Self-Regulated Learning: Masters of their Own Learning: Part 7

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Photo credit: W. McKenzie

In Parts 1-6 of my blog posts, Self-Regulated Learning: Masters of their Own Learning, I presented my reflections and experiences as I engaged in the inquiry process to:

  • Develop my own personal monitoring document to meet a personal goal;
  • Find resources;
  • Develop strategies for goal completion and tools for self-monitoring and critical self-reflection;
  • Revise strategies and proximal goals as required as indicated by self-monitoring tools and through self-reflection;
  • Meet my distal goal.

Here is my final summary about what I learned.

This inquiry project deepened my understanding of the self-regulated learning (SRL) process as it applies to my own ability to learn a sport that, in addition to requiring learning new skills and strategies for learning these skills, involved the integration of a tool for emotional regulation.

Breakdown of my learning:

  • I learned that in order to develop SMART proximal and distal goals, an understanding of the specific components required to meet learning goals is vital; this requires consultation with experts, especially for the novice learner.
  • Emotional regulation is critical for learning. Developing a tool to assess for emotional regulation will:
    • Validate the emotions involved with learning;
    • Allow the learner to monitor the effectiveness of strategies used to keep emotional regulation within target levels.
  • Learning is hard work! In order to commit the time and energy required to develop learning goals, establish strategies, monitor, critically self-reflect and revise strategies and/or goals, motivation levels need to be assessed prior to engaging in the learning. Analyzing for perceptions of self-efficacy, self-attribution and task value for the specific learning will help to determine if there is enough motivation to meet the challenge presented by the learning and to ascertain where additional supports may required.
  • Self-monitoring tools, like checklists and dates for completion of goals provide an objective analysis of progress. Self-monitoring tools like rubrics, providing feedback for peers, emotional regulation tools and videos of performance will, when used in conjunction with critical self-reflection tools, provide feedback that stimulates the learner to seek out and apply new strategies, to continue with the same strategies and/or make revisions to the strategies already in use.
  • Critical self-reflection tools need to involve focused questions to facilitate the exploration of effective strategies and to stimulate the learner to consider applications for future learning. Critical self-reflections also need to be written down (i.e., a learning journal) so that the learner can self-monitor for the use of effective of strategies like positive self-talk; an effective strategy to increase motivation and support emotional regulation.
  • Revision of proximal and distal goals is the result of effective self-reflection and monitoring tools and should not been seen as a failure.
  • Successful completion of the distal goal is not the end of the self-regulated learning process! Completion of the distal goal begins a new self-regulated learning cycle where the previous distal goal becomes the first proximal goal for the next distal goal.

Future applications:

Personally

Applying the self-regulated learning process to a personal inquiry project has been incredibly empowering for me. Going forward, I will now utilize a structured approach that embodies the process of SRL at all times and not just when doing academic learning.

Professionally

As I now have a much more intimate understanding of the SRL process, I feel that I will be much more adept at presenting the concept and role modelling this approach to adult learners. I will continue to work on integrating the process into the curriculums that I use to teach both online and in face-to-face workshops.

Meanwhile, I have decided that I am too excited about the learning potential of SRL to I wait for September and for classes to start, so I have engaged my husband with the SRL process so that he can increase his skill at putting.

Happy Learning!

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Photo credit: W. McKenzie

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 6

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Photo credit:  W. McKenzie 

Here is the completed monitoring document for my PME 800 inquiry project. 

Distal Goal By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the Goosebumps mountain bike trail, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale (SS) upon completion of the ride.  

Scared Scale

1) I am in the flow!

2) I am having fun!

3) I am a bit scared but bring it on!

4) I am getting scared

5) I am getting off my bike and walking

6) I think I am going to throw up

________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Determine basic skills required to meet goal/assess resources/explore for barriers to achieving goal: July 14/19

Goal met: July 16/19

Updates: Truck broke down and in need of extension repairs so out of commission for next 3 weeks (July 18 – approx. Aug 9).

July 19: Was able to take off wheels and cram the bike to my car.

Notes:

Was surprised at how helpful the mountain biking (MTB) videos were (see resources at bottom of document.

 MTB Tips:

  • Stay relaxed – if at a 4 on SS, walk , check it out, defer until I feel ready to do it
  • Session skills – do them over and over until I get it
  • Focus on what you want to do! (not what you don’t want to do ie fall)
  • Start where you are. It’s all about your ride not trying to keep up with someone else
  • Look where you want to go not where you don’t want to go
  • Become comfortable moving on your body on the bike

SRL tips:

  • Set SMART distal goal with support from experts
  • Develop proximal goals in collaboration with experts to help meet distal goal and encourage motivation. Proximal goals will help to establish effective strategies, track progress and provide foundation for feedback
  • Reflection following performance will allow for evaluation of effectiveness of strategies including emotional regulation

Reflections and Insights:

By validating that the fear is real and taking measures to increase confidence I predict that I be able to relax more and therefore will be able to perform skills better on the bike which will increase self-efficacy. By breaking down my distal goal into smaller focused goals I will build the skills and figure out effective strategies for meeting distal goal.

_________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Ride Snakes and Ladders and Connector trails and assess effectiveness of Scared Scale (SS). Develop questions for self-reflection: July 15/19

Goal met: July 15/19

Notes:

Tips for self-regulation (Jenson, 2011):

  • Explicitly identify goals & strategies used to achieve goals
  • Reflection questions: what did you learn, what did you learn about the processes, what will you repeat, what would you do again?

Tips for reflection (Jenson, 2011):

  • Identify purpose to activity
  • Why is it important to do this now?
  • Is this activity applicable for other learning in the future?

Read Wolters (2003) today (July 23) and it got me thinking about the importance of self-talk to regulate motivation. Forcing myself to do a task (focusing on goal completion) will only generate more stress which will increase the likelihood of crashing as I will be tense and will not be able to react instinctually to the terrain. Providing genuine positive feedback like rewarding myself with a wahoo for doing something well in my journey towards meeting the goal will help me relax and will build self-confidence. It will also help me to look forward to the next time biking vs dreading it.

Reflections and Insights:

In order to self-regulate there needs to be an awareness of goals and strategies used and reflection on effectiveness, and applicability present/future. Self-reflection needs to include an understanding of how learning can be applied to this and other contexts. Ensuring the integration of mechanisms for emotional/affect regulation within processes and proximal goals will support learning by creating a safe learning zone and increasing confidence

_______________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to do a full square with body while on the bike. Be able to angle bike to side when turning. Be able to turn bike around corners using just my body. Be able to move behind bike seat when going down a steep pitch July 17 – 21/19

Goal partially met July 21/2019. Revision: while I am able to shift positions on the bike on wide open, controlled terrain I am still needing a lot more practice to have these movements become instinctual on more challenging terrain.

Goal revision is to first do these skills on a wide open, controlled terrain and then be able to do them on increasingly challenging terrain:

  • Bumps
  • Corners
  • Roots and rocks
  • Steeps
  • Combinations of above

Notes: 

Tips from MTB videos and from mentors:

Body position

  • Ready position
  • Arms bent
  • Knees bent
    • Soak up the bumps
  • Counter braking by moving back on bike
  • Head up looking ahead
  • Look where you want to go
  • Lower centre of gravity –when turning, going down steeps
  • Think of hips making plumb line to bike’s centre of gravity – use arc of movement to create balance with changing terrain
  • Turning into the corner – hips to outside of saddle, drop outside pedal

Line choice

  • Find smooth lines – experiment

Anticipate

  • Brake before the turn if possible, always come off front brake
  • Feather brakes

Traction

  • Keep steady smooth circle with pedalling vs stomping down when going uphill
  • If seated will keep better traction going up hill

Reflections & Insights

MTB involves being able to instinctually counter terrain features with body movements to maintain centre of gravity of the bike and traction.

I am still reacting to terrain features by tensing my body overworking the brakes. I still need to work on making these movements instinctual and fluid.

_______________________________

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Photo credit: R. McKenzie

Proximal Goal/Date: Film myself doing a lap on the pump track July 22/19

Goal met:  July 23/19

Notes: 

Tips from video and mentors:

  • Position body back on bike when going up lumps and compress down (drive forward) into the bottom of slope
  • Drive into the corners. Start high and end low use angle of corner to help turn

Reflections & Insights

When in the middle of challenging performance it is really hard to be able to view yourself in a sort of 3rd person way and self-correct. This is where feedback from an external source is vital (video is a perfect tool for this).

