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LESSONS LEARNED FROM WORK-BASED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
A CONSULTING FIRM CASE STUDY

Alison Bickford
ARK Group Australian E-Learning Congress February 7, 2012
© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

Alison Bickford, Director alison@connectthinking.com.au 0417 252 960 www.connectthinking.com.au www.elearningacademy.com.au

EdD Candidate, University of Technology, Sydney Examination of virtual learning spaces within a corporate context: Design and practice implications.
© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

SESSION OBJECTIVES
Getting clear on the purpose

Approaches to virtual learning design

Lessons learned on implementation

The changing practice of learning professionals

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHAT IS A WORK-BASED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT?
‡ ‡ An environment that enables me to learn, share and collaborate in the workplace so as to achieve mastery A place for µjust-in-time¶ learning & performance support

What do others know about it? How do I find them? I have a issue/need What information is available? Where and how do I find it?
Adapted from Collison & Parcell (2004) Learning to Fly

People network skills Search & retrieval skills

³Informal Guide´ ± a partner in supporting the process

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHERE DOES THE VLE FIT? A LEARNING TECHNOLOGY MODEL
FORMAL LEARNING

FORMAL ASSESSMENT SOCIAL LEARNING

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING

OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN, CREATE, SHARE & NETWORK AT WORK SELF & PEER ASSESSMENT

INFORMAL LEARNING
© Bickford 2007
© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

5

ADVANTAGES OF ASYNCHRONOUS
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Relatively inexpensive to set up Supports many types of learning artefacts Can be purpose built to support specific online learning activities Accessible from mobile devices Familiar to people Repository of information over time

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

CHALLENGES OF ASYNCHRONOUS
‡ ‡ Requires design thought ± spatial relationships, visual style, organisational logic Just because people use asynchronous spaces at home & tertiary studies, doesn¶t mean they¶ll use them at work ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Address issues of trust, reputation, accountability, transparency People may need to µlearn how to learn¶ in these spaces Provide reward and recognition to encourage repeat behaviour Requires moderation ³gardener´ & constant contribution The 1:9:90 rule* is probably true Plan how to manage redundant information Plan how to enforce copyright laws

* http://www.wikipatterns.com/display/wikipatterns/90-9-1+Theory

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

A Case Study
Work-Based

Virtual Learning Environments

WHY WERE THE VLE¶S IMPLEMENTED?
To support and extend knowledge and skill development

Support

from the classroom into the workplace - ³free the content´ - ³let people connect´

To sustain a strategy of learning self-directedness and

Sustain

workplace coaching - ³we give them the tools; it¶s then up to them´

To develop a ³one stop shop´ for program logistics

Develop

- ³it¶s on the wiki!!!´

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

BLENDED LEARNING: EXTENDING THE CLASSROOM
10% Formal Learning

20% Coaching 70% Experience

Reference: Centre for Workforce Development

ACTION-BASED RESEARCH

Identify problem/
opportunity

Investigate & analyse options

Make design decisions

Implement VLE

Reflect

Refine VLE

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

4 program learning spaces (PLS) 12 participants, 9 interviewees, active participation of researcher 6 interviews x 7 ± over 24 weeks Quantitative & qualitative

Figure derived from: Coghlan,D., & Brannick,T (2010) Doing action research in your organization,Sage,ThousandOaks,California.

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

DESIGN, IMPLEMENT, REFLECT, REFINE
1. Is the VLE usable and practical? Does it work for your program? Why/Why not? 2. What is working? What requires refining? - Interface design - Learning tasks - Facilitation skills - Content - Administration 3. What has the VLE meant for you and your practice?
‡

What have you needed to do to build your skills, knowledge and confidence so that you can perform as a facilitator and administrator of the VLE? How has the VLE experience to date impact your perceptions of learning? How has the VLE experience to date impact your relationship with participants?

‡ ‡

4. What have you learnt during this process of VLE design and implementation? 5. Will the VLE have a role to play in your program/learning strategy in 2010/11? 6. If yes, what do you expect it to look like? What role will it play?
Questions adapted from Richey, R.C., & Klein, J.D. 2007, Design and Development Research: Methods, Strategies and Issues. Mahwah, LEA.

