®Carla Downing, Ph. D.Vice President of Product Developmentand Academic SupportOctober 2010
IntroductionAt a recent gathering of provosts from across the nation, George Mehaffy, a vicepresident of the American Asso...
instructional content and monitor the learning process. However, it’s likely that evenafter reviewing the research finding...
When learners encounter new learning material, they generally want to approach in oneof two ways—either they initially wan...
balance, stability, and support. It’s widely accepted among athletes and workoutenthusiasts that exercises that focus on t...
andragogy is the term used to describe the methods and techniques used in thedevelopment of instructional content or learn...
evidence-based practices in online learning, “available research evidence suggests thatpromoting self-reflection, self-reg...
educator to say these words, what takes place in the learning setting is often focusedmore on the educator than the studen...
department and university as well. However, now that the time has come for him       to be able to make good on his commit...
added components that may do more to distract than support learners. This wreakshavoc on the cognitive faculties of learne...
Don’t be too quick to compromise from the instructional perspective. You can      have it all more often than the IT team ...
SourcesClark, R. C. 2008. Building expertise: Cognitive methods for training and performance       improvement. 3rd ed. Sa...
Travers, R. M. W. 1962. A study of the relationship of psychological research to      educational practice. In Training re...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Developing Online Programs with IMPACT

687 views

Published on

A Model for Developing Learner-Focused Courses and Programs

Published in: Education, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
687
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
13
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
11
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Developing Online Programs with IMPACT

  1. 1. ®Carla Downing, Ph. D.Vice President of Product Developmentand Academic SupportOctober 2010
  2. 2. IntroductionAt a recent gathering of provosts from across the nation, George Mehaffy, a vicepresident of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, opened ameeting by challenging his colleagues to get serious about the process of change inAmerican higher education. He went on to state, “It is important that we resolve tomake substantive change —major changes, not changes around the margins—and thatwe do so with a fierce sense of urgency" (Lederman 2010).Most adults over a certain age accept the fact that change is inevitable. However,change takes on a whole new meaning when you’re the person responsible for leading,managing, and ensuring the lasting impact of the changes being made. And, while you’dbe hard pressed to find a well-informed supporter of the status quo, few are optimisticthat easily implemented solutions are available to address the string of issues facingAmerican higher education. However, many institutions of higher education are findingthat partnerships are instrumental in the development of innovative, research-based,online learning solutions.The IMPACT® Model for eLearningThough the origin of the field of instructional systems design (ISD) can be traced backto the 1950s and the need for programmed instruction during World War II (Reiser1998), ISD has not been widely accepted as the model by which traditional classroom-based instruction should be developed. However, it has been accepted and embracedby the corporate learning sector as the standard by which all learning material should bemeasured (Kemp, Morrison, and Ross 1998). Instructionally sound design of learningmaterial is the goal of every educator at all levels; but few employ the principles andmethods required to ensure their learners enjoy an instructionally sound experience.Why is this?The answer lies in the fact that the success of a learning experience, in military andcorporate settings, is determined by such things as how effectively and efficientlycontent can be learned and implemented, as well as how quickly the organization willsee a return on the investment of the dollars spent on the learning experience. Whilesuch measures are not always at the forefront of traditional education, there areimportant principles and methods that have evolved out of the use of ISD that provide amore instructionally sound learning experience no matter the setting. Whetheraddressing the skills required to write a term paper, deliver a speech, or design asimulation of a manufacturing process, all learners deserve to learn using methods thatbest teach the skill and meet their individual learning needs.A vast collection of journal articles, reports, and texts can be found to support the notionthat there are valuable benefits to using a learning management system to deliver 1 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. instructional content and monitor the learning process. However, it’s likely that evenafter reviewing the research findings and reports available on the successes andfailures of online learning, there are several questions that remain unansweredregarding the design, development, and implementation of a successful online program.Too few of the articles available provide step-by-step guidelines for implementation of aprogram that improves the quality of the instructional process, increases learnersatisfaction, improves content mastery, and helps manage faculty workload through useof technology. Let’s examine a few of the strengths of online learning within theframework provided by The College Network’s IMPACT® model for