53 Powerful Ideas

I’ve recently come across this very useful resource by SEDA consisting of few-pages long discussions of various teaching-related topics. The papers take on board some deeply-rooted notions and ideas from educational theory and practice, such as student engagement or behavioural learning objectives and analyse them in a critical way, prompting the reader to reflect on her own assumptions and practice.

The SEDA blog is also an interesting one to follow.

Let’s get organised

It did not take me long to realise, after starting my training in instructional design and e-learning technologies, that the amount of research, websites, texts and case studies in the field can be quite overwhelming. I struggled to find a way to organise the immense amount of interesting information I was coming across, and I tended to worry that I was missing out on quite a lot simply because I was not able to categorise and organise the data and information properly and then kept forgetting about interesting websites or articles. Simple bookmarking did not do the trick, as I tended to work on various devices and in various places, and besides I also needed a way of quickly noting down my thoughts on what I read or did.

And then I came across this website on 30 Recommended Apps for Online Students. Apart from some obvious picks like Dropbox (how was life possible before Dropbox??), Google, Wikipedia and Dictionary.com, and equally obvious though perhaps less known ones like Wolfram Alpha, there was one that seemed to tick all the boxes.

Evernote. Does everything what it says on the tin. You simply download and install the app on all your devices and all content you put in there syncs beautifully across all of them. You can also share your content with others – great for collaborative learning and projects.

Evernote also allows you to organise your content in folders, called ‘notebooks’, to which you add files, called ‘notes’. The notes can be anything from a typed note (something like a Notepad file) through images and audio/video files to websites or ‘cuttings’ of them. The ‘cutting’ functionality is absolutely fantastic: it requires installing an add-on, called ‘Web Clipper’, in all your browsers, and you can copy not just links (like in the normal bookmarking feature) but entire webpages or, even better, specific articles or highlighted parts of them. In this case, you do not have to worry about the page disappearing from the internet: its content is securely saved in your Evernote notepad.

I am still playing around with the app, but so far I am very satisfied with the free product. There is an option of upgrading to a premium version, but I cannot see the value of it at the moment.

I can see many uses of software like Evernote for learners. It can prove great for research purposes, and the sync function is indispensable for today’s learners who use various devices and study in various locations.

More info on the app can be found here.

So let’s get the party started

I have started this blog to share my experiences of and opinions on various aspects of e-learning instructional design and technologies. As explained in the “About” section, I am interested in the application of e-learning technologies in adult education and training, both in university and business contexts. In this space, I will comment on interesting developments in these areas and try to evaluate them based on my and others’ experiences.

I have developed an interest in instructional design with the focus on e-learning and online technologies as part of my professional development as an HE lecturer. I am a HEA Fellow and hold a PG Diploma in Learning and Teaching in HE, the SEDA certificate in Supporting Learning Technology and the SEDA certificate in Embedding Learning Technologies. I am involved with learning technologies as part of my everyday work and in this blog I would like to contribute to sharing and advancing effective professional practice by promoting discussion on and research in e-learning technologies and opportunities. 
What I see as the main role of learning technologies in today’s adult education and training can be summarised as the enhancement of learner’s experience by allowing greater flexibility and widening opportunities. This blog is intended to serve as my small contribution to the development of learning communities focused on research in and promotion of online technologies in adult education. 
Unless stated otherwise, all opinions expressed here are mine and can only be treated as such. Whenever quoted, any opinions or information provided here should be properly referenced to their original source.    
Wishing you enjoyable reading!