Analyzing Scope Creep

I completed an internship last year for a non-profit organization that asked me to assist with transferring content in learning management system, (LMS). I was given a deadline to submit all assignments and quizzes in the LMS for a specific course. I was planning to finish by the targeted deadline until I was told that there were changes to the formatting of the online platform. Changes to the online platform required me to re-enter assignments and quizzes for previous modules. As a result, I was 3 weeks behind in completing this project. This could’ve been avoided if I confirmed that the platform was updated prior to transferring content in LMS.

I also could’ve suggested what Dr. Stolovitch define as a “change of scope” document. He defines this document as a commitment to change budget and/or extend time. This document also includes the details of the process in the event that there are any changes.

Reference

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

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Project Estimating Activity Duration

Smartsheet

According to Capterra, Smartsheet is considered one of the top 10 most popular project management tools. Smartsheet has schedule and budget variance templates that are preset. You can review budget statuses, schedule variances, available materials, and labor costs. The greatest benefit that Smartsheet has is the ability to provide a tool for collaboration and accountability. This tool has helped many organizations save hours as a result of the services provided through collaboration. This tool allows all stakeholders involved in a project to have access to the same documents regarding project schedule, budgeting, and other components regarding project. The shared documents and reports in Smartsheet keeps all stakeholders accountable. Smartsheet is 97% recommended by project managers. Check it out:

https://www.smartsheet.com/s/pm-software?s=261&c=3&m=3000&utm_source=capterra&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=project%20management

 

Mavenlink

According to Capterra, Mavenlink is also considered one of the top 10 most popular project management tools. Mavenlink operates similarly to Smartsheet. It consist of preset templates that allow you to manage budgets and project schedules. Mavenlink also allows you to sync documents and reports with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and several other “cloud-based solutions” like Salesforce. This allows for sharing and collaboration to keep projects transparent as possible. Check it out:

https://start.mavenlink.com/project-management-tools/?utm_medium=marketplaces&utm_content=Visit+Website&utm_campaign=Project+Management&utm_source=capterra

 

References

Project Management. (2017, November 02). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from

https://www.smartsheet.com/s/pm-software?s=261&c=3&m=3000&utm_source=capterra&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=project management

Project Management Software | Mavenlink. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from

https://start.mavenlink.com/project-management-tools/?utm_medium=marketplaces&utm_content=Visit%2BWebsite&utm_campaign=Project%2BManagement&utm_source=capterra

(n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from https://www.capterra.com/sem-compare/project-

management-software?headline=Project Management Schedule Software&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=project management schedule tools&gclid=CKCv8rHm09cCFcjYDQodjnoDHg&gclsrc=ds

Communicating Effectively

Email:

I interpret Jane’s email as being frustrated by not receiving the report based on the following choice of words: “all day meeting”. She has communicated that the meeting being all day is frustrating her because she thinks that this meeting is the reason Mark hasn’t sent the data.

Voicemail:

This same message sounds a little bit warmer because of Jane’s tone. Her tone is respectful, and doesn’t really match the disrespectful choice of words used in the email.  Although her tone is respectful, the choice of words still makes the message misleading.

Face-to-Face:

Jane’s body language and facial expressions was also respectful. It also seemed as though she was empathizing with Mark based on her tone in communicating with Mark. However, I did notice that she did not say “all day meeting”. She said, “I know you’ve been in a meeting all day today.” So the choice of words is different. Also I noticed that she greeted Mark with a smile, which also conveys positivity.

Conclusion:

Dr. Stolovitch believes effective communication is influenced by “spirit, attitude, tonality, and body language” The voicemail and face-to-face messages are proof of that because the attitude of the message was warm and respectful. Dr. Stolovitch also says, “93% of communication is not in words”. I believe this is true for face-to-face communication. However, words are extremely important in emails. Words have the ability to set the tone of an email.

Check out Wayne Turmel’s advice of managing the tone of an email:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVAMAn8cdhg

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file].

Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

(n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2017, from http://mym.cdn.laureate

media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html

Tone in Emails – Remote Leadership Institute. (2016, April 20). Retrieved November 16, 2017, from

Learning from a Project “ Post-mortem”

Etiquette Luncheon

I served as a program advisor for a minority scholarship program called “Bridges to Success”. It was a college transitional program for high school graduates at Valencia College. My role consisted of planning and coordinating several events. There was a particular event that I was assigned to plan that I will never forget. It was the Etiquette luncheon. The purpose of this luncheon was to provide professional development to minority students through etiquette training and professional dress attire training. This training specifically covered table setting as well as appropriate professional dress attire for various settings.

Successful Contributions

The activities that were included to contribute to the success of this training were the professionals invited to conduct the training sessions. We invited restaurant professionals of the hotel venue to teach students how to properly set the table as well as explain the appropriate time to use the appropriate utensils. We also invited retail manager of Men’s Warehouse to share the appropriate professional attire for various settings for the male students. We also invited a female retail specialist to share the appropriate professional attire for various setting for female students. Both retail professionals brought their own clothing and used student volunteers to model different professional attire outfits to engage students in a real life learning experience.

