Week 2

The following is a reflection on Week 2 of the Instructional Design and eAuthoring module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.   The group meeting and homework for this week is also discussed.


In class today we discussed why lectures are important, personas and learning analytics.

Why Lecture

We were divided into groups and the consensus was that lecturing promotes adaptation and flexibility as the lecturer can observe the body language of learners and ascertain if they are engaged or not.

Collaboration with lecturers and peers in a lecture environment along with feelings and emotions were also answers to why lectures are important.  The main answer Rachel and I came up with was that lecturing can bring the material to life with the possibility of two way communication.

Interestingly, Damian opened the class with a story – a discussion on a battle between the French and the English. The English soldiers were paid and the French fought for their country.  The moral of the story is that we should not lose our traditional lecturing roots but that we should use elements of it to enhance our eLearning environment.  An eLearning environment can lack character and feeling, therefore, implementing some of the principles of learning theory and practice is imperative.


Ciaran O’Leary discussed design and personas with us.  Interestingly enough our group were talking about the use of a character in our project.  Personas are fictional characters and Ciaran talked in particular about the work of Alan Cooper.  I also like the quote that Ciaran shared “Character is plot, plot is character.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.


In relation to design here are some key points I picked up from Ciaran:

  • Always assume problems are designer errors as you have access to Control, Change Design and Innovate
  • Design for a single person – if you design for many people that becomes the elastic user
  • The user should be at the centre of your thoughts
  • Real names are better when using personas
  • Personas make usable research usable

Learning Analytics

Patrick Walsh delivered a presentation on his research project for the MSc in Applied eLearning regarding analytics.  His research project involved the evaluation of data analytic features in Blackboard.  It showed how this information can inform the lecturer on the activities of learners on their course highlighting important factors e.g. how often they sign in, percentage of learners accessing journals, material etc.  It can be beneficial for the lecturer as they can adapt their learning based on their findings, however, privacy issues can be a concern.  In going forward, informing students may adhere to the Data Protection Act. Patrick also advised how learning analytics will play an integral role in higher education over the coming years and has been highlighted in the recent Horizon Report.


I agree with the consensus that lecturing is valid and that eLearning is a tool to enhance the experience but not to replace it. I have never heard of the concept of personas and feel that this would provide a good focus and direction in the analysis and design element of a project.


The different array of topics today provided an interesting lecture where each while different are important in instructional design.


Personally, body language is an area I focus on particularly in the classroom environment to gauge my learners.  In particular, I find the work of Paul Ekman to be very beneficial with the study of microexpressions.  On reflection, I have on many occasions wondered how the absence of body language impacts eLearning, particularly, when it accounts for 55% of communication.  Even as an educator being aware of my own body language is paramount as I want to ensure that I am being open and engaging in my delivery.

Body Language Stats

Damian likes to use a story to start each of his lectures and this reminds me of the first step of Gagné’s Events of Instruction, Gaining Attention.  I also feel that this transfers to instructional design where gaining attention at the beginning of a resource is key to get the learners on board.

On reflection, personas are good for the designers as you have a target in mind when designing it but if your persona is too specific are you neglecting learners who do not fit into this persona?  Using models grounded in pedagogy will help avoid this e.g. Gamson and Chickering.


Group Meeting

This morning we started off with a productive group session before class. I showed the girls the learning outcomes and aim of the course I posted on RealTime Board.  I ensured that I applied the SMART (Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) approach outlining how each could be measured.  Rachel brought in some really cool work that she has done on instructional design which will be great for the project – some fantastic visuals which I think is important for that great first impression of our project.   We’ve also decided to work with Moodle and Articulate with Emma hosting Moodle.  Lorraine brought in some great hardcopy resources we could add to the site.  Everyone is really enthusiastic about it and I feel that we have a good team.

Group Time

We finished our session by returning to our groups and we further discussed the implementation of personas and characters.  Our tasks for the following week:

To Do:

  1. Rachel and I will work on character for intro and I will put a script together e.g. my name is Mary and….
  2. Emma and Lorraine will work on learner personas, Moodle and content



This week was a busy week and the realisation has dawned on me that Week 3 is fast approaching.  We have arranged a Google Hangout call for tomorrow so I think we need to have clear guidelines and structures as the weeks are moving quickly.

This week I played with Video Scribe and created my very first video.  After being introduced to Personas in class last week I created a character for the introduction of the course.  I have used the 7 day free trial for Video Scribe and I am very surprised at how user friendly it is.  I have written a very short script and the purpose is for people to go on this journey with the character.  Adult learners as noted by Malcolm Knowles like to relate to what they are learning along with solving problems.

I also updated the RealTimeBoard with some theoretical information which I think gives a clear framework to the instructional design.  As gardening is the course subject which I am not knowledgeable on I am trying to be constructivist and apply existing knowledge and new knowledge to the course design.  For the course design aspect I have used the ADDIE model which can be applied to eLearning.  I have added sections to each stage which are relevant to our course and shows a structured pathway in our design.


Communication and interaction between the teacher and learner is paramount for eLearning to work.  This resonates with Vygotsky and Laurillard’s Conversational Model.


And finally, this week I have implemented Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles and adapted it to our course as illustrated below. It resonates with Laurillard in that there needs to be dialogue/communication.  I also like the work of Gilly Salmon and may incorporate some of her work into the course too as it is very relevant.

Chickering and Gamson

In conclusion, I feel that while technology is important, it needs to be grounded in the theoretical framework in order for it to be truly successful.  I have found a good article titled Chickering’s Seven Principles of Good Practice: Student Attrition in Community College Online

I have been doing some reading for my annotated bibliography but will start writing it up next week when I feel that we will have more concrete plans in place.  This will enable me to link the bibliography with our project.

Google Hangout on Sunday

We had our google hangout chat on Sunday morning.  At the moment we have no clear defined roles and on Tuesday we will put an activity plan together.  Emma wants to do the content as she is the expert in gardening and wants to get the practical experience in this.  For the last 15 years I have been involved in training I have always put my own content together and by not doing this I do feel out of my comfort zone.  However, I am hoping that this will give me the opportunity to delve more into the technology where like Emma I will gain practical experience.  Told the girls I have created a video and will show them on Tuesday.  Emma will check the hosting of Moodle.

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