REFLECTIONS ON THE TECHNOLOGY GUIDE
This paper includes a reflection of the experiences and skills gained in the Learning Technologies course. It also includes a discussion of the most effective tool presented in my learning guide. Last of all, this reflection paper contains an exploration of how the learning guide may be used in future teaching and learning contexts.
The guide that I created in the Learning Technologies course has been part of a powerful learning experience. It has not only provided me with exposure to new tools and helped me develop my skills in technology and learning, it has also assisted me to gain confidence in my abilities. Before taking this course, I did not know how to develop or use a wiki, and I did not have a solid understanding of various learning tools in technology. By taking this course and immersing myself in research and experiential learning with the various tools included in my guide, I was able to take risks, try out new techniques, and prove to myself that I have the capability of creating a meaningful virtual experience for Human Service workers in training. I was also able to engage in meaningful reflection about use of the tools and explore important ways to integrate these tools into the virtual teaching and learning experience.
I think that the infographics tool will be the most effective media in my professional practice. Combining videos and audio multimedia with well thought out animation, and using examples that are applicable to real-life, may also make these infographics more effective. A review of the literature reveals that “using animation is arguably more beneficial in the building of mental models when perceiving procedural information” (Wu & Yamanaka, 2013, p. 293). Other researchers make similar arguments, such as Safar (2015), when stating that animated and visual presentations can make content clear and easy to digest, as well as create long-term impressions. Visual tools and infographics can have a long lasting and powerful effect on participants in the learning environment.
I am very likely to share my guide with others. Some of the literature illustrates that when technology is approached thoughtfully in the teaching environment, a higher quality learning experience can be provided to learners. For example, Rafool, Sullivan, and Al-Butaineh (2012) state, “Technology when used effectively, increases student engagement in the learning process and involve students more actively” (p. 67). The development of the guide included a tremendous amount of reflection and research about the role of technology in the experience of learning, and this thoughtful approach creates many opportunities for participants to be engaged. This engagement can lead to an enriching experience for learners. In addition, the approach to the guide was multifaceted and varied, and it contains numerous tools and creative approaches to learning. As a result, this guide can be a vital tool for Human Service professionals in the virtual learning environment.
Another reason that I will share the guide in my professional practice pertains to the importance of creating connections and enhancing relationships in the virtual learning environment. Cavicchia (2015) asserts that many participants in the learning environment yearn for connectedness or a sense of community. Many of the tools that I shared in the guide are related to assisting participants to share, exchange ideas, develop relationships and collaborate. To my mind, the learning guide contributes to a dynamic learning community, and these kinds of opportunities are essential in the virtual world of learning.
I will also find the guide to be useful in my professional role because of its focus on meaningful learning in the virtual environment. As argued by Taylor (2014), the 21st century learner is not interested in learning experiences that focus on memorization or recall, but rather, they crave opportunities that assist them to gain new and deep levels of understanding. The technology tools offered in the guide provide many opportunities for participants to interact, reflect, and conceptualize content in ways that provide both breadth and depth in understanding. As a result, the guide will be instrumental to the participants’ learning experiences in the virtual environment.
In conclusion, I have found the guide to be an extremely effective way to reach participants. More important than the guide itself, is the experience it creates and the learning it promotes. The tools in this guide were created to promote robust learning experiences that connect ideas and people. These tools were developed and based on the assumption that learning is much more powerful when people share their experiences and expertise than being in isolation. The selected tools in the learning guide create just what the 21st century learners crave – a rich, dynamic, collaborative, and engaging virtual learning community.
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