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Designing the Future of Portfolio-Based, Connected eLearning

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Presentation for the 2014 Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting in New Orleans

Presentation for the 2014 Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting in New Orleans

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  • The designing connections section will be a case study of Northeastern University’s Master of Education program in eLearning Design, which is intended to exemplify connected learning, and to educate the next generation of “connected eLearning designers”
  • What larger themes emerge from this laundry list? We also posed this question to over 20 thought leaders in learning design
  • We took the many ideas, similar to those that you just brainstormed, and used a yellow stickie process to post, sort, group, consolidate, and articulate our most important competencies. Here’s what we came up withImage Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38869431@N00/3703735824/
  • There has been a lot of attention given to the “backward design” of courses, in which the educator begins with a vision for outcomes, the goals for learning, and then plans backwards to develop course materials, experiences, and assessments that will support students in developing these capabilities. But what happens when you take a backward design approach to developing an entire program?We began by articulating the competencies, and then we worked backwards to articulate our mission
  • Here’s one picture of the students in our Masters program as a whole. This presentation will focus on the eLearning Design concentration.470 graduate students60% part-time, 40% full-time (implies that many are working)94% of the students take half or more of their courses online, and most are fully online.Almost equal in state and out of state, made possible through the online format
  • The program is fully online, intended for graduate students who are already working within educational settings, or who wish to transition. The Masters program as a whole has about It would be easy to think that this statement is so general that it lacks meaning, but we have found that it serves as a guide star, as we unpack these very large ideas in the program, and we also engage the students in investigation into what these big terms mean (more on that later).(Images combined)http://www.flickr.com/photos/adesignaand http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharehows
  • Many of the program competencies are the “soft” skills that are challenging to cultivate. To do this, we needed to take a different approach to learning at the graduate level that Northeastern has dubbed “Online Experiential Learning”The eLearningDesign Concentration takes a connectivistand design-centered approach that is grounded in the science and art of learning, and focused on vision and leadership. We believe that we need to model and outside-the-box approach to program design, so that we can prepare our students to innovate within the systems in which they work. These are the program’s distinctive design features -- We’ll share examples to show what we mean.Cohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationshipIntentional: Mission and CompetenciesAuthentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential LearningReflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presence
  • We’ve already examined the drivers for program design, which are its competencies and mission. Let’s take a look at the other elements, such as the ePortfolio componentCohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationshipReflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presenceIntentional: Mission and CompetenciesAuthentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential Learning
  • Randy Bass Quote Winter 2014 issue of AAC&U Peer Review
  • Portfolios are not new – they’ve been part of art education and writing education for many years. As Peter Elbow says, if you automatically learned from experience, all old people would be smart. You learn from reflecting on experience.What difference does the “e” make?The web format and levels of permission (private to public) makes it possible to explicitly link the learning that takes pace inside/outside school, at the workplace, etc.The multimedia format makes it possible to reflect different ways of knowing, make thinking visible with more than just words, and to take a holistic approach to many modes of “communication”Learning accumulates over time, can be non-linear, involves iterative reflection, often involves non-linear paths, and is about connection-making. The levels of permission also provide student with an opportunity to consider learning as a journey. In the early stages, it’s a space in which you can gain perspective on the multiple drafts of your work and thinking. Along the way, you share and receive feedback peers and faculty. Learning involves change, and therefore the learner (and others involved in formative work, should be able to see evidence of change.In later phases of development there is an opportunity to “go public” with your ideas – to make a contribution to the world’s body of knowledge. For example, a portfolio could be private during the early phases while a student is documenting learning, and then access settings can gradually made more public as they develop and improve.You can also have more than one portfolio – more than one audience, not always the teacher – and therefore it’s important to consider the audience when crafting the ePortfolio.While these features speak to the technical functionality of ePortfolio software, it’s more important to consider the pedagogies that they are designed to support, and the underlying assumptions about learning.
  • Randy Bass Quote Winter 2014 issue of AAC&U Peer Review
  • Ours is just one case study of connected learning in action, and it was developed within the context of Connect to Learning, a three year research project on ePortfolios in higher education that was developed by a consortium of 24 institutionsresearch to develop a “Catalyst for Learning” model that illustrates the institutional system that supports success.The framework integrates people (faculty, students, support staff), institutions (missions and programs), dimensions that are key to success (e.g., professional development), and design principles As you can see, it is rich and interconnected, similar to a mandala. The URL on the screen leads to the project’s site, which was just released last week at AAC&U, and it includes 220 “real world” case studies that are associated with each element in the catalyst model. These case studies include descriptions of portfolio pedagogies, and additional materials such as syllabi, specific assignments, and student ePortfolio examples.