development ofsuccessful online courses/programs. The IMPACT® model provides insight and bestpractices in six different areas where issues and missteps commonly occur in thedevelopment of online courses and programs. ndividualized Learning easurable Results edagogy, Andragogy, and SCORM ppealing to Faculty/Subject Matter Experts ognitive Support Strategies echnology Based (not driven)Individualized LearningOne of the most valuable benefits of online instruction is that courses can be designedand developed so that a learner can use resources based on how he or she learns. Areport published by the U.S. Department of Education shared research findings tosupport the notion that allowing learners to control the learning experience throughtechnology-based options improves learning (U.S. Department of Education 2009).While learners do not need to be offered seemingly unlimited options, the types ofoptions offered should be determined by learner characteristics such as learning style orcognitive style. Since learning style generally receives much more attention thancognitive style, let’s focus on how an understanding of cognitive style can lend itself tothe development of environments that support individualized learning.NOTE: There’s much discussion regarding the accommodation of learning styles but farless understanding of the role of cognitive style in the development of an online learningexperience. In addition to a learner’s sensory preferences for taking in the information(learning style), learners must also consider their cognitive or structural preferences aswell as how they perceive different amounts of information (cognitive style). 2 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. When learners encounter new learning material, they generally want to approach in oneof two ways—either they initially want to understand the big picture, or they prefer tofocus on the details first. Those whose cognitive style is more global than analytical willprobably want a high level of the situation before being presented the details. On thecontrary, a person who is more analytic in nature may prefer to know the details firstand then build to the big picture. Generally speaking, this directly corresponds tocognitive styles in which learning/understanding is involved.Learners with a global cognitive style may want to read an overview or introduction to atopic first. Then they might go back and learn the key terms, concepts, etc. necessary tomaster the content. The analytic learner, however, may prefer to learn key terms firstand then move on to key concepts. While in the past some researchers argued that onestyle was better than the other, today it is more generally accepted that as long as thelearner can regulate the learning experience to meet his or her needs, both styles arereadily found in successful learners.The flexibility of today’s technology allows us to create environments in which theindividual needs of a variety of learners can be readily addressed independent oflearning style, cognitive style, social preferences, comfort with technology,personal/family schedules, or the availability of instructors. The extent to which we cancombine faculty expertise, instructional systems design methodologies, and effectiveuse of the technology available to facilitate, monitor, and evaluate learning willdetermine the extent to which a learning experience can be individualized. In a well-designed learning environment, learners with vastly different learning styles can studythe same course material but tailor their approach to the content in a manner that bestsuits their cognitive style and learning style.Measurable ResultsThe use of behavioral objectives is powerful from both the learning and teachingperspectives. From the learner’s perspective, a goal is always more effectively andefficiently reached if the goal is clearly understood (Gagne, Briggs, and Wager 1992). Inan instructional situation, the behavioral objective is a statement that outlines whatlearners must do to demonstrate that they have reached the goal set forth in the lesson.From the instructor’s perspective, a behavioral objective clearly defines the behaviorthat must be exhibited by the learner to demonstrate mastery of the content. All toooften that is where conversation ends when it comes to use of behavioral objectives.The importance of behavioral objectives should be examined from several perspectiveswhen developing coursework. Let’s use an analogy to explore the importance ofbehavioral objectives as they function similarly to the core of the human body—themany muscles that connect the stomach, back, and hips of the human form and provide 3 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. balance, stability, and support. It’s widely accepted among athletes and workoutenthusiasts that exercises that focus on the core improve performance and reduceinjuries (Purton 2007).In studying equitation, one learns the importance of the core when learning to controlthe horse with ever-so-slight movements of shoulders, arms, fingers, and especiallylegs. The same is true of behavioral objectives when developing a course. An ever-so-slight change to a course’s objectives can make the difference between learners feelingthey have been served well versus feeling they have merely been provided with usefulinformation.Figure 1: The Role of Behavioral ObjectivesA strong set of behavioral objectives provides a solid core for each lesson in a courseand ensures that program competencies, course outcomes, lesson objectives, andevaluations work together to strengthen the effectiveness of the learning experience.When developed in alignment with program and course competencies/outcomes,behavioral objectives guarantee