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Analyzing Scope Creep

For this week’s blog assignment, we were tasked with writing a personal or professional experience in which we experienced scope creep. The situation in which scope creep occurred was installing air conditioning in the church. The project is still ongoing. The church that I attend have been trying to get air condition installed. Now that a committee was formed, they had an assessment done to get an estimate for the air condition. Although an estimate for the air condition was given as well as another estimate including other items to enclose the building to keep the AC circulating inside, there were some things that were left out and should have been communicated to the team.

Now that we have an estimate of how much it would cost for the installing of the air condition and enclosing the building, the Property Committee failed to inform the team that there are some additional repairs that need to be addressed before the project could start. This is where the lack of communication came in. There was talk about getting air condition installed for the church for some time and the person that is the chairperson of the Property Committee failed to provide that piece of information. That will put the project at a standstill until those repairs have been dealt with.

If I had been in the position of managing the project, I would have been in contact with the chairperson of the Property Committee, seeing that that specific team should be aware of any repairs that could possibly prevent the project from being executed. When I enrolled in the Instructional Design and Technology program at Walden, my very first class emphasized on the importance of communication. I would have had a communication plan in place as well. Another thing that I would have done would be to have a contingency plan. Dr. Stolovitch mentioned that you should create a contingency budget of 20% (Laureate Education, n.d.). This would be a great idea just in case any unexpected issues may occur. I think that if these components were involved from the beginning, then maybe the project would not currently be at a standstill.

Resource:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Creating a Resource Allocation Plan [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

 

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Project Scheduling and Estimating Activity Duration

I was assigned to conduct a search for resources that would aid in planning an ID project schedule. It is very important to have a project schedule and estimate the amount of time on each task so that you can stay on task and be able to deliver the end product at the set due date.

The first resource that I found was from a blog and it is called 7 Best Practices for Project Scheduling. This post just give you a few tips on what to do when developing a project schedule. I think that this would help anyone that is new to project management. Since I am new to project management, I found this site quite helpful. It gives me an idea of the thing I should do and consider when developing a project schedule. The site also has a software called Intelligent Scheduling in which you can create and edit your project schedule at any time. The site also provides video about the software as well.

The second resource that I found focuses on three methods you can use to estimate activity duration. The three methods are analogous estimating, parametric estimating, and three point estimates. Out of the three, the most accurate one is the three-point estimate in which it uses three estimates to calculate the average value of the activity duration. I think that by using this method, you will give the team enough time to complete the activities for the project. This method works best because you are coming up with three times: one in which you give the time taken to complete an activity in most cases,  the second time is the time it takes to complete the activity in the most favorable cases, and the third time is the time it takes to complete the activity in the worst case scenario. With this method, it should give you enough time to complete the project in the event a problem or change occurs.

Resources:

https://pmstudycircle.com/2012/06/three-tools-estimate-activity-duration/

http://www.projectinsight.net/blogs/project-management-software-implementation-and-user-adoption-tips/best-practices-for-project-scheduling

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Communicating Effectively

Email: At first when I read the email, I felt that it was somewhat in a frustrated tone. However when I read the email again, it seemed that the person was rather calm and respectful. Jane did mention that it was important that Mark submit the data to her as soon as possible so she can get her report done. I do not think that it was emphasized enough. I think that it was good that she sent an email because it shows that it is documentation if she were to be called in a meeting by her supervisor explaining why her report is late. Although the email was great for documentation, who is to say that Mark will check his email the same day the email was sent or even the day after. Dr. Stolovitch said “important communication should best be delivered with all team members present” (Laureate Education, n.d.). My interpretation of this statement is that if it is something important or urgent, it should be said to the person or team face-to-face.

Voicemail: In the voicemail, Jane seemed quite calm about the situation. The tone of her voice wasn’t necessarily in way in which she really needed the data from Mark. I think that she should’ve sounded a bit more firm in that way he would be able to tell that he needs to get his report done right away or at least send her the information that she needs to complete her report. Having a firm tone does not mean to be disrespectful or to be unfriendly. It just expresses how important the information that is needed is. The voicemail is also a good way of communicating, however, I don’t think it is something that is effective when it comes to an urgent situation. In this case, Jane needs to receive some data from Mark as soon as possible before her deadline so that she can submit her report on time. If Mark does not check his voicemail frequently, then Jane might miss the deadline to submit her report.

