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Digital Learning Environment

This prezi explains the process of designing and evaluating a digital learning environment
by

Tracey Flax

on 26 November 2014

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Transcript of Digital Learning Environment

The process of designing a Digital Learning Environment
Learner Profile
Implementation
Introduction
This assignment will focus on the design and evaluation of a digital learning environment (DLE) that I have created for this module. The DLE produced is a Moodle based learning environment used to cover topics in a fundamentals of business course that I teach.

The following report will detail the complete process of creating the DLE Including; identifying target learners, scenario and content of the DLE, pedagogic and design rationales, implementation, evaluation and my reflections on the complete experience.


Content
The DLE will serve as part of a blended learning course, covering weekly units of a course in fundamentals of business. This course is a general requirement for business students seeking an associate degree or certification at the community college level.

The content focuses on the operation of businesses including topics such as; marketing, management, planning, leadership, organization and control of a business. It serves as an introduction to the business world that will provide a basic understanding and foundation for students within the field.

BUS110 Moodle DLE
Evaluation
Reflections
Pedagogic Rationale
Design Rationale
References

Instructional Design
Visual Design
Background and colour scheme
Background
The background of the Moodle page is pre-set by the administrator. Once initial setup is complete, I am given access to the course. The name of the course and a few basic tools such as activities and calendar included (all of which can be edited).
Layout and Navigation
Weeks/topics:
The layout of the DLE is based around the weeks/topics in the center of the page. This area is main area of the course where links to course assignments and resources are located.

Blocks:
are located on both sides of the weeks topic. Blocks are interchangeable and can be moved in any position on the sides of the screen. Moodle is pre-packages with a variety of tools such as latest news,RSS feeds, calendars, navigation etc that can be uploaded to blocks. Blocks can also be used for images and any html content
DLE live
Universal Accessability
Blended Learning
Learning through stimulus and response
Learning is self-directed
Learning is Experiential
Learning is a shared connected experience
Learning is reflective
........hmmm I really learned allot in this module.......
Scenario
Design specifications derived from scenario and storyboard
Scenario Storyboard
Scenario
Rationale for Moodle elearning Platform
Colour scheme
The predominant colours of the DLE is shades of green and yellow (preset by administrator). These colours are used because they represent the colours of the college as seen in the logo.
Images and Fonts
Main header image:
the image was used as a visual welcome to the course. I wanted it to standout and felt that by just using text would not have as much of an impact. I created it using html coding to give it a beveled button like effect with the college logo and welcome message.

Images:
Moodle is very text based as a DLE, which can be a turn-off for some students. In order to give it some visual appeal, I have added small icons next to areas such as resources and assignments. I tried to use images that reflected what the topic was about.

I also used this side panel image which displays the colleges logo and slogan with graduates. It adds visual appeal and at the same time serves as a motivation to students.

All clipart images used are royalty free and college images/logos are used with permission from the college's desktop publishing unit.
Font:
Most of the main font used on the DLE is
Trebuchet MS
san-serif font which is considered web-safe for easy reading online.

The font used for assignment and resources link are pre-set by the administrator.
weeks/topics area
Block
Navigation
click here
to play video
Layout
Block
To get a better idea of the resources assignment and other course content, I created a storyboard as an initial design for the course. Storyboarding allowed me to create the units individual that I would have in the DLE on script like screens. The benefit of this is being able to brainstorm what I wanted included and be able to make quick changes before I started designing the final product in Moodle.
DLE Storyboard
One of the benefits of creating the DLE in Moodle is to give my learners the options to access it from any platform and any digital device.

Moodle software is already optimized to be responsive to any platform or device, however with the addition of different html images and tables that I created once live there were some compatibility issues with different browsers.



DLE on Windows 8 platform
DLE on Mac OX 10.9 Mavericks
Once coding was adjusted, the course was fully responsive and the images tables and videos retained proportions across all platforms and devices.
DLE live on tablet
DLE live on laptop
DLE live on mobile
Responsive Design
Welcome Unit
Course Units
The course project unit is the one of the key areas of the DLE. Learners will be required throughout the course to work in groups to develop a business plan for a new business. They will be required to complete real market research in the community and present the business plan at the end of the semester.

