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As I have mentioned before, we will be launching a TYPO3 oriented learning method effectiveness survey. Hopefully, the launch will be this week.

There are many methods of learning and elearning reflects a subset of the overall training/learning realm. There is, of course, a lot of overlap. No surprise there.

This survey focuses on elearning. As the definitions below indicate, elearning does not have to be online and may even be conducted in a classroom environment. The survey asks for your opinion of the effectiveness for you of various elearning methods specifically for learning any or all aspects of TYPO3. Prior to launch, I believe it is useful to define the methods listed in the survey, particularly as some may be unfamiliar and some may not be fully understandable for non-native English speakers. Note that the methods are intentionally in random order.

Note that I am well aware that there are multiple definitions for almost all of these methods. I’ve selected the definitions I felt were best.

Online mentoring / tutoring – A relationship that is established between a more senior individual (mentor) and a lesser skilled or experienced individual (protégé), primarily using electronic communications, and that is intended to develop and grow the skills, knowledge, confidence, and cultural understanding of the protégé to help him or her succeed, while also assisting in the development of the mentor. (Single, P. B. & Muller, C. B. (2001).

Communities of practice – Groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. (http://www.ewenger.com/theory/)

Electronic performance support systems – an integrated electronic environment that is available to and easily accessible by each employee and is structured to provide immediate, individualized on-line access to the full range of information, software, guidance, advice and assistance, data, images, tools, and assessment and monitoring systems to permit job performance with minimal support and intervention by others.” (Gery 1991)

Videos – this is a hard one to define as there are multiple types of videos – essentially, this method consists of the typical software video tutorials with text overlays and/or voice overs. Such videos are not interactive. (Huston 2009)

Instant messaging – a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via devices connected over a network such as the Internet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_messaging)

Portals – At a very high level, a portal is an organizing principle – a vision of our information sources and applications being integrated and available to people whenever they need them. A portal is a framework that will bring together the institution’s multiple systems under a coordinated security mechanism, providing an intuitive and customizable online experience to members of a company and/or community. (http://www.duke.edu/web/portals/documents/definitions_v1.0.pdf)

Podcast – An audio [or audio/video] broadcast that has been converted to an MP3 file or other audio file format for playback in a digital music player [or other electronic device, including a computer].  Although podcasts are mostly verbal, they may contain music, images and video. (http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=podcast&i=49433,00.asp)

Simulations – a reproduction of an item or event. Simulations can be produced in all fields through computer games, role-plays, or building models, to name only a few. But a true simulation has a specific goal in mind—“to mimic, or simulate, a real system so that we can explore it, perform experiments on it, and understand it before implementing it in the real world.” (“What is Simulation?” NovaSim…Logic in Motion. 2003. NovaSim. May 2006)

Virtual labs – Virtual labs allow learners to actually get their hands on the technology they are learning to use. In a virtual lab, they can experiment in a safe environment. Until recently the only alternative to a real-life lab experience was simulations, which were often relatively expensive or less than accurate imitations of the real technology products. In virtual classrooms, learners enjoy real-time communication with instructors and other students. So, learners do not suffer from the lack of engagement that has been cited as one of the drawbacks of self-paced eLearning. (http://www.comptia.org/pressroom/get_articles.aspx?prid=50&print=1)

Online assessment and testing – is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. Assessment can focus on the individual learner, the learning community (class, workshop, or other organized group of learners), the institution, or the educational system as a whole. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment). Note that assessment in learning situations is used to identify training deficiencies.

In-person mentoring / tutoring – A relationship that is established between a more senior individual (mentor) and a lesser skilled or experienced individual (protégé), primarily using electronic communications, and that is intended to develop and grow the skills, knowledge, confidence, and cultural understanding of the protégé to help him or her succeed, while also assisting in the development of the mentor. (Single, P. B. & Muller, C. B. (2001). The only difference between this and Online mentoring / tutoring is that this method is face-to-face.

Learning content management systems – a related technology to the learning management system, in that it is focused on the development, management and publishing of the content that will typically be delivered via an LMS. An LCMS is a multi-user environment where developers may create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system)

Learning games – Game based learning (GBL) is a branch of serious games that deals with applications that have defined learning outcomes. Generally they are designed in order to balance the subject matter with the gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_based_learning)

Online references – documents, such as manuals, articles, etc., found online. Such documents may or may not have an explicit learning objective. (Huston 2009)

Learning management systems – is software for delivering, tracking and managing training. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system)

Print based materials – books, magazines, user guides, etc. Such documents may or may not have an explicit learning objective. (Huston 2009)

Asynchronous e-learning – Asynchronous training is training that is not dependent on time or location (real or virtual). This type of training may be self-study or instructor-led. (http://home.teleport.com/~jrab/elearning/synchonous.html)

Synchronous e-learning – is real-time training. It resembles a meeting or face-to-face classroom training in that all learners go through the course at the same time. Through the Web, an instructor and students can be logged into the same place at the same time and interact more or less simultaneously. (http://home.teleport.com/~jrab/elearning/synchonous.html)

Email – exchange of emails between individuals or group lists for the purpose of learning (Huston 2009)

Social Networking – web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site. (Boyd and Ellison 2007)

Chatrooms – A Web site or server space on the Internet where live keyboard conversations (usually organized around a specific topic) with other people occur. (http://www.answers.com/topic/chat-room)

Wikis – Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly. (http://wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki)

Knowledge management systems – [Online System] for getting the right information to the right people at the right time, helping people create knowledge and sharing and acting on information. (Holm 2001)

Mobile Learning – Learning that happens across locations, or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies. In other words, mobile learning decreases limitation of learning location with the mobility of general portable devices. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-learning)

Blogs – short for web log, an online, regularly updated journal or newsletter that is readily accessible to the general public by virtue of being posted on a website. (http://www.answers.com/topic/blog)

Conference calls – a telephone call that connects three or more lines so that people in different locations can communicate and exchange information by voice. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CFEQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FConference_call&ei=EufzUKLDDY79lAWi84AY&usg=AFQjCNETma6g9z9IRfZqZyipuwPGMNdiBg&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.dGI)

Classroom instruction – Face-to-face instruction in a classroom environment with one or more instructors, for learning software such as TYPO3, it is assumed that computers are available for all students. (Huston 2009)

Expanded References

-Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html
-Gery, Gloria, Electronic Performance Support System, Gery Assoc, 1991)
-Holm, J. (2001), “Capturing the spirit of knowledge management”, paper presented at the American Conference on Information Systems, Boston, MA, August 3-5.
-Huston, Virgil H. (2009) Definitions of common elearning terms
-Single, P. B. & Muller, C. B. (2001) When email and mentoring unite: the implementation of a nationwide electronic mentoring program, in: L. K. Stromei (Ed.) Creating mentoring and coaching programs (Alexandria, VA, American Society for Training and Development), 107–122

Originally posted May 19, 2009

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