Face-to-Face: In the face-to-face, I can tell that Jane was quite calm, friendly, and respectful based on her tone and her body language. She seemed as though that she was considerate because she knew that Mark was busy in a meeting all day. Although she was considerate, it seemed that she wasn’t emphasizing enough on the fact that she really needs his report or the data to complete hers.

I think that it is very important to express what you need very effectively and clearly. I learned that tone is very important when communicating with people using different forms of communication methods. The tone should always be respectful when talking or sending written emails. When speaking to someone face-to-face, your tone and body language should be respectful. Once you know how to communicate well with your team, then getting the project completed should run smoothly.

Resource

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

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Week 2: Project Post-Mortem

Learning from a Project “Post-Mortem”

A project that I worked on in the past was developing a training module on how to use social media sites as a networking tool to promote their business. The training included explaining the advantages of using social media for their business, creating a business account on the different social media site (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and informing the trainees about the common mistakes individuals make that can cause their business to be viewed as unprofessional. The trainees had to complete a self-pacing learning module in which they would learn background information, definitions, and steps on how to use three social media platforms as a networking tool. After the learners have completed that module, then they would meet with the trainer to engage in additional training and activities to ensure that they understood the information presented.

What contributed to the project’s success or failure?

Developing the project was success. Each member in the group was responsible for completing a particular part of the project. Although there were a few minor setbacks in terms of a team member not submitting their portion to the group on the due date, we were still able to get that portion before submission to the professor. We were also lucky to still have some time to review and make any necessary changes. Another thing that contributed to the project’s success was that we were able to communicate with each other regardless of where we were. We made sure that before we started the project we exchanged contact information. From past experiences, I have learned how important it is to be in constant communication with your group members so that the outcome of the project is a success. Dr. Harold Stolovitch mentioned that it is important to ensure effective communication (Laureate Education, n.d.). Making sure that you communicate clearly with your group members would eliminate misinterpreting and/or missing any pertinent information needed to complete the project.

Which parts of the PM process, if included, would have made the project more successful? Why?

            I think that our project should have first started with a Statement of Work in that way it would have given the members an overview of the project in terms of activities, deliverables, timeline, and budget. Another project management process that would have made the project more successful would be setting meeting times. Although we communicated with one another via text, I believe that communicating with each other could have been enhanced. We could have set up specific dates and times in which we would be able to conduct phone or video conferences. Although we were in different time zones and working, I think that we could have come to an agreement in which we could have conference with each other at least once a week. I think that if we used these project management process that I have expressed, the project would have been more successful.

Reference
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Project management and instructional design [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

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My Reflection

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5-10 years; 10-20)?

In this week’s resources, Dr. George Siemens gave several reasons for accepting the growing increase in distance education. I believe that in the next 5-10 years, people will become even more accepting of distance education. We live in a time where technology is constantly evolving and as the years progress, the quality of distance education will improve. If we take a look at how distance education first started, we see that communication in distance education first started with mail correspondence then progressed to audio and video conferencing, online messaging, and emailing (Naidu, 2014). I think that individuals who are not as accepting of distance learning now, will eventually begin to see reasons for accepting distance education. Dr. Siemens mentioned that an increase in distance education is fueled by the following:

  • Increase online communication
  • Practical experience with new tools
  • Growing comfort with online discourse
  • Enables us to communicate with diverse and global groups (Laureate Education, n.d.).

I also think that individuals will see how beneficial it is to enroll in distance education programs. Learners have that flexibility with their schedule and can access their classes at any time. I also think that once individuals start to see that an online degree and a degree earned from a traditional school are of the same value once those institutions are accredited.

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

As an instructional designer, there are several things that I can do to be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning. I must first plan effectively and in order for me to do that, I must know and understand my learners and how they learn best. Although the content being presented is very important, application and activities are just as important because the learners need to be able to apply what they have learned to the activities (Laureate Education, n.d.). As an instructional designer, I will ensure that there are activities and applications for the learners to complete so that it will help the learners learn the content (Laureate Education, n.d.). I will also have to work closely with the facilitator of the course so that he or she understands the lessons, applications, and activities thoroughly. By doing these things as an instructional designer, I think that it would improve societal perceptions of distance education.

