Osborne_LTEC 6512_Wk4_Blog

Assignment:

How open do you feel you are to different theoretical models that are used for instructional design of learning activities?

For example, you may be confronted with being asked to conduct a study that requires a theoretical model that you are not comfortable with; would you be able to do so? Perhaps you are a hardcore social constructivist and you have been asked to conduct a qualitative study of the implementation of a learning system that is primarily from the Positivist information processing paradigm.

If you are comfortable doing it, how would you approach reconciling your worldview (epistemology) with incompatible available methods to conduct the research? If not, how would you explain why you are unable?

 

Response:

The selection of the different theoretical model would sometimes depend on the type of research study being conducted.  So a researcher would likely gravitate to a model they relate to or feel more comfortable using.  There are four primary models that were discussed in class: post-positivism, constructivist, pragmatism and advocacy. After reading through these various theoretical models, I feel most comfortable with is the constructivist model.  If I had to use another theory, I would need to study it carefully so that the focus of the research fits the model’s process.

In a research project where the primary focus is on a constructivist model, the researcher would be focused on those “individuals that seek understanding of the world in which they live, work and develop subjective meanings of their experiences” (Creswell, 2014, p. 8).  Using qualitative research methods, the researcher will develop capabilities to interview the participants in a study to understand an individual’s viewpoint of the study’s focus.  The researcher focuses on (Creswell, 2014, p. 8): processes of interaction among individuals; specific contexts in which people live and work in order to understand the historical and cultural settings of the participants; he researcher recognize their own backgrounds shape their interpretations from their own personal, cultural, and historical experiences; and how the researchers generate or inductively develop a theory or pattern of meaning.

The postpositivist model of research focus on the “need to identify and assess the cause that influences outcomes found in experiments” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7).  Typically, this research utilizes quantitative analysis derived from survey questionnaires.  In order to switch from a constructivist focus to a postpositivist viewpoint, the researcher takes a position that “absolute truth can never be found and they state that they do not prove a hypothesis; instead, they indicate a failure to reject the hypothesis” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7).  The approach utilized by the postpositivist researcher is that they “begin with a theory, collect the data that supports or refutes the theory, and then makes necessary revisions and conducts additional tests” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7).

With respect to the postpositivist researcher’s approach to their study they are to “remain detached from the participants of the research by creating a distance, which is important in remaining emotionally neutral to make clear distinctions between reason and feeling (Edirisingha, 2012, p. 1).  Since objectivity and logical approaches are critical to the research the use of statistical analysis of quantitative research is the typical study outcomes. Remaining neutral and detached from the study at hand allows the positivist researcher to make distinctions between the facts and value determinations (Edirisngha, 2012).  So the collection of data from the participants allows the researcher to ascertain relevant analytical results that serve to support or explain the causal relationship of the hypothesis  or research questions.

 

 

References

Creswell, J., (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Edirisingha, P., (2012). Interpretivism and positivism (ontological and epistemological perspectives). Retrieved from: https://prabash78.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/interpretivism-and-postivism-ontological-and-epistemological-perspectives/

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LTEC 6040_Wk3_Blog

Assignment:

What does your Personal Theory of Online Learning/Teaching connect to what you are examining in Distance Education research? How well supported does your personal theory feel? What research could you do in order to support your theory? What methods would you employ? Please share empirical studies you are starting to collect and detail what sort of citation management system or tool you will be using to organize your literature review (see Week 2 for resources related to this topic). Additionally, feel free to explain one or two supporting papers that align with how you are approaching your distance learning research for your study.

Response:

The focus of my Personal Theory of Online Learning/Teaching is how do the instructional designers of company based face-to-face (f2f) courses make the transition to an online or blended course presentation. This is of critical importance due to the situations that all students may not be able to participate in a f2f environment due to their job assignment or the cost of travel and housing for training is cost prohibitive. The courses could be presented as a live synchronous class, but in some instances the student may be located in an international country where the time zone is 12 hours opposite of the instructors teaching assignment. So there is a need to consider the flexibilities afforded by developing an online or blended course that has both synchronous and asynchronous components that best fit the students as well as the company’s instructional requirements.