Opportunities of Success

The activities that were not included in this luncheon that would’ve caused a greater success in this project were a dress rehearsal of the volunteer students modeling the clothing. Since students tried on clothing for the first time, many of them wasn’t aware of how to properly dress in the professional attire. Many of them required assistance to ensure clothing was worn appropriately as professionals conducted training. This delayed the professional attire training portion of the luncheon. This also caused the training to be a bit rushed instead of including a thorough organized training.

I also believe that a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) document that identified the scoop of this project would’ve allowed each task to be identified and covered as opposed expecting tasks to be covered by whoever is available. Unfortunately, there was limited staff available to assist with this project. This was the cause of staff taking ownership of more tasks than they can handle. Check out samples of WBS documents in link below.

http://www.projectmanagementdocs.com/project-planning-templates/work-breakdown-structure-wbs.html#axzz4Eiyb9Qwn

Reference

Piscopo, M. (2017). Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Retrieved November 08, 2017, from http://www.projectmanagementdocs.com/project-planning-templates/work-breakdown-structure-wbs.html#axzz4Eiyb9Qwn

Future Perception and Contributions of Distance Learning

The Distance Learning course at Walden University helped me to understand the foundation, theories, and models of distance learning as well as the appropriate technology tools used to enhance the distance learning experience. As a future instructional designer, I believe that the awareness of the distance learning foundation contributes to understanding the future direction of distance learning. I will briefly discuss my future perception of distance learning.

Unfortunately, societal perception of distance learning is not always positive. Therefore, the awareness of which distance learning theory, model, and technology tools should be used as an instructional designer could positively contribute to the improvement of distance education perception.  With this consideration, I will also discuss potential contributions to the improvement of distance learning education.

Future Perception of Distance Learning

George Siemens believes that distance education is going in a direction that includes “new communication technologies” and more “contributions by experts around the world”. I agree with this future perception because the technology used to communicate at my employer has advanced within the 5 years that I’ve been employed. When I first started at Pearson, we completed face-to-face meetings and occasional conference calls. As our company grew and restructured, our management shifted. Our new assigned manager was in Chicago even though our team was in Orlando, Florida. As a result, our one-on-one meetings with our new manager were via Google Hangout, (which is a video chat technology tool). As technology continue to improve, our communication with people around the world will continue to increase. I believe we will be able to gain more knowledge from experts around the world as communication technology increases.

Contribution of Societal Perceptions

Distance learning models, theories, and technology tools should all be assessed prior to contributing to the growth of distance education. Many people in society are opposed to distance education growth when they don’t have the following:

  1. Knowledge/Experience in technology tools.

Dr. Piskurich says, “Technology should be used to take the place of the classroom and the best delivery method will be depended on the learners’ access, knowledge, and availability.” However, if learners don’t have any knowledge or experience in the appropriate technology tools, then it’s difficult for them to see the value of using the technology tools versus the traditional learning environment. As an instructional designer, I have an opportunity to contribute to societal perceptions by ensuring that learners have access to the technology tools as well as provide support training on how to use these tools.

  1. Lack of understanding of learning theories.

Theory supports the basis of distance education. Functional context theory is one of many learning theories available for instructional designers to select when building courses. Tom Sticht established the functional context theory. “The functional context approach was developed specifically for adult technical and literacy training (reading/writing/mathematics) in military programs, but it has implications for learning of basic skills in general.” It is imperative for instructional designers to know that learning theories should support with the needs of learners.  It is also essential for instructional designers to select the appropriate learning theory as well as understand how to communicate the relevance of learning theories to learners.  This positively contributes to societal perception of distance education.

 

  1. Lack of awareness of distance learning models.

Similarly to learning theories, there are also several distance learning models available for instructional designers to select when developing courses. The learning models should also support the needs of learners needs. The selected learning models should also be taught to learners so that they fully understand the relevancy. This could cause learners to see the value of distance education.

Societal perceptions could improve when instructional designers address learners technology considerations, teach learning models, and explain learning theories. The more technology increases, the more access society will have to retrieve positive contributions, (such as new technology, new learning theories and new learning models) from experts around the world. I believe that is the future of distance education.

References

Functional Context (Tom Sticht). (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2017, from

http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/functional-context.html

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved

from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Planning and designing online courses [Video file].

Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

McKnight, J. (2017, September 24). Course Project Analysis Matrix.

Converting to a Distance Learning Format

Converting traditional training courses to online courses is becoming the new normal. Students have the ability to be just as engaged in a distant learning environment than in a traditional environment if the appropriate steps are taken in the planning stages of the transition. I recommend 4 pre-planning strategies along with a delivery analysis to plan for the distant learning transition. Check out the following link: Planning Steps to Converting to a Distance Learning Environment

Distance Learning

Distance learning is always changing because technology is advancing. Simonson describes the timeline for distance learning in three phases: “correspondence study, electronic communications, and distance teaching universities”. Courses were offered via correspondence as early as 1840. Correspondence study continued to evolve to the point of the establishment of correspondence institutions. As technology advanced, audio recordings were introduced to teach the blind. Eventually satellite technology was developed in 1960s. This advancement technology was the beginning of the electronic communication phase. Technology advanced to the point of University of South Africa deciding to transition to a distance teaching university in 1962. The advancement of technology in each phase of the distant learning timeline are the factors of change in distant learning.

