The idea of expressing a student learning challenge explicitly was a new concept for me. As an instructor I would often recognize learning challenges faced by the students but fall short of putting a plan into action to formally address the issues. My typical response would be to meet each challenge individually in the moment and come up with an appropriate solution for each instance.

Western University’s 2016 paper Problems of Practice for an Organizational Improvement Plan identifies any issue that is consistent and considered an activity norm, that through its elimination would provide improved understanding or results, as a Problem of Practice (POP). By using their POP outlining criteria and guiding questions I was able to identify a learning need and properly articulate a means to address that need as an actionable plan.

Asking the questions: Whose interests are being served? Whose needs are being met and who says this this is the way things should be? All seemed to suggest it was faculty decisions that were driving the current instructional model and possibly challenges faced by the instructor were limiting the delivery model to oral traditions.

I have identified that the absence of a digital learning resource library focusing on Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machine tool setup and operation prevents learners from accessing learning in their chosen time and place. Further that this absence of digital learning objects denies students pre-learning opportunities to develop an understanding of the computer control aspect of the machine tools as well as the skills associated with the set-up and operation of a CNC Lathe. The creation of an interactive digital video library resource would facilitate remote learning for students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Technologist program at Okanagan College thus addressing the identified POP.

This resource would eliminate the transient nature of spoken information through the implementation of interactive elements contained within the video resource while providing for the accommodation of different learning styles through the varied delivery modes (Wong, Leahy, Marcus, & Sweller, 2012).

Adaptations for individual learning styles will be provided using multi modal resource delivery and facilitate meaningful learning by drawing attention to the need for developing special awareness when interacting remotely with physical objects within closed physical boundaries. The inclusion of interactive elements embedded in the instructional videos will help to encourage engagement and the synthesis of knowledge as students will be required to negotiate new meanings to navigate through the resource (Paechter & Maier, 2010).

I have outlined the following development stages for the digital resource:

  • Interviews with industry PAC members to identify specific challenges associated with working on the Haas SL-10 2 axis lathe. This will inform the details of the interactive elements of the video, provide relevancy for the reference notes, and provide the basis of populating a Live Reading List (LRL).
  • The LRL will be initially curated by recommended text resources from industry PAC members and there after populated by the student body as they begin their own research into the subject and will be an indexable open source data base.
  • Review of past student submissions to reveal commonalities between them [deficiencies and successes] to inform the form and function of the interactive elements therby ensuring the identified student challenges are being addressed.
  • Email previous student groups to canvas their reflective input to the design and focus of the Interactive Videos.
  • Through the application of my previous professional experience in the field as both an employee and a journeyman instructing apprentices; identify commonalities between the two learning groups to further inform significant learning challenges presented with the tasks.
  • Compile digital still images and video of the machine tool and its components.
  • Build and house an indexed learning object library.

Finally, this digital resource and the personal learning it will provide aligns well with my anticipated final applied research project where I hope to compare and contrast remote augmented reality instruction and asynchronous video learning modalities as applied to a mechanical trades context.

References

Paechter, M., & Maier, B. (2010). Online or face-to-face? Students’ experiences and preferences in e-learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(4), 292–297. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.09.004

Wong, A., Leahy, W., Marcus, N., & Sweller, J. (2012). Cognitive load theory, the transient information effect and e-learning. Learning and Instruction, 22(6), 449–457. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.05.004