Here is a link to the video 

___________________________
Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to ride the ramp on Snakes and Ladders with a SS rating of 3 or less July 24/19

Goal partially met: July 24/19 SS of 4

Rode over ramp in sequence after rooty and rocky section – required a tight turn to get over ramp. SS was at a 4

Goal revision: Focusing only on ramps is not reflective of trails in area are there are lots of rocks and rooty sections. Goal should therefore state: Be able to ride the ramp on Snakes and Ladders and roots and rock sections with a SS rating of 4 or less July 24/19

Notes: 

Tips

  • Lift front tire to go over hazards/roots
  • Try to hit roots straight on
  • Scan for roots that are going in a straight line forward – avoid them
  • Bunny hop over them
  • Avoid braking when going over them

Reflections & Insights

Writing down in my journal about what went well and why helped me to identify effective strategies that I was using as I was alone and was not able to get feedback from another source. I found it really hard to relax after I had pushed myself to go over technical sections.

I found an article that looks at the characteristics of MTB and their perceived links to mental health and well being and found it interesting as the reasons listed for wanting to bike are very much my reasons to want to bike; paradoxically, while it causes me stress if I push myself too hard, it helps me feel better mentally and physically too. I see how applying SRL will help me be able to build the skills (self-efficacy) I need to be able to ride the technically challenging trails where I live so that I can help myself feel better mentally and physically (which is the underlying internal motivation to want to bike).

__________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to ride a lap of the pump track with a SS of 3 or less July 25/19

Goal met: July 23/19

Reflections & Insights

Was able to ride multiple laps on the pump track with increasing complexity – was only able to ride 1 small lap less than a week ago as SS rating was a 4. I think it went better because I had practiced moving on the bike more ahead of time and had gained more confidence being on the bike.

Changing up the terrain in terms of complexity and location seems to be helping me to not fixate on any one issue but to see each ride as a new challenge. This is developing skills and confidence.

__________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to link together 5 bermed corners on Fairly High Trail with a SS rating of 3 or less July 29/19

Goal met: July 25/19

Reflections & Insights

Rode 3 km of Fairly High and linked together > 5 bermed corners, rode over ramps and had a great time! SS 2

Was totally surprised at how confident I felt. Had a couple of tight corners but was able to pull through. What helped a lot was applying the strategies l learned from the videos about positioning on the berm, braking and centering myself on the bike. I was a bit nervous on some of the corners was able to monitor myself during or after the corner and could apply revisions for the next corner.

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Photo credit: R.McKenzie

Here is a link to the video 

_______________________________________

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Photo credit: R. McKenzie

Proximal Goal/Date: Film myself doing a lap on the pump track Aug 3/19

Goal met: July 28/19

Reflections & Insights

Was able to go much faster due to improved technique on pump track! Video was helpful to see the difference between the video done 5 days ago and today. What I am noticing now is that as I am starting to understand how to do the correct technique and when I do it, it feels better so this is providing me with additional feedback.

I also noticed that I was feeling relaxed and in the flow for the pump track but hit a SS of 4 on the MTB practice sections. Realized I was focusing on each rock and root instead of looking at the big picture of where I want to go. Used the motto – ‘shop for what you want’! In other words don’t focus on every detail but look ahead and see where you want to go and realize that unlike running, my tires will not hook on every root and rock but will roll over it unless very large.

Here is the link to the video

_____________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Ride 6 different MTB trails with a target SS score of 4 or less July 17-Aug 7/19

Goal met: July 31/19

Reflections & Insights 

Riding different trails was an exciting challenge. I did not always know what each trail had in store for me so this made me a bit more nervous but also prevented me from building up anxiety from the anticipation of challenges I knew would be just up ahead.

I was surprised that the time I rode alone I actually enjoyed it as I could take my time and settle into my own rhythm.

I rode the lower part of Goosebumps and was at a 4 – almost 5 on the SS as I was so focused on every root and rock on the trail unlike how I approached other trails. I practiced on the one part until I could ride it clean but really had to work on reducing anxiety with positive self-talk and by focusing on effective strategies like looking ahead.

____________________________

Proximal Goal/Date: Post up progress report on onQ July 30 – Aug 8/19

Goal met:  July 29/19

Reflections & Insights

Posting up my reflections about my progress provided me with insight about much I was actually learning about SRL through this inquiry project. Outlining my challenges made me feel a bit depressed about it all but also allowed me to focus on what I needed to do which included making the decision to bump up the distal goal deadline by 1 week.

________________________________

Distal Goal/Date: By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the mountain bike trail, Goosebumps, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale upon completion of the ride. 

Goal met:  August 1/19 Rode all of the trail with a SS of 3 at completion of the ride! 

Reflections & Insights

Completing this goal was a real mixed bag of emotions. I was really happy I had meet the goal, but it had felt rushed as I would have liked a bit more practice time, but trying to stuff the bike in the car wasn’t going well as the derailer was getting smacked around in the process and this was starting to impact shifting. Also work commitments were ramping up making additional practice and even completion of the goal for next week very challenging.

Additionally, I was disappointed that I was feeling tired and sore going into the ride. It’s funny, I had no idea until now that I had envisioned that it would feel like a triumphant ride down the trail instead of it becoming a ‘just get it done’ ride. Doing the ride in the early morning (which is not my best time for athletic endeavours) may have also compounded this feeling.

I also found that I was really nervous at the start of the ride. I had spent the last 4 weeks fussing about how hard the trail was every time I ran up and down the trail so now every rock and root had enlarged 10 fold and every ramp had shrunk in width by 50% from what it actually was. I had to work hard to reduce the anxiety at the top of the ride so that I could be ready to embrace the challenge and stay at a 3 or less on the SS for the ride down. Focusing on the strategies I had been practicing and using positive self-talk was helpful. It would have been nice to have another rider to follow as well, but I was riding alone so had to trust myself to get into the flow. I think that this also helped to increase my focus on executing the strategies I knew worked. 

I felt sad too after it was all said and done and it took me a bit to realize that it was the fact that the goal was completed. As I contemplated this further it sunk in that self-regulated learning isn’t about just completing distal goals, it’s about taking this learning and carrying it forward to the next learning. So, now (and I write this with a big smile on my face) this distal goal I just met is really the first proximal goal for my next distal goal – biking Frisby Ridge in Revelstoke in October (SS of 3 or less!)

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Photo credit: W. McKenzie 

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 7 will provide a summary of my final reflections about self-regulated learning and future applications for myself professionally and  personally.

Resources

There are a lot of mountain biking (MTB) videos out there. Some are down right scary in so many ways! Luckily I found a whole series of MTB videos that are produced by Global Mountain Bike Network that are really solid in regards to technique and recommendations for being safe on your bike.

Here are the ones I focused on:

Building Confidence MB video

Top 10 Ways to build confidence video

MB handling tips video

How to ride a pump track video

Beginner Guide to Riding Roots

10 MTB Tips for Beginners

How to corner with confidence video

Here are some articles I used

6 Ways to Gain Mountain Biking Confidence (article)

The article below (not about MTB) is a really interesting read from a university prof  (UMD) that did an 8 year research project on promoting self-regulation and critical reflection with her students. (I used it to help me think about self-reflection questions I wanted to ask myself following every ride in my journal). 

Jenson, J.D., (2011) Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection
Through Writing Students’ Use of Electronic Portfolio International Journal of ePortfolio Volume 1, Number 1, 49-60. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bc9d/e23173c260225dfbf01648c950304ef2cf04.pdf

Wolters, C.A., (2003) Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning Educational Psychologist 38(4) p 189-205 

The article below is about MTB but was another interesting read about why people ride.

Why Do You Ride?: A Characterization of Mountain Bikers, Their Engagement Methods, and Perceived Links to Mental Health and Well-Being 

People resources:

Rachel (my daughter)

She has been MTB riding since she was 11 (so for 13 years now). She can MTB anything and is a great support and mentor. She has also worked hard to overcome some serious very injuries; she understands what it means to face the fear of MTB.

 

 

 

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 5

Photo credit: A. McKenzie

I am now about halfway through working through my inquiry project for PME 800. Here is an update.

Additional Resources for Inquiry Project

There are a lot of mountain biking (MTB) videos out there. Some are down right scary in so many ways! Luckily I found a whole series of MTB videos that are produced by Global Mountain Bike Network that are really solid in regards to technique and recommendations for being safe on your bike.

Here are the ones I have been focusing on:

Building Confidence MB video

Top 10 Ways to build confidence video

MB handling tips video

How to ride a pump track video

Beginner Guide to Riding Roots

10 MTB Tips for Beginners

How to corner with confidence video

Here are some articles

6 Ways to Gain Mountain Biking Confidence (article)

The article below (not about MTB) is a really interesting read from a university prof  (UMD) that did an 8 year research project on promoting self-regulation and critical reflection with her students. (I used it to help me think about self-reflection questions I wanted to ask myself following every ride in my journal). 

