Ec0168's Blog

Just another weblog

Distance in distance learning May 3, 2010

Filed under: CECS 5510 Technology- based learning environments — Echang @ 8:02 pm

It’s about distance

I am an advocate of Vygosky’s theory regarding ZPD ( Zone of Proximal Development) as” distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving  and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.”

Learning in the future is more self-directed and ill-structured, so to find ZPD is very crucial for instructional designer where scaffolding should be out in the more independent studying.

From this point of view, I connect “distance” of Vigosky’ ZPD theory to “variation” of Marton & Trigwell’s variation theory. In variation theory, there is a gap between students in variation theory which explains the phenomenon that students will have different experiences of the same context. Distance is not just geographical differences which online learners have. There will be time distance, level distance of cognitive process or learning process, and distance regarding learning styles or learning preferences.

Therefore, an instruction should be considered to fulfill the differences (distance), applied blended learning for student-centered learning. All stakeholders need to find these distances and support learners to overcome their distances.

From my experiences

As a foreigner living in America for four years, I have been interested in how to learning English as a second language. At the same time, I have witnessed that my daughter learn Korean and English as a bilingual speaker. In addition, I have taught several students in Korean writing class and English writing class with some strategies what I learned as an ESL student and what I have had as a professional writer. While doing this, I found that writing develops cognitive process and what elements are useful to learn how to write and to improve metacognitive skills for communicate, express, reflect, reasoning, and argument.

While I am studying on learning technology, I designed a web-based writing instruction for 3-5 elementary school students, facilitating their writing process. Actually it was not a distance learning only, but it is blended learning combining distance learning ( interaction) part and F2F learning (instruction).

Problem statement

Many Korean ESL students and their parents, those who have just arrived in the United States, expect to learn the English language through exposure to the bilingual environment of church Sunday school. Writing is often the most challenging and subject-integrated skill to learn in the school setting. Students often have trouble writing because it commonly becomes a boring, difficult, and complicated task. For this reason, it is critical for ESL students to be taught strategies for writing that will help them apply themselves in a way that they can become comfortable in their own skills.

Since the instructors are all volunteers, they may not be as adept as a trained professional. For this reason, all instructors will utilize a web-based teaching method, approved with curriculum standards, to assist ESL students with their writing skills in Bible study classes. The instructors will provide common online reading materials, curricular-based handouts, and PowerPoint presentations to teach writing strategies in these classes. They will also use a set of assessment tools (including graphic organizers, self-checklists, and peer evaluation cards) that will help to determine the students’ progress. This supplemental instruction for both ESL students and volunteer instructors will support directional curricular work while teaching Bible stories. Web2.0 will offer a discussion forum that will connect parents, students and teachers on ongoing issues.

In the implement stage of this instruction for 6 months, I found out that students have various distances and started to think about elaboration for more learner-centered learning following individual studying model.

With this situation, I consider the general learning model integrated with the writing instruction.

Here is my conceptual map which shows the process of effective learning.

Figure 1 concept map

Figure 1 concept map

I am going to apply my web-based writing instruction into this conceptual map.

Writing instruction flow chart

Figure 1 writing instruction flow chart

Learners go through the process of learning from login the site to finish assessment for every lesson. From the beginning, I will point out those distances which learners would take in each step.

For preparation, they check what is going on each lesson from syllabus or a content module. Otherwise, they can check it from the content map ( module schedule Appendix I). Learners can catch the topic and concept by checking the syllabus and content map. If they have question, they can ask their instructor through e-mail for this step.

When they enter the lesson, at first they find out what is the topic of today’s lesson and some description about the lesson. According to the learning style, students can choose an reading material (story telling) from the list of learning objects: video tutorial ( 3D Avatar role play, PPT presentation, Podcast, e-book). Then they find an instruction material from the list of learning objects: tutorial ( 3D Avatar explanation, PPT presentation, Podcast, e-book). Through finding proper activities depending on their learning style, learners can easily approach the lesson topic and concept. If learners want to clarify what they learn, they can share their idea on the Q&A forum regarding writing style.

