Sunday, January 15, 2012

The best laid plans....

I've recently finished a project for my Masters degree, running online support for some associates of our company, in a very  different context to my normal work of producing online resources.  Whilst the online support has (after some initial scepticism) met with genuine enthusisasm, I have to reflect that things didn't go quite as I intended them to!  I had to some extent fallen into the trap of teaching as I have been taught recently, which is asynchronously using forums and blogs.  Whilst these tools do have their place, not everyone is ready to integrate them into their working practice, because they aren't directly relevant and something they don't want to spend time on when they are busy.  Fortunately I did build in a synchronous element using web conferencing, and integrating this tool into their working practice has allowed many of the participants to interact in a new way.

Overall the the project served a useful purpose for participants, and it has been hugely informative for my future practice in this field.  Through critical commentary and feedback from my tutor I have been able to piece together what needs to be done better in future.  Ultimately the key is identifying a meaningful and valuable assessment of what is to be learned, and ensuring this meets the needs of learners in their context.  Get the wrong idea about what they need to learn, and you're on unsteady ground before you start, because there's no motivation for them to engage in the tasks.

So my plans went a little astray, but with persistence and enthusiasm we have some emergent learning outcomes all round - for me and the participants!