This section is all about collaboration, engagement and social learning. Collaboration resources include a chartroom a forum and a wiki where the students will create their business plan. My idea was to include everything that the students could use to work in an effective collaborative way on the course project.

Project upload areas
and due dates
Collaboration Resources
The methods available for group collaboration are; a team chat-room, a wiki space and a forum. These areas are only accessible by members of each team.
Required assignments
for the week
Forum
Create glossary ( collaboration)
Quiz
Unit 1
This unit is an example of the typical weekly units. Weekly units will include required assignments and resources focused on a specific business topic each week
Course Project Unit
Additional Resource Blocks
Right Column blocks

I have chosen the latest news block in the top right position. The latest news block content is automatically pulled from the welcome unit - announcement forum. This will allow students to see important announcements as soon as they open the course without having to go directly to the forum.

The calendar block automatically reflects any due dates on assignment and events by highlighting the due date.

The glossary block is an ongoing assignment for the course duration - students can update the glossary with any new terminology learned in the course. All new entries to the glossary shows up in this block.
Blocks are built-in course resources which may be added to the left or right of the course page. Moodle offer several different block options including; a calendar, RSS feeds, HTML items and latest news.

Left Column blocks

Top left is an image added as html code.

The activities block is added so learners can access all activities and resources in one area. It lists all the currently links, resources assignments etc that are available in the course.

Navigation block displays links in an expanding tree menu format that links the learners to all of their courses they are registered for in moodle, their profile and their home page.


Activities
What worked
Areas for improvement
Learner Support and Resources
Visual layout and Design
Pedagogic/Instructional Design
Changes Made
100% of participants felt that the DLE provided satisfactory access to links to services and resources that the learners may find useful therefore I was successful in meeting this goal.
Other comments:
I think that those you have are good
for the needs of your courses
All well set out and easy to find.
I like the calendar and other info. on the sides

71% of participants felt the images used are appropriate in supporting the course content by adding visual interest.

100% of participants felt the overall design of the course looked visually professional and would match the interest of the targeted learners

86% felt that white space was used effectively

Additional Comments:
Suitable for the target learner
I think it looks amazing but just needs easier to follow links.
Perhaps the topics are revealed week by week
Very neat, very professional

60% of the participants felt that some of the fonts used did not supports easy reading of material

Comments
• I do not like the light green. when I read, my eyes are tired.
• I'd prefer a more intense colour for the hyperlinks and bigger font for the subtitles.
Images:


80% felt that navigating through the course was not clear, simple and user-friendly

Comments:
I think once you learn the DLE it will be easy to navigate through
Too much scrolling down to other units
I'm just thinking the fact that while your learners will be scrolling down to the others Units, they won't be able to see the Units on the left and right side of the page. It would be nice if there was a way to keep the left and right side "frozen" as we scroll down.
Perhaps the topics are revealed week by week




71% of participants agreed that the course assignments promote interaction and communication between learners

80% felt that different technologies are used throughout the course to engage students

60% responded that a range of media formats (video, audio, graphics) are used to accommodate multiple learning styles

Other comments:
Good use of different teaching methodologies
Learning is a shared connected experience
Learning through stimulus and response
Learning is self-directed
Learning is experiential
Learning is reflective
Visual Elements and Navigation
Improved Navigation (Image)
Original Design(video)
Improved Navigation (video)
Click here
to play.
Click here
to play
Based on the participants of the survey, the navigation of the DLE was the biggest area in need of improvements. Moodle allows for three main types of navigation - weekly format, topic format and social format. The finished design of the course used the topic format which stacks the topics in units. This means that as topic/units are added the main page gets longer and learners will have to keep scrolling down to see new content. To meet the objective of the DLE being easy to navigate, I had to make adjustments to the "scroll of death" layout.

To change the navigation, I used a built in resource called 'page' that allow me to create a new page (similar to a website page) within the units. I was able to create one link and add the new page and 'hide' the additional links. The new design still features the topic/unit sections, but these sections are simpler and has eliminated the extremely long scrolling.