Based on my study, my personal theory of inquiry is a constructivist world view. Constructivism or social constructivism “believe that individuals seek understanding of the world in which they live and work, where they develop subjective meanings of their experiences and meanings directed toward certain objects or things” (Creswell, 2009, p. 8). The environment in which the instructional designers work is an industrial setting where the course content is primarily focused on meeting engineering design requirements in a manufacturing operation. The constructivist theory directly applies to my planned research study in multiple ways (Creswell, 2009, p. 8): constructivist researchers address the processes of interaction among individuals and the researchers focus on specific contexts in which people live and work in order to understand the historical and cultural settings of the participants.

In my research I will employ a qualitative study where I will develop open-ended questions about their instructional design approaches related to both f2f and online courses. To support my research, I am identifying different journal resources that are being considered for use in my study. One of the journals entitled “The Graduate Virtual Classroom Webinar: A Collaborative and Constructivist Online Teaching Strategy” (Power & St Jacques, 2014), focuses on blended online learning designs and the use of a constructivist and collaborative approach to instruction. Another journal entitled “Towards constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments” (Huang, 2002), focuses on applying constructivism theory concepts to online course design to address adult learner needs.

I have installed the Zotero and Mendeley software on my computer, but I have as yet to start populating these applications. Now that I am collecting additional research journals I will be trying out one or both of these applications to determine which one supports my research efforts.

 

Reference

Creswell, J., (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Huang, H., (2002). Towards constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(1), 27-37.

Power, M. & St Jacques, A., (2014). The graduate virtual classroom webinar: A collaborative and constructivist online teaching strategy. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(4), 681-696.

LTEC 6512_Wk3_Blog

Question:

What are some of the things you are concerned about ethically with using technology to teach or conduct research that we did not talk about? How might you address these? Think deeply.

Response:

There are two areas of focus that I noted in this weeks reading, these include confidentiality and anonymity (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). I understand about assuring confidentiality with those participants is a particular study, but I have not thought much about maintaining anonymity. There are aspects related to each of these concepts that are not easy to maintain in a qualitative analysis. I’ll need to expand on each of these concepts individually to expand on my understanding and concerns with handling each one.

Confidentiality in research involves maintaining the “individual’s privacy and entails decisions about how and what data related to participants will be disseminated” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 362). The issues related with each participant needs to be discussed in full. All aspects of continentality must be developed and become part of the design of the IRB prior to having the discussion with each of the participants. Depending on the subject and content of the qualitative research project, would define the degree and complexity of establishing the level of confidentiality for each participant.

Thinking about all aspects of establishing the confidentiality of the participants in advance is critical for the researcher. This will become helpful to provide a level of confidence to the participant that all or most of the issues have been thought through prior to starting the research project. Being prepared in advance will help establish the parameters of the scope of the research project. The goal is to gain the confidence of each of the participants that full confidentiality will be maintained throughout and at the completion of the research project.

The other issue is how to maintain anonymity of the participant throughout the research project and at its completion. Maintaining anonymity requires “that there will be no way for anyone to identify an individual within a sample of participants because data and resulting reports are aggregated and not individually contextualized or displayed” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 362). In the design phase of the research project the researcher should have fully established all of the parameters and guidelines to address the confidentiality and anonymity elements related to the participants. Prior to submitting this content to the IRB, the researcher should have other peers or other professionals review the proposed research to see if there are additional components missing or corrections required to improve the proposal. This process will be beneficial prior to having the results of the IRB response, this may reduce the number of revision iterations prior to starting the research project.

A significant concern, related to maintaining the participant’s anonymity, is the impact that social media has on this issue. There are many simple and advanced software tools that can be used to mine and analyze data which can identify some or all of the research participants. Depending on the simplicity or complexity of the research study, the researcher will need to employ varying levels of robustness to assure confidentiality and anonymity are maintained. The digital software advances in data mining and analysis adds another layer of complexity and analysis that the researcher must consider as part of their research goals and objectives.