that course materials support the successfulachievement of the competencies/outcomes necessary for the learner to successfullycomplete the course/program (Figure 1). As such, when instructional strategies andevaluations are developed in alignment with behavioral objectives, it confirms that onlythose who master the necessary skills, concepts, and principles successfully completeeach course and advance in the program. Effective use of behavioral objectivesensures that each test item of each course included in a program is actually measuringthe learner’s mastery of the necessary material.Pedagogy, Andragogy, and SCORMGenerally, pedagogy is still the term used to describe the methods and techniques usedin the development of instructional content or learning experiences for children, while 4 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. andragogy is the term used to describe the methods and techniques used in thedevelopment of instructional content or learning experiences for adults. However, theassumptions upon which these theories are based are more widely attributed tocognitive style and individual differences than simply the age of the learner (Knowles1980).Consider the following basic andragogical and pedagogical assumptions put forth byKnowles in his text, The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy toAndragogy (1980). Pedagogical Assumptions Andragogical Assumptions Learner takes a dependent approach to Learner takes an independent/self-directed learning approach to learning Learner does not have much personal Learner has many experiences through experience upon which he or she can draw which learning is filtered, making it more when reflecting on learning content personally meaningful Learner views education as a process of Learner views education as a process of acquiring subject matter content developing increased competenceCombining the use of pedagogical and andragogical strategies is a manageable optionthrough the use of SCORM (sharable content object reference model). SCORM hasbeen used in corporate environments to facilitate, monitor, and evaluate learning forquite some time. By integrating use of SCORM-compliant packages into an onlinecourse, a learner’s level of dependence/independence can be better supported. Thiscan be achieved using several strategies such as increasing the number of examplesavailable to assist those with fewer life experiences or providing material that focuseson the importance of developing competence.From the higher education perspective, the power of SCORM is found in that it allowsfor the needs of the learner and the requirements of the course or program to be met.With the use of SCORM, learners can function as dependently or independently as theychoose, due to the fact that additional options can be provided to help learners makemeaningful connections as they build their knowledge base. By using an online coursedevelopment model that combines both andragogical and pedagogical methods, thecourse becomes more effective in its ability to meet the needs of a wide variety oflearners. In fact, through combined use of andragogical strategies, pedagogicalstrategies, and SCORM, the experience can be customized by the learner based onhow the learner learns best.As seen in Figure 2, the combination of effective technology (SCORM), ISD, andfaculty support/expertise creates the ideal learning experience for learners of varyingcognitive styles, learning styles, communication and social preferences, and abilitylevels. According to the U.S. Department of Education report published in 2009 on 5 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. evidence-based practices in online learning, “available research evidence suggests thatpromoting self-reflection, self-regulation, and self-monitoring leads to more positiveonline learning outcomes.” This shouldn’t be at all surprising since research findings inthe areas of adult learning and neuroscience also support the notion that reflection andmetacognitive strategies lead to more positive learning outcomes in general; that is,independent of the medium used to deliver the instruction (Zull 2006; Knowles, Holton,Swanson 2005).Figure 2: The Ideal Learning ExperienceAppealing to Faculty/Subject Matter ExpertsBeing able to deliver more quality learning experiences with fewer resources seems tobe the recurring topic of discussion at colleges and universities nationwide. Is it possibleto do more with less? What role can technology play in achieving more with less?For the most part higher education in America hasn’t changed much since the foundingof the Colonial Colleges beginning in 1636 when it comes to delivery of information andwho’s at the center of the teaching/learning process. Although it doesn’t feel good as an 6 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. educator to say these words, what takes place in the learning setting is often focusedmore on the educator than the student, which is odd since we know that learning takesplace in one’s mind, not the classroom per se.There is certainly a time and place when all eyes and ears should be focused on theprofessor, whether virtually or in a traditional classroom. However, allowing individuallearners to learn as they learn best via a system that can deliver, monitor, and evaluatethat learning according to the needs of the learner can only be a good thing, right? Theanswer is a resounding “Yes!” But again, too often the conversation stops there withoutaddressing the fact that once you implement a course design model and system toaccommodate the individual needs of learners, faculty members can enjoy the benefitsof a more focused impact on the overall quality of the learning experience. This can