The learning gap identfied for this assignment is the need to inform and instruct educators in blended (classroom-based) digital language learning.
Many teachers see educational technology as a tool for elearning, but are uncertain how it can be used to support strategies and methodologies for teaching a language in a classroom situation. Blended learning aims to combine educational technology with face-to-face interaction.
The teaching goal of this assignment is to introduce teachers to the determinators that influence the creation of educational content in general, and to demonstrate how technical functionalities can be utilized to support successful strategies and methodologies for blended language learning.
To instruct educators in the use of technical functionalities for classroom-based language learning I have chosen to create a combination of digital images, documents and video tutorials. The digital content was evaluated through the digital media checklist developed for this course. Since much of the digital content was produced by myself, special attention was paid to the quality of content and use: aspects such as the relevance and accuracy of the learning content along with its interactivity and accessability were in the center of my attention.
The resulting images, documents and videos are included in a short training course. The course is made up of three structured and clearly sequenced instructional modules as well as one module with sources and inspirational links. As the intended audience for this particular learning experience is composed of fellow educators, the course is based on adult learning principles such as Malcolm Knowles’ theory of adult learning, andragogy.
As adults, the learners of this course will expect their learning content to be relevant to their profession. To ensure the relevance of the learning content, the tutorials contain an extensive number of real-life examples taken from the educational webportals I work with as digital editor. Two of the instructional modules offer additional open educational resources to investigate. The course itself ends with a list of sources, further inspirational resources and copyright information, also relevant to the learners.
Another expectation will be for the learning content to be presented effectively. Educators have busy schedules, and the time earmarked for further education and research is very limited. To be as efficient as possible, each instructional module starts with a short preview of what is to come. This is followed by a timeframe, a short introduction and an overview of concepts. Since the modules are part of a time-efficient and individual training course, I have opted to introduce abstract concepts such as strategies and methodologies through video tutorials. The learning content of each video tutorial is summed up in a short recap section. The amount of reading is deliberately limited to keep the completion-time of each module at less than 20 minutes. The modules also feature a streamlined design and a similar set-up. This allows learners to focus on the learning content itself without being distracted by new features.
As adult learners, the learners of this course will also expect to be able to learn autonomously and according to their own pace. To meet these requirements, I have omitted the possibility for learners to share and collaborate and chosen individual work as the manner of completion, which provides autonomy. The learning content of each instructional module is loosely tied to the learning outcome of the previous and/or following module. Each instructional module can, however, also be completed separately and may be viewed as a ‘stand-alone’ product in its own right. This allows learners to pick and choose the module they wish to be working on.
Lastly, the learners of this course will want to tap into their existing competencies and to be presented with clear learning goals. As mentioned, the introductions are followed by an overview of the concepts that are in the focus of attention. It is at this point that the infographics come into play, as a means to activate pre-existing knowledge and introduce new concepts. Each video tutorial begins with a clear statement of the respective teaching objective and learning goal, and ends with a recap of the most important take-aways. Each instructional module is concluded with a knowledge check for self-evaluation, and ends with an encouragement to turn to the next module.
The following digital content was created to educate adult learners about classroom-based digital language learning:
The infographics were created in Adobe Spark by utilizing one of their design templates. Icons, lettering and colors all stem from this source. They were deliberately selected, resized, filtered and positioned according to the visual design principles covered in this course. Their appropriateness was measures by applying the digital media checklist created for this course.
The video clips were created in Animator and Power Point, with closed captions added manually in YouTube. The background music provided in the channel trailer animation is sourced from Animator’s selection of tunes. The voice-over provided in the tutorials features my voice, at times edited in Audacity. The logotype featured in each clip was created in Adobe Spark and Canva, utilizing one of Adobe’s build-in icons and a CC picture by Unsplash. The images used in the tutorials are from Unsplash and Pixabay.Their appropriateness was measures by applying the digital media checklist created for this course.
The interactive modules were created in Articulate 360’s Rise. Their appropriateness was measures by applying the digital media checklist created for this course.
The following additional digital content - without relation to the topic and learning audience above - was also created for this course:
Enhanced digital images
The digital images were created in Adobe Spark (logotype) and Canva (banner). The images stem from Adobe’s and Canva’s build-in icons and Unsplash.
The digital documents were created in Bookcreator (ebook) and Power Point (storyboards). The images are sourced from Unsplash and Pixabay.