ovid-19 accelerates the move to blended learning

Many universities are adopting their learning and teaching strategy to cope with Covid-19. Whether your institution is going fully online, or is looking at a mixed model of delivery, asynchronous/ remote learning will form an important part of the equation.

For a typical university module asynchronous delivery might include:

· Delivering or recording online lectures

· Delivering online seminars using videoconferencing tools

· Using the LMS as the communication hub to instruct students what to do next in their learning journey.

In this short article I’m looking at how you can use potential.ly to improve the student experience around the last point — using your LMS as the primary way to guide your students through your module journey — and save yourself an enormous amount of administration time in the process.

Why your LMS is good but not great to guide online student journeys

Screenshot of announcements area in Blackboard LMS
How students see learning materials on the LMS

The above screenshots are from one of my modules at Henley. This is what I use the LMS for:

1. To make announcements. Most of my announcements are about reminding students of upcoming coursework. I also use announcements to write instructions for students on what to do next in the learning journey, but these instructions are never as comprehensive as what I discuss in lectures and seminars.

2. I use the file areas to dump my lecture slides and materials into a folder structure. Students then download these .ppts and pdfs (at least I hope they do).

I can of course add additional tools to this standard setup, but in ‘normal’ times this is typically entirely good enough to complement the ‘real’ learning experience that takes place in the classroom.

Unfortunately, as we move to online delivery, this standard LMS setup IS the classroom.

A list of announcements and an online file folder are NOT a satisfying online learning experience for students.

As many of us on the teaching side have experienced over the last few weeks, this setup also creates a significant additional communication and administration burden on the lecturer.

Using potential.ly to Effective information layout improves learner experience and saves time

This is what the same module looks like on Potential.ly. Potential.ly is a simple curation tool that allows you to very quickly organise blended learning materials into a learning JOURNEY.

IMPORTANT: This tool does NOT replace your LMS, it enhances it. I’ve added more details about potential.ly at the bottom of this article.

As you can see on the screenshot, instead of folder structure, Potential.ly will lay out my module as a learning journey consisting of (groups) of learning cards.

… This is a lot more visually appealing

… Gives students a sense of continuous progress

… Communicates what comes next clearly

Laying information out clearly, greatly reduces confusion and saves a lot of time and effort otherwise spent on clarifying the learning journey via emails and announcements.

If I click through on some of these learning cards, then instead of just seeing an option to download files as I would in my LMS…

…Potential.ly will embed my presentations and make them accessible straight away:

In addition I can very quickly add small checks and interactions to my presentations, such as…

A short quiz.

A reflection form to help students prepare for the seminar case study.

The beauty here is that these learning cards will display any of my materials in a nice way, and that I can throw pretty much anything at them:

Youtube videos, podcasts, padlets, googledocs, Kahoot quizzes, (or any of these other learning tools you always wanted to use, but then actually embedding them into the experience was too much of a hassle).

With potential.ly you can rapidly curate and mash-up your learning materials into an interactive learning experience.

You only need minimal instructional design skills to do this, while the software does all the heavy lifting for you to make it look nice.

If you want to go the extra-step, you can make some of your interactions mandatory with a simple task-list toggler. If you do that, then completion of activities by students get automatically check for you. So individual students get a personalized experience of where they are with their learning, and you can keep track of their independent learning even if you don’t see them in the classroom.

That’s a quick introduction to improving your asynchronous learner experience with Potential.ly. If you want to learn more, check out some of the other articles:

Splendid Blended: Quickly creating interactive learning with Potential.ly

Portfolio learning 4.0: Using the folio function and collector in Potential.ly for project-based learning and to track skills development

Delivering a Skills Award with Potential.ly

Delivering the extra-curricular campus experience remotely with Potential.ly

Enquiry based learning with Potential.ly

Dr Norbert Morawetz is Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Learning at Henley Business School. He is the Co-Creator of the potential.ly open learning technology.

About www.potential.ly

Potential.ly is a lightweight learning solution. It makes it very quick and simple to enhance the experience of your online learning.

We are an innovative UK cloud-hosted service provider, and pre-approvedby Jisc through the step-up programme. This means you can be up and running in no time, and in full compliance with data and security regulations, as well as GDPR.

Single-Sign-On authentication integrates us seamlessly into your existing learning environment.

As a UK university spinout, our focus is on creating impact. Our technology powers the Jisc Digital Capabilities programme and we’re also the lead tech partner for the classof2020.org.uk initiative.

November 5, 2021
Learning & Teaching

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