[Technology 1107] Re: Tryout periods

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Wendy Quinones wbquinones at comcast.net
Sun Jun 24 12:00:33 EDT 2007


I'm a little late getting back to this, but I love the point you made,
Nancy, about the try-out being a learning experience even if the course
isn't completed. I've found that to be the case with PD online as well,
with teachers trying out the online experience and deciding they definitely
don't like it and leaving; others finding that the material or the
participant interaction to be so valuable that they persist in the face of
all kinds of technical and personal difficulties. Not too different from
our students, I think. In this age of accountability we focus perhaps to
much on outcomes and not enough on process and what can be learned from it,
regardless of outcome.

Wendy Quinones
----- Original Message -----
From: <nancy.friday at alphaplus.ca>
To: "The Technology and Literacy Discussion List" <technology at nifl.gov>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 2:03 PM
Subject: [Technology 1073] Re: Tryout periods



>

>

> Hi,

>

> Nancy from Toronto here again in response to the issue of learner

> retention.

> Recruitment and retention have been the focus of much discussion during

> the

> distance delivery research we have been engaged in at the AlphaPlus Centre

> with

> the four sites that have been exploring distance delivery.

>

> Retention has also been a noted interest in what happens in short online

> courses

> that we have developed and delivered as part of AlphaRoute for the past

> three

> years. Our emerging and currently only form of new content for AlphaRoute

> this

> year is online courses. Our courses are four weeks long. For the first

> two

> years they were delivered in a discussion forum - Web Board (supported by

> an

> external course web site) as part of AlphaRoute. This year we are

> offering the

> courses in Moodle. You can take a look at the course topic list and

> external

> course web sites at:

> www.resources.alpharoute.org > Resources > Online courses for adult

> literacy

> students

>

> What we have found in terms of retention is that for the first two weeks,

> students are gung-ho, and then we see a drop-off in week three that is

> sustained

> through week four. Generally we have found that a third of the students

> that

> enroll in a course complete it and receive a course certificate of

> participation.

>

> Interesting what you share David about a two-week period being perhaps the

> right

> amount to try-out time.

>

> I should note that we acknowledge there is a continuum of learning for us

> all,

> and so for a student to take the step and enroll in an AlphaRoute online

> course

> is in fact a learning step. Trying it out for a week or two to see how it

> works

> and then not continuing is also learning. Committing to take the course

> and

> complete the work to achieve the certificate at the end (and learning some

> cool

> stuff along the way) is a goal for us. And in the world of demonstrating

> literacy learning and a range of skills, can make for a great

> demonstration.

> But we would like to think that our courses are so valuable to learners

> and

> engaging that they will all move from start to finish. It isn't realistic

> that

> they will though - because of that continuum of learning.

>

>>From the stats and knowledge of the programs that the students enrolled in

>>the

> courses come from, the highest retention rates come from students whose

> instructor has included the AlphaRoute online course within their

> instruction

> and where students are in a computer lab at the same time taking the

> course. So

> motivation and support (instructor and peer) are onsite. However, the

> course

> facilitator is at a distance and does contribute to a motivating and

> retention

> aspect of student support. The development of online courses in

> AlphaRoute has

> not been done within a research project or model. We are learning as we

> go and

> writing articles and sharing information as we learn. Our challenge at

> this

> point is to focus on that three week drop-off reality and see what we can

> do

> from the course content and development side to attempt to support

> learners in

> sustaining their involvement past that drop-off point.

>

> Any suggestions or ideas from the range of instructors and researchers

> participating in this discussion are more than welcome!

>

> Nancy Friday

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> "David J. Rosen" <djrosen at comcast.net> on 06/15/2007 09:01:41 AM

>

> Please respond to The Technology and Literacy Discussion List

> <technology at nifl.gov>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List

> <technology at nifl.gov>

>

> cc: (bcc: Nancy Friday)

>

>

>

> Subject: [Technology 1064] Tryout periods

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> Distance Learning Technology Colleagues,

>

> Earlier this week, in response to a message Heidi Silver-Pacuilla had

> posted, Holly Dilatush wrote:

>

> "too many learners register, show up one week, then drop before/

> without completing 12 hours/first episode. Follow-up (to attempt to

> determine WHY) has been challenging -- guesswork more than documented

> responses. There

> are SO many extenuating circumstances."

>

> For many adult learners, especially those who choose online options,

> and for many reasons, we need to design/include/expect a "tryout

> period" a short online learning experience -- perhaps two weeks --

> sampling the material, process and technology used in the longer,

> online learning. At the end of the tryout, participants can stop (if

> they were experimenting with the medium, are not happy with the

> content, can't make the longer commitment, or for any other reason).

> Those who are ready to commit, can do so, and at that point begin to

> be counted in the DOE-funded system.

>

> Does an example of this already exist somewhere? If so, how is the

> tryout period funded? (State and local funders and private funders

> need to pick up the costs of this "tryout")

>

> I believe we need the same sort of tryout period for teachers doing

> online professional development. Does a model of this exist somewhere?

>

> Your thoughts?

>

>

> David J. Rosen

> djrosen at comcast.net

>

>

>

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>

>

> ===========================================================

> Nancy Friday

> AlphaRoute Coordinator

> AlphaPlus Centre (http://alphaplus.ca)

> Telephone: (416) 322-1012 x.305

> Fax: 1-800-788-1417

> TTY: 1-800-788-1912

> nancy.friday at alphaplus.ca

> ============================================================

>

>

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