Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Identifying a learning gap

Serendipity has provided me with the next process to use in working out the most likely learning activity /outcome that could be used to set up a pilot mlearning project. The next topic on the Grad Cert applied elearning course was to identify, substantiate and present a learning gap that could be solved using an elearning solution.

Potential learning gaps could be identified as being a:-
  • Content fit or new content area – a new topic to teach so it is worthwhile putting some effort into exploring flexible delivery options or blended delivery
  • Dynamic content – a course that has rapidly changing / developing content
    Conceptual difficulty – something that is difficult to teach in a f2f situation (eg. Handling customer complaints) or takes a long time to set up (eg. Certain experiments or simulations) or where concepts that fit the ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ category.
  • Access issues – could be equipment that will only allow 2 to 3 students at a time to view a demonstration, or very expensive / state of the art equipment that unsupervised learners cannot be let loose on or equipment / ingredients / processes that are difficult to obtain easily for hands on exercises.
  • Efficiency issues – a learning concept put onto multimedia might allow students to have multiple attempts at trying out new skills without embarrassment, challenging students with tasks that provide them with the opportunity to work out / construct their own knowledge at their own pace etc.

At the moment, it would be good to try out a unit standard that combines some concept learning with competency in a practical skill. Situating the completion of competency in the workplace will also make it more suitable for piloting as a mlearning project. Therefore, the learning gaps could do with access and efficiency issues with some conceptual difficulty thrown in to provide a major challenge for learning design to work through.

At the moment, there are many unit standards to choose from that will fit the above criteria. One option is to choose one that is small enough to run the pilot with but not so small that it takes too short a time to run. I will also need to work out how many apprentices might be working through the unit to be used so that a viable number is provided for the pilot to be tested out with. I would like to have a group of at least 10 to work with but up to 20 will be even better.

The next step would be to work out the strengths, weaknesses and technical difficulties for the above, so tune in next week for how it pans out.

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