Additional Changes
The respondents to the survey felt that the green colour for the links on the DLE were ineffective. These link were not changed because the link colour and size can only be changed by the administrator. This is a request that I would submit to the administrator to change to a darker colour like black that would help with the readability of the links.

I would not fully change anything about the basic structure or rationales of the DLE, however I do believe that there is still room for improvements in some areas.

Implementation - the choice of using Moodle requires additional support from my campus Moodle administrator. I found that it is important to have a clear idea of what I want in the initial setup to avoid any delays in getting the course running. I would also research other Layout designs available as add-ons that I can suggest to the administrator to have added to our Moodle version. This will provide other effective navigation and layout options for the DLE.


Conclusion
Digital learning environments can have a significant impact on teaching and learning however, creating and designing must be a structured process that extends beyond technology and examines a wider range of factors (Bielaczyc, 2006). The process of creating the DLE showed me how important all these factors are to constructing a learning environment where learning objectives are met, but also a space where students can be engaged, interested, motivated and enjoy learning.

From identifying learners and content, analysis of design and pedagogic rationales to implementation, evaluation and reflection – are all aspects of the lifecycle are equally important to the effectiveness of the course design. Everything that I have learned in doing this module and assignment is valuable. I feel a deeper understanding of what it means to create learning environments using technology as a tool that can be used to enhance teaching. Most importantly I have learned to always put my students first and foremost in my planning and build everything around their needs.

In the future I will use what I have learned from this experience to create DLEs that are effective and motivate my students to learn in an engaging, enjoyable space.

Recent high school graduates and young adults learners
16-25 years old
"Tech- savvy" open to using technology
More dependent on teacher
Learner Group #1
Learner Group #2
Adult Learner
Up to 65 years
Typically more uncertain of using technology
More independent
Brings more life experiences

Central to the process of course design, is a structured pedagogical rationale that justifies course objectives, teaching methods, assessment and choice of learning environment (Biggs, 1999). The theoretical foundations supporting this course will consider learner needs and context (Boyle and Ravenscroft, 2012) and utilize a mixture of philosophies that will provide an enhanced rich learning experience for students enrolled (Honebein and Sink, 2012). Ultimately, the main goal is driven by the desire to stimulate the learners ability to learn and grow from the content presented, take that knowledge and use it out into the world (Fink, 2003).
Forum
Survey
I originally felt that a mobile app would be an effective tool to use but once I completed the design specification table I realized that an app might not be the best possible choice in this context.

Based on the requirements, I would not be able to create an app robust enough to perform the users needs identified.

I also acknowledged that an app might provide to much of a learning curve for some of my users.

Ultimately, after considerations of learners and the functional specifications, I decided on using Moodle an all-in-one learning platform.
Scenario converted into visual storyboard to better organize requirements of development.
DLE Specifications
Which DLE platform?
In the future, I would like to fully develop my DLE by creating all the units for the course. I have realized how time consuming it can be to plan out each unit, but I felt that the use of storyboarding the ideas visually helped to keep me focused on what methods I needed to include.





The entire process of creating the DLE course has been very rewarding. I have previously tried creating a DLE before but was not aware of the full process of what it takes to design one effectively.

At the very beginning, I learned that one of the most important aspects is keeping the learners at the core of the design process. By identifying their characteristics and needs, I was able to use that information as the centre for my design with the end goal of creating a DLE that met those needs.
I also learned the vital role and importance of evaluations through out the process. Even as I continuously evaluated the design, ideas and choices that I made while building the DLE, the summative evaluation gave me unbiased feedback on my design that was invaluable. The changes made from the survey feedback, I felt strengthened the overall design of the DLE.
EDUC5253M - Tracey N. Flax
The new navigation design allows for a more compressed layout of the course. Each unit is hosted inside an initial link. This is one way that I have found to eliminate the endless scrolling of the main page. The Help forum remains visible on the first unit to allow learners quick access to ask or respond to questions.
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