Good-Bye or a New Beginning

What an amazing journey this last eight weeks has been through the guidance of Datta Kaur and Michelle.  I realize the more I learn the less I realize I really know.  I processed so much new information and applied so many new skills that I am truly exhausted tonight as I craft my final post.  I am so glad I forced myself to reflect and remember key points through the past weeks because right now I am simply drained.

As I try to force myself to identify just ONE last thought on this course to focus my final blog post, I really come back to those in my course with me–Marie, Gail, Dave, Ruth, and Liz.  There was something different for me in this small class than all the others in this certificate program, and my entire master’s program.  I truly have taken away more because of this community of learners.  They have challenged my thinking, expanded my technology tool kit, introduced me to new concepts, prepared my brain for the final project, offered kind words at just the right time, and became my friend.  That is pretty powerful for six people who have only ever met in this virtual world of learning.

Thank you, All.


Always Remember…

reflectionsAs I ponder on the best way to reflect on my final project, I first reflected on what did I accomplish and how I did it, and then  I considered what are the key points I want to take away from this experience.   So the following is my list of what I want to remember from the completion of this project.



Always Remember….

  • Begin with a front-end analysis.  This can take multiple forms and multiple approaches depending on the project.  This could include backwards design and/or action mapping to be sure that you are starting with the end in mind, a learner analysis to gauge where learners are currently at and to define the gap in training, and looking at the contextual context by identifying the orienting, instructional, and transfer context of the training.
  • Align Objectives-Activities-Assessments.  With a strong front-end analysis this will be an easier task.  When you know exactly what is needed, the assessment, objectives, and activities flow better.  Strong instructional design involves this alignment so that the right activities are being completed to help the learner master the assessment and meet the learning objectives.
  • Push to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This can seem like a daunting task when workplace learning is so focused on application, but moving toward evaluation, synthesis, and analysis is important in creating critical thinkers.  If needed to determine the cognitive skills needed for the workplace to move beyond procedural. a cognitive task analysis may be useful.
  • Create a community of practice. Adults come into training with a stealth of knowledge   It is important to tap into that, harness it, and share it with other learners.  Be creative in the approach so it works within the workplace environment.  Although this is more challenging in the virtual world than in face-to-face training, it is important to keep in mind the plethera of web 2.0 tools available.  Just because company doesn’t use a LMS system with a discussion forum, doesn’t mean collaboration cannot occur.  It could happen through a wiki, blog posts, Padlet, Vocaroo, and company instant messaging. The strongest learning occurs when a learner is able to teach what they know to another and that can only happen through social interaction with others.
  • Include opportunities for self-assessment. Especially in the workplace, the skills of learners vary.  So it is important for each learner to identify where they are at and set goals to get to the next stage.  This is a continuum that continues in the workplace.  Although training can be the catalyst for this self-assessment, it must have follow through with their workplace supervisors to keep the momentum of constantly striving to reach a higher level.  Using the stop-start-continue is a simple enough structure to introduce and get this started for both the employees, as well as those who they report to.
  • Explore technology more.  The ever-changing landscape of web 2.0 and other instructional technology tools provides more choices than can be explored in a course. This is a reminder to me to keep exploring and not stop because the course is over.  Along with this is that just because a tool may not work for one activity, it could for another.  Just like in face-to-face training it requires the proper instruction, set up, and management of an activity that makes it successful.  First attempts at a new tool may not go smoothly just like first time activities in face-to-face activities. Take it as an opportunity to be humble that you make mistakes and grow from those opportunities.
  • Continue to explore cyber coaching in the workplace. This continues to be a challenge as face-to-face coaching comes so much easier to me, but as our workplaces strives for increase efficiency and productivity this is an area that needs more exploration. Remote call monitoring, access to same system tools, and instant messaging allows for in-the-moment coaching opportunities.  Audacity recordings of calls and Jing recordings of feedback highlighting the quality form can replicate a side-by-side coaching session.

Accumulation of Hard Work

This week required the production of our first draft of our assessment project.  Small activities completed throughout the course were organized and polished, along with new pieces of the project designed and implemented.  It required a process of refining and perfecting to create a finished project that met the requirements of the rubric.

Click on the image below to view my assessment project.


Importance of Self Reflection and Growth

ImageSo for the past week, I have been focusing on how to compile my final project for this assessment course.  I have been visiting and re-visiting objectives, reviewing technology tools, and how to align those objectives with higher-level thinking skills for the workplace; yet not compromise the integrity of what is needed in workplace learning to simply fulfill a course requirement.  It is about finding the balance to show growth in the skills in the course and the different expectations in the workplace (compared to the education focus of the course). I have been changing and adjusting, sometimes even second guessing my instructional design direction, as I work toward my final project.  It has been a challenging process.  Ultimately, this process was about self-reflection and growth this week.  It was a reminder about why I continue to take graduate courses– to challenge my thinking and take my skills to the next level–however, I forget how difficult that can be at times.

