Journal Entry: Category 4

This journal entry is about reflecting on the selected quote: “Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management…online communication skills…self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers…” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 199).

Objective

I learned that online learning is the trend for most adult learners and companies globally. According to the eLearning Industry written by Christopher Pappas, “it’s estimated that about 46% college students are taking at least one course online…. by 2019, roughly half of all colleges classes will be eLearning-based” (2013, para. 5). Pappas also indicates that online learning has positive effects when utilized by many companies such as employee retention. In addition, he mentions that many companies use the online survey to obtain feedback from customers that would help employers improve their service. As a result, this helps augment the company’s productivity or business market. (Pappas, 2013). This quote caught my attention because, in my situation alone, I can relate to the fact that online learning has given me the opportunity to still be able to work my full-time job and have the flexibility to study or complete my assignments in my own time, for instance. Since this is my first time taking an online course, I have learned to become self-sufficient and disciplined particularly in submitting my assignments within the time frame prior to the course expiration date.

Reflective

Imagining what it would be like for me to teach online would have its challenges and advantages. One of the challenges that I could think of would be how to ensure that students remain motivated to complete the online course. Basing it on the PIDP 3100 online course that I’m currently taking, my instructor has posted short videos that describe each category or assignment. It also has links to various resources that students could access, which I find very useful. Another challenging aspect of online teaching would be how to encourage students to stay disciplined and focused, using time management especially for those students who work full-time. I would also worry about the adult learner’s knowledge in computer. However, the PIDP 3100 online course has a great resource in finding information that makes the students feel less intimated and/or feeling at ease when trying to follow the course outline.

In addition, I felt that I would require further support and receive proper instructor training from the school I would be teaching. There is an article I found written by Therese O’Neil, describing the outlines for an instructor-training program. I believe this article is very informative because it provides an educator the three out of the 24 benchmarks to teaching/learning, which is the recommendation made by the institute for Higher Education Policy such as follows:

  • Student interaction with faculty and other students is an essential characteristic and is facilitated through a variety of ways, including voice-mail/or e-mail
  • Feedback to student assignments and questions is constructive and provided in a timely manner.
  • Students are instructed in the proper methods of effective research including assessment of the validity of resources (2006, p. 3).

Reflecting on the above, I realized that teaching online may not be for every instructor. I do concur with O’Neil’s statement, “A good classroom teacher is not necessarily a good online teacher” (2006, p. 5).

Interpretive

After reading a few articles on online teaching and how this changes the roles of the adult educators, I felt that there were a lot of factors to consider. The teachers, of course with the help of the school’s web designers, needed to ensure that they delivered or presented the course well to the adult learners wherever these students may be in the world. I thought that the course outline on the school website must be designed in a user-friendly atmosphere where students could easily access information or data in order to complete the course assignments, etc.

One thing that I thought was really fascinating about having to teach online would be how to remain connected to the adult learners. After my research on this subject, I now have a different appreciation of the online instructors. It appears to me that it involves a lot of time and work especially when working with students from different time zones. For instance, students from the east coast i.e. Toronto are three hours ahead of us here in Vancouver. If they are able to meet with the instructor online after seven in the evening, that would be ten o’clock our time. What about the ones who could only meet over the weekend? In this case, the instructors need to be dedicated in making themselves available to their e-learners.

Decisional

I realized that online teaching may not be suited for the kind of lifestyle I have. I may have difficulty maintaining my work-life balance because I play a lot of seasonal sports. These sports alone require time and effort. When considering teaching online, I think it is important that instructors understand its advantages and disadvantages prior to taking on the role. The instructors must learn to assimilate the online teaching mentality and be aware of the varying needs of the adult learners. As well, the online instructors need to be prepared to guide the adult learners and be present and flexible. The closest thing I could incorporate this online teaching to my future instructional method would be creating a class blog where all students could either submit or share their assignments or findings to the rest of their peers. At present, I do encourage my students to submit their paper assignment via email, because I like the idea of keeping “green”, preventing wastage of paper. Consequently, I enjoyed learning about how the process of online learning/teaching works. This whole experience gave me a different perspective of online teaching in a positive way.