How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

One way in which I could be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education is by constantly learning from other instructional designers. By learning from them, I can avoid certain mistakes they have made when planning. I will also seek feedback from my clients, colleagues, and learners so that I can make improvements where it is needed.  Another way in which I can be a positive force for continuous improvement in distance education is keeping abreast of the new technology tools and how to use it. I would have to ensure that my learners have access to those tools and have the ability to use them in order to thrive in the class.

In conclusion, distance education has come a long way and will continue to evolve as the years progress. I think as people start to see that distance education has the same value of traditional education, they will an increase of acceptance once those institutions are accredited. I believe that planning effectively and working closely with the facilitator will help improve societal perceptions of distance education. Being a positive force in the field of distance education requires you to always seek feedback from learners and colleagues in order to help improve distance education.

 

 

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Facilitating online learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.walden.edu

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.walden.edu

Naidu, S. (2014). Looking back, looking forward: the invention and reinvention of distance education. Distance Education, 35(3), 263-270.

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Converting to a Distance Learning Format

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Converting a face-to-face learning program to a distance learning format is something that requires a lot of time and planning. It is important to think about the resources that you need to consider in order for your learners to understand and successfully apply the content. I have provided a guide for you to convert your face-to-face learning program to a distance learning format. The guide (wk7assgn-donadelle-a) includes pre-planning strategies; a few examples of Web 2.0 tools that you could use that will enhance the distance learning; the role of the trainer in a distance learning environment; and steps that you should take to encourage your learners to communicate. I believe that the advice that I have provided will help you in successfully converting your program.

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Defining Distance Learning

Before taking this course or any online courses here at Walden University, I believed that distance learning was individuals enrolling in courses online and completing various assignments. I also thought that distance learning included the students logging in at a certain time of the day to virtually attend a seminar or lecture led by the instructor. Throughout the lecture, the students are participating and asking questions. I figured that distance learning was like this because my mother was taking classes online and that is what she had to do. When I started the master’s program at Walden University, I noticed that distance learning also allows you to work at your pace and log in to access all resources for your class at any time. Although there were no lectures in which I had to log in at a certain time for any of the courses I have taken at Walden thus far, there are multimedia resources we are required to view throughout our weekly resources to teach us different content. Rather than synchronous distance learning, the program that I am enrolled in at Walden University uses asynchronous distance learning.

In this week’s resources, I have learned that there are many definitions for distance learning. I have also learned that distance learning have four components which are: distance education is institutionally based; it has the concept of separation of the teacher and student; interactive telecommunications connected with the instructor, learning group, and resources; and instructors interact with the learners and the resources that allow them to learn (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek 2015). Another thing that I have learned from this week’s resources is that telecommunication in distance learning is not limited to the use of the computer and internet. It also refers to the use of the postal system, the telephone, television broadcast, radio broadcast, and video.

Simonson stated that “distance education is formal education in which the learning group (teacher, student, and resources) are separated by geography and sometimes, by time” (Laureate Education, n.d.).  I believe that the one factor that causes the definition of distance learning to change is technology. There are always new advances in technology and some individuals, businesses, and institutions are looking forward to the next big thing. I think that as technology continuously changes, so will the way in which distance learning is executed.  I believe that these changes are based on how much technical knowledge a person has as well as what they have experienced distance learning to be.

After learning about distance learning, my definition for it has changed. I always thought that distance learning only involved using the computer and internet to access your classes at a certain time to be in attendance for a lecture by the instructor. However, distance learning includes synchronous and/or asynchronous learning in which the teacher, learners, and resources interact with one another. Distance learning also involves communicating via mail, telephone, internet, and many other ways that are not electronic.

As time goes by, distance learning will continue to change and evolve. It is going to continue to change because technology is constantly changing. As it changes, I think that there may be newer ways in which content can be presented. I believe that the way in which we learn can be enhanced as long as the instructional designs of the courses are sound. The way in which distance learning have changed from the past to present is fascinating. I could only imagine how different it will be in the future.

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References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education. (n.d.). Distance Learning Timeline Continuum [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

 

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Learning Theories and Instruction Course Reflection

Thinking back on the last eight weeks of this class, I have learned so much about learning theories and the way people learn. Something that I found surprising as I furthered my knowledge about how people learn was that you should not focus on teaching people based on their learning styles. It is more effective if you focus on using various learning strategies rather than focus on learning styles. I used to think that if you catered to students based on their learning styles, it would help them grasp concepts better. Although it may have worked in some cases, I also learned that there are some concepts you might have to use hands on approach rather than just auditory and visual. Sometimes it is also better to try to incorporate a little of each.