This week’s readings made some recommendations for online courses.  I choose three key points to focus on integrating or improving upon in my course. Those readings included the following:

Petersen, N. J. (2004). Cybercoaching: Rubrics, feedback, & metacognition, oh my! Paper presented at E.C. Moore Symposium on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Indiana University. February 25, 2005.

Koohang, A., Riley, L. and Smith, T. (2009). E-Learning and constructivism: From theory to application.  Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 5:91-109.


Key Point 1:  Incorporate relevant, realistic and authentic learning situations

I have designed my training around a relevant, realistic business goal, including determining metrics that link back to workplace performance- service levels that show a cumulative result of all agent performance and an agent level performance metric.  The training was designed around authentic learning situations that link directly to that business goal that was decided. 

The biggest area of opportunity here is in designing the activities to make sure they are reaching toward the higher-level, cognitive skills needed for the job.  Completing a cognitive task analysis will help me narrow the activities to the most relevant situations that agents are struggling with on the job.  This way I know that my focus is on those authentic situations that matter the most. 

Key Point 2:  Monitor learner progress and then insert focused mini-lessons that direct the student to particular skills required for adequate performance.

I see the design of my training beginning with a pre-assessment that will diagnose  the areas that learner only needs to focus on for training. The plan is to include several learning nuggets that the learner will complete based off that pre-assessment analysis.   Each learning nugget will have an assessment that includes feedback to guide the learner as if I was by their side.  If the learner struggles on any aspect, there will be additional learning kernels (focused mini lessons) to direct that skill area. It may be a self-checking activity or a video to guide in using and reading information in the system tools, for example.

My big area of opportunity for this point in my final project is to move beyond the idea of what I want to create and move toward storyboard the content with the desired activities. 

Key Point 3:  Include opportunities for self-assessment and formative assessment which inspire growth

To bring the training to a higher level, self-assessment or reflection must occur throughout.  Although learning journals or blogs are not appropriate for my workplace, I believe there are ample opportunities to assess and even collaborate on their learning.  One idea that I have been playing around with is a collaborative FAQ to showcase the points they want to remember and that others could benefit from. To really take your learning to the highest level, it involves being able to teach a skill to another. A wiki may be the answer.

Along with that I think it is important to have learner reflect on what they already know and find commonalities from other client trainings. These connections will help the learner gain confidence in their knowledge and see how their training can apply in new situations. 

Along with this, I want the learner to be able to judge their response to a customer query against a set standard.  I want the learner to self-assess their call responses against the quality rubric, but also assess other calls to judge if it meets the required standards. 

Lastly, action planning should be a part of the training.  My standard closer that includes the stop/start/continue direction is important.  This involves the learner identifying one thing they want to stop, one thing they want to start, and one thing they want to continue doing based off the training. It helps them focus all the training they received and create a plan to start implementing once they are back on the job. 

Here my biggest area of opportunity for my project is to determine how this self-assessment objective can be placed throughout the learning process.  I think once I map out the content flow and then storyboard the activities, it will become more apparent to me on where these opportunities lie.



Pre-Assessment Survey

ImageThis week I explored survey tools to create a pre-course survey.  After reviewing Survey Monkey, I chose Google Forms, instead.

Google forms is a  web 2.0 tool that is part of Google Docs.  This free tool allows the user to create a professional looking survey  that records the results directly into a spreadsheet. It allows the user to analyze, publish, and even export the results using Excel.

Google forms allows the user to quickly build a quiz or survey using several different question types.  These include the following:

  1. Text, for short answers;
  2. Paragraph text, for essay-length responses;
  3. Multiple choice, where one response from many may be selected;
  4. Check boxes, where multiple items may be selected;
  5. Choose from a list (useful for demographic category questions, for example);
  6. Scale, for ranking items from 0 to 10; and
  7. Grid, for providing a response from 1 to 5.

The following is the link to my survey for my workplace learners.

Welcome To Training Survey

ImageThe use of Google Forms provides many strengths for my use in the workplace.  The biggest plus over other free survey tools is that it is more professional looking and allows more than 10 questions.  Along with that, there is no cost for any of the features.  Other strengths include that I can share the form via email, embed into a webpage (just not WordPress- a negative of this blog), or place into a blog for my learners to have access.  Then my learners can access that form through email, published webpage, or embedded on a site.  That works great in our workplace since we do not have LMS to house materials and course materials as in education   Lastly, I like that I can still write formulas to automatically correct a quiz if I use the tool in that manner.