beachieved by allowing faculty to bring their subject matter expertise to the forefront of theteaching experience and ensure that mastery occurs at appropriate cognitive levelsConsider the following scenarios: Scenario I Samantha Griffin is at the top of her professorial game. She’s the type of faculty member chairs and deans wish they could clone. She’s not only talented, collegial, and conscientious but also highly motivated and a team player. Students love taking her classes. The Problem—Samantha is an integral part of a phenomenal program that is growing exponentially. She teaches core courses for the program and now her courses are gaining the attention of students completing other degree programs. Samantha and her colleagues want to be able to open up her classes to other students. However, they want to ensure that they continue to serve their students with the utmost care and attention. How can they take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity for their department to gain campus-wide attention without overloading Samantha or disserving her students? Scenario II Darryl Norton is another top-notch faculty member on the opposite side of campus. He approached earning tenure with such focus that he actually made it look easy. Now that he has tenure under his belt, he’s in a position to explore some extremely prestigious international opportunities. The Problem—Darryl’s department chair has always told him that once he earned tenure he’d be happy to help Darryl take advantage of some of the opportunities coming his way; after all, Darryl’s success is good for the 7 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. department and university as well. However, now that the time has come for him to be able to make good on his commitment, his chair finds himself faced with the resignation of another member of Darryl’s specialization team. He can’t lose both of them during the same semester—even if one loss is temporary. How can he make this work for Darryl, the department, and the students? Scenario III So many first-year students show up on campus in need of remediation in one or more of the basics. Many of them struggle initially but find ways to keep their heads above water through use of campus-based tutorial services or private tutors. However, the student support infrastructure was not designed to provide so much assistance to so many for so long and now some of the services appear to be caving in under the added pressure. There must be a method for addressing the needs of these students while meeting the criteria set forth by the interdepartmental committee responsible for examining the situation and providing suggestions.Different variations on these scenarios arise every day on campuses across the nation.The College Network can provide proven methods to increase learner satisfaction,faculty satisfaction, and the instructional viability of both online and traditional coursesso that more students can be effectively served without overtaxing the faculty membersor reducing the quality of the education provided. Imagine being able to increase thenumber of students enrolled in a course while also providing a more individualizedlearning experience.Cognitive Support StrategiesEducational researchers have relied on an empirical approach to the design andimprovement of instruction for centuries. As far back as the 1600s, Comeniussuggested that inductive methods be used to analyze and improve the instructionalprocess (Reiser 1989). Again, “in the mid 1800s Johann Herbart, a German educator,suggested that scientific research be used to guide instructional practice” (Travers1962).Our appreciation for research-based instructional methods grew in the 1900s withfocused emphasis being achieved in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the useof increasingly sophisticated technology in the study of instructional methods hasopened entirely new dimensions for being able to monitor and examine learningbehavior as it relates to cognitive load and support strategies. Unfortunately, at thesame time, the ease of which information can be added to an online course has led tothe seemingly unlimited inclusion of articles, YouTube videos, and other randomly 8 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. added components that may do more to distract than support learners. This wreakshavoc on the cognitive faculties of learners. When one considers the role of managingcontent in the self-directed learning process, an understanding of cognitive load is ofparticular importance.Consider the following questions based on the work of Clark and Mayer (2008): 1. How much information can an individual handle in one lesson, module, or unit? 2. Does layout of the information affect what takes place in the learner’s mind? 3. Will the instructional components included in the lesson be attended to differently based on cognitive load preferences and cognitive style?How an educator/designer responds to these three questions during the design anddevelopment of online course material will have a measurable impact on the ability oflearners to efficiently master the instructional content. According to research, we cansupport the generation of new neural networks and strengthen existing ones bydesigning learning experiences that facilitate learning. Educators can actually designinstructional content in a manner that leads to change in a learner’s brain (Zull 2002,Iverson 2009).Technology Based, Not DrivenToo often we focus on the ways in which technology decreases human interactionrather than how it can improve human interaction. After all is said and done, it’simportant to keep in mind that technology should not be the focal point of the learningexperience but rather the foundation upon which individualized, instructionally soundlearning experiences are based. But what does that mean and how do we ensure thatthis is actually the case?Here’s a few of the basic tenets utilized by TCN to ensure the effective use oftechnology in online learning: Align all technology with an instructional goal (stated differently—integrate only those technological options that support or facilitate cognitive processing of information). Get a well-qualified instructional technologist to work with you as you consider the pros and cons of different technological features. Increasing the timeliness and quality of feedback is a great reason to integrate more technology into online and traditional courses. There is a substantial pool of research available to help with best practices in this area of design/development. 