Have you ever reflected back on your life and thought, “why do I not know this information?”  According to Levy (2019) she theorized that “we don’t know what we don’t know” (24:17).  Opportunities for learning are there – we just have to find them.  My avenue for learning and skill building was participating in the MALAT Virtual Symposium.  This Symposium provided me the chance to learn about the open continuum, instructional design and curriculum development in the post secondary setting together with growing my knowledge of today’s challenges and tomorrows’ opportunities in the world of academia and business.

Prior to attending the Symposium, my definition of ‘open’ did not extend beyond ‘free’ online learning (Childs, 2019, p.3).  Childs (2019) asserted that open is related to “scholarships and access (research journals), data (research), educational resources (texts) and practices (pedagogy and platforms)” to name a few (p.3).  The MALAT program is taught using experiential and collaborative learning which is a fundamental component of open practices.  On the one hand, Burgess (2019) shared in her online presentation that she has spent “20 years trying to get facilitators to do what they don’t want to do” (18:26).  My interpretation is that many post secondary facilitators were not embracing this open forum as it was outside of their comfort zone.  On the other hand, Cormier (2017, p.8) suggested that the open learning was a rhizome which is defined as a weed that can’t stop growing because open learning extends to community learning, network learning and people are able to learn from each other therefore participation continues to widen and grow (p.12). Openness is the future of learning.  It would be unfair to return to the days of monotonous PowerPoint slide decks, albeit that is a familiar form of delivering information in a post secondary institution.  Change happens one day at a time, one person at a time.  Change begins with working in an open learning environment and this environment can positively impact instructional design.

Instructional design is a key component of effective and efficient student-centered learning.   Yunker and Young (2019) asserted that making connections with the client and learner is critical in order to ensure their needs are being addressed (p.6). The connections help to promote a  common ground which builds strong relationships.  Levy (2019) maintained that in keeping with the open learning movement, the instructional designer must build learning objectives around the business/organization strategy and the needs of the learners (27:08).  Learning outcomes must align with the business strategy. In addition, Yunker and Young (2019) claimed that learning has to stick and it should be “meaningful, memorable, motivational and measurable” (p.18).  I agree with this principle.  Learning has to be relevant and timely for the participant.  The methods used to facilitate learning should be built on previously learned information.  The analogy is building a house.  First you need the foundation, then the walls and then the roof.  The siding and windows come after the house is built.  Learners appreciate experiential learning and it lessens the anxiety of learning a new task.  Yunker and Young (2019) maintained that when the outcomes are measurable learners will adapt to change because they can see the ‘what’s in it for me’ (p.18).

The MALAT Symposium provided me an opportunity to expand my knowledge base.  At first I was overwhelmed.  After a week of participating in the webinars, the information became familiar and I had my ‘ah ha’ moment.  Our Ah Ha moments are created through new learning and stretching our comfort zone until we feel uncomfortable.

References

Burgess, C. (2019, April 15). Insights from BC Campus – a conversation. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2VLrqeD

Childs, E. (2019, April 15). Part 1. Openness in MALAT. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/fFhu50qnns9

Cormier, D. (April 18, 2017). Intentional messiness of online communities. Retrieved from https:// 2017-04-18.0934.M.260AD3030AD273255B9B9C087E6864.vcr&sid=2009211

Levy, C. (2019, April 15, 2019). Designing learning environments for a global market.  Retrieved from http://ow.ly/PsyN50qn5QV

Yunker P. and Young. N. (April 16, 2019). Developing Connections with our Clients and Learning Communities.  Retrieved from: http://ow.ly/RKhO50qwlJy