Promoting Self regulation and Critical Reflection article (Jenson,2011)      htt

This article is about MTB but was another interesting read  (research article) about why people ride.

Why Do You Ride?: A Characterization of Mountain Bikers, Their Engagement Methods, and Perceived Links to Mental Health and Well-Being 

People resources:

Rachel (my daughter)

She has been MTB riding since she was 11 (so for 13 years now). She can MTB anything and is a great support and mentor. She has also worked hard to overcome some serious very injuries; she understands what it means to face the fear of MTB.

What is going well for me? 

I am on track with meeting proximal goals and should therefore be on track for meeting distal goal. The strategies I have been applying to help me meet proximal learning goals have been effective in helping me develop the skills I require to be effective at MTB the easier trails in my area; there has been a reduction in the scared scale ratings following trail rides from 4 down to a 1-3 and I am getting faster completing the MTB trail rides (I am faster riding up and coming down).

Where are areas where I am struggling?

My old truck broke down and will not be available for at least another 2-3 weeks, thereby limiting accessibility to trails and hindering bike transportation (my other vehicle is a very small car). I have therefore needed to come up with alternative arrangements like leaving my bike (30 km away where most of the trails are) at my daughter’s place or, stuffing my bike in my car provided I am driving alone (I need to take both wheels off of the bike to get it in and put all the remaining seats down). This has limited when and where I can ride and requires more coordination with my husband as he needs the car as well.

One of my strategies I had come up with was to ride with a variety of different people to make riding fun and social. Unfortunately, my son came to visit last week and badly sprained his ankle MTB with me on his 2nd day here. A friend has been very busy and will now be away for 3 weeks. My husband has a MTB that is in need of repairs and is not able to have it fixed at this time. This has meant that I am riding alone or with my daughter who has had a very busy work schedule and a lot of visitors over the summer holidays.

What supports would assist me?

I think that I can manage with the transportation situation for now as there are enough trails in town that I can access by bike alone. I will, however, need to get my bike today and bring it to where the trail is that I have set as my final goal to ride so that I can practice.

In terms of riding with other people, I am not sure that I can come up with alternative arrangements in a week’s time. I think that riding alone will be a good challenge as it will help me to further develop my confidence (I am hoping anyways . . .)

How are my SRL skills increasing?

Taking the time to outline proximal goals and identifying and analyzing specific strategies to help meet these has increased my awareness of the key elements of the learning that is required for each step. This has increased my ability to self-monitor and assess for successful execution of the targeted skills.

Writing in a journal after every ride and going through a set list of questions designed to develop my critical reflection skills is increasing my ability to assess the effectiveness of strategies used, examine for other elements that might impact learning that I had not considered before and to better select appropriate strategies for the next time I ride. Validating my fear through the scared scale has allowed me to identify the root cause of the source of the fear and then to be able to provide strategies to reduce the fear. (The scared scale has proven to be an objective way to self-monitor the effectiveness of the strategies applied).

I also now appreciate the need for finding different ways of getting feedback when doing self-directed learning. (I have found that video and objective self-monitoring tools are helpful).

I have also had the opportunity to appreciate how increasing my self-efficacy through the use of supportive strategies like validation, positive self-talk and realistic proximal goals has lead to an increase in motivation (I am having fun riding and want to learn more!) and have not resorted to the use of self- punitive/negative motivation strategies (I have to do this or else . . .).

Finally, doing this inquiry project has me thinking about how these skills can be used to help students learn and apply SRL in their lives.

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 6 is the completed monitoring document for my PME 800 inquiry project.  

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 4

Photo Credit: A. McKenzie

Below is my monitoring document for my inquiry project for PME 800

Distal Goal  By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the mountain bike trail, Goosebumps, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale (SS) upon completion of the ride.  (Scared Scale (SS) at end of document)

Proximal Goals/Dates
Determine basic skills required to meet goal/assess resources/explore
barriers to achieving goal: July 14/19
Resources & Strategies
• Internet search for tips on ways to manage anxiety/fear for MTB
• Interview colleagues/family who are skilled MTBers
• Review articles on SRL from PME 800 Determine basic skills required to meet goal/assess resources/explore for barriers to achieving goal
Proximal Goals/Dates
Ride Snakes and Ladders and Connector trails and assess effectiveness ofScared Scale (SS). Develop questions for self-reflection: July 15/19
Resources & Strategies
• Review PME 800 readings on self-observation and SRL
• Review online resources for critical reflection questions
• Begin developing steps for mental preparation for getting into the zone of riding (to be used each time prior to riding)
Proximal Goals/Dates
Be able to do a full square with body while on the bike. Be able to angle
bike to side when turning. Be able to turn bike around corners using justmy body. Be able to move behind bike seat when going down a steep pitch July 17 – 21/19
Resources & Strategies
• Internet search for online resources/video on positioning in MTB
• Watch Rachel performing the different positions
• Get feedback from Rachel on my performance
• Practice on the road then practice on trails then practice on the pump track
• Journal
Proximal Goals/Dates
Film myself doing a lap on the pump track  July 22/19
Resources & Strategies
• Rachel or Alex will film me using a phone
Proximal Goals/Dates
Be able to ride the ramp on Snakes and Ladders with a SS rating of 3 or
less July 24/19
Resources & Strategies
• Internet search for tips on riding over stuff on the MTB trail
• Review material on building confidence when riding
• Review the weather to avoid wet conditions when planning day
• Practice on flat ramps then incorporate into a ride then practice down ramps
• Journal
Proximal Goals/Dates
Be able to ride a lap of the pump track with a SS of 3 or less July 25/19
Resources & Strategies
• Internet search for tips on riding pump tracks
• Review video of me at pump track
• Watch Rachel at pump track
• Get feedback from Rachel
• Practice!
• Journal
Proximal Goals/Dates
Be able to link together 5 bermed corners on Fairly High Trail with a SS rating of 3 or less July 29/19
Resources & Strategies
• Watch online videos on turning corners
• Watch online videos about steep descents
• Review material on building confidence
• Practice linking 2 turns then build on that
• Journal
Proximal Goals/Dates
Film myself doing a lap on the pump track  Aug 3/19
Resources & Strategies
• Rachel will film me using her phone
Proximal Goals/Dates
Ride 6 different MTB trails with a target SS score of 4 or less
July 17-Aug 7/19
Resources & Strategies
• Ask friends and family (aside from Rachel) to ride with me.
• Review MTB videos and tips
• Review videos of me riding and critically reflect
• Ride, ride and ride!!
• Try riding different sections of Goosebumps
• Journal
• Have fun!  
Proximal Goals/Dates
Post up progress report on onQ (July 30 – Aug 8)
Distal Goal/Date
By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the mountain bike trail, Goosebumps, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale upon completion of the ride. 
Resources & Strategies
• Review strategies
• Mental imagery
• Plan for success
• Have fun!
• Celebrate successes even if distal goal not fully realized
• Journal
Post a link to my final inquiry project. Reflect on how my inquiry
connects to SRL: Aug 13

Scared Scale

1) I am in the flow!

2) I am having fun!

3) I am a bit scared but bring it on!

4) I am getting scared

5) I am getting off my bike and walking

6) I think I am going to throw up

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 5 will provide resources I found while working on my inquiry project as well as a progress update. 

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 3

Photo credit: A.McKenzie

Applying the Principles of Self-regulated Learning: Inquiry Project PME 800

Forethought Phase (McPherson, Osborne, Evans & Miksza, 2019, Figure 1 ).

During this stage analysis of the following needs to take place ((McPherson, Osborne, Evans & Miksza, 2019, Figure 1 ):

  • goal setting and strategic planning
  • self-motivation beliefs
    • self-efficacy
    • outcome expectations
    • task value
    • goal orientation

To set an effective goal it first of all needs to be SMART.

Distal goals – “long-term goals that are accomplished over an extended period of time” (Pappas, 2016, para 9).

Proximal goals – are the intermediary goals that need to be successfully completed  in order facilitate the completion of the distal goal. 

Proximal goals (Pappas, 2016, para 5-8):

  • Increase motivation – meeting goals is rewarding and instills feelings of confidence
  • Provide ongoing feedback – provides opportunity for revisions in order to meet distal goal
  • Make distal goals attainable by breaking down larger goal into smaller goals

Distal Goal

By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the mountain bike trail, Goosebumps, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale upon completion of the ride.  (See below for Scared Scale).

Scared Scale

1) I am in the flow!

2) I am having fun!

3) I am a bit scared but bring it on!

4) I am getting scared

5) I am getting off my bike and walking

6) I think I am going to throw up

Why this goal?

I want to explore the impact of a strong emotion (in this case fear) as it relates to self-regulated learning (SRL).  I work with health care providers that can be triggered by experiences that have happened at work and/or are anxious about what could happen and would like to explore strategies for supporting SRL in these situations. I have chosen mountain biking as it is a sport that is anxiety producing for me; 9 years ago I suffered a nasty mountain biking accident and have not mountain biked since.

Interestingly, I have been finding myself wanting to get back on the bike and hit the trails. (I derive a great deal of joy being in the bush and would like to switch it up from trail running).  My motivation is further fueled by the fact that I am surrounded by friends and family that are dedicated mountain bikers and would love to be able to get out with them a bit (task value is high). In fact, I was so pumped up to do it again that last fall, I decided to buy a second hand hard tail 29er.

The problem is that I am feeling anxious every time I use the bike to do even the most simple of trails: (self-efficacy is low, fear is off the scale). I see this project as the perfect opportunity for me to use me as a test case to see how self-efficacy, self-monitoring, goal setting and performance are affected by high levels of anxiety and what impact different strategies for dealing with anxiety will have on supporting me through the SRL process.  I am also curious; will I be able to do this?

Setting the goal

“As students set goals, they become more conscious of their own strengths and weaknesses; moreover their approach to learning becomes more reflective” (Bloom, 2013, p 47).

This was my first discovery in this project. In the process of setting this goal I went through my strengths, weaknesses, consulted experts (my daughter) and began to get a picture of what could be possible. The biggest hurdle I figure is being able to control the anxiety so that I can relearn the skills (and learn ones I obviously missed the first time) that I need to mountain bike the terrain we have where I live.

This process has also led me to engage with inquiry learning about how to deal with the fear issue. My first strategy was development of the Scared Scale. It isn’t a strategy I read about anywhere but felt like something I needed to do. This scale will be my stress barometer and the plan is that I will immediately change my learning activity if I hit a 5 or 6. Target is to keep ratings at 3 or below with the occasional 4 put in.

Locke and Latham (2006)  state that “ . . . studies showed that specific, high (hard) goals lead to a higher level of task performance than do easy goals or vague, abstract goals such as the exhortation to “do one’s best”” (p 265).  As I would be totally stoked to have a higher level of task performance I have selected the trail identified in the goal to have enough features to be challenging but still within my newly acquired/developed skill set (at least I hope!).

As Locke and Latham (2006) note, setting goals “ . . .may motivate people to search for new knowledge. The latter is most common when people are confronted by new, complex tasks” (p 265). As I noted earlier, I will be working on skill development. My proximal goals will need to reflect target areas to help me meet my goal (this includes further exploration about anxiety reducing strategies).  I plan to have multiple, small, just out of reach proximal goals for this project as I know that this is a strong motivator for me. To determine what these proximal goals, the specific skill development I should be working on to meet the distal goal, I will need to consult with experts.

Finally, the goal I have set is an approach goal (it is a desired outcome) and is mastery focused as for me it is all about the learning. Approach and mastery goals “enhance mental focus” and ‘ . . .enhanced performance”. (Locke and Latham, 2006, p 267).  I like the idea of being mentally focused with enhanced performance.

Strategies that I will use to help me meet my goals

Personal Strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • I will practice the basic skills required to meet my goal as outlined in my Monitoring Document;
  • I will document what skills are practiced and what strategies are applied during the practicing of these skills in a journal and make revisions as needed in order to meet goals;
  • I will provide a rating on the Scared Scale prior to riding/during riding/ and after riding. If a SS score of 5 or more is reached at any time during practice sessions, the activity will be abandoned and revisions immediately undertaken to return SS rating to 4 or less.

Behavioural strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • I will journal after every ride and assess if proximal goals were met and if not revisions that should be applied to goal;
  • I will get feedback from experts – through one on one observation and through video;
  • I will develop SMART proximal goals, in consultation with experts, which I should be able to successfully complete thereby gaining confidence and continued motivation to continue.

Environmental strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • I will look for quality mountain biking resources on line;
  • I will recruit an expert (my daughter) to help me with skill development, for advice on what skills to focus on and for feedback;
  • I will ensure that I use the scared scale as a tool to determine if activities are too challenging and make revisions accordingly;
  • I will ensure that I am in shape to be able to meet the demands of mountain biking.

Self-reflection strategies

I will ask myself the following questions after every ride, document in my journal the responses and summarize insights learned in my monitoring document.

Proximal goal:

Focused activity:

Scared Scale rating: Pre/during /after

Reflection Questions:

  • What went well and why
  • Strategies used
  • Revisions to strategies
  • Any process issues?
  • Any environmental issues?
  • Any other issues?
  • Insights learned
  • Did you celebrate successes during this ride if not why not?

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 4 will outline my monitoring document for my inquiry project for PME 800.

References

Bloom, M., (2013) Self-regulated learning: Goal setting and self-monitoring The Language Teacher Readers’ Forum . Retrieved  from: https://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/37.4tlt_art2.pdf

McPherson, G. E., Osborne, M. S., Evans, P., & Miksza, P. (2019). Applying self-regulated learning microanalysis to study musicians’ practice. Psychology of Music47(1), 18–32. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735617731614 Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0305735617731614#articleCitationDownloadContainer

Jenson, J., (2011) Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection Through Writing Students’ Use of Electronic Portfolio International Journal of ePortfolio, Volume 1, Number 1, 49-60. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bc9d/e23173c260225dfbf01648c950304ef2cf04.pdf

Locke, E. A. & Latham, G.P.  (2006) New Directions in Goal –Setting Theory Current Directions in Psychological Science Vol. 15, No. 5

Pappas, C., (2016) elearning Proximal VS Distal Goals In eLearning. efront Retrieved from: https://www.efrontlearning.com/blog/2016/05/proximal-vs-distal-goals-elearning.html

UCONN|University of Connecticut (n.d.) Common Self-Regulation Strategies RENZULLI CENTER FOR CREATIVITY, GIFTED EDUCATION, AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (1990-2013). Retrieved from: https://nrcgt.uconn.edu/underachievement_study/self-regulation/sr_section7/

Zimmerman, B..J. (1990) Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Success: An Overview Educational Psychologist, 24(1), 3-17 Lawrence Erbaum Associates, Inc. Retrieved from https://ciel.viu.ca/sites/default/files/self_regulated_learning_and_academic_achievement_an_overview_0.pdf

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 2

Photo credit: A.McKenzie

Motivation and Learning

Zimmerman (1990) states: “(a)n important aspect of theories of self-regulated learning is that student learning and motivation are treated as interdependent processes that cannot be fully understood apart from each other” (p 6). 

In my readings about self-regulated learning, I found 3 key elements that are part of our motivation to want to learn something:

  • Self-efficacy – “an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments” (Carey &  Forsyth, n.d., para 1)
  • Task value  

“New learning – real learning – is hard work” (Katz & Dack, 2013, para 30).  This means that part of being a self-regulated learner is finding ways to not only create momentum for learning but to sustain it.

The remaining metacognitive process, those involved with performance control also play a vital part of self-regulated learning.

Metacognitive Processes: Application of Strategies and Feedback Loop

Zimmerman (1990) states that “ . . . self-regulated learners are distinguished by (a) their awareness of strategic relations between regulatory processes or responses and learning outcomes and (b) their use of these strategies to achieve their academic goals (p 5).

Furthermore, self-regulated learners utilize the “self-orientated feedback loop” where they “ . . .  monitor the effectiveness of their learning methods or strategies and react to this feedback in a variety of ways, ranging from covert changes in self perception to overt changes in behavior such as altering the use of a learning strategy” (Zimmerman, 1990, p 5).

During the performance control phase of self-regulated learning, strategies for learning as well as strategies for assessing the effectiveness of the learning strategies are chosen and applied.

Strategies for learning include:

Personal strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • Organizing and transforming information  (i.e., concept mapping, summarizing);
  • Keeping records and monitoring  (i.e, journaling);
  • Rehearsing and memorizing (i.e., mnemonics);

Behavioural strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • Self-evaluating (i.e., getting feedback, evaluation of proximal goal completion);
  • Sustaining motivation for goal completion.