9 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Don’t be too quick to compromise from the instructional perspective. You can have it all more often than the IT team wants you to believe. The instructional integrity of a course or program is worth fighting for (if necessary). It’s widely accepted that 40 to 65 percent of a given learner population will have a preference toward visual content (vuDAT 2009, Silverman 2005, Reed 2007). That being said, it is important to design learning environments and content that learners want to look at/interact with for long periods of time. The insight gained from the body of research on the visual design of learning environments should be integrated into all online learning projects; be sure to include a graphic/visual designer on your project team who understands everything from white space to the use of color and reading patterns.ConclusionThe College Network has developed courses for adult learners based on the IMPACTmodel discussed throughout this paper. The model allows for better student outcomesby allowing learners to acquire knowledge in the way that is best suited for theirindividual behavioral and learning styles. Courses developed using the IMPACT modelare ideal for institutions seeking a curriculum or individual courses that have the mostbeneficial student results with the least amount of faculty development effort.The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACECREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 45 of The CollegeNetworks courses. The American Council on Education, the major coordinating bodyfor all the nations higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and aunifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy throughadvocacy, research, and program initiatives.For more than 30 years, colleges and universities have trusted ACE CREDIT to providereliable course equivalency information to facilitate their decisions to award academiccredit. For more information, visit the ACE CREDIT website athttp://www.acenet.edu/acecreditBy using The College Network’s IMPACT learning solution, not only will you receiveaccess to the 45 courses recommended for ACE CREDIT, but an instructor module willprovide your faculty with full control over the course content and student interaction aswell. We also offer several options for customizing the learning environment to meetyour specific university needs.Contact The College Network for more information regarding this opportunity or visit ourweb site to learn more about our organization. www.collegenetwork.com 10 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. SourcesClark, R. C. 2008. Building expertise: Cognitive methods for training and performance improvement. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Clark, R. C., and R. E. Mayer. 2008. eLearning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Clark, R., F. Nguyen, and J. Sweller. 2006. Efficiency in learning: Evidence-based guidelines to manage cognitive load. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Gagne, R. M., ed. 1987. Instructional technology: Foundations. New York: Routledge.Gagne, R. M., L. J. Briggs, and Wagner. 1992. Principles of instructional design.Gagne, R. M. and Glaser, R. 1987. In Gagne 1987, Chapter 3.Reiser, Robert A. 1987. Instructional technology: A history. In Gagne 1987, Chapter 2.Iverson, K. M. 2009. The write brain: How to educate and entertain with learner- centered writing. Performance Improvement 48(7).Knowles, M. 1980. The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Cambridge Book Company.Knowles, M.S., Holton, E.F., Swanson, R.A. 2005. The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.Lederman, D. 2010. Putting it to provosts. Inside Higher Education, August 2.Morrison, G. R., S. M. Ross, and J. E. Kemp. 1998. Designing effective instruction. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons.Purton, J. 2007. The core of the matter. Runner’s World, May 2. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7124,s6-393-394--11878-0,00.html (accessed September 14, 2010).Reed, S. 2007. Learning your way. trainingmagazine.com (accessed September 14, 2010).Silverman, L. K. 2005. Upside-down brilliance: The visual-spatial learner. Denver, CO: DeLeon Publishing, Inc. 11 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Travers, R. M. W. 1962. A study of the relationship of psychological research to educational practice. In Training research and education, ed. R. Glaser. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.U.S. Department of Education. 2009. Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Education.vuDAT. 2009. vuDAT.msu.edu/learning_styles (accessed September 13, 2010).Zull, J. E. 2002. The art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 12 Copyright ©2010, The College Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

×