Then they do interaction activities: reflective discussion or voice chatting while they create graphic organizer. When they finish their graphic organizer, they put them on the discussion board and get feedbacks. While learners are sharing their opinion, they may notice some differences. This would be a good method for individuals to correct their misunderstandings or their failure privately with positive or negative feedback during the discussion. However under individual studying model, community discussion board will provide chances to share their ideas asynchronously. For synchronous chatting would be designed in certain time schedule. This will minimize time difference of learners.


The learners apply what they learn from the lesson writing their own composition. As an assessment stage, they write their composition and have a chance to check with a self-check form (rubric). Then they upload their work on the final forum.

This is a designated circle for one lesson.

By choosing appropriate learning objects for each step, learners can have proper scaffolding and reach to their goal, minimizing the distances.


Time to elaboration

This is from my posting of a course work I am doing this semester. I think this is the starting poing of my future research.

Actually I read the article ( E learning and ideology- a post modern paradigm or liberal education reborn? by Mauren Spencer, 2004) several times, but I could not catch any clue to answer for your question. From easier article, I grasped some concept of Postmodernism, but I had a question: Is there any conflict between learner-based education and equality or focusing more on community?

I wanted to ask this question first. I found out that postmodernist education is about learner-centered and discusses community more. How people pay attention to more community, discussing diversity? Isn’t it chaotic for community to consider diversity or individual?

Today, I watched a movie, “The blind side,” and I could find all postmodernists who concern about the poor and homeless black boy, Michael, protecting his blind side.

You already knew that the movie is based on true story of Michael Oher.

Here’s some review about it.

Even though I don’t know much about the rule of football, I want to say the blind side as a ZPD here. In the movie, most helpers of Michael are supporting him, considering his specific features. The coach and Leigh found out Michael’s strong point and helped him develop his strength in sport. The tutor helped Michael how to express himself in writing, inspiring him emotionally and naturally. Some teachers let Michael learn through auditory instructions to improve his learning skills. All members of community help an individual, believing his potential parts. Now my question is solved. Focusing on a potential individual, community makes a minor part alive and improve which may be destroyed or lost under social unfair bias or miserable reality. In this case, the learner can be raised through community’s efforts. The success of the community is built by the success of the individual. That’s why we need to focus an individual to develop our community.

I think education should occur in the blind side where cannot be easily seen, but has potential growth. Blind side, it may destroy an individual or community if it is attacked. However, it can have hope if it is well protected. From there, learners, teachers, and community can be connected.

I want to be a protector and a helper for students’ blind side.


Then one of my peer gave feedback like this:



Eunjoo, I love your comparison with The Blind Side. What his parents and community did for him in spite of controversy was astounding! However, as I observe how much it took to focus on the specialized needs of one student, I wonder how a teacher is supposed to do this in a classroom full of students, where more than one might be a Michael Oher.

And then I realized what I should do as a instructional designer.

I replied like this:

That’s right. It is really difficult to take care of all students, but I think learning technology facilitates functions of teaching and learning.

Without these technologies, how dare I  talk with you like this? I think if we have more comfortable and elaborated communication methods for more learners with various barriers, learning and teaching would be more beneficial without only teachers’ efforts or sactrifice.

I think it ‘s time to think about elaboration for learning technology.


Model of online learning April 19, 2010

Filed under: CECS 5510 Technology- based learning environments — Echang @ 8:07 pm

According to Community of Inquiry model which Anderson et al developed as a conceptual model of online learning (2000), teaching presence is one of critical components which can make meaningful learning results. Teaching presence can be created three components: design and organization of learning experience, encourage discourse, direct instruction.

  • Design and organization

Community of learning model: This model uses synchronous or asynchronous virtual class rooms on the campus classroom.

Independent study modelIt is for learners who work by themselves and learn at their own pace, so it is always selected for online learning. Depending on learners’ preferences and needs, it can be designed in paced or unpaced models.

  • Encourage discourse

Discourse creates the community inquiry and gives individuals to have chance to develop their own thoughts and articulate their opinions. In addition, learners get rid of their misconceptions.

