Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Today I attended the following sessions at Training 2002. Titles are bold.

Tips for Teaching Synchronously
· Jennifer Hofmann
Virtual Classroom Designer, InSync Training Synergy LLC

Jennifer Hofmann's session presented some great tips. Chief among these was her insistence on "ground rules" for the synchronous learner. She advocates that synchronous sessions should have lots of interaction (every 3 to 5 minutes). Intonation and inflection of the speaker's voice is another key to synchronous sessions. Trainers should focus verbally on content and NOT on technology. Team teaching, or the use of a "producer" to support the presenter is also a good idea, as is scheduling more time than you think you'll need for your session.

Mental Models, Knowledge Objects and Instructional Design
· M. David Merrill
Professor, Utah State University

The state of e-learning, Dr. Merrill tells us, isn't too pretty at present. Merrill surveyed 60 online courses and found only two that had what he considers educational value.
The brain works like a computer -- we process information with a schema and cognitive processes. Instructional design involves two types of analysis -- Knowledge Analysis (what to teach?) and Process Analysis (how to teach?).

A Pebble-in-the-Pond Model for Instructional Development
· M. David Merrill
Professor, Utah State University

Popular instructional theory contends that learning is facilitated when students are engaged in solving a real-world problem. Formulating a problem is the initial "pebble" in this instructional development model. This learning process helps students identify the input (givens) and output (conclusions, solutions, plans) for solving any given problem. "Ripples" in the pond occur when more, successively complex problems are identified. Explore these ripples of development and relate this model with the more formal models of ISD. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of the pebble-in-the-pond model.

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