Materials & Platforms


So it’s week three, were half way through the online OCTEL course and the first task has me globetrotting, learning about mathematics in America, polishing up on my construction site awareness in Australia and zooming back to London to review a patient’s healthcare, all from the comfort of my computer chair.

I chose to review the following resources:

Khan Academy’s YouTube video:
Expected profit from lottery ticket

Hazard a Guesshow

iEthiCS simulation:
Introduction to the Andy Dufrayne Case

What would appeal to different learners?
The three examples appeal to auditory and visual learners in different ways, Khans mathematics academy, is an amazing resource with mathematical problems explained in as fun a way as is possible with mathematical formulae, I especially liked the onscreen calculator! This approach helps break the mathematics down, and with the ability to pause, rewind and review, I feel it would help learners who stuck working maths problems out.

For those with little or no interest in maths then they may want to pass the resource by, instead they can learn about Australia’s construction industry and the types of hazard that are best avoided. The gamey style of the cartoon interface would, I imaging appeal to the desired “younger” audience, although they would need an up to date broadband connection and a flash enabled device, no iPad’s allowed!

For those interested in healthcare, learning about a patients care needs, and enabling “you” to choose the path that care takes is appealing whist reviewing the outcomes on screen rather than in real-life-or-death situations. Yes the interface isn’t as glossy as the previous e-learning examples but the content is key here, it’s a bit like sticking a 4L engine in a mini, it’s what’s driving the car that really matters. In this instance that applies to both the resources and the quality of them, along with the person making the decisions “you”.

What learners, if any, would they be inappropriate for and why?
As touched on briefly, I feel those with little or no interest in any of the topics would find the subject matter of all three examples difficult to follow, those with limited time may also find it frustrating to use some of the examples, as in the case of the e-learning “hazard” game, it could be slow to load, I feel it’s also not easy to reset or create a learning path-way.

How do each of these resources differ from that of the resources we’re using in ocTEL? Do they promote social learning, re-use of their materials, or open access?
The resources in OCTEL are similar, we have touched on game style resources please see my previous blog entry, and videos be it live in the case of the webinar’s or recorded. These do help promote learning, recorded video I feel is less social unless used as part of a wider task, where everyone posts a clip of a topic or in response to a problem. All of the reviewed resources are re-useable this being of appeal to courseware developers and tutors, with a little tweaking could be slotted into place quite easily on a different site or in a different course if required and if the subject matter is consistent.

What ways can you see to improve the effectiveness or potential reach of these resources? Effectiveness can be considered as allowing students to work at their own pace and review areas they need to, providing a richer learning experience by expanding the range of expertise which students will confront, or providing a range of materials in different media formats to suit students’ different learning preferences.

A “common” limiting theme of the resources that I have reviewed is time, they would all take time to consume and process, in the case of the YouTube video and the iEthiCS simulation, this is less of an issue, as the resources can be stopped, re-started and re-visited, The e-learning example was less likely to be re-visited as easily as users would “loose” their learning path, and have to either start again or sit the quiz in one sitting, which may have been the original intention.

Device accessibility should never be overlooked either, and in the case of the e-learning examples site, lots of the resources are made using flash, which won’t work or display on the iPad or other mobile devices easily.

I think one overall criticism of YouTube video resources in general is that, there is for me too much choice, unless “some-one” whoever that someone may be, be it tutor, cohort or learning designer, presents the resources based on theme, topic or subject, I feel that users could be overwhelmed with choice and become easily distracted. Let’s face it the Internet is full enough of distractions as it is, and without the guidance of direction, the mind and mouse will wander!

Comments welcome….


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