Reflecting – Online Learning

I recently finished a reflection assignment from the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP), one of my many assignments I am very proud of. In the PIDP we were assigned to reflect on a quote of our choice from the textbook. For my third entry, I reflected upon a quote about online learning from Adult Learning Linking Theory and Practice written by Sharan B. Merriam & Laura L. Bierema. Today I had a brilliant idea, to share my writing for other instructors searching the web. I believe this paper I wrote may be helpful to other instructors out there. Leave a comment, let me know what you think. Thank you for visiting!

Objective

            In my third reflection for the PIDP 3100, I will be reflecting on the 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). Online learning has many contributing factors to create a successful learning environment or experience. This quote displays the ingredients for the perfect online learning recipe. Students may sometimes have a difficult time learning online, when not being able to persevere on their own. Upon further research for this quote, Merriam & Bierema (2014) report, learners also have non-school-related external constraints that impact their ability to remain enrolled such as finances, employment, family obligations, support systems, and unanticipated crises such as illness, divorce, or job loss. Unfortunately, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances that may arise with my students. By giving the support and empathy they need in those times is also important as an adult educator.

            This quote caught my attention because over the last six weeks of taking this online course I have felt the need for all of these aspects mentioned. I have navigated through the course, finding the skills I needed within me to create a better learning environment for myself. In this reflection, I will elaborate on how I can ensure students taking my class will have the tools to perform at the best of their ability.

Reflective

            It is the year 2019, we are now called the “Information Age” (also known as computer age and digital age). Moving on from the industrial revolution, on to the digital revolution, we have graduated to new technologies and devices that have created a shift in society. I chose this quote to reflect upon because the majority of the population is somehow tethered to a device. “Cognitive imaging studies have found that spending too much screen time will lead less efficient information processing” (CareWell Urgent Care, 2018). People are spending more time behind screens than face to face, losing communication skills, emotional connection, and personal experience. I believe that the quote emulates how hard work and perseverance is still needed to be successful even if the class you are taking is not in the traditional classroom setting. The attributes mentioned in the quote are essential skills and qualities for students, online and in person. I believe that by having my students use their “screen time” as an opportunity to learn, rather than mindlessly scrolling, would benefit their growth personally and professionally. 

Interpretive

            The quote I chose displays the evidence in saying, online learning requires much more care and attention driven independently. Which means acquiring literacy, time management, communication skills, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and belongingness is detrimental to the students’ success. Persevering as an online student can be difficult at times, drop out rates are much higher compared to in-class learners. With the flipped classroom teaching method I want to integrate into my curriculum, I will fully prepare my students with the tools they need to stay on track and become successful when learning online. The flipped classroom creates a learning atmosphere where the students become more independent and the instructor becomes a facilitator for learning. Students will be assigned homework reviewing the lesson before class to be better prepared for the following day, leaving more time for experience and hands-on learning in the classroom. Rather than the instructor lecturing in class, leaving less time for more meaningful learning experiences for students. I believe my thinking has changed after reflecting on the quote by realizing that online learning truly does need perseverance and hard work. While working full time, trying to find space in my schedule to work on my assignments has been difficult at times. My approach has been work hard and time management, by growing up in the digital age the rest was a breeze. Viewing what is portrayed in the quote and from my experience, I now understand there is more to online learning and ensuring students can find comfort in the support of their instructor.

Decisional

            Students have traditionally been taught face to face, to adapt to our new digital age with the flipped classroom, I will give my students a self-directed online learning experience blended with in-person facilitating and support. Here are a few key points on the flipped classroom; “Students learn more deeply…Students are more active participants in learning…Interaction increases and students learn from one another…Instructors and students get more feedback” (The University of Texas at Austin, 2019). By bringing in the flipped classroom technique, I will better prepare for my students to continue educating themselves through online learning when updating their skills after leaving hairdressing school.

            I am now going to go through each aspect presented in the quote I chose and explain how I can apply this to my curriculum involving the flipped classroom teaching method. Using an online platform, which includes the necessary tools for my students to begin to approach learning with independence and confidence.

Computer Literacy – I will provide an introduction to the course, including a thorough e-tour of the online platform being used, accessible at any time through the course.

Information Literacy – To support my students, I will organize sections on each subject being covered and labeling them appropriately. By practicing this skill, it will become easier for my students in the future to source out the necessary information on their own.

Time Management – I will set up a calendar that syncs to their e-mail and phone number for due date reminders. Also adding each date with corresponding review material linked, which will be labeled appropriately. This is what I did for myself in the PIDP 3100 course, physically seeing when each assignment is due helped with my time management.

Online Communication Skills – Setting up an online forum for students to message each other about assignments and share their research, will allow for communication skills to develop. I will create assignments where my students will research and prepare a presentation to be submitted in this online forum. There will also be an area for my students to review their peers’ presentations, and submit their supportive comments. Creating communication by opening up a public forum for my students to share ideas and work with one another.

Self-esteem – Promoting a safe space in my classroom and online, for my students to feel encouraged by their peers to be creative and confident. Allowing for critical self-reflection, journaling, emotional support and empathy in the learning process.

Belongingness in the Online Program – Having my students create a personal profile with details about themselves and why they are in the program. I will create online forum assignments to get them to open up and contribute to communicate and create connections with their peers.

Developing Interpersonal Skills – By having my students work together on assignments, in-class and online will allow for interpersonal skills to develop. Assigning group projects with separate contributions from each student. They will be marked on the assignment and part of their mark will entail contribution, inclusion, and encouragement of their peers.

            With this detailed outline of how to support my students to become persevering online learners, I believe that the incorporation of using a flipped classroom will assist me in ensuring success with all of my students.

References

CareWell Urgent Care. The Effects too Much Screen Time has on Your Health. (July 19th, 2019). https://www.carewellurgentcare.com/2018/07/19/the-effects-too-much-screen-time-has-on-your-health/

Mierriam, S. B. & Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult Learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

The University of Texas at Austin. Flipped Classroom. (2019). https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/flipped-classroom

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