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Journal entry: Category 3

This journal entry is about reflecting on the following quote: “learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection.” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 117)

Objective

I selected this quote because I learned from my own experience that I had to spend some time to thoroughly reflect on some areas of my working/thinking habits in order to become a better nurse educator. I realized that one becomes better at whatever profession or career one does for a living when taking the time to reflect on how one could improve. For example, I realized that the way I teach adult learners was the way I preferred to be taught. Recognizing my teaching style may not always be as effective when illustrated to other students, I needed to be mindful of each student’s needs. In order to become successful in my teaching, I had to obtain feedback from my students in order for me to reflect on the matter. Also, I noticed the positive response I received when I provided my students immediate feedback as soon as I reflected on a solution to resolve any issues. As for my recent group of students, most of them required more instructional guidance when faced with challenging patient health scenario or how to utilize different equipments i.e. bladder scan, doppler ultrasound, intravenous pump machine, etc. Thus, I found critical self-reflection was paramount when mentoring adult students to become the future nurses.

Interpretive

When I interpreted this quote, I thought to myself: “Who would have thought that my routine self reflection is going to be advantageous to my teaching career”. This was my “aha” moment. I knew that it was important for me to reflect on my own nursing practice, identifying my own values and principles, etc. I recall encouraging my students to do the same when writing their journal entries. I remember one student asked me, “Why do we need to write a self-reflection journal?” My response was: “This may not seem relevant to you now because you may think of it as another paper assignment rather than considering it as your own self-initiated reflection. However, this is a way to get you to exercise a good habit on how you think you did throughout this clinical experience. I personally reflect all the time and it helps me cope and become a better nurse when I try to identify the things that I could have improved or how I could have done things differently. Sometimes, I also share my thoughts and feelings with my colleagues and obtain their suggestions, and so on.” At the time, I sensed my students were getting exhausted as they were approaching near the end of the nursing program having to write more papers. I knew it was an added stress, having to think about what to write in their journal on top of the challenging duties they encountered in the clinical setting. However, I had to find ways to get them to understand the purpose of this assignment by sharing my personal coping mechanism. I thought my strategy was effective at the time when trying to keep my students on track.

Decisional

Having to reflect on this quote, it motivates me to continue encouraging my adult students to do the same practice. I believe it is a great way to better one’s working or thinking habits in relation to work ethic. I recognize that I need to find a way to better deliver the same message or quote to my students that they can practically relate to. For example, I may ask my students to share their own personal experience or previous work experience. Most of my students had a caregiver background and had worked in the field for several years prior to taking the nursing program. In the future, I would try to strategically plan by having them analyze their way of thinking i.e. nurse versus care aide. I may get them to ask themselves: “Was my initial reaction to my nursing intervention embodying a nurse versus a care aide mentality? How could I change my way of thinking to be more like a nurse than a care aide?” My goal is to get them to reflect on their critical thinking, and after that comes the prioritization skills, nursing actions and/or interventions. Therefore, I could see myself using this quote as part of my future teaching strategy.

Consequently, I realized how a single line of quote such as this one could make such an impact on my own personal thinking. In relation to my professional background, I found this topic pertinent to my teaching practice.

Journal entry: Category 2

This self-reflective journal is based on the quote from Carl Rogers: “an educated person is one who has learned how to learn…how to adapt and change” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 31)

Objective

            Choosing this quote, I learned how significant it is to be receptive to new learning whether it would be related to my nursing profession or other areas of interest. It made me realize that an educated individual with an open mind could gain more knowledge compared to a person who was narrow-minded or reluctant to accept new learning or change.

This quote caught my attention because of its relevance to my daily working life, being a critical care nurse in a teaching hospital and a clinical nurse educator, where I constantly communicate and work with various healthcare team members gaining knowledge from each specialized team member on how to stabilize a critically ill patient. I also thought that this quote delivered a powerful meaning in a sense that it brought a clear perception of how one could become successful in ones career and be resilient. I also felt that my future students could benefit from this concept because I would encourage them to do the same. I recalled advising my previous group of students that even though I had been a nurse for several years I still found myself learning new things every time I went to work. This showed them that being educated did not mean that I remained stagnant in my nursing knowledge and that I still sought new ways to gain more knowledge so I could improve myself in my nursing practice as well as an adult educator.

Reflective

I realized that teaching comes with a willingness to accept new knowledge or ways of learning. As a clinical nurse educator, I would need to be able to reciprocate this key idea of resiliency to my adult students in order to succeed in my teaching. For instance, I would have my students answer the following questions: 1) how do they learn best; 2) what their expectations are during their clinical experience; and 3) how they would like to receive feedback. Therefore, I could gain insight on how I would need to adjust in my way of teaching in order to meet my students’ learning goals/needs. Furthermore, this illustrates to my students that I value their learning needs by acquiring daily feedback or ongoing dialogue to follow-up on their progress throughout their clinical experience. This way, I can better determine whether my teaching strategy needs adjustment or initiate a collaborative student-instructor discussion to assist the student in having better success in the course.

