Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Week 3 - eLearning guidelines

OK, I've decided to try and get this week's tasks done as well before the op. I probably won't feel like getting back to this for a couple of weeks, so trying desperately to at least get started!

Like Michelle I've been trying to figure out what area of my work I would be best looking at for evaluation. To be honest I might come back and review these ideas again but here are my thoughts so far...


I teach in the tourism and travel area. In 2010 we will be starting two brand new National Tourism and Travel qualifications, based much more on the real world (thank goodness) than on manually writing tickets and other out of date information that we have been forced to teach in the old qual!

In the travel industry work based training is taking over. Numbers studying at pre-employment level at polytechs has reduced dramatically since 2001 (consider UCOL used to have 7 on the Tourism and Travel staff - last year we went down from three to two!)

My Issues:

How do we keep our students relevant and current in a constantly changing world? It is hard enough for qualifications to keep up and of course we are constantly updating our knowledge, in an eLearning environment will this be even harder to achieve?

When you add budget constraints to the mix, it becomes increasingly difficult. For example to purchase a training version of a CRS (Computer Reservation System) eg Galileo/Amadeus or Sabre is very expensive, and so students work on the one we can afford, not necessarily the best one!

I have been playing with blended delivery/eLearning for several years, and have so far developed several "destination" unit standards on the LMS that UCOL currently uses, BlackBoard. These are rather large units (10 credits each at either Level 3 or 4) and I have used it I believe to some success in the classroom, getting students to do some research which a travel consultant would normally do with a view to answering the questions in their assignment in a more practical way than just teaching in a f2f situation. In end of course evaluations, students have said they enjoyed this method of learning instead of from a book or watching videos, and I have made improvements along the way based on some comments on these evaluations.

At UCOL we have been told that by the end of 2009 (although it may be stretched to mid 2010) we will be switching to Moodle and BlackBoard will cease to be used. I have been given a sandbox to play in in Moodle, and my manager has indicated that she would like me to have everything changed over to Moodle in readiness for the brand new qualifications starting in 2010. However the content of the new qualification is still not available (it is with NZQA now) so although I have a good idea what will be in the new qual, how on earth do I use eLearning to its best ability?

2 eLearning Guidelines relevant to the Tourism and Travel field - and why I chose them

SD 3 Do students gain knowledge relevant to employment and/or current thinking in their field?

I need to make sure that any material used in eLearning/online delivery is relevant to today's travel industry. However travel changes every day, and keeping up with current practice is pretty difficult especially when budget constraints have to be considered! How will I ensure that students are always receiving a quality product?

ST 8 Rather than just recalling facts, does the course help the student digest, reflect on and review new learning?

We have been given the indication that the new qual will be based more on project work than regurgitation of content (yay) so that is another challenge for me - to use eLearning to meet this need of the student. I will have to ensure that the methods used are varied and appropriate.

As I said at the beginning, I may review these when I reflect on them in a week or two once my hospital stint is over, but any feedback would be much appreciated!


Hervé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hervé said...

Hi Elaine, I agree with you on "regurgitation of content (yay)"
However it is sometime essential to remember some facts before being able to apply them to a higher level. (Bloom Taxonomy, http://krummefamily.org/guides/bloom.html).
The advantage of using eLearning tools in my field is to be able to accelerate the learning stage. Computer animations are a great tool to help describing dynamic processes!

Good luck with the op.

Craig Hansen said...

Hi Elaine
Hope the op goes well for you.
trying to teach cutting edge systems with old resources, old of date methodology is really difficult... trying to keep competitive as an organisation and having influence as a team member is also hard when your numbers drop. Vicious cycle.
I am looking forward to hearing how your review or application improves delivery. I hope I can glean stuff from you that will help at NZDF.

Adrienne Moyle said...

Hi Elaine, I can understand this dilemma as we have the same issues teaching film,tv, media studies - a rapidly changing world where students and practitioners have to frequently upskill and upgrade.

In some ways e-learning is the way to go in this field, because content and resources can be updated, and you can build communities which help to keep each other up-to-date with new developments in the field.

I imagine that the internet is a big source of travel information and a challenge would be ensuring that the information your students are accessing is current and accurate?