Environmental strategies (UCONN|University of Connecticut, n.d.):

  • Seeking information;
  • Seeking expert support;
  • Altering the immediate environment to support learning (i.e., minimizing distractions).

Strategies for the assessment of learning include:

Self-reflection:

  • Are strategies effective to meet learning goals? Why or why not?
  • Are there other issues that impacted learning?
  • How can this new learning/skill be applied to future learning/situations?
  • When did I feel most distanced from the learning? (adapted from Brookfield CIQ) Why? What steps were taken to sustain motivation?
  • When did I feel most engaged with the learning? (adapted from Brookfield CIQ) Why?

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 3 will outline my experiences applying the processes of self-regulation for my inquiry project.

References

Bloom, M., (2013) Self-regulated learning: Goal setting and self-monitoring The Language Teacher Readers’ Forum . Retrieved  from: https://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/37.4tlt_art2.pdf

Brookfield, S.D (n.d.) Using the Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ) Dr. Stephen D. Brookfield  Retrieved from: http://www.stephenbrookfield.com/ciq

Carey, M. P. &  Forsyth, A. D., (n.d.) Teaching Tip Sheet: Self-Efficacy American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy

Jenson, J., (2011) Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection Through Writing Students’ Use of Electronic Portfolio International Journal of ePortfolio, Volume 1, Number 1, 49-60. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bc9d/e23173c260225dfbf01648c950304ef2cf04.pdf

Katz, S., & Dack, L. A. (2013). Towards a culture of inquiry for data use in schools: Breaking down professional learning barriers through intentional interruption. Studies in Educational Evaluation

Self-Attribution (n.d.) Psychology Retrieved from: https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/self/self-attribution/

UCONN|University of Connecticut (n.d.) Common Self-Regulation Strategies RENZULLI CENTER FOR CREATIVITY, GIFTED EDUCATION, AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (1990-2013). Retrieved from: https://nrcgt.uconn.edu/underachievement_study/self-regulation/sr_section7/

Zimmerman, B..J. (1990) Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Success: An Overview Educational Psychologist, 24(1), 3-17 Lawrence Erbaum Associates, Inc. Retrieved from https://ciel.viu.ca/sites/default/files/self_regulated_learning_and_academic_achievement_an_overview_0.pdf

 

Reflections: Making Room for Diversity in an Online Course

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Image source: Pixabay

In my previous blog about diversity in the classroom I focused on 3 strategies: team teaching, mixing student groups and mixing modalities (Brookfield, 2015) as a way of addressing diversity in the face to face classroom. I briefly touched on addressing diversity in the online classroom in regards to gender equality and even revealed my aha moment when I realized that I did not even consider “how the curriculum and its delivery would be perceived by a male student” (para 3, Teachingadventuressite, 2017). (Which I am glad to say I have since addressed).

I have not, however, actually plunged into a full examination to see what the “ . . . pedagogical challenges” (p 235, Bowen) are in regards to addressing diversity an online course and what steps I should take to mitigate these as it seemed, quite frankly, overwhelming. Given that this is my last PIDP course I feel that this issue is no longer something I can and should avoid, so here are my interpretations and decisions regarding what aspects of diversity I feel are relevant for me as an instructor of an online, 13 week, perinatal course for post RNs, and what strategies I need to employ.

As noted by Brookfield (2015), the differences between students can be almost endless:

  • Age;
  • Gender;
  • Citizenship status;
  • Racial background;
  • Primary language;
  • Preferential learning style;
  • Talents and skills;
  • Level of:
    • Motivation;
    • Self-regulation;
    • Self-direction;
  • Personality;
  • Extroversion and introversion;
  • Sexual identity;
  • Social status;
  • Religious affiliation;
  • Cultural background.

Additional considerations unique to the online learning environment include:

  • Student access to internet may not be universal (Peterson, 2015);
  • Students may exhibit varying degrees of computer/technological skills (Narozny, 2010);
  • Online searching skills may be variable (Narozny, 2010);
  • Communication is heavily focused on the written word by way of content delivery, discussion forums, instructor feedback with grades (ie through rubrics) and the use of social media platforms for classroom discussions. This may be challenging for some students, particularly English Language Learners (Milheim, 2017);
  • Peterson (2015) notes that instructors have to work to find their voice in the online environment and that it is challenging to ensure that communication is clear and not misconstrued i.e., humour can be difficult to communicate through text only.
  • Building community in an online learning environment can be challenging, particularly if teachers attempt to apply the strategies they use for face-to-face classes (Peterson, 2015);
  • Thompson (2012) states that it is “ . . .extroversion that is praised and rewarded in our society, and the classroom sometimes mirrors the social values of society by favouring extroverts, who naturally dominate socially because they are three-quarters of the population and are skilful in dominating socially” (para 11). The online environment allows for the more introverted students to have a voice;
  • Peterson (2015) notes that some students may find that the anonymity of the online environment may allow them the freedom to break free of cultural norms of conformity.

This last point makes for an interesting segue into whether student cultural and racial information should be actively solicited by online instructors.

After surveying 41, American, online instructors Milheim (2014) states: “(a)mong nearly all of the participants there was a general acknowledgement that culture plays a critical role in the classroom. One individual stated that cultural difference “changes the landscape of our classes when we share” (p 5).

Milheim (2017) feels “(n)o doubt, a student’s cultural background is an important part of this conversation. Not only does culture have an impact on the overall classroom experience, it has been shown to affect learning, motivation, and satisfaction in a course” (para 1).

Laskaris (2015) suggests creating culture-sensitive content to increase productivity in learners in addition to improving the marketability of a course. Laskaris (2015) supports this claim by relating an experience of redesigning of a course for a particular cultural group. This is different from most online University or College courses where “ . . . it is difficult to identify cultural difference in an online setting since the online environment gives a sense of anonymity and masking of culture” (p 5, Milheim, 2014).

Conversely, in his qualitative analysis of five American, online instructors, Peterson (2015) states: “ . . . the instructors expressed sentiments indicating they felt that either student race and backgrounds are not important in an online environment or they felt they maintained a course of total inclusion” (p 65, 66). Peterson (2015) goes on to note that “(a)lthough this method of dealing with people of differing backgrounds does help avoid complicated conversations, it can potentially be a source of dissonance for students because their personal situation or experiences are not addressed or recognized” (p 66).

Language and culture can also impact how written feedback may be interpreted (Milheim, 2017). Western students “for example, are more apt to view the instructor as a facilitator, rather than non-Western students whose cultural norm is to view the instructor as more authoritative in nature” (para 5, Milheim, 2017).

Visual culture “refers to how people see and interpret images, art, photography, movies, and so on” (para 6, Milheim, 2017). Laskaris (2015) also stressed the importance of finding images, vignettes and even names that students can relate to.

Eisner (2001) as cited in Peterson (2015) noted that basing curriculum on critical thinking activities versus tests is a sound pedagogy that allows for the diversity essential for mastery of the subject. Utilizing curriculum that is heavily text based is not, however, well translated across cultures, for while western culture relies heavily on written arguments where the writer’s arguments are supported through referenced quotes, “(e)astern discourse is based on the audience already having a shared knowing of previous works, and, therefore, the reader is expected to actively remember where the reference is coming from without attributing the quote to the original author” (p 12, Peterson, 2015).

Indigenous safety and competency is a topic that is relevant for the students I teach as they come from rural and remote regions throughout BC (and some even from as far as Nunavut). Presently, the online perinatal course I teach includes readings, videos, case studies and journal activities regarding this topic. It has not, however, been reviewed for how compatible the course design is with the Indigenous worldview.

Challenges that have prevented me engaging in this process prior to now is that I recognize that Indigenous populations are far from homogenous. Sammual (n.d.) makes the following suggestion for educators working in Saskatchewan.

“For an educator, the Medicine Wheel offers the possibility to reflect on resources or unit plans to see whether all four aspects are in balance. It is a chance to see whether our teaching is focusing more heavily on the mind or body, heart or spirit, or whether it is lacking one of these aspects. To integrate Saskatchewan Aboriginal perspectives into the teaching and learning of science education, all aspects of the Medicine Wheel must be in balance “(p 2).

Finally, the last topic that I would like to highlight is generational differences. There is much air time given to Millennials regarding the particular attitudes and emotional needs they have but for me, the most salient issue is a person’s exposure to digital technology in their lifetime and the affect it has had on their consciousness. McNeill (2011) notes that “(t)his most recent generation of college students has distinctive characteristics and a persona unlike those of their teachers. They have unprecedented access to technology and instant online information. They are globally connected to peer-groups spanning international boundaries. They are the first generation to come of age in a truly global society” (p 1).