 

 

Reference

Ravitch, S., Carl, N., (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Osborne_LTEC6040_Wk2 Blog

Blog reflection: Expectations for Learning Online

Is online learning as efficacious as face-to-face learning? One way we think about the difference in learning is how online learning is (sometimes) delivered. Synchronous (e.g. GoToMeeting, Skype, etc.) vs. asynchronous tools (e.g. Discussion Forums). Which is better at fostering online learning? Why? What are your reasons and evidence for this?

Also, are we asking the right questions about distance learning? Should we be comparing online to traditional face-to-face learning?

Response:

Based on several of the journals that I’ve read for this week’s assignment, it appears that the final word has not been spoken. The design and delivery of both face-to-face (f2f) and online courses share the same consequences, where some are good and some are bad. Since there is a continuous growth of online courses away from f2f course environments, there is much research still to be done to identify the best of both worlds. Some of the research indicate “studies of distance learning concluded that technologies were not significantly different from regular classroom learning in terms of effectiveness” (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2010, p. 13). As many of the f2f course are “re-conceptualizing and converting a traditional classroom course to an online course doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse” (Fredericksen, 2015, p. 1). The difficulty of measuring the goodness or badness of a course is the variations that exists with the design of f2f, online and blended course content delivery. This variety of instructional designs have impact on both K-12 and post-secondary education.

The integration and use of various technologies in the education process has added complexity and variation to an otherwise year-over-year standardized instructional delivery. In Terry Anderson’s research entitled “Theories for learning with emerging technologies” (Anderson, 2016), there was a quest to understand the impact of the new and growing technologies available for use in education environments. Anderson had two issues to address (Anderson, 2016): identification of a guide (law) to help educators and instructional designers decide the best technology to use and just because a technology is utilized commercially and in business does not determine its effectiveness in educational contexts.

Besides the impact that technologies have had on course designs and delivery, there are many students that raise concerns about the social interactions that are missing in online courses versus f2f classes. The suggestion that “learning occurs through the interaction of social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence within a community of inquiry that is composed of teachers and students” (Stodel, Thompson, & MacDonald, 2006, p. 3). Since the research focused on the impact and concerns of the students lack of social interactions, the design of the synchronous and asynchronous interactions were evaluated. I speculate that those students that missed the f2f interactions were due in part to becoming familiar with the new paradigms associated with the synchronous and asynchronous designs of the online course. Most students in the K-12 grades today are more likely to experience +12 years of f2f environments. Although that experience is changing with K-12 online and homeschooling environments, I also speculate that the concerns associated with social presence will diminish with these increases.  As the implementation and integration of technologies continue to be common place, the comparisons between the f2f and online courses will diminish. Furthermore, f2f and online courses don’t necessarily compare as the comparison is apples to oranges.

 

References

Anderson, T., (2016). Theories for learning with emerging technologies. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.) Emergence and innovation in digital learning: foundations and applications. (pp. 35-50). doi:10.15215/aupress/9781771991490.01

Fredericksen, E., (2015). Is online education good or bad? And is this really the right question? Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/is-online-education-good-or-bad-and-is-this-really-the-right-question-35949

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K., (2010). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Center for Technology in Learning. Retrieved from: https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

Stodel, E., Thompson, T., & MacDonald, C., (2006). Learners’ perspectives on what is missing from online learning: Interpretations through the community of inquiry framework. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(3) 1-24

LTEC 6512 – Week 2 Blog

Question:

What do you think about qualitative research based on your experience gathering and doing initial analysis together?

Response:

The question that was asked in class concerning our understanding of qualitative research started a lengthy conversation. Based on my knowledge of quantitative and qualitative analysis it appears that qualitative analysis is much more involved and requires a very different approach than quantitative analysis. In the textbook entitled “Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016), there is a framework provided that show the “dynamic elements of qualitative research” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 2). The framework provides guidance in the processes to be considered when developing and implementing the research effort.

There are nine elements associated with the conceptual framework presented in chapter one (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 2):

  1. A question/problem/interest
  2. Theoretical framework/review of literature
  3. Development of research questions
  4. Methodology/research design
  5. Formative design
  6. Data collection
  7. Data analysis
  8. Validity strategies
  9. Dissemination conclusions/implications

Each of these elements serve to support the development of the other elements. However, there are “four key pillars of qualitative research: criticality, reflexivity, collaboration, and rigor” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 1). At first glance it does appear that the development and implementation of a qualitative research project can be very complex. Having frameworks, checklists, and examples will be very helpful for those who are doing the first few research projects.