  • Here’s an example of the evidence that surfaced during the research about the value that comes from connecting learning with portfolios.Compared the data for students in portfolio-intensive courses with data for students in courses that did not include a portfolio componentSpring 2013N=2,000
  • Another example of improvement in retention when students took more than one course that involved portfolio-intensive work. This provides additional evidence that the connections across courses increases student investment in their learningJune 201160 courses110 sections
  • Cohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationshipIntentional: Mission and CompetenciesAuthentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential LearningReflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presence
  • This visual serves as a metaphor for the program. The blue circles are clouds of content, concepts, skills, and theories – the formal curriculumThe triangles are the forest through which you will journey, the professional workin which you put learning into practiceePortfolio serves a different purpose, depending on where they are in the program, but it also provides continuityIt’s the ground that supports the passage – also helpful for connecting school & work.
  • As mentioned before, in Education as an Advanced Field of Study students learn how to access research to keep your finger on the pulse of recent developments in the field, and how to use research to improve practice. This is also where they become oriented to the portfolio componentIn the second course, How People Learn, they take a look at the program competencies, consider strengths and opportunities for growth, and develop a professional learning plan. Instead of being handed a grid or rubric (standards-based eP), they use the research skills they gained in Ed as Advanced to investigate publications and studies on the profession, flesh out their own rubric – in this way they have an opportunity to make the competencies their own. The goal is to strike a balance between standards and professional personalization.
  • In the article “Leadership Standards:Pros and cons of a competency approach” Richard Bolden and Jonathan Gosling observe that competencies are most constructive when they are used inductively, as a means for opening a dialogue about principles and promising practiceFollowing up on that idea, learners need to be involved in investigating and identifying the competencies that they intend to pursue, to build a bridge between what is (the competencies that we as educators have identified for them) and what could be (the development priorities they set in relationship to their individualized goals for the future).The Professional Learning Plan assignment provides a framework for this conversation. In the beginning, students look for “dream job” postings on the web, find white papers and opinion pieces about the future of their fields, and look for peer-reviewed publications about the proficiencies expected of people within their current/intended profession. They pool this knowledge in a class wiki. The next week, they compare the wiki work with the program/concentration outcomes, which are embedded in their ePortfolios. They consider their strengths, gaps, and priorities for development, and develop a first draft of a Professional Learning Plan that they place in their portfolios in the outcomes area. In the following weeks they receive faculty feedback and comments from peers, and revise their plans. This is something they can use as a guidestar and/or modify as they progress through their program – long after the course is over.
  • 1/3 of the way through your program, they take a course entitled “connecting theory with practice” during which they Review portfolio of work, consider what have learned about eLearning research and theory, Work with faculty and an employer to develop an experiential learning plan for a significant piece of work to complete as their biggest accomplishment in the program. They can elect to do this with your current employer, orwe will help them connect with a professional setting to do this work.
  • Increased his ability to implement what he created during coursework within his workplace (experiential learning, connecting inside and outside of school)
  • They carry outexperiential work independentlyfor the duration of the program, in parallel with your other courses, but they won’t be totally on their own. As with C2L’s partner portfoliosThey document your work in eP and the program holds periodic virtual gatherings – Using a process similar to C2L’s Jam structureto share work, discuss discoveries and challenges with both peers and faculty, & receive feedbackIt’s called Online Experiential Learning or Virtual Co-op
  • This example is from a course that I teach entitled How People Learn. The exercise helps me get a better idea of how my students conceptualize “learning” as they are coming into the class. At the beginning of the term, each student uses https://bubbl.us to create a concept map. They place the word “learning” in the center of their map and then place at least 10 terms that they associate with the term learning on the map. This allows me, and them, to see what’s in the “bubble over their heads” regarding the course topic.Then they share maps and do a set of readings. In addition to comparing their own maps, they are asked to consider what the maps of the reading authors would look like if those people were also participating in the assignment.Following the discussion, they revise their maps and upload them into their portfolios. Two examples are on the slides. As you can see, the second maps demonstrate significant development in their cognitive links. At the end of the assignment, students are asked to upload their beginning and revised maps into their ePortfolios.Here’s a quote from one person’s portfolioThis was a fun and eye-opening exercise. I look forward to revisiting this later in the program to see how I have evolved in my thinking about learning.The quote indicates a forward orientation, intent to connect this course with future courses, and to track his development as a learner over time. This exercises could be done without the final step of putting it in an ePortfolio, but based on these and other quotes I believe that the portfolio helps them consider the cumulative learning across course, and across time.