Prensky (2001) identifies the students that have grown up in this digital age as ‘Digital Natives’ and describes them as “ . . . “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet” (p 1); while those of us who have adapted and adopted the new technology are described as ‘Digital Immigrants’ (p 2). Prensky (2001) goes on to state: “the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language”(p 2).

Strategies for Navigating the Challenges of Diversity in the Online Classroom

  1. Identify culture (Milheim, 2014).

At the start of the online Perinatal course I teach there is an introductory activity called ‘Room with a View’ (p 56, Conrad & Donaldson, 2004) where students are prompted to provide a brief description of who they are professionally as well as a brief paragraph about the view from their favourite window. They are also encouraged to weave in some biographical material about themselves. In the revision I will encourage students to include some cultural as well as biographical material about themselves. I will role model this by doing the same and will also show respect for the Indigenous people on whose lands I am a settler on by acknowledging them in my introduction.

I will, however, also allow students to remain relatively anonymous (aside from name) if this is what they choose.

  1. Reduce barriers.

For barriers created by things like limited access to the Internet, I need to be flexible. This means being flexible with due dates for assignments, and helping students identify what online resources they may need to print off ahead of time so that they can read them at home.

Many of the discussion forums include finding credible resources for new parents. Students are given support tools to help them with this process. I will now include a link to my infographic and podcast on Digital Literacy as an additional resource.

Last semester I tried out Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and hosted an Orientation to Blackboard session. It seemed to cut down considerably on questions about where to find folders/material etc.

I will continue to recruit a variety of mediums to present material as suggested by Peterson (2015). I am very excited about creating 10 new podcasts – one for each module to highlight key learning points and to increase engagement with the material by providing a narrative for the patient in each of the module’s case studies.

To ensure that the course content is balanced, I am very honoured to say that the local Aboriginal Patient Navigator (who is also an educator) has agreed to review some of the content. I am looking forward to hearing her feedback.

To ensure that my feedback and presentation style are appropriate and received in a positive and constructive manner I will include in the fall revisions a feedback assessment tool that will address feedback provided by the instructor as well as student perceptions of my role as a teacher.

Case studies and names already include a diversity of patients with learning incorporated into the case studies in regards to identifying the patient’s unique needs and possible barriers to care.

As a Digital Immigrant, I come with an accent that I need to ensure does not get in the way of learning. To do this, I need to ensure that I am well acquainted with the medium I am using as well as its applications. If I am not comfortable using a technology or medium, I am best not to use it. I am very grateful that the PIDP 3240 has provided me with the opportunity to gain more skills using technologies including the podcast.

Finally, a perinatal course is not a writing course, but does rely heavily on evidence-based material for making clinical patient decisions. In the revisions to the course I will reduce the weighting for case studies from 15% on writing skills to 5% and increase weighting to analysis and recommendations. Students are instructed that they are expected to follow APA format, however, and links for more information about this are provided.

3. Create safe places (Milheim, 2014).

Kennedy (2017) states: “(t)hat for faculty, modelling caring professional collegial behaviour that creates a we are in this together atmosphere underscore that learning isn’t just a one way street. Modelling also helps to create a safe space in which students are not afraid to post their understandings or make mistakes, allowing them the freedom to learn” (p 21).

I hope that by acknowledging the importance of culture in the content and by role modelling cultural sensitivity in my feedback, it will create a safe place for students. I also need to be open about my mistakes and acknowledge that learning is messy. I also feel that being flexible is an integral part of creating a safe place for students; if they need extra time for an assignment I give it to them. The resultant thoughtful and well-executed assignments I receive back from students has been inspiring.

4. Build community.

So far, in the 3 semesters I have taught the course, there has been a sense of community as evidenced by students posting more than the required number of posts to each other in ways that are supportive and thoughtful and by very collegial and engaged groups for the face-to-face portion of the course. I feel that there are a few external factors that help to make this happen; students from the same hospital are often taking the course; students know each other from past working experiences; or they feel a kinship with other students as they are working in a site that they have worked in before.

Another component is that I work very hard to provide students with lots of feedback to their questions via the 5 ‘Muddiest Point Survey’, through supplemental material provided on the ‘Course Updates’ and with weekly case studies and discussion forum posts. I feel that this too creates community as students see that all of their questions matter and that I am carefully reading all of their work.

Summary

No matter what culture students come from, the top 3 top student expectations of an online course are (Mupinga & Carole-Yaw, 2006, as cited in Peterson, 2015):

  • Explicit communication with professor;
  • Instructor feedback;
  • Challenging course curriculum.

To help students learn, we need to respect them, be aware of how our own culture and the students’ cultures impact learning, acknowledge barriers (and try our best to mitigate them), increase the richness and cultural sensitivity of the course by involving members from different communities to provide feedback, mix modalities, use authentic assessments that employ critical thinking skills and use technology wisely. Acknowledging and allowing for diversity will only help to improve learning.

References

Bowen, J.A. (2012) Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass

Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom 3rd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Conrad, R., J.A. Donaldson (2004) Engaging the Online Learner Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from: http://eltandtech.pbworks.com/f/engaging+the+online+learner.pdf

Kennedy (2017) Designing and Teaching Online Courses in Nursing Springer Publishing Company Retrieved from: https://books.google.ca/books?id=NFICDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&dq=creating+safe+spaces+online+course&source=bl&ots=kdcFBsDPSk&sig=eGuBT3VAP-nIzIhlKIpuSbzjqtc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjzveF_rLYAhVQ4GMKHUimAfI4ChDoAQhPMAg#v=onepage&q=creating%20safe%20spaces%20online%20course&f=false

Laskaris, J. (2015) Culture and Language Diversity in Online Learning Environment Talent lms Retrieved from: https://www.talentlms.com/blog/culture-and-language-diversity-in-online-learning-environment/

McNeill, R.G. Jr (2011) Adapting Teaching to the Millennial Generation: A Case Study of a Blended/Hybrid Course. University of Massachusetts – Amherst ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst International CHRIE Conference-Refereed Track. Retrieved from: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1747&context=refereed

Milheim, K. (2017) A Fundamental Look at Cultural Diversity and the Online Classroom. eLearn Magazine Where Thought and Practice Meet. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3041614 Retrieved from: http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=3041614

Milheim, K. (2014) Facilitation across Cultures in the Online Classroom International. Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research Vol. 5, No.1, pp. 1-11, May. Retrieved from: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:laOM4bNf2rkJ:https://www.ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter/article/download/66/31+&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

Narozny, E. (2010) Designing Online Courses to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Student Population Faculty Focus Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magma Publications. Retrieved from: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/designing-online-courses-to-meet-the-needs-of-a-diverse-student-population/

Peterson, J. (2015) Honoring Diversity in the Online Classroom: Approaches Used By Instructors Using an LMS. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1061&context=teachlearnstudent

Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001). Retrieved from: https://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Sammel, A (n.d.) Aboriginal Perspectives into the Teaching and Learning of Science Education: Beginning the Conversations in Southern Saskatchewan. Collaborative Inquiry Committee. Retrieved from: http://ourspace.uregina.ca/bitstream/handle/10294/1142/Aboriginal_Perspectives.pdf;sequence=1

Teachingadventuressite (2017) Trends in Adult Education Part #3: The ‘Aha’ Moment Retrieved from: https://teachingadventuressite.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/trends-in-adult-education-part-3-the-aha-moment/

Thompson, S., (2012). Introvert? Extrovert?  Tips for a Balanced Classroom. Jan/Feb Canadian Teacher Magazine. Retrieved from canadianteacher.archives http://www.canadianteachermagazine.com/archives/ctm_teaching_ideas/janfeb2012-introvert-extrovert.shtml

 

Enhancing E-Learning with the Podcast

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Photo Source: Flickr Photographer Patrick Breitenbach

Podcasts are better than lectures” (p 113, Bowen, 2012).

There are times when I really enjoy listening to a radio podcast. I can get so invested in listening that I have been known to remain sitting in my car long after I have arrived at my destination, just so I can catch the last of a podcast. The intimacy of the medium combined with a compelling narrative is what I find so captivating.

Creating an appealing and informative podcast that will engage students and deepen learning is a very intriguing idea, especially as I teach an online course and therefore do not have any ‘lecture’ time anyways. I must say it has really gotten me thinking. Can students benefit from learning packaged in the form of a podcast as Bowen (2012) in the opening quote, suggests? Is it possible for me, a podcast greenhorn without any journalism training or fancy recording equipment, to produce an educational and interesting podcast and publish it so it is readily accessible for students online? Furthermore, are there any best practice guidelines that can use to help me create an educational podcast?

