The following depicts the development of my design plan for my design challenge of “How might we develop an experience where we provide engagement and accessibility to guest speaker resources to all first-year dental hygiene students, so they can succeed in their placements in alternative settings?”
The digital learning resource (DLR) will be created for our first-year dental hygiene students who were unable to see the guest speaker presentation and who cannot remember information that they heard. This will be accessible at anywhere, anytime and will also give them another opportunity to communicate with other students and the instructor if they have any questions to ensure that they are confident and comfortable with the information prior to their placements in alternative settings. The DLR will provide learner-content, learner-learner and learner-instructor interactions.
The DLR will provide a platform for the instructor to present guest speaker sessions that discusses the patients, the expectations and the programs in the alternative settings i.e. community health centres, Royal Canadian Legion and hospitals.
The students will be able to:
- Familiarize themselves with the types of patients that they will be providing care to in the alternative settings
- Learn more about the history, importance and expectations of the different programs
- Conceptualize the importance and expectations of the placement settings if they were not able to attend the speaker presentation
- Feel as comfortable and as confident as possible prior to the placement settings
The intended audience for my DLR are our first-year dental hygiene students who have one or more of the following:
- 18 to over 50 years of age
- Coming straight from high school to those who have obtained a diploma, certificate or degree in post-secondary education
- May be pursuing a second or third career
- May or may not be comfortable with technology and/or digital learning resources
- New to Toronto (coming from other provinces or from other countries)
- May have language barriers (English as a second language)
- Have different life experiences, beliefs and attitudes
- May have learning disabilities
- May have accessibility issues (poor internet connection, no laptop, etc.)
In one of our first year Dental Hygiene courses, the professor asks guest speakers to present on their programs to inform the students of what is expected when they provide dental hygiene services to their compromised and vulnerable patient populations. Some of the guest speakers are from community health centres, the Royal Canadian Legion and hospital settings. During these presentations, we have observed the following: (a) most of the students pay attention; however, there is a good number of them who were distracted by their laptops and phones, or were having side conversations; and (b) although mandatory attendance is expected during these presentations, not all students were able to come due to illness or work and family obligations. Therefore, this means that if they did not speak to or obtain notes from their peers, they did not know what to expect during the placements in the above settings.
Research has shown that viewing a video would be similar to listening to a guest speaker and would be accessible if students are unable to attend a live presentation (Kim & Vali, 2011). Therefore, the digital resource will be designed to deliver information in various methods and modalities to keep the learners engaged without overwhelming them, especially for those who are not comfortable with the digital environment. The resource will be accessible anytime, anywhere, so the students will be able to refer to the to the resource when they have an opportunity in their already heavy workload.
There will be a tutorial that will introduce the different technology tools that will be used in the guest speaker module which will be in Articulate Rise. There will also be a podcast with transcript by the instructor to provide guidance on the learning objectives in the module. The student will be able to access this anytime, anywhere. The module will consist of a short video using YouTube which will introduce the students to a guest speaker from a particular setting. The students will be able to associate a name to a face if they were unable to attend the face-to-face presentation. Flipgrid can be used to start a discussion, answer a question or post a question to other students and the instructor. If students are camera shy, then they can cover their camera to have audio-only responses. The use of podcasts or Slack will also be offered to the students if they do not want to use Flipgrid. This will give the students an opportunity to choose which method of communication is more comfortable for them. They will then feel empowered and engaged in their learning, and in turn, can build on their knowledge by communicating/interacting with their peers and the instructor.
To ensure that the intended learning goals are being met, interactive questions with immediate feedback will be incorporated into the module (using Articulate Rise). If the students need more clarification or have questions on the information, then they can collaborate through Flipgrid, Podcast or Slack. To measure effectiveness of the digital learning resource, a Socrative Survey can be done online. This can give students an opportunity to assess and give feedback on the module as well as answer specific questions that can ‘test’ what they learned.
Learning Theories & Instructional Design Principles Used:
Because our students are from various experiences with technology, backgrounds and ages, and because “there are many schools of thought on learning, and no one school is used exclusively to design online learning materials” (Ally, 2008, p. 18). Therefore, a variety of theories can be used to develop DLR.
“[The most appropriate instructional] strategies should be selected to motivate learners, facilitate deep processing, build the whole person, cater to individual differences, promote meaningful learning, encourage interaction, provide relevant feedback, facilitate contextual learning, and provide support during the learning process” (Ally, 2008, p. 18).
A combination of learning approaches can be implemented into the DLR. Behaviourists’ strategies where the facts are being taught, cognitive strategies where the processes and principles are being taught and the constructivist strategies where students create their knowledge from their own experiences through “observation, processing, and interpretation” (Cooper, 1993; Wilson, 1997, as cited by Ally, 2008, p. 19) can all be considered in the design. As the students watch video, interact with their peers and instructor, read material, complete tutorials and interactive activities in the module, they are building upon their learning. The different activities in the module should be based on the different learning styles according to Kolb (1984). For example, concrete-experience learners like to work in groups, and learn from peer feedback and specific examples. While active-experimentation learners like active learning activities and interacting with their peers in discussions and also learning from their feedback and information.
Some of the 25 learning principles to guide pedagogy and the design of learning environments as outlined by Halpern, Graesser and Hakel (2007) can be incorporated. For example, the DLR can be delivered in multiple modes and modalities to ensure that the learner is not overwhelmed (Dual Code and Multimedia Effects); can provide immediate feedback to assessment questions during the module, so students can learn and understand from their errors (Negative Suggestion Effects and Self-regulated Learning); ensure that the DLR is free from clutter, so students will learn what is important and not be distracted (Manageable Cognitive Load and Coherence Effect); and incorporate stories and example cases, so students can try to relate, comprehend and remember the material (Stories and Example Cases).
The above strategies and learning principles all connect to Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory where relevant information, problem solving, experiential learning, self-directed learning and motivation are important (Knowles, 1984).
Instructions for Use:
To ensure effective learning from this module, technology tutorials, an instructor introduction which will include learning objectives and guidance to the modules, and instructions throughout the module will be incorporated.
Plan for Use:
This digital learning resource will be eventually offered as an open educational resource, so other programs or colleges will have the ability to incorporate this type of module into their curriculum. This can be shared publicly either through my personal blog or offer it through eCampus Ontario. However, I would first like to ensure that the guest speakers are contacted to obtain permission and to ensure that they are comfortable with their videos being public.
Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (pp.15-44). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.
Halpern, D.F., Graesser, A., & Hakel, M. (2007). 25 learning principles to guide pedagogy and the design of learning environments. Washington, DC: Association of Psychological Science Taskforce on Lifelong Learning at Work and at Home.
Kim, E., & Vail, C. (2011). Improving preservice teachers’ perspectives on family involvement in teaching children with special needs: Guest speaker versus video. Teacher Education and Special Education, 34(4), 320-338. doi:10.1177/0888406411410076
Knowles, M. S. et al (1984) Andragogy in Action. Applying modern principles of adult education, San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.