  • Can represent many ways of knowing – going beyond text to incorporate sounds, images, and video
  • During the capstone coursethey bring it all together. They will use Melissa Peet’s Integrative Knowledge Portfolio workshop process to turn their program-based portfolio into a portfolio that speaks to their core professional strengths This also includes consideration of their presence and substance in social media – which can also be embedded in their portfolios. If they choose to port it to another platform that is okay, too.They Presenting their experiential work with peers, faculty, employers, and even the general public if they wish.
  • It was an opportunity to integrate my personality with my education … It personalized my notes, my projects, readings, and was organized for my personal needs.It enhanced my ability to reflect on my learning experience, my space where I could gather my thoughts. I felt like I had a place to contain my knowledge – that sometimes, honestly, can escape me!The process itself reinforced what I learned and by memorializing new information in my e-P it significantly improved my ability to retain what I learned.
  • The portfolio process is designed to help students synthesize the formative work that they create during the program…. and consider how they will represent their professional identity online, in a range of tools and contexts – their connected self
  • Work samples with reflection(evidence of learning) Learning across time (courses, programs, profession)Assessment in relationship to goals (program level competencies and outcomes)The learning that happens inside and outside of school(e.g., co-op, workplace)Students as authors for academic and non-academic audiences (extending beyond peers and teachers)
  • Reminder that the Connect to Learning, Catalyst for Learning website provides a wealth of resources at http://c2l.mnrc.org
  • Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL, pronounced "able"), founded in 2008 Founded in 2008 by Trent Batson and Judy Williamson Batson. Trent was also one of the earliest leaders in the field of ePsFocuses on the body of theory and practice that is developing around ePortfoliosTheir annual conference, held in Boston each summer, is one of the largest events focused on ePortfolios in the country
  • We’ve covered a lot of ground in a short time, so please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or give me a call if you have additional questions about our program.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Designing the Future of Portfolio-Based, Connected eLearning Gail Matthews-DeNatale, Ph.D. Northeastern University, Graduate School of Education College of Professional Studies https://northeastern.digication.com/gails_eportfolio http://neu.mcnrc.org
    • 2. Today • The Crystal Ball • Designing for Connections • National Resources
    • 3. The Crystal Ball If connected learning is the future, what skills and abilities will next generation learning designers need in order to help shape and create that future? (Images combined) http://www.flickr.com/photos/adesigna http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharehows 3
    • 4. Thoughts From This Group Connected Learning Designers: Characteristics & Capabilities #CLDCC Next Gen Learning Designers need to … Understand how to generate affect and connection virtually Understand how to be creative and live out of the box Ability to inspire students to take advantage of informal, collaborative learning strategies … in virtual environments How adults learn digitally To have done what they’re talking about, have had a connected learning experience from the student perspective 4
    • 5. 5
    • 6. Our Best Guess … Based on Lots of Conversations Masters of Education eLearning Design • Systems Thinker • Professional Expertise • Communicator • Contextual Cognizance • Creative Problem Solver • Leadership and Vision • Culturally Responsive 6
    • 7. Case Study: M.Ed. By The Numbers Size ~470 Active Students Profile +60% attend part time Format 100% fully online Concentrations 4 Gender 73% female Region 56% in state, 44% out of state 7
    • 8. Program Development: Backwards Design The M.Ed. program at Northeastern develops educators with the skills and intellectual acumen to be effective, to question systemic norms, and to anticipate and shape a more equitable, globally connected society. (Images combined) http://www.flickr.com/photos/adesigna http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharehows The eLearning concentration equips graduates to anticipate and shape the future of next generation connected learning within a technology rich landscape. 8
    • 9. Designing for Connections … Distinguishing Features Intentional: Mission and Competencies Reflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presence Cohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationship Authentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential Learning 9
    • 10. Designing for Connections Intentional: Mission and Competencies Reflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presence Cohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationship Authentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential Learning 10
    • 11. ePortfolios are decidedly not the hottest thing in higher education. Randy Bass Peer Review 2014 11
    • 12. ePortfolios: What They Are Portfolio purposeful collection + student work + reflection (Paulson, F.L. Paulson, P.R. and Meyer, 1991) ePortfolio = all of the above … + web-based + multiple formats and media + links, non-linear pathways + capacity to share with a larger audience (Polklop, 2013) 12