Podcasts, “a radio programme that is stored in a digital form that you can download from the internet and play on a computer or on an MP3player” (para1, The Cambridge Online Dictionary n.d.) have moved beyond something you just listen to on the radio and are readily available to listeners in today’s society, especially since the advent of the smart phone.

Sutton-Brady, Scott, Taylor, Carabetta and Clark (2009) state that “(p)odcasting enables lecturers and students to make connections” (p 220). This statement is reflected by a student in their study who provided the feedback “ . . . that listening to the podcast episodes felt “like the lecturer’s talking to you personally in a one-to-one case”” (p 228).

Sutton-Brady et al (2009) list the following as additional perceived benefits of the podcast to students as (Table 4, p 226):

  • Supported and enhanced learning;
  • Helped them to actively engage with learning;
  • Allowed them to be able to learn in their own time.

Another advantage to the use of this technology, as identified by students, was that the podcast “highlights important information’ (Figure 1, page 225, Sutton-Brady et al, 2009). Interestingly, the comments I hear repeatedly from my online learners is that learning from home is challenging because they miss interacting with the instructor and feel that they sometimes fail to identify the more nuanced points of the material as a result of this lack of interaction.

In 2009, George Washington University’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, interviewed 262 world history students to determine the impact of podcasts on their learning and engagement (Roscorla, 2010). Some of their findings included (para 7, Roscorla, 2010):

  • Podcasts grab attention and maintain it;
  • Students conceptually understood the content, not just remembered it, and the scale of understanding seemed to tip toward the podcasts;
  • The students who said they weren’t that motivated at the beginning of the class scored higher on the test when they listened to the podcasts.

For instructors, a key benefit that was identified was “. . . the knowledge that students are able to revisit key topics critical to the course learning objectives and assessment” (p 228, Sutton-Brady et al, 2009). This was felt to be very important particularly with students for whom English was a second language (Sutton-Brady et al, 2009).

Podcasts, I learned, can be produced quite easily using a laptop and a suitable app like Garage Band (an Apple product). Publishing is simple and involves downloading the MP3 to an online platform like Podomatic or Podbean. The podcast is accessible to the public through a link provided by the online publishing platform.

In the online course I teach, students access course material through a series of 10 modules hosted through the Blackboard Learning Management System. Information is primarily presented to students in the form of written text with links to videos to enrich learning for select topics. Students interact with each other throughout the course via weekly discussion forums and case studies. My contact with students as the instructor comes through student specific feedback that is provided for discussion forums, case studies and quizzes and through email and/or phone if needed. This past semester, I created virtual classrooms for students to meet and discuss material with each other and with me through Blackboard Collaborate but found that while some students were enthusiastic to interact with the instructor most found that the fixed time did not work for them due to family or work commitments.

Since reading about the benefits of podcasting and learning of the ease of producing and publishing them, I have decided that I would like very much to develop 10 podcasts, one for each module in the course. To help me understand the elements that make an engaging and informative podcast I decided to listen to a variety of educational podcasts online. I must confess that some of the podcasts for educators I did not like at all as they felt more like an infomercial than an instructional podcast. One podcast I found to be quite enjoyable was a NPR hidden brain production called “Students and Teachers”, hosted by Shankar Vedantam. What made it enjoyable for me was that it introduced interesting and factual material in a story like way, featured the voices of the people involved in the story and ended with some fun and relevant stats about student – teacher relationships presented in a game like fashion.

Having a “ . . . story-centric eLearning script” (para 7) is one of the 7 tips on how to create podcasts for learning offered by Pappas (2016) as, just as I have noted above, “(t)he most compelling and captivating podcasts involve a great storyline (para 7). Other tips provided by Pappas (2016) include developing a detailed outline and choosing “ . . . the right voice” (para 5).

Time to walk my talk. Here are the guidelines I am going to use to make my podcasts for the online perinatal course I teach (adapted from Pappas, 2016):

  • Create a great storyline that will mesh together the 10 modules.

Integrated into the case studies for modules 2- 5 is a central character for whom the students have to develop a care plan for and determine ongoing plans of care for as the modules progress. Focusing on the story of this character’s needs and experiences as she goes through labour and birth will be the framework for the podcasts for these modules. For the remaining modules I will integrate the characters from the case studies into the podcasts while remembering to include themes and learning from previous modules.

  • Develop an outline for the 10 modules

For each module I am going to write out the key points and themes that I want the students to know. The modules have been designed to incorporate learning from previous modules with increasing complexity so it is important for me to keep this in mind and pose questions/ present stories for each subsequent podcast that will stimulate a deeper understanding of the material. Maximum time limit for each podcast will be 15 minutes.

  • Choose the right voice

The tone I am going to use is going to be conversational with a pace that would approximate what I would use if I were actually speaking to the students in person. I think it would be really awesome to have someone else be the voice of the focal character! Perhaps I can enlist a friend to help me.

I have just created a podcast for the PIDP 3240 course using the Apple Garage Band app and found it to be very easy to use so I will continue to use this for producing the course’s podcasts. I will publish using Podomatic (as this is also what I just used) and will also provide students with the opportunity to download the MP3 recording of each podcast via Blackboard.

I am very excited at the idea of producing podcasts as an adjunct to the online perinatal course I teach. I will, however, keep in mind this quote from Roscorla, (2010)

“If your goal is to find a magic bullet that makes all students better, this isn’t it,” said Hugh Agnew, a professor from the Elliott School of International Affairs who taught the course. “But if your goal is to reach some students better that maybe you aren’t reaching so terribly well, then I think this is worth trying ” (para 4).

References

Bowen, J.A. (2012) Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass

Buckler, L. (2017) 8 Ways Teachers Can Leverage Podcasts as a Learning Tool Emerging Ed Tech. Retrieved from:

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2017/08/how-teachers-can-leverage-podcasts-as-a-learning-tool/

NPR hidden brain (2015) Episode 4: Students and Teachers Host Shankar Vedantam.

Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/player/embed/447215129/447215242

 

Pappas, C. (2016) 7 Tips To Create Podcasts For eLearning eLearning Industry

Retrieved from: https://elearningindustry.com/7-tips-to-create-podcasts-for-elearning

 

Podcast (n.d.) in The Cambridge Online Dictionary. Retrieved from:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/podcast

 

Roscorla, T. (2010) Do Podcasts Help Students Learn? Converge Center for Digital Education Retrieved from: http://www.centerdigitaled.com/classtech/Podcasts-George-Washington-University.html

 

Sutton-Brady, C., Scott, K.M., Taylor, L., Carabetta, G. & Clark, S. (2009) The value of using short-format podcasts to enhance learning and teaching, ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology 17:3, 219-232, DOI: 10.1080/09687760903247609. Retrieved from:

https://doi.org/10.1080/09687760903247609

 

 

A Field Guide to Taking Risk in the Classroom

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Photo: A.McKenzie

In Brookfield’s book, The Skillful Teacher (2015) the 9th maxim of the 16 he lists for skillful teaching is “Don’t’ be afraid to take risks (p 271).

For me, the word risk can invoke feelings of fear – fear of failing, fear of loss, fear of the unknown, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of adversely affecting of my bank account or health – overall, rather stressful stuff. But I also know that risk is the very thing that makes my life exciting: every time I head out for an adventure into the backcountry – which I love to do – I take risks because, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, an adventure “is an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks” (n.d., Adventure definition #1). So how can taking risks cause me both anxiety and excitement? Why are taking risks a part of skilful teaching?

To take a risk is to knowingly put yourself in a situation that will challenge your abilities. If your abilities meet or surpass the challenge, you will succeed and you may even say that it was fun. Csikszentmihalyi as cited in The Pursuit of Happiness (n.d.) states “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  (The Pursuit of Happiness, n.d., para1).

Risks will push us to success or failure; they define what level our abilities are at and, when we reflect on the situation, what we need to do to be able to succeed next time. Taking risks is, as Thorton and Harris (2015), state “ . . . how we learn, create, even adapt (para 1). They improve critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and give students more self-confidence (Thorton & Harris, 2015).

If the risk is greater than your abilities you will fail. Failing makes us feel awful. But it doesn’t have to stop there. “People shy away from risks because they fear failure — but what’s so bad about failing? Some of the greatest moments of understanding happen after we’ve “failed”” (para 6, Thorton & Harris, 2015).

“Risk is endemic to skillful teaching. Good teachers take risks in the full knowledge that these will not always work” (Brookfield, 2015, p 271). Just like in life, taking risks in the classroom means we will encounter success and we will encounter failure. We will have times when we will be in flow and times when we feel we are falling into the abyss: the times when we actually learn the most.