To do this, e-teachers

Develop trust and safety in the electronic communication

Use icebreakers

Susan Levine (2002)

  1. Instructors start discussion with weekly based-posting.
  2. Instructors let students focus the questions regarding ongoing discussion.
  3. Instructors let students post at least two or more, reflecting what they learn from the lesson.
  4. Instructors let students contribute for discussion beyond a ditto.

Nada Dabbagh (2000)

  1. Discussion posting should be evenly distributed.
  2. Discussion should be a minimum of one paragraph and maximum of two paragraphs.
  3. Giving reasoning why you agree or disagree should be applied for discussion.
  4. Address questions as much as possible.
  5. Quote from the articles with page numbers.
  6.  Building threaded responses.
  7. Related, prior knowledge integration
  8. Proper etiquette should be used.


  • Direct instruction

Cognitive apprenticeship Model:

This model emphasizes teacher’s role for helping students in the context, providing instructional support to students. Through modeling-scaffolding-fading – coaching process, teacher shows expertise and supports students’ development of the knowledge.

Salmon’s five stage Model

This model emphasized teachers ‘role as a facilitators through 5 stage of learning.

As Anderson said in his conclusion, we are on early stage in technological and pedagogical development of online learning. All models suggested ideal methods or process of effective learning, each of them has some weakness in certain aspects. I think online learning will grow more student-centered learning. It means many prospective learners for online learning are different from traditional students and their needs and learning styles are various. To meet learners’ needs, online learning should be designed for learner-centered. In addition, I think formal (public) education and private education would be developed differently. For private education, it will develop social functions more than one of present. It means it is designed with independent study model, but the facilitating discourse component will be developed for current learners’ needs. For public education, community inquiry model is applied, considering learner paced environment and improving learners’ satisfaction. Future research and studies for online learning environment will be needed for revolution of technology engaged education.


Virtual Learning Team facilitating tips April 16, 2010

Filed under: CECS 5510 Technology- based learning environments — Echang @ 5:47 pm
Tags: ,

Luetkehans, L. & Bailey, M.L. (1999). Facilitating Virtual Learning Teams in Online Learning Environments. In B. Collis & R. Oliver (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 1999 (pp. 1123-1127). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from

Dr. Luetkehans (1999) provided these tips for facilitating Virtual Learning Team .

Search for learning scenarios and/or RLOs that you think will work very well for virtual teams. Share these in your blog. Come up with at least two examples.


Once I tried to form a virtual small study group in SL for synchronous discussion. Even though it was difficult to meet together at the same time, I am still considering virtual environments like Second life as future learning environments for dynamic interaction.

  • Scenario 1 discussion

First of all, I like to meet my online peers in the virtual environment for voice chatting or chatting as discussion tool. Our avatars can meet there and talk each other. Through this activity, I can get rid of feeling of distance and form trust.

How to chat videos:

Voice chat setup

Voice chat etiquette

There are some series for chatting: who’s talking, how to improve my hearing, private calls, speaking gesture, how to turn on lip sync, record voice chat

Audacity program download for recording ( this is little bit hard to understand)

Menu direction: Edit-Preferences- voice chat

  • Scenario 2 Power Point Presentation

  1. Teleport to Escribir Park
  2. Activate local chat
  3. Position avatar for PPT
  4. Use hands-free chat
  5. Direct avatar’s look
  6. Activate Lip sync.

Usually creating PPT presentation is assigned for team work. I think to do this assignment in Second Life will be a good experience for teamwork. 

  • Scenario3 Video making in SL


I have seen a video clip which a team created for their own team project for instructional designing. It was very impressive as an audience. They could not meet in person, but they met in the virtual environment and discussed about their projects videotaping the moment. At that time, I just shared my ideas through e-mail and wikispaces. They showed that they discussed in the discussion room, skating rink, in the sky about their project. While watching the video, I thought I was with them actually.

However, I am still looking for the way how to make one.

  • Scenario4 Virtual quest

This is 3D Merlot in Second life. You can do many activities or project from here.

You can start a quest with classmate in 3D Melot.



discussion in online learning environment April 13, 2010

I think discussion has many benefits for online learning environment. I mean we get many benefits from not only having process of discussion but also having discussion itself.