The discussions in class also introduced the requirements associated with ethical research methods utilizing the institutional review board (IRB) established at the university. In the class discussion there were five elements to consider when developing and engaging in the research. These include:

  1. Starting with an idea for the research
  2. Evaluating its feasibility
  3. Considering the ethics– should the research be done?
  4. Once the IRB has been approved – proceed with the research
  5. Perform an audience analysis – will/can anyone use the research?

When considering the content of the qualitative research, to be addressed prior to requesting approval from the IRB, the content development of those questions will require introspection to assure the contents meet stringent ethical requirements. As discussed in class, the dilemma faced by the researcher is the identification of their personal biases associated throughout the research process. To address these issues, it is suggested that the research questions and content be reviewed by others to see if there are areas of improvement and clarification of ideas, questions, and concepts. The primary focus of the research content is its impact on the “vulnerable populations” including (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 347): pregnant women, prisoners, children, and people with disabilities. These populations require a higher level of scrutiny of the research goals, content, and objectives.

Similar to the complexity of developing a qualitative research study, the focus on the ethical content of the project requires careful analysis to assure that no harm is incurred by the study participants. These include the give-and-take of the reciprocity social behavior, informed consent of the study participants, the full transparency of the project, and the consideration of the confidentiality and anonymity of the research outcomes (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). Looking forward into the weeks ahead for the class, I hope there are easy to follow guidelines to help with simplifying this complex process.

 

References

Ravitch, S., Carl, N., (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

LTEC 6040 – Week 1 Blog

Why Online?

Question – Why have we moved so many courses online? As students, do you feel like online courses are as good as face-to-face courses? What are the major differences between online and face-to-face (F2F) courses for you as a student? Whether you have taught one or not, what do you think the differences are for the instructor? How do we know if the formats require different skills or result in different learning outcomes? Do we?

  • One of the primary drivers for the growth of online courses is costs. There is a major move to reduce the overhead cost, maintenance, and management of a brick and mortar building.  This pressure comes from both state and federal governments.  A secondary driver is the availability of new technologies.  There are both benefits and detractors associated with implementing new technologies in instructional designs. Since this is an emerging capability there are challenges associated with converting face-to-face courses to online courses.
  • As a student I have been taking online courses for the past 10 years. Some of the courses are as good as face-to-face, but some are not managed well if at all. Due to my work schedule I find that, regardless of the quality of the course design, it is more convenient for me to take online courses instead of the extra time it takes to drive to school multiple days of the week and the time in class.  I need the flexibility that the online course affords my educational needs. 
  • The demands on the instructor is to continuously monitor and keep up with the weekly content and postings from the students. Depending on the number of students would determine the overall workload required to manage the course. In many of the online courses that I have taken, the management of the course was not done well as I didn’t see where the instructor engaged much with the course.  All of my course work was not graded until the last week of class.
  • Without a well written syllabus the student doesn’t really know what the required skills are to successfully accomplish the course. I usually see the requirements of the computer, but not the required skill set of the student. Usually, the textbook has a description of the course outcomes, but some of my previous courses did not have that documented in the syllabus.

Mark Osborne

 

CECS 5110 – Week 15/16 Blog

What have you learned in the course about designing instruction from a multimedia perspective?

How would designing instruction be different from a constructivist perspective, based on what you read? Would it?

 

There are many multimedia types that can be used in instructional design.  The designer of course content must be prepared to know about and how to use the different multimedia types.  Additionally the instructional designer must be capable to use the right development tools in the design of the course content.

The instructional design of course content should consider the approaches of the perspectives of behavioral, cognitive, and constructivist as it relates to the course content and design.  Behaviorists focus on strategies centered on stimulus-response strategies.  Cognitivist focus on memory and the ability to retain the provided instruction.  Constructivism focus on learning and developing meaning from the exposure.  An effective approach for the instructional designer would be to consider the approaches of each of the models in the design and development of each course (Ertmer & Newby, 1993)

Reference

Ertmer, P., Newby, T., (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly 6(4), 50-71.