Monday, September 27, 2010

HMPD6204 Research Project Design

This course was useful in that i had to draw on all my research skills for the research project. What i learnt was that mere knowledge of ID skills and expertize alone was not enough. ID research was more than a project. My artifact here is a work in progress as i am continuing the work this semester too.

The following artifact gives an idea of what i attempted.
Research Artifact

Human Performance Technology

The course Human Performance Technolgy opened up an important aspect in ID studies viz. the human element. HPT deals with performance and at an analytical level encompassing lessons of cognitive, behavioral and human psychology. The studies and theory helped us understand and model systems better.

The following link is an example of the reflection we did.

Reflection artifact

HMTT6003 Instructional Technology Development Tools

This course was very challenging and an eye opener.  On the surface the course was very simple. All i had to do was to create a website for my domain. But, the course dealt not just with that but made me think on all the aspects of the design and get into the details.

The biggest highlight to me was the use of quizzes in the assessments and the wonderful questions for the quizzes.

HMOA5403 Online Assessment

Online teaching and learning can pose many challenges for designers of assessment. This course threw up many challenges and the issues in online teaching. The following link perhaps encapsulated my learning best in the course.


HMLC5303 Learning communities & Social Pedagogical Networks

This course was very dear to me as it encompassed the two areas in which i was very interested in viz. learning communities and social networks.

The following paper summarizes the work that we had done. As we can see from the documents, my interest and knowledge in the social communities has evolved over time and in an interesting way.

The link to the paper is given here.

Paper link

HMIC5503 Managing Intellectual Capital

This course was a trend setter for me. The course had minimal discussions in the forum and we had to work with Prof Boom individually on a series of tasks. While this was initially very tough, we picked up later and what we learnt was absolutely outstanding work. This course proves that we do not need to have a discussion based setting in an online course. 

The following forum post captures the range of what we tried in the course.

1.    How do you think ICT has affected our economy and society?
From my perspective the keys would be in terms of broad and widespread information due to the advances in communication technologies. This has helped us know each other better, learn and communicate our vision. The society has benefited as a whole across the world right from the remote villages to the bigger towns. ICT has meant that we all are interconnected so much that a flu in mexico can cause a headache to people thousands of miles away.

I see the growth in information technologies as not as much as a technological revolution but a necessity to keep pace with what is happening around the world. For
e.g. when railways was introduced, we just needed a way of controlling access. This meant that tokens or tickets were introduced. As the population increased, the number of trains increased. The technological system in controlling tickets has similarly grown. I say this as, in an interaction with a group of senior citizens, this (railways) was among the most visible system advancement they mentioned.

My context thus would be to view a lot of the advancements be it in the information age or the technological age as borne out of necessity or curiosity. In support of curiosity, i would look at newton's apple as an example. Why?  and why only Newton?  
2.    Presume, you are the owner of a bakery. How would you progress to make your bakery more knowledge-intensive and on what levels?
I would study the existing system and try to understand who my customers are and what they want. Are we looking at a new market or building on an existing system. Either way, what do we (hope to) have that others don't and what is so unique about it. What challenges can we face in the future and how do we cope? How have successful businesses like ours coped and failed? What can i do to avoid it? This knowledge is
power. With this knowledge, i would educate my workers and sensitise them to what we want to do, viz. shared vision. The
employees would know what is expected out of them and what we need to do to grow, not necessarily all the details. I would embrace technology at an appropriate level and educate my team. Over a longer period of time, would look for avenues that can keep pace with the market and be sustainable.

For this, i quote from what happened in my own neighbourhood. The place is filled with migrant workers all from interior regions of the state. What they seemed to miss was the local tea shops. In an urban setting like ours, it is rare to get the low cost tea. This is what the entreprenuer
set out to provide initially. Then, branched out into snacks and a full fledged bakery grew. The snacks aspect picked up and was lapped up by the urban neighbourhood which fueled the growth. To keep pace and overcome (preempt) the competition, the owner opened up a lot of shops in the vicinity. The owner was also very smart in localizing and customizing the dishes. We have a branch located near a college where the dishes are entirely north indian. This is because of the large patronage of students of the college who happen to be from North India.