With Salmon’s five step model, online learners can participate online discussion for several purposes. In first step, learners can learn how to access and get motivated to participate in discussion. In second stage, students can develop online socialization, building bridges between cultural, social, and learning environments. For third step, students can exchange information which is related to learning contents, discussing, overcoming misconceptions and misunderstandings. Anderson also emphasized its function not only creation of community inquiry, but also means of developing students’ thought and articulating their ideas (p350). Likewise, online discussion helps students’ learning from motivation to collaboration, bridging between gaps.

For my case, I check discussion first to have some ideas before reading or writing. From discussion, I can feel more connected with others or contents. However, sometimes, discussion doesn’t work very well because some barriers: time, language ability, or attitude.

For facilitating discussion, many suggestions for instructors were discussed in Anderson’s article. However, I was interested in posting suggestions which Nada Dabbagh offered. To know these recommendations would be much helpful for online learners in the beginning of the program. If we analyze the ongoing discussion and observe what would be barriers for each, discussion would be designed for more comfortable and satisfied condition.

Recommendations (Nada Dabbagh, 2000)

  1. Postings should be evenly distributed during the discussion period.
  2. Posting should be a minimum of one short paragraph and a maximum of two paragraphs.
  3. If you agree with a posting, then show supporting evidences from readings or examples.
  4. Address the questions as much as possible.
  5. Try to use quotes from the articles with page numbers.
  6. Create thread
  7. Bring in related prior knowledge
  8. Use proper etiquette.

Suggestion for improvement from student’s view

  1. Recommendation 1,2 would be dependent on the question. If the question is designed to develop thought process, students participate like that. The question requires a profound answer, students would be lost not managing it step by step from reading to develop their thoughts.
  2. Recommendation 3-6 would be essential to trigger more relevant replying.
  3. Recommendation 7 is good for students to develop their thoughts and connect what they learned. However, sometimes, it is very difficult for students to retrieve prior knowledge to connect with ongoing discussion. To do this, the discussion would be led in well-structured by instructors. If it is an ill-structured question ( open ended), retrieval cues can be found nearby.
  4.  Recommendation 8 is very important to communicate, but sometimes students feel different because of their cultural backgrounds.

I told some benefits of discussion, introduced some recommendations for posting and gave some improvement tips here. I think communication is crucial for effective learning, so discussion is an essential tool. However, more effective discussion, he components of discussion should be considered from students views as well as instructors views.

Then think about why I am always late?

I am really sick and tired about being late. Every week, I plan and plan, but it never work as planned.

What is wrong with me? I have been thought this issue for long time.

1. Cultural difference

I have never learned in western educational system where discussion or analysis based educaion occurs.

I am not accustomed to arrange my thought and reply in short time. My thought is growing while I am thinking about answering. then I get lost very easily. Therefore, I like to learn how to organize my thoughts and cut off distractions and unnecessary process. In addition, I am a returning student who are not familiar with technology -based education environment. Fortanately, I like to learn new things, so I enjoy this moment very much.

2. My personality

I usually think so deeply and cannot stop to answer before I think I get a right answer. Time  management is very hard for me.  I usually do so much things at the same time, so I am distracted so much. However, I like to connect all things together to create new things. Thesedays, I feel my personality makes me so tired even though I like my personality.

What can I do for this? I cannot cut off, stop, decide something.

3. technology based society

Technology makes me do many things in multitasking style, convenient way and , rapid process.

Before I fully understand, I need to start something new every day. In educational life, I can learn and have many chances to encounter new technologies. However, I am not sure I can say I know them quite well. There are so many novices or people who are not interested in new technology, but in my learning, I am supposed to know them.

What is real one?

4. Language

Language is really crucial for learning and communication. Different language makes me crazy.

Why I start to learn in America with this painful experiences?

It is really painful, but it is worthwhile. I am enjoying overcoming my barriers: langauge, age, mom’s status.

I hope I can be helpful person for learners like me who have many barriers, but like exploring.

What about instructional design?