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

ANALYSIS OF THE DESIGN PROCESS

Practitioner perception of VLE usefulness Identification of problem/ opportunity
content, task & facilitation

Design

Implement

Design decisions

Relationships

Actual use
(new practice)

Practitioner perception of VLE ease of use
interface, administration

Reflect

Adapted as an iteration of the Technology Acceptance Model, Davis, F.D., Bagozzi, R.P., & Warshaw, P.R. 1989, µUser acceptance of computer technology: A comparison of two theoretical models¶. Management Science, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 982-1003. © 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

HOW WERE THE VLE¶S CREATED?
‡ Leveraged each other¶s strengths

Worked as a Team

‡ Healthy discussion ± co-creation ‡ Defined roles and responsibilities ‡ Consultation framework ‡ Wireframe

‡ Flexible interface

Enterprise wiki

‡ Specialist consultant ‡ Internal capability ‡ Plug-ins & customised style sheets

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

SELECTED FUNCTIONALITY TO SUIT PURPOSE
Design characteristics Public for all staff Facilitator profiles Participant profiles Content designed for workplace performance support Copy of classroom content available online RSS newsfeed from related external sites List of recommended websites Resource contribution by participants Videos Announcements Blog Poll Moderated discussion forum Pre-work learning activity Program classroom logistics & schedule Post-work learning activities Links to relevant corporate tools Information for coaches Video intro/orientation to VLE Other videos VLE1 No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes VLE2 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes N/A No N/A No N/A Yes Yes VLE3 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No VLE4 Yes No No Yes Yes No No No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

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WHAT DID WE LEARN - USEFULNESS
‡ Instructional design for an online audience

Content

‡ Media richness ‡ Making explicit what was tacit ‡ New/renew ± keep fresh ‡ Attention to search-ability & format

‡ A new skill

Learning Tasks

‡ Short and punchy questions ‡ Simple responses are okay ‡ Do we mandate contribution??? ‡ Critical mass of activity is required Make clear what µparticipant activity¶ is Identify inhibitors to activity & act
© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHAT DID WE LEARN - USEFULNESS
‡ Quick response. Do what is promised

Facilitation

‡ Model VLE community norms ‡ Facilitator activity (or inactivity) is transparent ‡ Purpose must be communicated ‡ Introduce & reinforce use ‡ Think holistically over entire program & workplace application ‡ Be aware of transparency & profile across the organisation

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHAT DID WE LEARN ± EASE OF USE
‡ Strengths: Programmability, available to us, in workflow

Technology Choice

‡ Limitations: Wiki mark-up, forum functionality was poor

‡ Strip away functionality to leave only what¶s necessary

Interface Design

‡ Visual design is important to capture interest & encourage exploration ‡ Design is an iterative process ‡ User test with end users ‡ Scope long-term maintenance

Administration

‡ Video intro/orientation ‡ Roles/responsibilities
© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHAT DID WE LEARN ± RELATIONSHIPS
‡ Communicate the role of non-program participants

L&D function & wider business

‡ Communicate the value-add to coaches, non-program participants and to the wider corporate wiki strategy ‡ Strategy to drive workplace learning (wiki is only the enabler) ‡ Reward asynchronous collaboration; leverage behaviour which is already occurring in the Firm ‡ Formalise consultation process & supporting documents

Design team roles & responsibilities

‡ Dependence of program managers to explain program context and content to the learning technology team ‡ Differences in effort & priority ‡ Under-estimation of time required ‡ Evaluation???

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

WHAT DID WE LEARN - RELATIONSHIPS
‡ An additional medium to engage with participants; shared

Practitioner Participant

environment & experience ‡ Build relationships before and after classroom ‡ Reinforcement of µself-directedness¶ and µpersonal responsibility for learning¶ key messages ‡ Participant contribution was underwhelming

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

TIPS FOR ADOPTION
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Have a clear purpose, so people know when to use this space Have an imperative to visit ± then prove its purpose Provide a video orientation to purpose and functions Make it visually appealing Make it easy to read (people scan online) Use video for simple assimilation of content Use simple language and taxonomy that people are familiar with Model online behaviour Reward sharing behaviour Involve managers Developed a shared learning philosophy ± beyond 70:20:10

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

DISCUSSION

Would program VLEs work in your organisation? Why/why not?

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

IN SUMMARY
Getting clear on the purpose

Approaches to virtual learning design

Lessons learned on implementation

The changing practice of learning professionals

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD

THANK YOU

Alison Bickford alison@connectthinking.com.au 0417 252 960 www.connectthinking.com.au (consultancy) www.elearningacademy.com.au (online training & support) www.youtube.com/elearningacademy (free tutorials) @connectthinking Also on iTunes

© 2012 CONNECT THINKING PTY LTD