Use the Technology, Luke

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Online learning is generally challenging for many reasons… for those of us who are accustomed to walking into a classroom, sitting down, listening and taking notes, online learning introduces a whole host of new potential barriers to learning. The online learning environment is especially difficult for those of us who aren’t technologically savvy. So, how can we help learners overcome these barriers? One simple and effective way is to use hyperlinks wherever possible. Continue reading...

When Automation Alters the Education Landscape

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Several years ago, as I was walking through a grocery store in Florida, I saw a smart machine that was working alongside human workers. When I asked the human employees about the machine, they quickly replied that it was one of their best employees: it always showed up on time, scanned all of the inventory correctly, and was efficient. Before the COVID-19 pandemic this was a novelty. It was pioneering technology that helped cut down on costs while increasing productivity. Continue reading...

Goals are the Guide to Learning

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Goals in education are exactly this: directing the learners’ aim and effort to produce a desired result of learning. By adding goals to our content we explicitly inform the learner of the important pieces of information in a specific unit, module, chapter, etc. Goals are like the tracks for the train; the destination on your GPS; the stars for the seafarer. They paint the big picture and help to prime and guide our learners. Continue reading...

Multiple Means of Representation With Visuals

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When we talk about visual aids in the context of learning we’re talking about anything that can help a learner grapple with the content — however simple or complex the topic may be. This can be a graphic, chart, image, etc. that you find online (just remember to cite or use open source!), or it can be something that you create yourself. Remember, variability is the norm and everyone learns differently. Supplementing your content with visual aids is essential in order to reach all of your learners — essential for some; good for all. Continue reading...

Designing Online Courses for Learner Variability

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One of the simplest yet most profound findings from the field of educational neuroscience is the fact that each of us learns in a different way. Intuitively we know this. In reality, however, we often fail to design for it. What we do instead is we tend to design for the so-called “average learner,” we teach the way we were taught or we teach the way that we learn best. We assume that this method will work for everyone else, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Continue reading...

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