Roles and Trends in E-Learning

As part of my PIDP course I was tasked to work in a group researching roles of instructors and trends in a topic of our choice. I join with 2 of my colleagues who are also enrolled in the course with me and our topic of choice was e learning. We each set out on our own and found two sites or articles that interested us and then met to discuss what we had learned from our references. This blog entry outlines my key learning’s and insights from this experience.

My articles that I chose for this assignment:

The articles my partners chose for Roles:

The articles my partners chose for Trends:

Role of the instructor in e-Learning:

For me the articles pointed out that while it is important for the instructor to keep an eye on the future and learn new skills to remain relevant they also have to maintain the skills they use in face-to-face sessions. I found that many of the skills used in face to face sessions are transferable to e-Learning

New Insights: While choosing my reference site and during the discussion with my partners I had the following insights. Items that make face-to-face sessions successful are also important to get the most out of e-Learning. This includes being a role model, engaging students, developing relationships, supporting students, and having a presence in the session.

  • Being a Role Model: Just like being a role model in the classroom the instructor must be a role model in the e-Learning environment. While the way this is achieved may differ the importance is still the same. In the e-Learning environment the way that the instructor can be a role model and include the way they communicate with the students and their perceived engagement. If he instructor expects a more professional environment then their communications and interactions must be more professional. If they want a more relaxed atmosphere then their communications and interactions must reflect that as well. If students feel that the instructor isn’t engaged due to long wait times for assistance or feedback then their engagement and participation will suffer.
  • Engaging students, developing relationships, supporting students, and having a presence in the session: I believe that while these are a number of statements they are all closely tied together. The instructor can have an easier time with all of these items by being available and supporting students in a timely manner, if they are available either by e-mail, forum, or video conference they develop relationships and support the students while maintain a presence in the learning. Also use of video in courses can help put a face to the learning and assists in building a relationship and engaging students.

Trends: I have always been known as a “techie” and have felt that I had a grasp on the growing trends in e-Learning. A number of the items we discussed I had either taken part in such as Massive Online Open courses or MOOC, and gasification there were a few topics I had my eyes opened to.

  • Massive Online Open Courses – MOOC: I first heard of MOOC’s a few years ago and was fascinated by the idea. There are many sites that offer Massive Online Open Courses on a wide variety of topics, ranging from personal interests such as learning the guitar to business or the sciences. Many of these courses are offered by universities free of charge, and can generate a truly massive student base, as the name would imply. These courses often take advantage of forums for students to discuss the materials and get assistance from instructors and fellow students. I myself have taken part in a number of MOOC courses and have recommended them to friends and colleges as I found it a great way to learn new skills both professionally and personally.
  • Gamification: Gamification is a topic that when done properly can have dramatic impact the learners engagement, but if done wrong can have the opposite affect. I have completed a number of courses on open2study and I feel this is one of the best examples of gamification done right. When taking part in courses on the site you earn badges for completing courses, participating in the forums and connecting with other students. I found myself wanting to take part in the forums more, and make additional connections to build the levels of my badges and have those badges available for others to see. To me it felt a lot like what Sony and Microsoft do for their achievements and trophies on their game consoles.
  • Bring Your Own Device and Wearable Technology: As Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is becoming more common in the workplace it is also having an impact on e-Learning. With this increase in personal devices it is important that e-Learning be accessible from more than just a companies internal network and compatibility with mobile devices. With mobile phones and tablets students can access learning while away from the office either traveling or while on the couch at home. This on demand learning allows for learners to learn when and where they want to. I felt that wearable technology also fit into BYOD but hadn’t thought about how these devices such as the apple watch could potentially impact e-Learning. With these devices gathering data on the wearers movements, and heart rate they could potentially be used to help provide more in-depth feedback regarding the movements they are making while performing physical tasks.
  • Video in e-Learning: Video being used in learning is certainly nothing new, I am sure we can all remember seeing clips from training videos that go back over 30 years. The quality of the videos has certainly improved but the use of video seems to be making a comeback. This could in part be due to the availability of recording devices and software. At one point you would require a camera, and specialized equipment to edit the video, now almost every computer or phone has a camera that can record high quality video and can access software at little to no cost to edit it. Also the cost of storage for the videos is much lower than it had been in the past to store a large catalogue of videos. With e-Learning linking students and instructors potentially from around the world these videos can put a face to the learning and help increase engagement.

Web-Conference: As my partners for this assignment work together on a daily basis we didn’t meet to discuss our thoughts on our references by web-conference but I believe the results were the same. I found this to be an enjoyable part of the assignment as a number of our thoughts on our references were similar we had some points that each of us focused on slightly more than the others did. It certainly proved the point that two or I suppose in this case three heads are better than one and our discussions allowed us to see the topics from other perspectives. Once we had completed our conversation the only thing I wondered was the impact of us knowing and working with each other over the last few years. I wondered if I had paired up with someone who I didn’t know would our references and thoughts have been as closely aligned as ours were?

My Partners Blogs:

Link to SIE website: 

Link to SIE Facebook page:



Some Helpful Lesson Planning Links

Below you will find links to different sites regarding lesson planning that I hope everyone will find helpful.

Blooms Taxonomy


Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs [Infographic]

A colleague of mine sent me this site awhile back and I have found it to be helpful when creating learning objectives.   Before receiving this link I would tend to sue the same verbs and wasn’t happy with the results but would sometimes struggle to find a verb that I felt had the same impact as my favorites did. This site was very helpful as it has a decent sized list of verbs for category from lower-order thinking skills and higher-order thinking skills. The lists made it easy to find a verb that suited each learning objective I was creating.


Positive learning environment

Positive Learning Environment: Developing Strategies


I selected this site for multiple reasons, the first was that I liked the way that the information was laid out and I liked how each adult learner need wasn’t just an explanation of the need but included actionable items, where many sites focus on just explaining it. Also liked the portion regarding ice breakers and the example they provided as well as the fact that they provided a link to other ice breakers. Going forward I can see using this site as a check list to ensure I am including these points in my sessions as well as a resource for icebreakers and ways to ensure active participation of the students.


Positive experience

Get Your Audience Pumped: 30 Ways to Motivate Adult Learners


I selected this article because I liked the fact that it had more than 10 ways and it seemed many sites had the same generic ten or less ways to motivate adult learners, but I truly enjoyed #30 create an experience not a course. Going forward I will be asking myself if I have created a course or an experience thanks to this article but also I think this would be a great reference for additional ways to create a positive environment if I find that the ways I normally do are failing me in a particular course.


Using media

Using Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning

This site was selected as I really liked how it didn’t just focus on electronic media like so many sites seemed to, it also included incorporating print articles in sessions and with mainly training insurance related topics there are often articles I could incorporate the learners may be aware of and lead to deep discussions. I think the how to use media section of the site will be helpful as it has examples of how it can be used in different topics as well as tips to ensure it is effective.



The Centre for Teaching and Learning


While the site I have selected for planning isn’t an article like many of the other links I have selected I have selected think particular site as I like the number of different lesson plans that it has templates for as well as the check list for the 4A’s of lesson moving forward I can see myself using the 4A’s checklist when planning sessions and trying the different planning templates until I find one I prefer to use going forward.