Technology started with the phones and a door delivery system which later was used for placing bulk orders. The employees are now mobile equipped and connected. The urban landscape changed with regulatory mechanisms forcing the growth of bottled water in 25 litre cans. This opened up a big opportunity for the shop as the door delivery of snacks in the
community meant that a distribution system was already in place. Now, the way to go would be to use the web to have a presence and leverage the web for recieving and processing orders. I see a similar trend happening with small businesses which are ambitious and agile in my neighbourhood.
3.    What are the necessary skills and competences for an employee to work in a knowledge-intensive environment?
I would look at enthusiasm, openmindedness, attitude, strong logical and communications skills as an important prerequisites. Once we conducted refresher courses for the law enforcement officers. I saw that the maximum participation was from the higher ranks of the officers who saw IT as an oppurtunity for career advancement and a means for getting the edge however miniscule it is. And, that is the key. An ethusiasm for the environment, being
open minded about the beliefs (and not getting trapped in a timezone for
e.g. black board teaching is the best form of teaching), embracing knowledge, being logical about the use and finally communicating the beliefs in a coherent manner.
4.    Identify the (dis)advantages to work in a culturally diverse country.
The advantages are in preparation we get for working in a global context. When i study at an early age with a diverse group, i am being prepared for the challenges i will encounter later. I can learn, assimilate, understand and communicate with a group which will help me when i meet with people from other countries and communities. The qualities which seem disadvantages initially, may later turn out to be heaven sent interventions.

For e.g. we had to learn Hindi (apart from the native language - tamil and English) which is spoken in large parts of North india at an early age. We used to hate it! Later in life, when we had to travel extensively, we found this a great advantage even in foreign countries. I also was able to learn different languages and through it different cultures. Now, learning a new language will not be difficult for me.     
5.    Choose a multinational corporation and identify how this company gains a competitive advantage.
A study found that most of the consumer brands used by large sections of india were owned by a company called HUL. Hindustan Unilever Limited which is a subsidiary of Unilever Inc. A lot of people who took a part in the study could not name even one consumer brand which was purely indian owned in the segment. Soaps, detergents, conditioners, paste it was a complete cop-out. The keys for the success was localization - speak in the local language, customize the message, form relationships and maintain them. It started from the name. By attaching a simple "Hindustan" to the name, the message went out. (Is it the case in Bangladesh where you have Bangladesh Unilever?) When i say speak in the local language, the consumer had been so used to seeing the messages (through a procession of cricketer and matinee idols endorsements)  that they always thought of the brands as their own.

Another interesting case study is that of Hyundai in the car segment. The product initially did that people had written the car off for dead. When the leading matinee idol at that time Shah Rukh Khan endorsed it, what followed was history. Just because the Bollyhood hero had endorsed it, people flocked in to buy it and this trend continues till date.

HMLT5203 Applying Theories of Learning to Instructional Design

This was a course where we applied the theories of learning to instructional design. The debate was fierce at times and there was much excitement. This artifact illustrates the depth of the knowledge that we gained.

Link for artifact

Semester I - HMIR5103 Research in Instructional Design and Technology

This course was about the principles and practices of Research in Instructional design. The major contributions of the course was in helping us understand the basics of the research in the domain better. I have graduated into publishing a journal article in the domain and pursuing research projects in the domain is a testament to this course. An artifact that is relevant for the course is the summary of the research of a given article.

Research summary

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Artifact 5: I Semester - HMID 5003 - Principles and Practices of Instructional Design

This is a reflection excercise from the Forum post in the Course. The task was to apply the Gagne's Learning events and the ASSURE model.

"I find Gagne's learning events as focused towards teaching a particular topic both in the class room and in the material for open and distance learning. The theory is such that we can improvise using a structured pattern. It does simplify the job of the planners and teachers alike. And this is a big help (template aspect). The problem in many countries like ours is that we get teachers who chose teaching as a career because of lack of other career options. These people have to be taught on the best way of teaching and the Gagne's methodology is a simple way of structuring a teaching a class.

One of the examples presented in explains how this can work in teaching a simple concept. This works in an actual classroom as a seamless exercise, but needs proper preparation, awareness and command by the teacher. I would like to also pick up on Michaels point on "Robert Gagne’s nine events of learning do not lay emphasis on creating the instructional materials. ". I think Gagne's nine events has sufficient detail to be incorporated in an instruction material. In a material for open and distance learning (material presented in hard copy also), the same approach will work in the way the material is presented. (Am i right?)

As you have observed in your post, the ASSURE seems broader. I am also of the view that we can incorporate the specific detail of Gagne's in its teaching approach in the class room. I am interested in the explanation given in Because of the broader approach, ASSURE would be an ISD strategy whereas Gagne's theories may be categorised as a teaching method.
For a computer based tutorial design, Gagne's learning events will work wonderfully well. Even in applications like m-learning, there is scope to incorporate it."

After working on Gagne's events of learning and completing a project on the ASSURE model, this post still rings true. 

The chapter summary work for the course is shown in the following link
Artifact 5

Blooms Taxonomy - HMDD5603

My AVT score is 453.

I teach at a University where a range of Engineering Technology subjects are being taught. The challenge before us is to have a unified model of teaching and learning for teachers. How do we accomplish that? The challenges are that the teachers belong to diverse backgrounds, teach a range of subjects that call for different skill-sets from learners. Our objective is to go beyond just understanding and remembering information and concepts, but help our students apply it to different situations, analyze it using logic, create or synthesize, and evaluate. In other words use blooms taxonomy as the basis for our teacher training.

The fundamental change to start off with that bloom’s taxonomy accomplished in our teachers is to establish the difference between lower order thinking skills like understanding and reproducing to higher order thinking skills. For e.g. in our sessions with math teachers, this understanding was significant. How different is numerical methods from the theories of automata design? The former emphasizes lower order cognitive skills whereas the latter tested the student’s abilities to use logic, create and synthesize coherently. Even in a single subject, the teachers were encouraged to identify where the different skills needed to be applied and how. This led them to not just try to teach the subject, but creatively understand the concepts from a learner centred pedagogical perspective as well and act accordingly.

For this task I had a look at how our different senses can be use d by using the bloom’s taxonomy and arrived at the following.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: OUM class on Instructional design

I enjoy reading, writing & speaking
Know the aims, objectives and terminologies of instructional design. Understand the difference between instruction design and instruction as it is. Create a wiki post on an allied topic. Apply an instructional design model for a class. Analyze the instructional deisgn model taken and compare it against other approaches. Design a course content fusing instructional design strategies. Evaluate the content created for different classes of learners.
I enjoy doing hands-on activities
Start teaching a class using the principles learnt in the previous phase. Introduce the course and its objectives in a coherent manner. Relate the course to everyday applications in the students lives. Have students apply their knowledge of the course in specific problems and come out with answers. Have the students compare their models with other possible approaches. Have the students create a model that always comes up with the best solution for the given problem. Have the students evaluate other students solutions against their s and see how different people have taken up the same task.

Blooms can help teachers in planning their lessons, devise proper assessment activities and standardize teaching. It also tells them if their teaching and assessment strategies have worked. For the learners, blooms helps them understand how they can study and will be assessed.

The utility of bloom’s taxonomy can be very telling in assessing our students. For this task, i tried to take my past question papers and sample answer scripts (which we are required to maintain as a part of auditing rules here) and see to what extent I have tested my students. From this I collected the marks and tried to correlate my experience. (It does help that my class strength is only 25). I found that the assessments where I had applied both lower order and higher order cognitive skills were more genuine and representative of who the students are (based on my knowledge of them personally) and their academic level. Hence my corollary here is that blooms can help in assessing the students and differentiating their skillsets. Incidentally I am going to take a more scientific approach and conduct a proper study in the coming semester to prove or disprove this notion.

One of the key aspects of this artifact is how i am applying it in everyday life. I took a session on Bloom's Taxonomy in an Induction Training workshop held in our University.  Also, i am working on a project that aims to apply and demonstrate Bloom's in everyday teaching in the University.