Struggling with audio

Hi all,

I am struggling to insert audio into my blog. Any and all suggestions are welcome to help me with this issue. You can comment or email me at angelia.modlin@waldenu.edu whichever works best for you.

THANKS BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!

Angie

**Update…I cannot thank you all enough for the support. I think that I got it covered. What a great group of classmates to work with. AM

Blog Post: The Truth About Training

What is training, who needs training and why is it important? Training is an important part of the creating an environment that meets the goals and needs of employees, employers, and customers. Noe (2013) states that training refers to a planned effort by a company to facilitate learning of job-related competencies, knowledge, skills, and behaviors by employees. The goal of training for employees is to master the knowledge, skills, and behaviors emphasized in training and apply them to their day-to-day activities. As well as preparing them for their current position, training prepares employees for advancing their technological skills.

Training is effective when it is in alignment with the outcome of the company. One of the most important aspects of a learning organization is the ability for employees to learn from failure and from successes. That is, learning includes understanding why things happen and why some choices lead to outcomes (Noe, 2013). By balancing their business strategy with the training program employees will learn and succeed in the future.

References:

Noe, R.A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Training & Development

I will be using my blog for the new course I am taking through Walden University. This course is “Training & Development” EIDT-6501-2 and I am excited to see where this course takes me. Welcome.

Week 6 – Scope Creep

This week for our blog assignment we were supposed to analyze scope creep by using a project whether it be a personal or professional project and I struggled to determine a project I could use until I thought of the remodeling project we are doing on our house.

We had a great deal of hail damage earlier in the year and our house needed a new roof, siding and other things. When the original plans were made to repair the house we had an insurance adjustor and contractor come and give us estimates for the supplies. Much of the work would be done by my husband and our sons, so labor was not included except for minor things such as window installation. As we continued the process we found additional damage, changes in the availability to obtain supplies and the length of time that it would take to complete the repairs. Before this class I did not realize that what we are dealing with is a phenomenon known as scope creep (Portney, et.al., 2008). If I had known multiple things that I learned in this class we might have been able to create a budget with a 20% contingency (Laureate Education, n.d.) as well as additional time allowances.

We are still in the process of the home remodeling project and according to Portney, et. al., (2008) avoiding scope creep is not possible. However, monitoring it, controlling it, and thereby reducing some of the pain is possible — if the project manager follows a few guidelines:

  • Include a change control system in every project plan.
  • Insist that every project change is introduced by a change order that includes a description of the agreed-upon change together with any resulting changes in the plan, processes, budget, schedule, or deliverables.
  • Require changes to be approved in writing by the client as well as a by a representative of senior management.
  • Amend and update all project plans and schedules to reflect the change after the change of order has been approved.

Although all of these are not applicable in this situation it is a good plan for project managers to use the guidelines to eliminate or reduce the effect of scope creep on a project.

References:

Portney, S.E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J.R., Shafer, S.M., & Sutton, M. (2008). Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.) Creating a resources allocation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Week 5: Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

As I complete the coursework for obtaining my MS in Instructional Design I am in completely foreign territory and many times feel like I am trying to understand a foreign language. This week I have been looking for resources to help me with estimating costs and allocating resources for my project and have found several great resources out there.

The first resource that I found is BrightHub. This website provides several templates to assist in the completion of designing a budget, a scope statement template, and a RACI template as well others. I definitely placed this site on my bookmarks bar.

The second resource that I found is projectmanagement.com. This website has resources available for not only templates but also contains links to workshops, blogs, webinars and much more. The information appears to be current, informative and related directly to the challenges that a project manager faces in their day-to-day work. I really was impressed with this site as well and placed it on my bookmarks toolbar too.

Resources:

BrightHub: http://www.brighthubpm.com

ProjectManagement.com: http://www.projectmanagement.com

Communicating Effectively

Communication is a key part of everyday life whether it be in a personal setting or in a business setting. According to Dr. Stolovitch (Laureate Ed., n.d., 2:34) communication is not just words. ¨It is influenced by spirit and attitude, 93% of it is not in the words, but in the tonality, body language and timing¨. All of these things were brought to light in the multimedia program ¨The Art of Effective Communication¨. Although the wording was the same the message came across to me in completely different ways.

Email: The sender used wording that seemed very stress, possibly hostile and somewhat gave me the feel of accusing the receiver of not completing their part of the work which is causing her to be behind. It was overall in a friendly business manner, but without having verbal cues or body language it was hard to read. If receiving this in my workplace I would comply with the request, but wonder what I had done to get behind.

Voicemail: The sender was using the same wording, but the calm tone of the voice gave a less angry and possibly just overly stressed request. The voicemail was business friendly and provided the receiver with the information needed without being hostile. I would have reacted to this request better due to being able to hear the tone of the voice.

Face to Face: Again the same wording is used, but verbal and physical body cues were given that helped the receiver understand that she is not angry with him, but is anxious to complete her portion of the project. It opened the door for the communication about what was needed and what timeframe it would be best delivered in without being angry, just anxious.

