Note: The following are my notes from the TxDLA 2009 Conference. Kudos to the presenters, especially Lisa, John, and Jeannette. A podcast will be available once I get some time to process it. Internet was, for the main part, unavailable at TxDLA and at my hotel (their server crashed), which was a bit of an impediment to getting content posted.

Facilitators

  • Tx Department of Family and Protective Services
  • John Morales
  • Lisa Abate – twitter: lisaspeaking
  • Jeannette O.
  • Work together in PPD…do training for case workers in the agency.

Current Conversations

  • Blurring and blending vs online/face 2 face
  • Learning community
  • Reasons
  • Using Moodle for LMS
  • Starting PD Model, teachers in groups of 5–7 and want to use Moodle for that

What is the Face of Today’s Learning Community

Digital Natives – Cognitively, there is a difference in the brain. TEDTalks video – Brain connection changes, kids growing up on ubiquitous connection.

What is a Learning Community

  • A learning community is a group of people who share common values and beliefs, are actively engaged in learning together from each other. In training one of our goals is to provide the space to foster this community. (Wikipedia)
  • With Moodle, we’re able to shape that.

Social Learning

  • Why is supporting social learning opportunities important?
  • People learn through observing others’ behavior
  • If people observe positive, desired outcomes in the observed behavior, they are more likely to model, imitate, and adopt the behavior themselves.
  • Fostering Learning community →Social Learning
  • http://polleverywhere.com
  • How is your organization addressing social learning?
  • o Classroom discussion
  • o Online blogs
  • o Interactive online training
  • o Wikis
  • o Other

Costs for Moodle

* Open Source
* Supporting that could cost
* In our organization, while software and updates are open source, we pay for someone to provide (full time employee salary). If you’re not going to outsource it, then there is going to be a cost.
* Moodle administrator
* 11,000 employees
* Equipment running on:
o 2 Windows 2003 servers
o Separate database server
o Transitioning to a 3 server combination with load balancing
o “Work within the constraints we have.”

Why a Learning Community

* Early stages of why is that’s the way it is.
* Examination of our audience (case workers). Our audience need more of a personal touch, knowing other people. They like to be around people. The legislature said we have to do blended learning.
* It kind of naturally developed as a constructivist, social learning environment…it turned out to be the best fit for our audience.

Virtual Learning Environment

* A VLE is designed to support teaching and learning an educational setting
* A VLE is a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online.
* Most are moving from traditional to virtual learning.
* Social Learning
o VLE
o Classroom
o OJT
* To train staff, we use Adobe Captivate to create content for others.
* Do you have a VLE at your organization?
o Yes
o No
o Not sure

What can a learning community look like in a face to face class setting?

* Seminars, workshops, actual classroom training
* Discussion panels
* Small groups
* Role-plays

Using Moodle to Provide or enhance a learning community

* Moodle provides a common collab learning environment and has enabled creation of several intersecting communities of developers, educators, and students
* Moodle is both an online system and a way of working. It’s a platform to facilitate collaboration of any kind, in an institutions of learning and it’s a way of working that requires both collaboration and learning from all who actively join in.
* People participating in forums at Moodle.org are composed of learners, trainers, teachers, community contributors.

Success Criteria for Learning Community

* Relevance -how relevant is online learning to students’ prof. practices
* Reflection – does online learnign stimulate students’ critical reflective thinking?
* Interactivity- to what extendt do students engage online in rich educative dialogue?
* Tutor support- how well do tutors enable students to participate in online learning?
* Peer support- do fellow students provide sensitive and encouraging support?
* Interpretation – do students and tutors make good sense of each other’s communications?
* Use blended learning environment
* Mapped out what is most critical to be taught in a classroom situation
* Online learning is going to be a lot of self-pacing
* Allow adult learners to be self-paced
* Online learning courses.
* Lots of on the job training…have them observe and document

Using Moodle Functionality to Foster Social Learning

* Blogs
* Forums

Additional Modules

  • Face-to-face
  • Podcast
  • AudioRecorder
  • Certificate

Optimizing Performance on PHP/MySQL

* search Moodle.org for “optimizing performance”
* Planning to install Jaspersoft (reporting gateway)
* no more than 200


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure