a difference (length of question, sophistication of language etc). It would take some years to be fully adaptive but we could, I believe, quite quickly be able to identify weaker subject areas and ensure learners were tested in these more regularly.

2. Bring your own device - this is exactly what it sounds like! The courses my company run are mostly to assist learners to prepare for an exam - all of the exams are onscreen. Currently we either show the question on a presentation screen for the number of seconds an average question takes in the exam whilst the students fill in an answer sheet, or we give paper handouts. Both options have weaknesses as neither prepare the learner for their actual exam. Marking can be tricky and the company has no means of tracking what the learners are doing. Under this idea we would require learners to bring a laptop (fully charged) to the course and use some means to enable them to all sit an assessment online. This would replicate the exam experience better and also potentially give the company useful learning analysis data. 

There are problems with this idea. Many venues simply would not have good enough internet access for over 100 learners to all login at once. Even fewer venues would have 100 plug sockets to allow 100 laptops to be plugged in at once. Even the instruction to ensure the device was fully charged would be inadequate if a long exam were to be taken. Arranging access to the exam could be done in a number of ways but from the company's perspective the concerns would be a) ensuring access could only happen at the course for copyright reasons, to protect the integrity of the experience for future delegates and to keep the online and course services separate; b) ensuring access was easily arranged so that there are no complex steps which may delay the start of the mock exam; c) having a few 'back up' laptops for genuine cases of 'laptop death' on the day or laptops being unexpectedly incompatible with our service. 

3. QR Codes - it is surprising how popular physical things are in this digital age and in recent months our physical products (revision cards, books, resources) have been very popular. It is good to be able to direct learners to places for further study in printed matter and the QR code is an excellent way of doing this. Acting as a 'bar code' a mobile phone can scan the code and open up links on the internet which can lead to vast amounts of further information. 

Generating a QR code is easy and adding it to printed matter is little more than a 'copy and paste' scenario. All of our QR codes will lead to pages which we own. If we link to external pages there is every chance the page will eventually be edited or retired and the code be rendered useless. Pages we own can link onwards to external sources but the control of that will remain with us. We are planning for QR codes to lead to mini question banks, video material, written resources and audio files. 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Vicky Devaney, Sunday, 10 Mar 2019, 20:12)
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