Conclusion: When I am communicating with others about information related to a project it would be best to do so in a face-to-face environment if at all possible. Wording should be clearly thought out and re-read before sending if sending in an email or voicemail to ensure that the receiver does not feel that they are being attacked. As explained by Troy Achong (Laureate Ed., n.d., 4:21) identify the people you can connect with and have them help you reach the ones you struggle to relate to. This and using communication strategies recommended by Dr. Stolovitch will help to achieve the best results when communicating with team members or stakeholders.

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.) Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.) Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Multimedia Program: ¨The Art of Effective Communication¨

Project Post-Mortem: Website Drama

Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

Introduction:

This blog post is focusing on the post-mortem thoughts of a project that I worked on. About 5 years ago our school district led a massive redesign of our school website because it was outdated and contained inaccurate information. The goal was to provide an aesthetically pleasing design that would allow patrons to easily access the information that they were looking for. Each faculty member was asked to create a classroom website that would be linked to the different school pages as well. The other Librarian and myself were assigned to direct and assist the faculty as needed.

The main website was being re-worked and updated by our school IT Director so his experience was evident from the beginning. Each faculty member handled this additional duty in different ways. Some were angry at having something else handed to them, some were excited about the possibilities and some just really didn’t care. I think that much of the negative issues that arose from this project was that there was no prior discussion of the project until they were given a deadline of 30 days by email. I think that if we had worked together in building level groups and were given to and explained the project in person it would have been better received. I think that using a traditional model such as the centrally organized structure would have worked to our advantage (Portney, 2008., p. 60). This would have given them a clear answer as to who they should talk to about. Instead of this the librarians were charged with the task of contacting each of our faculty individually; in my case that would be approximately 60 teachers. The timeframe was not consistent with the amount of time needed to complete this task.

The main thing that contributed to the failure of the project at that time was the lack of communication from the IT Director  who was the PM to the rest of the faculty. Many of the faculty members had never created a website, they were not given any information about the various website software that could be used and were not given a rationale for the assignment. This left the librarians to hear the complaints, attempt to teach how to create a website and attempt to oversee the product completion. Once this was done we were to email the link of the websites to the IT Director and he would link them to the page. This format of handling things was an epic failure. Partially because neither of us (Librarians) had created a website from start to finish before and were attempting to learn and teach at the same time. Within a couple of weeks so many people had complained and/or refused to complete the project that it was placed on hold at that time.

I think that a better needs analysis would have made a great difference as well as communication skills. There was a lack of involvement from upper management and that did not lead with a positive example either. Since this project was one that could not be thrown out the other librarian and myself went to the IT Director to explain the issues we had been experiencing. He was genuinely concerned and had not stopped to think that many of the people he was asking to create their websites had not done so before. We re-worked the system with a new organizational structure and provided a timeline for the workflow. The revised system was much better.

1: IT Director, librarians, administrators and 3 faculty members from each building attending a Google Sites Class.

2: The faculty were given opportunities for Professional Development time to meet with the members of the prior class so that we could teach them the basics.

3: Each site was proofed by a peer and feedback to help enhance the use of the site.

I could go on and on, but I believe you get my point. The main thing that helped project succeed the next time was that everyone knew the expectations set for them and felt included in the process. The communication was key to success.


References:


Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: just enough PM to rock your projects!  (Laureate Custom Ed.) Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education Inc. Retrieved from : https://class.waldenu.edu

Portney, S.E., Mantel, S.J., Meridith, J.R., Shafer, S.M., & Kramer, B.E. (2008). Project Management: Planning, scheduling and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

EDUC 6135 Reflection

Before this course when I thought of distance education I thought of logging on to my Blackboard site and completing the coursework that was in place for me to take care of. I had not thought of it as an instructor and the differences from  the face-to-face classroom much at all. ¨The process of planning and organizing for a distance education course is multifaceted and must occur well in advance of the scheduled instruction¨ (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 130) and I had not thought of this aspect of it at all. I have always been used to being able to ¨tweak¨ the lesson as the day went on to make it more engaging for the students. The traditional classroom that I grew up with has changed dramatically and is no longer the only way to learn. Distance learning has gone through many changes and with the Internet being more readily available to people, it is becoming more and more common for people to use distance learning. The generations of children and young adults that I come into contact with are using technology in their daily routine more than ever before.

Another thing that I had not thought of is the need for theory in distance education. The major role of a theory in the realm of distance learning is for it to be used as a guide or map (Saba, Laureate Education, n.d., 6:42) for the instruction that is to take place. In his landmark work The Foundations of Distance Education, Keegan (1996) classified theories of distance education into three groups: Theories of independence and autonomy, Theories of industrialization and teaching, Theories of interaction and communication (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015. p.42). By learning about these theories and how to apply them to a distance learning environment I am learning how to create a distance learning environment that will be a positive and interesting place for the learner to visit.

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5-10 years; 10-20 years)?