 

As technology continue to evolve, I expect distant learning to address more of students’ needs and improve the ability to engage students through multimedia. Prior to learning about distance learning, and working in my role at Pearson, I interpreted distant learning as self-taught learning through the advancement of technology. However, I didn’t take into consideration that distant learning involves more than self-taught learning through technology.

 

According to Simonson, one of the 4 components of distant learning should include establishing a learning group that create a connection between the learners, resources, and the instructors. This component says that learners should be able to learn from the interaction of instructors, instructional resources (through advanced technology), and other learners. The sharing of instructional resources such as videos, articles, and eBooks, along with the sharing of perspectives establishes a learning community. This component of distant learning expands my knowledge of distant learning beyond self-taught learning of content through technology.

 

Since the sharing of instructional resources is included in one of the four components to distant learning, I fully understand the significance of instructional designers’ role in distant learning. The effectiveness of learners’ experience could be based on the selected instructional resources. Instructional designer professionals can assist faculty with selecting relevant instructional resources that will engage learners in the learning community and simultaneously achieve identified learning objectives.

 

As technology continues to advance, I envision that discussion boards will eventually become live discussion sessions. The capability of conducting live sessions through multimedia platforms like Adobe Connect already assist. I’ve had the opportunity of participating in live sessions in my role at Pearson. I believe it will be a great opportunity to enhance learning communities through advanced technology of sharing live perspectives.

Click on Mind Map to see my vision of distance learning.

 

Reference

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

Chapter 2, “Definitions, History, and Theories of Distance Education” (pp. 31–40 only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitting the Pieces Together

In reviewing week’s one discussion post, I shared my preferred learning style to be a visual learner. I also stated that my learning preferences seem to align with the cognitive learning theory. I also summarized the discussion post by commenting on the importance of understanding learning theories as it relates to the development of learning objectives.

After reading the resources over the last few weeks, I don’t believe learning theories should be the primary focus when assisting educators as an instructional designer. Lim identifies “the failure to accommodate the learning process to the targeted learners and the failure to contextualize learning activities” as “pitfalls in online learning.” The reason he considered these failures as pitfalls is because learners may not always see the “relevance of the concepts or theories.” He feels that this causes learners to be disengaged.

I agree with Lim. I believe this is the turning point in my understanding of learning theories. I still believe it’s important to understand learning theories, but I don’t believe it should motivate the development of learning strategies. Accommodating learning processes through various methods of technology to engage diverse learners should be the primary goal of all learning activities. Connecting learning strategies to learning theories are ineffective if learners are not engaged.

Using multiple forms of technology should be included in learning strategies to accommodate the learning process of targeted learners. According to the “High Possibility Classrooms: Student Agency through Technology Enhanced Learning” article on the Edutopia website, these are the following benefits of integrating multiple forms of technology into teaching.

-Technology enhances purposeful teaching.

-Technology promotes reflective learning.

-Technology engages students in an authentic way.

-Technology shift conversations and thinking.

Therefore, my view of learning has changed based on now knowing the importance of ensuring that students stay engaged in the learning process. Measuring students’ level of engagement could include asking the following questions based on the previously mentioned benefits of technology.

  1. Does the adaptive learning technologies enhance purposeful teaching?
  2. Does it promote reflective learning?
  3. Are you students so engaged that conversations and thinking shifts?

Answering “yes” to these questions is an indication that students’ learning processes are accommodated, and they’re remaining engaged.

References

Article: Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.

Web Site: Edutopia:http://www.edutopia.org/blog/high-possibility-classrooms-tech-enhanced-learning-jane-hunter

Mind Map Reflection

My network has changed the way I learned through the implementation of technology. For instance, my personal development network includes family because I’ve learned many things like how to cook from my parents. However, my network changed when I was introduced to YouTube. As a result of YouTube, I can learn cooking tips online through YouTube videos to enhance my cooking skills.

In addition to Youtube, there are several applications on my phone that assist my learning such as the Holy Bible YouVersion application and Facebook. I personally develop spiritually through the Bible application. I’m also able to learn through videos on Facebook. Although Facebook was listed under the news learning connection, there are several videos that I watch each week that provide personally development.

I gain new knowledge by asking Siri on my phone. Siri is my personal assistant who allows me to ask her questions. She then automatically search for my answer via Google or Wikipedia. If questions are work related, I ask my supervisor. I’m able to gain new knowledge through her detailed feedback. I also gain knowledge through electronic books that I read on the ibooks application on my phone. I read a book called “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Myers. This book allowed me to gain knowledge that contributed to my personal development.

According to Davis, one of the principles of connectivism is that “learning may reside in non-human appliances”. This is a reflection of my personal learning network. For instance, I do learn valuable employee strategies from my professional mentor. However, I also learn strategies from HR online course trainings, (which would be considered a non-human appliance).

I also learn valuable information regarding online courses through faculty and students. However, I also learn information through Walden library articles, which is the non-human appliance.

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism