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
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.
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.
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
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)
- 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:
- 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.