At the beginning of this course, our first discussion post was to describe how we learn and which learning theory best suites us. I have always thought that I was a visual and kinesthetic learner. I grasp concepts more by seeing examples as well as hands on approach. However, after learning about the different learning styles and theories, I learn best incorporating all three learning styles. Being able to have internet access and a computer helps me to learn new information. This is linked to the theory of connectivism, where I use various networks to learn and understand new information.

In regards to learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation, they all play a significant role in getting people to learn. Once educators and instructional designers understand the various learning theories and styles, they are able to plan instruction that will suit the needs of their learners so that they are successful in understanding and applying the concepts. Although educators may have grasped the concept of planning instruction to the learners’ needs, they also must be able to motivate their learners. Some learners are motivated intrinsically while others may not. In order to get learners to learn new information, it must be meaningful to them. Motivated learners and instruction that caters to learners’ needs will ensure success for learners.

This course will help me in the field of instructional design when it comes to developing instruction. As an aspiring instructional designer, I would have to create instruction that caters to the needs of my learners. I would have to make the learning meaningful, in which learners are able to relate new information to real world and their life experiences. I would also have various resources available to them so that they are able to understand concepts better and use different methods to keep them motivated.

In conclusion, I have learned valuable information from this course that will allow me not only become an instructional designer but also a more effective teacher. Taking what I learn from this course and applying it will allow my learners to become highly motivated and achieve success.

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Putting the Pieces Together

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

I have always thought that I fell in the category of one or two of the learning theories. I also thought that I had only one or two learning styles as well. I have learned that your learning style may change overtime. It may even change depending on the concept being taught. I still prefer to learn by applying what I have learned to real world situations. I still think that I am a hands on and visual learner. I also realized that each of these theories play a role in the way I learn as well. At the beginning of this course, I was only aware of a few learning theories but now I have learned more and have gained a much deeper understanding of them. Being able to understand these learning theories will only make me an effective instructional designer.

What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

After learning about the various learning theories, I think that I would gravitate more to the theory of adult learning. When it comes to adult learning, learners are able to take control of their own learning. I like how I can work at my own pace. Adult learning could be related to self-direct learning. I have the choice to learn what I want or see necessary to apply to personal or work experiences. I also learned that I like learning collaboratively because you get the chance to learn from other people’s perspective as well as their own experiences. You also can share ideas with one another.

What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

Technology plays a very important role in my learning. I use the internet to search for information that interests me. I also use it to search for different teaching methods/strategies that I can try in my classroom to make me a more effective teacher. I also search for information that will help with any assignments that I have to complete. With technology being available to me, I am able to take control of my own learning and can work at my own pace.

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Mind Map Reflection

How has your network changed the way you learn?

The way that I learn has changed overtime due to the evolution of technology. Although I have while I was in grade school, especially between my elementary school years, I never really focused on using the computer to facilitate my learning. I would learn from my classroom teachers, family, friends, and any other adult I have met if I was in a club or organization. As time progressed, I learned how to utilize technology more to help with my learning. Especially being a teacher, I research various techniques to engage students in learning.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

I would normally jump to Google as a tool if I want to learn something. Of course, using the search engine gives you more than enough results. Sometimes I end up on blogs, articles, and other credible websites. Some other great digital tools that best facilitate my learning are the Discussion Boards and weekly learning resources that I am required to read for my online courses. I learn so much from the weekly resources for my class and from the discussion boards. Being a part of the discussion boards allows me to express my views and knowledge of what I have learned from the weekly readings. I also learn from my fellow classmates; I learn from their perspectives and I give feedback or ask questions when needed.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

Like I mention before, I usually start at google and branch out from there. If it is a question that is related to my coursework, I would email my professor or one of my classmates. When it comes to my profession, I would also utilize the internet or I would ask one of my colleagues or even some of my relatives who are in the education field.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

My personal learning network supports the central tenets of connectivism. I learn from all networks and I am able to utilize some of what I learn in my profession and in my personal life. As time progress, there is more and more information being added. I try to filter the information that I need from the information I do not need so that I am able to be successful.

Resource

Conlan, J., Grabowski S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

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