Building Online Learning Communities  Lessons Learned from the Development of a Web Based Forest Farming Course Paul Tread...
Learning Communities <ul><li>Learning communities can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate new learning </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
The beginning <ul><li>HWWFF version 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A learning “module” developed as part of  The National Learnin...
A little history <ul><li>SARE funding to support the development of a “learning community” based on the HWWFF </li></ul><u...
Importance of community and collaboration. <ul><li>Social Process </li></ul><ul><li>Mentor relationships and scaffolding <...
Encouraging collaboration <ul><li>Tools we deployed to facilitate collaboration: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion board  <...
The IMFIRP <ul><li>The Internet-mediated Forest Farming Instructional Resource Package (IMFIRP) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Base...
Contextual Challenges <ul><ul><li>Disconnect between expectations and reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sporadic Part...
“Ownership” and Community <ul><li>Who “owns” the content developed in community? </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative necessiti...
Necessity drives development <ul><li>Encroaching deadlines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting and grant requirements </li></u...
HWWFF resource center <ul><li>The new “resource center”  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>re-organized content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul...
New content developments <ul><li>Site assessment workbook and case study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online presentation of skil...
The pilot <ul><li>The pilot course was conducted using Moodle  </li></ul><ul><li>9 week course </li></ul><ul><li>3 paralle...
Evaluating progress <ul><li>Formative evaluation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre and Post survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acc...
Analysis <ul><li>The surveys were designed to evaluate the usability of the content and the delivery system </li></ul><ul>...
Lessons learned <ul><li>The introduction of new technologies to educators was problematic  </li></ul><ul><li>Existing skil...
HWWTFFO  <ul><li>The HWWTFFO provided a systematic approach to working with forest farming content to create distance lear...
Bandwidth <ul><li>Bandwidth can be a substantial barrier to successful engagement online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies ...
Applying the lessons <ul><ul><li>Growing awareness of the “digital divide” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion and creat...
An online learning community? <ul><li>During the pilot phase elements of community were apparent: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Di...
What about the landowners? <ul><li>Landowners participated in the pilot to evaluate the content </li></ul><ul><li>Impact o...
After SARE <ul><li>The How, When and Why of Forest Farming is being offered by a CCE educator, on an on-going basis </li><...
Always growing <ul><li>The HWWFF resource center continues to grow as more is learned </li></ul>
Contact us <ul><li>Ken Mudge –  [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Treadwell –  [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Loui...
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Building Learning Communities Online

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Presentation for CCE System conference, October 2007 traces the history of the development of an online learning community for forest farmers.

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Building Learning Communities Online

  1. 1. Building Online Learning Communities Lessons Learned from the Development of a Web Based Forest Farming Course Paul Treadwell, Ken Mudge, Louise Buck, Rebecca Hargrave October 2007 – CCE System Conference
  2. 2. Learning Communities <ul><li>Learning communities can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate new learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invite participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Online learning communities : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diminish some barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create new connections </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The beginning <ul><li>HWWFF version 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A learning “module” developed as part of The National Learning Center for Private Forest and Range Landowners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video intensive approach to demonstrate practice </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. A little history <ul><li>SARE funding to support the development of a “learning community” based on the HWWFF </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnership with Penn State </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovative approach to content development and delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relatively undeveloped content area </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Importance of community and collaboration. <ul><li>Social Process </li></ul><ul><li>Mentor relationships and scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a shared culture </li></ul>
  6. 6. Encouraging collaboration <ul><li>Tools we deployed to facilitate collaboration: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wiki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning Content Management System </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The IMFIRP <ul><li>The Internet-mediated Forest Farming Instructional Resource Package (IMFIRP) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on Moodle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community and collaboration tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social Presence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion boards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>File sharing </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Contextual Challenges <ul><ul><li>Disconnect between expectations and reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sporadic Participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backsliding – email usage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties in encouraging participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of motivation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of familiarity/comfort with hardware/software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of bandwidth </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. “Ownership” and Community <ul><li>Who “owns” the content developed in community? </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative necessities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Necessity drives development <ul><li>Encroaching deadlines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting and grant requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Narrowing of collaborative “sphere” </li></ul><ul><li>Phase One needs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pilot course </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation and assessment tools </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification and Requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extension Educators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Landowners </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. HWWFF resource center <ul><li>The new “resource center” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>re-organized content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>navigation aides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new tools created </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. New content developments <ul><li>Site assessment workbook and case study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online presentation of skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Downloadable workbook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case study workbook </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The pilot <ul><li>The pilot course was conducted using Moodle </li></ul><ul><li>9 week course </li></ul><ul><li>3 parallel courses– 20 educators and 65 forest owners participated </li></ul><ul><li>Pre and post course surveys </li></ul>
  14. 14. Evaluating progress <ul><li>Formative evaluation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre and Post survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access logs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activity logs </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Analysis <ul><li>The surveys were designed to evaluate the usability of the content and the delivery system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis revealed a significant relationship between connection speed and perceived ease of use of MOODLE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No significant relationship between previous experience and comfort level with technology and perceived ease of use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Additional survey data and results will be made available this autumn </li></ul>
  16. 16. Lessons learned <ul><li>The introduction of new technologies to educators was problematic </li></ul><ul><li>Existing skill set is insufficiently developed </li></ul><ul><li>Success requires: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on skills development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured learning experiences for educators </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. HWWTFFO <ul><li>The HWWTFFO provided a systematic approach to working with forest farming content to create distance learning courses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitated by trust and personal relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educators enjoyed “learning by doing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentor relationships essential </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Bandwidth <ul><li>Bandwidth can be a substantial barrier to successful engagement online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies to compensate for “narrowband” connections include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Providing alternative paths to bandwidth intensive elements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining an awareness of the technical capacity of participants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility in content development and delivery </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Applying the lessons <ul><ul><li>Growing awareness of the “digital divide” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion and creative engagement are needed around this issue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CCE Online Instructor Certification program </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. An online learning community? <ul><li>During the pilot phase elements of community were apparent: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion boards provided a space for interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Landowners recruited for the pilot had a local connection with educators – the online course facilitated access to broader expertise and experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With one exception no longer term “community” developed out of the project </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. What about the landowners? <ul><li>Landowners participated in the pilot to evaluate the content </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of content on practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Post course follow up received responses from 16 landowners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer term follow-up needed </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. After SARE <ul><li>The How, When and Why of Forest Farming is being offered by a CCE educator, on an on-going basis </li></ul><ul><li>The CCE Instructor Certification program has been instituted </li></ul><ul><li>Data gathered from the pilot is being used to guide new course development </li></ul>
  23. 23. Always growing <ul><li>The HWWFF resource center continues to grow as more is learned </li></ul>
  24. 24. Contact us <ul><li>Ken Mudge – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Treadwell – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Louise Buck – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Rebecca Hargrave – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>The How, When and Why of Forest Farming resource center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://hwwff.cce.cornell.edu/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The How, When and Why of Forest Farming resource center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://hwwff.cce.cornell.edu/InstructorsGuide/ </li></ul></ul>

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