ImageAlthough I do think the positives of the tool outweigh the negative, I see two challenges with Google From.  First, I am unable to send to a student a corrected form; however, the addition of Flubaroo will correct that issue.  This is another free web 2.0 tool that grades without having to write the formulas and then has a feature to send a correct quiz to a learner.  The second downside to the tool is that it does not allow skip logic for question sequencing.  It would be great if the if-then programming was in place so if a learner got a question correct it took you to a specific question and likewise if a learner got a question wrong it took you to a specific question.  This is a desired feature for me to personalize the learning journey and focus on the relevant content for the learner.

You want to learn more about using Google Forms for education or the workplace, check out this link or watch the following video.

Bloom’s Taxonomy in Workplace Learning

My focus this week was developing activities and assessments related to Bloom’s taxonomy.  The use of Bloom’s taxonomy was not a new concept for me.  It was a key part of my undergraduate training in education; however, it was more challenging connecting higher level activities to workplace learning.


The goal of this project is to use technology in our assessment activities.  The following chart helps connect various web 2.0 tools to the various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.



The following is my initial draft of considering Bloom’s taxonomy within my instructional design process for workplace learning.  My course is refresher training on a high volume client that our customer service representatives must serve.  Our seasoned agents have been neglected as focus has been on new hires and their 90 day on boarding process.  These veteran agents are lacking confidence in representing clients and are seeking out training to be more efficient and effective dealing with customer queries.  The primary audience for my training are our customer service representatives.  The secondary audience would be our customer service center leads.

Here is a draft of the objectives, activities, and assessment tool associated with my instructional design process.

Chart of Bloom’s Taxonomy for Workplace Learning

Collaborative Assessment Toolkit

We had a great learning journey this past week. We juggled work schedules, family life and our studies getting to know each other as individuals and as a virtual team. It was a great deal of fun! Let us introduce our “Assessment Resources Toolkit”. After we chose our topics, we decided to create a site on Weebly. The site is very self-explanatory and easy to navigate. As you navigate through our handy toolbox, you will find that each member introduces and explores the uses & benefits of each assessment tool, challenges & weaknesses, application examples, and how it connects a learning objective with assessment tool. This toolbox has such potential to continuously grow through developing technologies and cooperation between online instructors sharing their resources within the global, teaching community.

Please enjoy our creation and feel free to share any ideas you may have while checking it out!

Team B Assessment Resource Toolkit

Mindmap of Learning Models

Every have trouble trying to determine the best activity for training?  This week I have been trying to really think about the activities I placed on my mind map to see if they are my best choices.  I came across this interactive image on learning models to help me think through my activities to be sure they are authentic and relevant to workplace learning.  The link is a great resource.  Hope you enjoy!

Click the image to view the link.

Be sure to hover over the text for description of each activity.


Lessons Learned

Along with the exploration of tools this week, it brought to light the importance of clarity when working in virtual teams.  I created a few take-aways from my experience this week that I want to be mindful if I ever create a virtual team project.  Many decades a ago, when I was student teaching, my mentor told me to create a list.  She said observe the good and the bad of the situation.  Then focus each observation into a positive outcome. I used that approach this week to capture some ideas I want to remember.

  • Be mindful of the time of others.  As an instructor, I want to allow ample time for the completion of a project given the constraints on time of adult learners as they balance work, school, family, volunteer, and other matters.  Many take online courses so that they can work when it is convenient for them during the week and on their schedule.
  • Provide clarity in expectations.   First, as an instructor, I want to be sure my assignment verbiage and timeline is clearly understood.  Also, I want to emphasize to my learners to be clear on what is expected from each person in the group.
  • Stress the Importance of Agreed Upon Team Timeline– This is critical to group success.  Everyone must know the deadlines and be able to meet them. As an instructor, I want to help teams by creating some clear boundaries on this expectation.
  • Allow Teams Time to Connect-    As an instructor, I want to remember the importance of allowing connections to be made so teamwork is stronger and project completion easier.  It is important to have trust within a team and this needs some time to develop.
  • Celebrate successes- As an instructor, I want to celebrate the completion of team projects because it takes a lot of adapting of schedules and commitment for learners to work successfully together.  I want to also encourage the learners to thank and celebrate their successes with each other.

Mind Mapping

This week I focused on using the backward design model to begin putting together the elements of a training. This process starts with the end in mind.  Below captures my initial thoughts for my current training design.


To hear the thoughts behind my mind map, feel free to click the following link to view an overview of my thinking process in developing my mind map.

Assessment in E-learning

A great site

Exploring Assessment

A Reflective Journal for UW Stout Course Assessment in eLearning