Interpretive

            My interpretation of this quote is that when an educated individual knows how to become open minded to new learning, he/she continues to grow in his/her profession and become successful in his/her career. In my experience, I continue to crave new learning, as it makes me a more well rounded person. I find it easier to assimilate to change and adjust to my work environment accordingly. For example, every few months I get an opportunity to attend various in-service educational days where I currently work at the Vancouver General Hospital – Intensive Care Unit. My unit educators would conduct sessions on how to care for burn patients; how to initiate a continuous renal replacement therapy similar to hemodialysis; how to assess neurologically ill patients with external ventricular device, and so on. As an adult learner, I become more appreciative when provided with new learning opportunities because this enhances my nursing knowledge in which I could also potentially use to educate my future students.

 Decisional

            With this quote in mind, I feel like I could share all the things I have learned to my future students. For example, I would emphasize in the beginning of the teaching on active listening, promote effective communication skills as well as encourage my adult students to be open-minded and respectful upon receiving tools to perform certain nursing skills and to avoid taking constructive criticism as a personal attack. I decided to mention this particular example because of my recent experience having a student who took my constructive criticism personally. It was a very challenging situation when conversing with my adult student, who was much older than I am. She seemed to be reluctant to hearing feedback because the next time I placed her with the same patient she was still unable to execute the nursing skill accordingly.

Overall, this quote makes me realize how important it is to be willing to learn, be open-minded and be receptive to change in order to become a successful adult educator or learner.

Journal Entry: Category 1

Journal Entry 1

This journal entry pertains to the following quote: “There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 20/21)

Objective

This quote caught my attention because it defined my own learning principle in life: “never stop learning”. I learned from an early stage of my schooling that nobody truly knew everything. Even physicians had their specialties in neurology, cardiology, psychiatry, oncology, and so on, so that they could become experts in that one particular area of medicine. Similar to nursing, we had different specialties such as critical care, surgical, medicine, psychiatric, pediatric, maternity, etc. I realized that when we all worked together as a team, we could help each other better understand other areas of health sciences that we were unfamiliar with. We learned from one another through collaborative team efforts. For example, when I worked as a discharge coordinator as well as a transitional service coordinator, I attended many interdisciplinary team meetings to discuss each patient’s unique and challenging case scenario. Each specialized healthcare team member would have an opportunity to share their understanding of the disease and how each could prognosticate the patient’s future situation based on the patient’s current clinical manifestations. Everyone would gain insight from each healthcare team member’s contribution. As a result, the team would agree upon planning a realistic care-plan for a particular patient, etc.

Reflective

            In hindsight, I realized this quote was relevant to my current teaching practice. I recalled showing my appreciation to one of my students, a former pharmacist from Iran, who presented his patient’s case scenario during post conference, using a technological application called Prezi. I was captivated by how this program works, as I had never encountered it before. He demonstrated a well organized presentation about his patient’s current diagnosis along with the description of the patient’s co-morbidities, care-plan, nursing assessments/interventions, and quizzes. I found this program to be interactive, which I thought was very effective. I was also inspired by the way my student’s style of teaching, and I learned from him. Then, I thought to myself that I could potentially use this program for my next group of students and try to see how they would respond to it as part of an interactive group activity. In the end, I realized I could incorporate this new technology into my future teaching, as I noticed its positive effect in capturing everyone’s attention in the room. Furthermore, this experience did benefit me, as I gained new knowledge from my recent adult student.

Interpretive

When I read this quote, I realized how important it is to acknowledge that lifelong learning is part of us as we grow old or as we change career or learn new things that we are passionate about. One insight that I now have as a result of this quote would be to pass on the wisdom to others who may think they are too old to learn new things or go back to school. As an adult educator, I believe everyone is entitled to better their life situation either by taking programs that are of high demand or certain hobbies that they never had the opportunity to acquire growing up. For example, I met a spokesperson, who changed careers in her early 50’s from an administrative role to nursing. I remember her statement: “Age is only a number; my body and mind are still able. My age never stops me from pursuing what I want to achieve in life.” This is a very inspirational statement to me and up to this date, I still remember her. While others may not necessarily want change, I think everyone, at the end of the day, makes their own personal choice if they want to gain new learning whether it is related to career or diverse interest such as musical instruments, sports, etc.

Decisional

            Reflecting on this quote, I could use the motivational speech that I indicated above to my adult learners, who I observe to be losing interest in the nursing program. I believe it is my duty, as a clinical nurse educator, to identify the cause of such changes in behaviour by speaking to individual students privately. I may need to get information from them so that proper actions or additional support could be offered in order for them to become successful in the course. I will continue to promote instructor-student engagement throughout the course and ongoing encouragement for those who need it. Overall, I think lifelong learning is important to include in our daily lives.