    • 13. The technology of ePortfolios, though enabling or inhibiting, is not the crux of the “it” that makes ePortfolios effective. ePortfolios are at heart a set of pedagogies and practices that link learners to learning, curriculum to the co-curriculum, and courses and programs to institutional outcomes. - Randy Bass, Peer Review Winter 2014 “The Next Whole Thing in Higher Education” 13
    • 14. 220 Case Studies and Practices Available Online http://c2l.mcnrc.org
    • 15. ePortfolio Evidence Improvement Correlation
    • 16. ePortfolio Evidence Intensifier Effect 16
    • 17. Designing for Connections Intentional: Mission and Competencies Reflective: ePortfolio, professional development/presence Cohesive: Gateway + courses designed in relationship Authentic: Signature Assignments, Experiential Learning 17
    • 18. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Ed as Field of Study How People Learn Models for Learning Design Professional Learning Plan Connecting Theory with Practice Design as Collab. Profession Capstone Social Media Revise/Present Work to Others Review Portfolio Plan Project Tech. as Medium for Learning Professional Portfolio Experiential Learning Proposal Experiential Learning Work Professional Integration & Presence Learning Portfolio Open Learning Showcase Portfolio 18
    • 19. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Design as Collab. Profession Capstone How People Learn Connecting Theory with Practice Social Media Revise/Present Work to Others Models for Learning Design Review Portfolio Plan Project Tech. as Medium for Learning Professional Portfolio Professional Learning Plan Experiential Learning Proposal Experiential Learning Work Professional Integration & Presence Ed as Field of Study Learning Portfolio Open Learning Showcase Portfolio 19
    • 20. Personalized & Transparent Expectations “I am at a changing point in my career … I am now leading the team to move our corporate learning models to online learning modalities … Although this is an exciting project, this also is a time where I need to consider my next professional steps.” + Professional Learning Plan
    • 21. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Ed as Field of Study How People Learn Models for Learning Design Professional Learning Plan Connecting Theory with Practice Review Portfolio Plan Project Experiential Learning Proposal Learning Portfolio Design as Collab. Profession Capstone Social Media Revise/Present Work to Others Open Learning Tech. as Medium for Learning Professional Portfolio Experiential Learning Work Professional Integration & Presence Showcase Portfolio 21
    • 22. Student Voices MIKE W. “I am very pleased with my group project results — even more so that we could take the module we developed and, with very little tweaking, put it to use in our own settings. … I have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in redefining education at my workplace. I’m very grateful for the knowledge I received and the two colleagues and Professor who helped shape my knowledge in this area.”
    • 23. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Ed as Field of Study Design as a Collaborative Profession Connecting Theory with Practice Open Learning Revise/Present Work to Others Review Portfolio Plan Project Technology as Medium for Learning Professional Portfolio Experiential Learning Proposal Experiential Learning Work Professional Integration & Presence How People Learn Models for Learning Design Professional Learning Plan Social Media Capstone Learning Portfolio Showcase Portfolio 23
    • 24. Signature Assignment: Visible Thinking “I look forward to revisiting this later in the program to see how I have evolved in my thinking about learning.”
    • 25. Student Voices STEPHANIE H. “I am able to share my learning in a colorful, creative way. This format allows me to bring words to life, allowing my reader to see inside my journey and not just words on a paper … Some images and videos I chose to include convey meanings that are otherwise hard to capture. Through my voice you hear my passion and purpose for my work.”
    • 26. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Ed as Field of Study Connecting Theory with Practice Design as Collab. Profession Review Portfolio Plan Project Tech. as Medium for Learning Experiential Learning Proposal Experiential Learning Work How People Learn Models for Learning Design Professional Learning Plan Learning Portfolio Social Media Open Learning Capstone Revise/Present Work to Others Professional Portfolio Professional Integration & Presence Showcase Portfolio 26
    • 27. Student Voices TAMARA D. “It was an opportunity to integrate my personality with my education, a space where I could gather my thoughts and memorialize them. The process of entering that information reinforced what I learned and enhanced my ability to reflect on my experience. I had a place to contain my knowledge that sometimes, honestly, can escape me!”
    • 28. eLID Curriculum Foundation Courses Ed as Field of Study Connecting Theory with Practice Design as Collab. Profession Capstone Social Media Revise/Present Work to Public Review Portfolio Plan Project Tech. as Medium for Learning Professional Portfolio Experiential Learning Proposal Experiential Learning Work Professional Integration & Presence How People Learn Models for Learning Design Professional Learning Plan Learning Portfolio Open Learning Showcase Portfolio 28
    • 29. Connected Learning Integrates • Evidence with reflection • Assessment with purpose • Experiences inside and outside of school • Personal and professional growth • Authentic work for academic and nonacademic purposes and audiences • Learning across time, places, and people 29
    • 30. Organizations 31
    • 31. Thank You! Gail Matthews-DeNatale Northeastern Graduate School of Education Senior Faculty Concentration Lead for the M.Ed. in eLearning Design g.matthews-denatale@neu.edu http://northeastern.digication.com/gails_eportfolio 32

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