I believe that distance learning will become more mainstream and a universal way of getting an education within the next few years. Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015) state that the day is coming when the work done by  correspondence will be greater in amount than that done in the classrooms of our academies and colleges: when the students who shall recite by correspondence will far outnumber those who make oral recitations. I agree with their thoughts and think that within the next 5-10 years we as an education community will move more in that direction. As I think about 10-20 years I think of how quickly toddlers learn to play videos or use an app on their parents´ iphone and as I work with young adults I see their confidence with technology grow and as it becomes easier to use I see distance learning becoming commonplace in the education field.

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning? How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education. 

As an instructional designer I will need to provide a positive impression for distance learning to those who are not only taking courses, but those who are hesitant about the process as well. I will need to really work with the CMS that I am using and prepare it so that my students are engaged and interested as well. ¨The process of planning and organizing for a distance education course is multifaceted and must occur well in advance of the scheduled instruction¨ (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 130). This will create a society of online learners who can in turn tell those around them about the positive experience that they are having. According to Simonson, et.al. (2015) I will need to have an understanding of what students know and how it relates to the intended instruction. By knowing my students and their needs better I can help them to have a positive experience as well. Whether is by synchronous of asynchronous the learning experience is an important one that will cause them to have opinions about it. My goal is to make those opinions positive ones as they grow and learn in the field as I am doing.

In closing I have learned that teaching in all forms is both challenging and rewarding. As stated by Simonson, et.al., teaching at a distance can be a pleasurable experience for everyone involved. I have learned that it is a multi-faceted experience when you are involving technology. As stated by Beldarrain, (2006), emerging teaching models will undoubtedly integrate new technology tools, yet those tools that foster interaction must be deliberately integrated into the design process to ensure appropriate application. As an instructional designer I will need to provide the appropriate application for the technology that I work with. Since technology is ever-changing, and as an instructor using technology I will need to change and adapt as well.

References:

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Theory and distance learning [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://class.waldenu.edu.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Zvacek, S. (2015) Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Best Practices Guide

The assignment this week contains the scenario where a training manager is making plans to convert all of the training modules that he is currently using to a blended learning format. By moving to this type of training format he hopes to increase the opportunities for the trainees in terms of communication. By putting his training materials online the trainees will have access to the resources and assignments at any time. This format will provide both individual opportunities for learning as well as the face-to-face sessions to solidify the information learned and ensure that all trainees are understanding the information.

Best Practices Guide for Converting Programs

  • The course will convert from a complete face-to-face class to a blended class.
  • Information to be included:
    • Pre-planning strategies
    • How to enhance aspects of the original training format.
    • Trainer role change due to environment change.
    • Facilitation of communication between students.
  1. What pre-planning strategies should be considered during the change of programs?
  • For face-to face planning and blended learning planning both use the following:
    • Establish and define the objectives and goals to be reached.
    • Prepare a syllabus and calendar for the activities that will take place.
    • Prepare all documents that will be shared during the training.
      • For face-to-face trainings prepare copies to distribute.
      • For blended learning trainings create a space for document sharing during the training time period.
  1. What aspects from the original training program could be enhanced in distance learning?
  • Define the objectives and goals can be enhanced by:
    • Create assessments, discussion boards, assignments &/or projects that will provide the learners with opportunities to apply the information.
  • Create a syllabus and calendar for the activities can be enhanced by:
    • Provide a document sharing opportunity for the information.
    • Use Web 2.0 tools to provide the information in a user-friendly way.
      • Wiki’s, Blogs, Prezi Presentation
  1. How to facilitate communication between students in an online program.
  • Provide well thought out prompts, questions or scenarios for engagement that require more thought and answers than just rhetorical yes or no answers.  
  • Participate to stimulate conversation, but be careful to not overly participate to the point that the students are not communicating with each other.
  • Provide positive encouragement and resources to explain perspectives without causing the students to feel that they are wrong.
  • Make sure to understand how to use the information and software so that the glitches are minor and the technology is not a distraction to the student.
  • Give specific requirements (rubric) for what you would like the student to present in their discussion posts to eliminate confusion on what is required.  This allows the learner to focus on the material and not worry about format.
  1. How will my role change as the learning environment changes?
  • Be open-minded and flexible when working with a new CMS as things change constantly in technology.
  • Pre-planning will involve preparing without instant trainee feedback so be prepared to listen to the trainees if something isn’t working. This is not permanent; adapting to their needs is key.
  • Reach out to others who are accustomed to working in this environment and get ideas.

Important things to have prepared before training starts. Check List

  1. CMS is decided on that will work for this format. _______
  2. I have trained and am comfortable with the CMS. _______
  3. I understand how to use the tools  of the CMS. _______
  4. I have pre-planned the learning objectives/goals. _______
  5. I have prepared activities for each objective/goals. _______
  6. I have prepared a way for students to offer feedback. _______

References:

Simonson, Michael., Smaldino, S., Zvacek, S., (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.