Resources

References to my journal entries:

  • Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (Eds.). (2014). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Links to my blog’s articles/websites:

  • Sellers, R. (2001). “Learning to Teach in a Virtual Environment: A Case Study of the Louisiana Virtual Classroom Teachers”, Doctoral dissertation, Louisiana State University.

  • Tam, M. (2002). “Constructivism, Instructional Design, and Technology: Implications for Transforming Distance Learning”, Educational Technology and Society (3)2.

Links to my learning partner’s, Kim, selected article/website:

Trends and Roles Blog

Introduction

This blog is based on the topic that my learning partner, Kim, and I decided to work on. It is about online learning and how this may impact or change the roles of adult educators as well as its emerging trends. Each one of us will be sharing either an informative website or article. I chose the topic “online learning and the changing roles of adult educators”, while Kim was focusing on the “emerging trends of online learning”. The article I found has useful information, because it provides an extensive description of the changing roles of the adult educators, and how the distance learning, which is now the online learning, evolved since the 1960’s. In addition, I have included a summary of Kim’s research findings below.

Part I:  Online Learning and the Changing Roles of Adult Educators

New Insights

As a first-time online learner, I gained a lot of insight from this experience such as the importance of keeping in touch with rapidly changing technology, becoming an active participant in the discovery of vast resources found on websites, etc. According to the article I selected by Therese O’Neil, I learned many key points on how the roles of the adult educators changed when teaching online to adult learners such as follows:

  • Online instructors are no longer the “dispenser of information”, as the online learning trend has transitioned to student-centered and student-driven concept.
  • The instructor becomes part of a team, and the old conventional teaching no longer applies, because the “students are no longer dependent on the teacher alone for knowledge” (O’Neil, 2006, p. 2).
  • The article also indicates that many studies suggest that the constructivist model works best for the online environment, as adult learners need to apply their knowledge and become self-directed (Tam, 2000). In this case, the role of the teacher becomes the facilator by directing students to questions that would help them discover the answer themselves rather than advising them of the answer (O’Neil, p. 3).
  • With regards to technology, the teacher’s duty is to arrange a learning environment that promotes students’ independence and become active participants in the learning process, using their own knowledge to find meaning to a particular problem (Sellers, 2001).

These are some of the changing roles of adult educators.

Trends

I was fascinated to uncover the trends of the online learning and its rapid development. In my nursing practice, I could identify some of the benefits of online learning. For example, we utilize a program called CCRS, which stands for course catalogue registration system, and it can be accessed online when registering for either online or class-based courses. This allows me to stay up-to-date to various online courses where I did not need to come in to work to attend the class. Another advantage to this program is that depending on the course offered, the employer pays employees to take the course as part of an educational day. This itself encourages employees to learn about the course offered as well as a great incentive to retaining staff members.

Web-Conference

I am very pleased to be assigned to work with Kim, as my learning partner. I thought we had a great connection and our Skype discussion went smoothly. For example, it did not take us long to agree on a topic. We helped each other review the assignment criteria and how we planned on tackling it. We also discussed and shared our personal experiences about taking an online course where it had its advantages and disadvantages to full-time workers like ourselves.

I felt Kim’s demeanor was very calm and professional. I had an immediate sense of comfort speaking with her on Skype. I was very impressed to learn that Kim had the time to take some courses while working full-time and a mother who takes her son to frequent hockey games.

All in all, it was a great experience to work with Kim. Thank you!

Part II:  Trends to Emerging Online Learning

Summary

My learning partner, Kim, has shared an interesting article about the trends of online learning (see link under Resources section). According to Kim’s research findings, she found the statistics illustrated new trends such as programs called Experience API or Tin Can API that many companies utilize to track data on people’s experiences. Kim wished that the website would have elaborated on how this particular technology works. She did manage to find another link on what this program entails (see link under Resources section). However, it appeared to be vague and she would have liked to see a YouTube video, for instance, showing how the companies used the program for collecting the data on their staff.

Kim’s web article was very interesting because it provided some insight on what online learning would continue to grow and what would dissipate.

Some other simmering trends that Kim discovered are listed below:

  • Gamifications  or learning games (work related)
  • Storytelling
  • Videos
  • Mobile support in lieu of “mobile learning”

On the other hand, below is the list of some of the few trends that may fizzle out:

  • Tweeter
  • mLearning (mobile learning)
  • Virtual Worlds

Kim did mention about how the technology became too steep to be able to keep up with the hardware… it was like chasing the trends. Consequently, Kim and I had a great discussion when we shared our individual research findings on the above topics.