Using the Personalization Principle

This week I read about the Personalization Principle in Clark and Mayer’s book on E-Learning. For a task, I had to imagine that I had written a text for an e-learning course and my team leader who was an English major was upset with the more conversational tone I had used. The following is an imaginative response to the hypothetical situation in order to justify the use of the 3 main tenants of the Principle.

Thank you for your feedback Mark, I appreciate it. I know the narrative seemed different from my previous work but if you give me a couple of minutes, I’ll try to explain my word choice. You know that I hate a split infinitive as much as you do but there is some really good research behind my apparent slide to the dark side!

I have just finished reading about something called the Personalization Principle and it was eye opening.  The basic premise is that in certain circumstances and with certain conditions, conversational style can be used to aid more effective learning. It is covered in the Clark and Mayer book that I have told you about before. (Clark and Mayer 2011)

They have looked a range of studies and hard evidence that support the theory that a more conversational tone can support greater learning. That is why I used second person active rather than passive voice – I wasn’t going crazy! They acknowledge that it seems to go against a common sense viewpoint but that it is inline with research into how the brain works.  The use of personal pronouns helps to engage the learner and build a personal connection with the content.

The chapter I read goes on to look at how using a human voice seems to promote learning more than a computer-generated voice. I know that is something your team have been playing with, so it could fit in perfectly? A more conversational tone also doesn’t mean more impolite, just more personal. There is also some really good data on the use of pedagogical agents on screen that I think we should look into.

The final aspect of their research looks at how visible to make the author of the lesson. By making the author of the lesson more visible to the learner, motivation levels of the learner are higher. When you read the chapter it all makes sense. There is not a huge volume of research yet but enough to justify the theory.

I think that we should really try to use some of their ideas. By changing a few words and using a real voice with a visible author, I think there is a good chance that we can achieve higher learning levels with our students. If we don’t see results, the work involved in going back to a more formal style is pretty minimal. I know that we have to be careful to get the balance correct and not go too far and make our lessons, distracting or condescending, to the students. Maybe I can lend you the book to see what you think – there are some good examples to look over.

Happy to talk about it further when you have some time.

Thanks again for your feedback

Andrew

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.) San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Using HTML templates

This week’s learning in our EdTech 502 class involved using HTML and CSS templates. On paper this sounded like fun. It was fun looking at them all. I spent hours looking at different templates. When I decided on some I liked and downloaded them. Then I hit  a wall. I got myself into a mess with where to put files, which files were important and wanting my page to look far better than I was actually able to understand. I learned  lot this week and have tried to summarize some observations below.

1. I am not a business and do not need an overly fancy website.

2 It was really easy to get sucked into things that looked great but that I didn’t really understand. It was like passing my driving test and wanting to drive a Ferrari on day one. Good things don’t happen.

3.There are some clear trends in website design at the moment which don’t lend themselves to a simple portfolio homepage (big images, fancy graphics, sliders etc)

4.Give yourself time to play and troubleshoot.

This week I was on holiday and so had some time to play with. Luckily for me! I worked on this for a few days and only got it all together on the final day. I was distracted by the beauty of some websites which were far too complex under the hood for me to understand. I eventually settled on a template I loved and discovered it was XHTML which brought up problems with differences in code that I had to learn along the way. I really didn’t know where and how to save my templates so that they were in the correct part of the 502 folder. I figured it out eventually but it took some time to reconnect css files in the correct way.

Overall, I am really happy with the page I created. I like the look and everything works. It has potential to expand and change and grow with me over the next couple of years. Once I figured where to save the template I enjoyed playing with the code to try and get it to do what I wanted. I created some icons and managed to solve the most number of errors I have ever had with my validation. XHTML is different and I had to really read up to problem solve. I will work on using different templates in the future and hopefully I will get some feedback from my peers.

I can highly recommend templates.co as a resource for free and premium templates. A tough week with a good end result.

 

Cheers Andrew

My Multimedia Presentation for EdTech513

This week as I sat down to create my presentation the hardest thing was choosing the topic. As a 5th grade teacher, there were a huge number of things which I could do and wanted to do – too many.  As a result, I went back to the guidelines and my own refections on presentations which I have done poorly to try and come up with a suitable topic. My thinking was pretty much based on the guidelines.

I chose the topic of Multiplication which some of our pupils struggle with. We have pupils from all over the world who have had a variety of different methods taught to them. This method is just one that we use as we encourage pupils to find what works for them. No, one-size-fits-all.

I ended up with quite a few slides but still think I could work through this with my class in 5/6 minutes or so. I also thought of it as a resource which could be put in our class folder so the pupils could work through it at their own pace. Maybe with an audio narration or just letting them read some simplified speakers notes. I wanted it to be useful and shareable.

I stuck to very plain white background and didn’t include any images which had no meaning. Not even a smiley maths cartoon on the first page which I would have usually have done! I tried to stick to the things which I had learned. My images are actually numbers and a grid rather than traditional ‘pictures’. I created them all in Slides and so didn’t have to go looking for them. I thought it would be easier to keep them all looking similar that way. I kept words to a minimum and tried to place them beside my images following the principles which I have learned about from my reading.

I think it works quite well. I will try it out in school tomorrow and post some of the feedback which I get from the pupils. That is always the real measure of a resource. I will be interested to hear their thoughts.

Here is a link to my presentation: Multiplication using the grid method.

Feedback greatly appreciated.

Andrew

Creating Learning Log – EdTech513 post

I had already set up this learning log for my first two classes in the Fall Semester and so will continue to use it to write about my classes this semester. EdTech 513 Multimedia is already shaping up to be something I was not expecting. . .in a good way.  Whilst I have some practical experience in using and engaging pupils with Multimedia tools, I have no real knowledge of the academic theories or science behind why it helps us learn. In my early reading, I have been interested to find out why some of the things I have observed over the years might have happened.

I know that when I have combined images, music and sound together to try and share some knowledge with children, they appear (on the surface) far more engaged that when they are listening to me alone. I know this doesn’t mean that they are learning more but I think that if greater numbers of students are engaged throughout a lesson then the chances have to be better. Obviously this is a huge generalization but I am excited and enthusiastic to deepen my knowledge and develop some new skills in this area. Along the way, hopefully dispelling misconceptions which I am sure I hold and helping me to be a better practitioner.

Just to make sure that I adhered to the task, I modified my About Me page slightly explaining why I am pursuing an MET at Boise State.

Thanks and I look forward to connecting with some of you this semester.

Andrew