Activity 1 : Discussion - Technologyl Skills
Discuss the implications of knowing (or not knowing) how to use technology in an online course. Should there be prerequisite technological skills? What kind of technology support should be offered to learners in an online course? Be specific and give examples, if possible

The e-Learning Environment
e-Learning opportunities pose challenges for novice and experienced learners given the e-learning environment is significantly different from the traditional face-to-face learning environment. Rosenberg (2000) in reference to the e-learning environment and directed toward faculty stated “remember that you are radically changing the work environment as well as the learning environment” (p. 201). The challenge for learners and faculty is how to develop the skills and abilities required to effectively and successfully teach and learn in the online environment. Learners face challenges related to technical skills and abilities as well as how to communicate online. The e-learning environment and online courses have opened the world of education and training to learners who are unable to access face-to-face learning opportunities. Learners need to carefully consider whether the e-learning environment is right for them and whether the learner is right for online courses before enrolling in an online opportunity (Watkins, 2005). Not all learners are ready to be productive online learners and a look at what technical skills are needed and the characteristics of online learners provides insight into why some learners choose to stay the course and enroll in traditional learning opportunities.

Watch the Secret Powers of Time video from YouTube and ask yourself what is your perspective of time and how does this relate to the e-learning environment?



Technology Skills in the e-Learning Environment

Novice learners need to first determine their readiness to participate in e-learning opportunities as possessing appropriate technology skills is necessary in the online environment (Watkins, 2005). Readiness assessments are an effective technique to determine the technology skills and abilities of learners and serve as good ice-breaker activities (initial course activities for learners) when placed early in the course content (Watkins, 2005). Learners given the opportunity to self-assess their readiness to participate in the online environment can target the areas which require further development to be successful in e-learning courses. Learners must understand the technical requirements associated with an online course and the technical skills needed to successfully access the course content. Technical requirements refer to learner technical skills and abilities as well as the ability to access or use technology needed to complete the course (Palloff & Pratt, 2001). Ice-breaker activities designed to reinforce technical skills required in the online environment and navigation of the course content provide early opportunities for learners to work through the challenge of online participation (Watkins, 2005).

Watch the Changing Education Paradigms video from YouTube and ask yourself are you ready for the 21st century educational e-learning environment and do you have the technical skills to be successful?



Learner Support
Access to tutorials, orientations, and other materials to support learners to navigate and use technology in the e-learning environment are critical to the success of the learner (Ko & Rosen, 2010; Palloff & Pratt, 2001). The major issues and support items discussed by Ko and Rosen (2010) include:
  • equipment and browser requirements;
  • a general introduction to the software platform and its major features;
  • instructions and links for downloading necessary software plug-ins;
  • information about issues that arise in an online class-perhaps in the form of a checklist about what one can expect as an online student;
  • lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs);
  • referral email addresses and toll-free numbers for reaching support staff;
  • readiness programs for learners to judge their readiness for online learning. (pp. 290-291)

**21st Century Skills and e-Learning**

Educators in the 21st century must be technology proficient to effectively deliver instruction to learners in today’s world. The role of faculty in the 21st century teaching environment is driven by the “rapid pace of globalization, the shift from an industrial to an innovation economy and the explosion of networked communications, … created the need to work and interact in new ways and to gain fluency in new tools and paradigms” (Partnership, 2007, p.1). Learners must possess 21st century technology skills to be competitive in the global economy and to meet the greater demands in the workplace (Partnership, 2007), thus all educators must possess the same skills in order to provide instruction that promotes student learning and achievement associated with technology. Watch the Did You Know video from YouTube and relate how rapidly technology and the 21st century changes and what this means for education and learning.

Did You Know




References:

Fisch & McLeod. (2010, January 28). Did you know. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16tgJFW1o7o

Ko, S, & Rosen, S. (2010). Teaching online: A practical guide. New York, NY: Routledge.

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills, (2007). 21st Century Skills Professional Development
http://www.p21.org/documents/21st_century_skills_professional_development.pdf

Rosenberg, M. (2000). E-learning: Strategies for delivering knowledge in the digital age. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

theRSA.org. (2010, May 24). The secret powers of time. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3oIiH7BLmg

theRSA.org. (2010, October 14). Changing education paradigms. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

Watkins, R. (2005). 75 e-learning activities: Making online learning interactive. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

The embedded videos are included on this page as part of my personal educational learning experience and references to YouTube are posted in good faith that the YouTube creators have posted the videos per all copyright and digital copyright laws and do not violate the rights of copyright owners through the unauthorized use of materials posted on YouTube as of July 14, 2011.