IGSLM Reports/Sanjaya

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This is the reflection of the Online Facilitator:

Overview of my experience in this online training

I am very pleased to see the progress and conclusion of the National Online Training on Development of Self-Learning Materials. This was probably the maiden attempt in online training in any Indian University. But, for sure this is a first at my own University, ie. IGNOU. I have been observing the commitment, contributions and cooperation of most of the participants, and this has been the best part in this online training. At times, I felt that this online effort is not taking off as participants have their other pre-occupation as expected in any online training. I was nervous, and then pushed individual participants through various persuasive approaches. Sometimes through wrong ways by reminding them of the tasks vis-a-vis the certification requirements. I knew from the beginning there would be dropouts, and thus deliberately kept the numbers to 35 thinking that there would be about 24/25 who would complete. My apprehensions came almost true, as till the 4th week the number left in the workshop was about 25, and then the final completed participants are 20. Another one could have completed, but for her own decision not to write self-learning material. In spite of my best efforts, I could not motivate this participant to complete. This is probably my biggest regret in this training programme. I know I had been tough, but this was simply towards achievement of the workshop objectives. At the end of it, I am satisfied of the efforts, with 20 lessons and and more than 1100 email communications, the workshop has achieved its objectives to a large extent.

Three things I liked best during this online training

Personally I am overwhelmed by the positive response from the participants and their appreciation in so many different words throughout the workshop. Nothing is more satisfying for a facilitator than a smiling face of a lifelong learner. I particularly salute the commitment of some of the participants who braved the difficult circumstances of personal health, and health conditions of near and dear ones, work pressures and poor electricity and Internet access. Most participants were collaborating at personal and group level, as evidenced from their support on SLM creation, particularly use of ideas on wiki syntax, and discussion pages. More could have been done in this respect, but considering the fact that for most of the participants this was their first experience of online learning and use of discussion forum, the collaboration level is satisfactory. The training could achieve this level of success because of the personal interest of the participants to learn new skills – both wiki and SLM development.

Three things I disliked during this online training

Many of the participants said different things about what they disliked. But, personally I disliked the following:

  • MS word compatibility problem. Yes, this should not have happened, and it was embarrassing for me that being a facilitator I do not have access to latest software gadgets. But, at the same time I am happy as I use mostly Open Source Software, and such compatibility issues arise at times, that can be solved easily as in this case.
  • Not responding to proper threads. This is a major problem, and flooded the inbox of all the participants. Us of Gmail allows bunching mails together, if the subject line is honoured, but many participants forgot this basic technique resulting in chaotic flow of mails. This indicates the need for better ICT skills of participants to take benefits of online learning.
  • Poor adherence to task time line. Yet again this was a major problem, as most participants were lagging behind the schedule, and required to be reminded of the tasks. This also indicated the need for self-regulation and time management skills in online learning.

Content areas that need further discussion/ were missing

Participants have indicated many areas that might have been included in the training, including topics such as: template creation on wiki; e-learning, instructional design, copyrights, and ICT training prior to online workshop. The last one was a pre-requisite for this workshop and in the TNA all the participants self-rated good ICT skills, but later some of them found their ICT skills to be inadequate to cope with the expected tasks. One participant at least dropped out of the training because of this reason. Other topics should be taken up in separate training, as in this we only discussed little about these issues/topics. Template in WikiEducator is definitely an advanced training and participant may like to explore this as self-learner or attend advanced wiki skills training on WikiEducator.

Suggestions for future such online training

Many of the participants have indicated dropout as a problem, and have suggested that his should be addressed. However, experience shows that dropout is a common problem in distance and online learning. If we look at global average of dropout in e-learning, this online training has fared quite well. So, this is not a matter of worry for me. But, what I am worried is the silence of those who have dropped out. If they do not speak, we do not know the reasons, and thus, can't improve. Some of the participants have also suggested for next level training, and some also have indicated towards initiating their own training programmes using the strategies used in this workshop. The impact of this training would be more, if participants make some change towards writing better SLM and contribute more lessons to WikiEducator. My sincere suggestion to all the participants is to be a reflective practitioner and think about what you are doing... question... think...find your own answers and be a constructivist learner... Discussion and critical engagements in reflection and articulation of thinking is important to our learning...

--Missan 07:23, 25 September 2008 (UTC)