After 8 Weeks: What Makes Good Online Learning?

A video I did with some of my thoughts:

What is Online Learning ​​

In Summary:

  • clear bite sized content targeted to the job role – that can be consumed on the go, on any device
  • allow learner to guide their own journey and have assessments that are developed from that journey
  • be creative in the visuals and content – you need to keep your learner engaged!
  • ensure you have buy in from business and use SECTIONS or a framework before making any technology decision
  • ensure you have a blend of social learning – synchronous and asynchronous environments.

Online Learning Module 5: Social Is As Social Does

My First Thoughts/Impressions:

Thank you Facebook. Now every time an organization hears ‘social learning’ they think Facebook, or Social Media – then panic.  Social learning was the centre of learning culture in Ancient Greece – the Socratic method was born from social learning! It is about collaboration and the sharing of knowledge (for the learning theory, I like Albert Bandura However,  love it or hate it, I have to accept that social learning is (or has already) become synonymous with social media.   Joining Twitter and Pinterest (my new addiction!), was an eye opener – the amount of social and informal learning is incredible.

My Pinterest page  on Social Learning:

The Big Aha!

“We have already seen that social media is a very different beast from normal enterprise tools, particularly because it is being used at the grass roots rather than being implemented top-down by the organization”  Jane Hart


This is a wonderful article with many salient points, however my biggest aha! this module centred around her use of the word ‘grass roots’.  This is a dangerous word for many organizations – especially in 2017.  Grass roots is from the bottom up – NOT the top down, difficult for business leadership to accept in my mind  Grass roots politics led to the Brexit’s and Trumps of the world.  Dangerous things can happen on Social Media – so for many, dangerous things can happen with allowing social learning on Social Media.

However, at this point, you might as well try to hold back a Tsunami with a wall built of sand.

My Most Favourite New Things:

Top Tools for Learning 2016


Also a nice tidbit on Social Learning trends for 2017

Online Learning Modules 3 & 4: Synchronous vs Asynchronous – Can’t Have One Without The Other

My First Thoughts/Impressions:

The debate on which is better I feel is nonsense.  We may all have our preferred style and environment for learning, but as humans we are adaptable, which means we are fully capable of learning equally in both.

I played around with Powtoon (one of the many new tools I have discovered in this class).  This sums it up for me:

The Big AHA!

“Training was simpler when the world was predictable, progress was slow, and the task was teaching people how to do their jobs. Today’s world is a kaleidoscope, information is a tsunami, and workers face novel, complex situations every day. The only way to keep up is to work and learn with others. ”  – Jay Cross (

For older generations advancement depended on your ability to succeed through competition – and the more successful you were at learning in an asynchronous way to jealously guard what you knew meant you would rise above the rest.  Traditional classrooms and examination systems dominated education for centuries based on this premise.  I feel this is why so many learners and organizations still prefer and utilize asynchronous learning.  However, as a species we did not evolve individually but as social animals in groups – yet I often encounter the belief that many feel only those with the right ‘personality’ can succeed  through synchronous learning.

It all comes down the the learner experience, doesn’t it?  If the learning is designed in a way that enhances how the learner interacts with content in both environments, then that experience will leverage the best of both asynchronous and synchronous.

Ah Learning Experience Design!  Is there anything it can’t do?

My Most Favourite New Thing:

This introduction to Learning Experience Design:  Andre Plaut spoke to me on so many levels:

Elements of Learning Experience Design.

Online Learning Module 6: Selecting Technologies – How To Find That Needle In The Haystack

My First Thoughts/Impressions:

Loved the case study – a chance to apply my thoughts on the course so far.  I enjoyed doing the SECTIONS process, I feel it is a very strong template to follow, however needs to be tweaked for business – ie: changing Students to Employees so questions you ask have a business mindset. After all, it is a part of the employee’s  contract to keep skills current (in many organizations) – they are literally being paid to learn – so how does this fact effect choice of technology?

The Big AHA!

I utilized SECTIONS a few times to complete the case study and rejected a few technology ideas that I had – my big aha came when I started to apply the template with a ‘business’ mentality over a ‘learning’ one.  I was able to zero on tools much more efficiently once I started thinking like an employee who would have to learn it instead of a school assignment.

My Most Favourite New Thing

Discovering this group ===>

They offer 2 useful tools:

i) The Learning Experience Canvas – a design template

ii) A Book on 5 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself – I highly recommend the book as it helps focus the learning away from what I would instinctively design according to what I would want, but rather on the learner.


Online Learning Module 2: Group Work (Sigh) and LMS Controversy

My First Thoughts/Impressions:

  • LMS are slow to adapt to change, costly to maintain, and perhaps stereotypically reflects a certain generational mindset when it comes to workplace learning: many organizations struggle with the rapid rise of mobile, learner centred learning and the overall loss of central control
  • For the crucial ROI an LMS can deliver lovely statistics and pretty charts to show business, where as with mobile applications it is much harder to quantify

AND… I DID NOT want to do group work on this topic.


I understand the importance of collaboration, however,  e-learning group work is often forced, asynchronous in nature as most do their work independently anyway, and limited to the technical capabilities of participants so done mainly in a tool like Google Docs.

The Big AHA!

The Rubric exercise I did not enjoy doing as a group – but I can not say it was a negative experience. While some on the team were very experienced with Rubrics and took a hard line as to how it was to be done, the synchronous learning portion – when we met over a call – was a wonderful learning experience. I was able to walk away from that session with new insight – which was the overall point.

My Most Favourite New Thing:

Some tidbits I found to help me get over my bias of group work in e-learning:

How-to Make Group Work Collaborative In Online Courses: Four Strategies

Six Online Collaboration Tools and Strategies to Boost Learning.

Online Learning Module 1: What I thought I knew

My First Thoughts/Impressions:

First day of school. I log into Blackboard, and post my introduction. In my bio I answer how internet proficient are you? I confidently put 8/10 …2 days into the course realization dawns – I am no 8/10….more like a 5/10!  A good thing I signed up for this class, no?

The Big AHA!

The modern learning professional must wear so many hats (old school OISE term): IT professional, creative writer, web designer, teacher, facilitator, social media expert, social learner…even business analyst.  I was bombarded with resources this first week – it was the proverbial flood.  I feel as if I am finally out my ‘bubble’, the comfort zone of my previous workplace that was no longer challenging me as a professional.


My Most Favourite New Thing:

Jane Hart (  Why did it take me so long to find her?

This infographic by Jane Hart below sums up the tools of the modern learner – therefore as a modern learning professional I need to be familiar with – if not an expert in, the same tools.