Is it really suitable for me and my life style or learning style?

The question of discussion leads me to anwsering in two paragraphs?  My questions would be considered and answered in the discussion period? Why I forgot every thing I already read when I am doing the posting writing.

The instructional design supports my memory processing?


transanctional Distance April 7, 2010

Filed under: CECS 5510 Technology- based learning environments — Echang @ 7:07 pm

Moore mentioned “transactional distance” as a time and space distance between instructors and learners. Technology will be bridge for this distance, facilitating communication between them. At the same time, it can be helpful to create a learner-centered learning environment.

Internet, virtual environment, or multimedia learning materials help individuals to learn independently with their own time and space. In addition, discussion or collaboration tools support for group works in online learning environment.

For my experiences, I would like to emphasize instructors’ presence as e-moderators facilitating self- directed or self-regulated learning.

I would like to refer this from our course discussion.

 The instructor’s ability of teacher presence through individual amounts of structure in online dialogue, design and organization “support purposeful interaction” (Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Beaudoin, 1990; Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996; McCabe, 1997; French, Hale, Johnson * Farr, 1999).

From this perspective, the role of instructors becomes more important for online learning. To support this role, connecting with learners’ needs is the most important for Instructional design.


time issue April 6, 2010

With components of online learning system, time saving solution can be found in various ways.
I liked some said that the infrastructure would be the “Super WalMart” of learning experiences. That’s true. We are supposed to  get everything in one place.

First, Students can do everything at one place, a user’s portal and they also can customize the interface as they like. This is much convenient to access learning management system, digital resources, and services on non-academic areas such as advising or counseling. If they are online, they can do anything at one place. It saves time for students not to go to many places to do the same work physically. With learner services, students get appropriate and quick helps from proper people. It supports students to be more confident and comfortable in their study, so students can get rid of their problems easily and quickly. However, it works by itself without changing of students’ attitude or tendency. Students need to be proactive and positive to find solutions asking helps to supporters online. If students don’t speak out their confusing or uncomfortable situation, the problems would never be solved.

Second, instructors can easily manage students or instruction using technologies like LMS, student information system, or courseware. The information delivery can vary and occur very quickly through online system. This is another point of saving time in education. However, instructors also need to be ready for this system.

The online learning system is continuously developing, saving time of effective learning. For this progress, the users: students and instructors also need to change in attitude or tendency using online learning system. The real time saving depends on users. If they are all comfortable, then time saving components are valid.

Let me explain how I feel about time saving point in real life.

I can say this in two points of view.
I can remember the time I researched information for my script writing in the public library ten years ago and the time I put my book to line up for being copied for references in my college years. At that time, I spent much time to get information which I was not sure if they were really helpful or not before reading copied one. First of all, I just rushed to copy them and I could read them at home later. If they were not suitable, I returned to the library again and agian. Before making copy and reading them for enough time, I could not figure out if they were good or not.

However, with internet, I am much comfortable for work or studying. I can decide quickly if I need to search more or not.

From other viewpoint, distraction! I became more distracted with more information. I like exploring, so I continue to digging more and more. That causes bad time management for me. However, I am still curious, so I dig and dig deeper. Because of this, I cannot complete my task on time and this habit continues. These days, I said to myself to make sure where to stop. If it will be beyond my ability, it is better not to go further. Sometimes, I cannot help.

Organizing information is really matter for me at this moment.

Anyway, I think RSS or twitter can help me for this more narrowed browsing with certain topic, but I am not looking at them these days because of distraction.

Another peer said that:  

Davis refers to the automatic flexibility online learning provides. This is in terms of place and time of work. You must be dedicated in an online course. You must make the time and make the time work for you.

I am still working on time management. As a learner of online environment, many things should be considered.

Online learning makes me study as a returned student as well as working mom. It means I have more to do in the same time schemes. With technologies, I can facilitate my learning  while I am working and being a housewife. Likewise, more people can study or continue to study after graduation of university. To gain pleasant learning experiences, we need to manage what to choose and what to give up apparently. To gain  too much will cause disaster for real life.

Organizing information and time management are the crucial key of online learners.