Taking risks will help everyone to learn, so as teachers we need to create an environment where we can all feel that these risks will make for a wonderful adventure and not a mission of self-destruction. As teachers we need to create a place where “ . . . kids take chances because risk is honored, because risks are taken from a comfortable platform, and because there’s always a soft spot to land” (para 5, Thorton & Harris, 2015).

Here are some tips I learned about how I (as a teacher and as a student) can ensure that my adventures in education will be a safe, exciting and filled with lots of great learning.

Model how to take risks

Develop the skills to be able to succeed at taking risks.

Critical thinking skills – “When people think critically they try to identify the assumptions that frame their thinking and actions and to check out how far these assumptions are accurate and valid. They do this by looking at their ideas and decisions from different perspectives. On the basis of this they then take what they hope are informed actions” (Brookfield, 2015, p 155).

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Share scenarios from maternity where I did and didn’t apply critical thinking.
  • Share critical thinking steps with students.
  • When I encounter failure in the classroom, review my errors in critical thinking with students and what I could have done differently.
  • Review my assumptions about my abilities before I take a risk in the classroom like trying out a new instructional strategy.

Tips for me as a student:

  • Share with peers critical thinking steps for case studies.

Be confident and organized (Svinicki, 1989-90) – “When the students are convinced that the instructor is “in control” and knows where the class is going, they will feel more comfortable about taking risks”( para 7).

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Know my material Make a plan A, plan B . . .

Tips for me as a student:

Ensure Soft Landings

Provide risk-taking opportunities (Svinicki, 1989-90) – “Allowing students to struggle and take wrong turns helps them learn something from the process” (para 11).

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Ensure that I have created a positive learning environment where students will feel safe to take risks – show respect for them, make them feel valued for who they are and what they know. Value failure as a positive learning experience and opportunity for growth. Ensure privacy and confidentiality with students when discussing failures. Practice and foster a growth mindset.
  • Ensure that I have created a safe learning environment where students will feel safe with me taking risks like trying out a new teaching strategy.

Tips for me as a student:

  • Ask for formative feedback while learning is taking place.

Learn from each other

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Before I try out something brand new in the classroom, talk to my colleagues and find out if they have tried it before. Some of the teaching strategies I used in my online course were exercises I did when I took the PIDP 3250 course online. By trying them out and watching how my instructor managed the class I was able to learn a lot about what worked and why.

Tips for me as a student:

  • Share presentations and problem solve in small groups first before having to go to a large group to share. Reid (2010) suggests having students break into small groups for Think-Pair-Share as a way to increase student interaction and risk taking behaviours.

Start with baby steps

“Not all students have the same level of risk tolerance. We can scaffold risk-taking behavior, beginning with risks most students can participate in (brainstorming questions) before we move to more complex tasks (proposing solutions)” (Reid, 2010, para 5).

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Before I decide to radically change a class, start with a few changes first so that I can gain confidence with how the new changes will impact learning and classroom dynamics.
  • Take time to develop my skills and confidence working with new technologies by integrating them slowly into the classroom.
  • Ensure that the students have the skills to be able to manage the challenge of the learning.
  • Keep the stakes low as students are learning and then increase the stakes as mastery is gained.

Tips for me as a student:

  • Try taking risks when the stakes are lower so that I can develop the skill first before taking on risks with higher stakes. For example, before taking on a simulation that requires multiple complex skills to be successfully completed, start with one complex skill and gain proficiency before moving on.

Get in the flow!

Increased skill means increased opportunity to handle more challenges, which will create more opportunities to get into flow, which will increase learning!

Applications for me as an instructor:

  • Finding my own flow will lead to increased personal satisfaction with teaching which will lead to more passion and more enthusiasm which means more learning for students!
  • Provide the right amount of challenge for students and frequent formative feedback so that they can they can get into flow.
  • Provide a positive learning environment where students will feel safe and will be able to focus.

Tips for me as a student:

  • Take measures to create an environment where I can get into flow.

 

Taking risks are part of the adventure of learning. Critically thinking, planning, working together, taking baby steps and ensuring that there is a safe place to land will safeguard that no one gets hurt in the process.

Bring on the next adventure in learning!

References

Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom 3rd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Merriam- Webster Online Dictionary. (n.d.) Adventure definition #1. Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adventure

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (n.d) The Pursuit of Happiness. Retrieved from:http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

Reid, S. (2010) Teaching Risk-Taking in the College Classroom Faculty Focus Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magma Publications. Retrieved from:

https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/teaching-risk-taking-in-the-college-classroom/

Svinicki, M. (1989-90) If Learning Involves Risk-taking, Teaching Involves Trust-building Essays on Teaching Excellence Toward the Best in the Academy Volume 1, Number 2. A publication of The Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (www.podnetwork.org). Retrieved from: http://podnetwork.org/content/uploads/V1-N2.pdf

 

Thorton, M. & Harris, C. (2015) Creating Space for Risk Schools that work edutopia George Lucus Educational Foundation. Retrieved from:

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/creating-space-for-risk-michael-thornton-cheryl-harris

Scaling the Wall of Student Resistance: Responding to Student Barriers in Learning (Part 2)

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Photo Source

Part 1 The Wall of Resistance: Understanding Student Barriers to Learning reviewed some of the underlying issues that may be the root cause of student resistance to learning.

In dealing with resistance, I think it is important that we keep in mind that “ . . . resistance can sometimes be contained, and its worst effects mitigated, but that is can never be completely overcome” (Brookfield, 2015 p 227).

Here are some ways we can contain and mitigate student resistance (Brookfield, 2015):

  1. Ask yourself if the resistance is justified (p 229).
    • Self-reflect – are there issues with the course content/ delivery of content/ learning activities/ disclosure of agenda, transparency with course expectations?
  1. Research your students’ background (p 229).
    • Learn about the students’ diversity and adjust “ . . .teaching approaches, assignments and forms of assessment accordingly” (Brookfield, 20115, p 229).
  1. When appropriate, involve students in educational planning (p 231).
    • “Consulting students about how the course will be run can also reduce their fear of the unknown and will increase the chances that your teaching will have some meaning for them” (Brookfield, 20115, p 231).
  1. Use a variety of teaching methods and approaches (p 231).
  1. Assess learning incrementally (p 232).
    • “Students have the right to resist but they also have the right to know what the consequences are of this resistance for them (Brookfield, 20115, p 232, 233).
  1. Check that your intentions are clearly understood (p 233).
    • Use feedback instruments to ascertain if explanations are clear. Rubrics help outline assignment expectations.
  1. Build a case for learning (p 234).
    • Provide rationale why the learning is important.
  1. Create situations in which students succeed (p 235).
    • Ensure that level of difficulty of learning matches with the learners’ abilities. Celebrate successes.
  1. Don’t push too hard too fast (p 235).
    • Allow time for the natural ebbs and flows of learning.
  1. Admit the normality of resistance (p 236).
    • Acknowledge the elephant in the room and talk about it.
  1. Try to limit the negative effects of resistance (p 237).
    • Try to minimize the impact the resistance has on learning.

Case Study

Susie is in her final year of nursing school. She is consistently late for the mandatory lecture based class, is known to challenge instructors during the lecture about the content or concepts being discussed, chooses controversial material to write the essays on, sits at the back of the class, chats with those around her during the lecture and rolls her eyes when chastised in class by her teacher for her troublesome behaviours.

In Part 1 The Wall of Resistance: Understanding Student Barriers to Learning, a list of some potential root causes for Susie’s behaviours was made. Let’s take look closer at how the teacher can help mitigate her resistance to learning integrating the 11 points listed above.

Perhaps Susie has a reason to be resistant. Course delivery is lecture based and classes are mandatory. No other teaching methods or approaches are being used. This one-size-fits-all approach does not address diversity issues. Finding out about Susie’s past learning experiences have been, her learning expectations and learning needs may help go a long way to reduce her resistance.

Susie is at the top of her class. Perhaps she could offer some tips on how the course might be improved.

Speak openly with Susie the barriers to learning you have noticed that she is demonstrating and how they may be impacting her and her fellow students. Explore what may be at the root of them if she is willing to discuss it. Focus on the issues and not personality differences. Work out a solution together so that learning can be maximized.

Learning how to mitigate and contain student resistance to learning takes self-reflection and a willing to be open on behalf of the teacher and a realization that sometimes, a harm reduction approach is all that can be done.

References

Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom 3rd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Merriam, S.B. & Bierema, L.L. (2014) Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass