Facilitating the Understand Step – Lessons Learned

Briefly describe/review how you decided to apply and use the Understand step in the project you selected. Include how you used diagnostic model and what challenges you experienced.

I decided to use the Understand step to help me better understand the purpose of the PCT workshop and the facilitators’ expected outcomes.  It allowed me to ask questions that helped identify the presence, or not, of specific learning elements in the workshop.  For example, asking how students get to demonstrate what they know or practice what they have learned was an important question to address. I didn’t experience any specific challenge using this step, but I suspect that there could be some potential challenges when this step is used to diagnose a course that someone has been teaching for several years.

Next, explain the “lessons learned” you have gained from conducting the Understanding step. This might include insights about your project or the facilitation process of working with others. Be sure to describe the role you played as the architect and facilitator during the Understand step.

The Understand step allows the conversation to shift way from the “personal (instructor)” aspect of a project and fosters a focused dialog on the outcomes, activities, and learner experience.  I think people are more open to conversations around student learning than conversations about what needs to change in their instruction.  That discussion can come later when the redesign calls for that shift to meet the needs of the learning environment or learner outcomes.  I felt like my role was to foster conversations, ask questions to gain clarification, and guide others to think more critically about what they were trying to accomplish.  

Creating Diagnostic Models with the Understand Guide

A few weeks ago I performed a Discovery Datasheet for our department Principal Certification Test (PCT) Workshop.  One of the ideas generated in the Discovery Datasheet feedback session included offering the workshop in a blended learning/hybrid environment. I decided to expand on this feedback and complete an Understand Guide using a diagnostic lens.

As you can see in the previous post, Discover Datasheet Results Report, the PCT workshop is set up in a traditional, “sit and get” workshop, with no personal follow-up after the students had taken the exam.  Based on the feedback from the client/team members, I worked to redesign the workshop to better support the learning needs of the students.

I developed my Understand Guide for the PCT Workshop from workshop attendees interviews, personal participation/observation, and client/team feedback interviews.

understand_create-diagnostic-models

Based on information from the Understand Guide, I developed a redesign of the PCT workshop (ver. 1.1).

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Design Pattern Swap

I selected the course Legal Aspects of School Administration for this activity because it isn’t one of the previous learning environments I have worked on this semester.  I am scheduled to redesign this course in the spring, so I thought it would be interesting to do the Understand Guide based on the information I had available.

This course is a face-to-face learning environment, with a few online opportunities, and one experiential activity built into the course.

Understand Guide

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I discovered three learning patterns in the Understand process.

  • Field Experience & Reflection: In this pattern, students participate in a 10-hour field experience completed over several days during the semester.  During this field experience, they write down observations, interactions, and conversations from their experience and share those with their peers during class.  The instructor provides relevant information and resources to deepen their understanding of their experience.  Students then post a blog/journal summary of their most recent field experience and share it with the instructor for feedback.  This process is repeated weekly until the final week when the student compiles and summarizes the entire experience and submits the final in the D2L Dropbox.
  • Information Analysis -Court Case: In this pattern, students review different court cases that have impacted school law and legislation. They read a court case and then come to class ready to discuss.  They then apply the IRAC method, which is Issue (what is the issue), Rule (what was the outcome of this case), Application (how has this affected education law and legislation), and Conclusion (what policies, procedures, and professional development can be implemented to prevent this type of lawsuit case in your school).
  • Class Presentations: Student read a relevant peer reviewed article on school law, practices, and/or legislative changes in schools. They then prepare a short presentation over their article and send to the instructor for feedback.  After any necessary revisions, the student will then present their findings to the class.

Field Experience LEM Pattern

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Information Analysis – Court Casepattern-information-analysis-pattern-information-analysisClass Presentations

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Interviewing for Understanding

I interviewed my friend Kim about her most memorable learning experience. She shared an experience from her graduate classes, Statistical Methods in Education. I used the Understand Guide to perform my interview and create a diagnostic model based on the information.

Understand Guide

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LEM Model – Updated 12.1.16

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During this process, I learned that not all memorable learning experiences are necessarily our favorites.

Creating Diagnostic Models

I created an Understand Guide for the course, Technology for School Admin. This guide represents one of the artifacts/outcomes of the course.  I have discovered that there are many ways for students to interact with each other and many opportunities to build the elements of their final artifact.

understand_diagnostic-model

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UPDATE:  One of my EDU-Innovator colleagues pointed out that often there would be some feedback (grade/points/comment) to an evidence block and this LEM is no different.  I just didn’t represent that correctly in my LEM.  I have updated the model and posted it below.

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Understand Interview Reflections

For this activity, I selected the Coursera course, Virtual Teacher Specialization.  This course contains five modules regarding best practices for online instruction, student engagement, and virtual community building.

I shared the following story with my colleague Jessica and here is how that story went.

So I hear you’re interested in learning more about virtual teaching and how you can better support future teachers that might be asked to facilitate these types of learning environments. There is an interesting course online at Coursera, that contains five modules on that topic.  But before you decide if this is the right course for your program, let’s look at the learning environment.  I have replicated that learning environment in a model to help better visualize the course.  

This model represents module 2, week 1 of the course and the topic is The Role of Technology in the Virtual Education.

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As you can see from the model, the environment is information driven (the blue block) and has a “check for understanding” quiz at the end of the week.  If you are looking for a model that would better support engagement and interaction, this wouldn’t be the type of model we would want to see in our design. It would be important to see other types of building blocks like dialog and feedback during the learning process.  These types of engagements allow for a deeper level of ownership and learning in the course.

feedback dialogue

Ultimately, my colleague agreed that the content of the course, though interesting, wasn’t designed in a way that would be best for her teachers.  The visual representation of what the course would look like was very helpful in the process of understanding.

Blended Learning Activity – Program Design LEDx

Blended Learning Activity

Sherry and I worked together on the blended learning challenge for this week.  The challenge was to design (or re-design) a program using blended learning strategies.  Below is our documented process and the two artifacts (presentations) we created to support this activity.

Our  process:

discover

We reviewed the suggested website for a program list of existing hybrid courses for students.  We reviewed many, but we liked Caldwell University’s model because of their requirements and the connection we saw with their purpose and our desire for the UCO program.

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We looked at existing documents for our program which included the Plan of Study, Course Matrix, Course Catalog, and department meeting notes.   We compared this information and discussed the similarities and needed development of an online/hybrid program.  We reviewed some research regarding, student learning, problem-based administrative practices, and inquiry-oriented teaching programs. All of this information helped us determine the language of our values for the redesigned program.

envision

With values and information we obtained during the diagnostic process, we then developed a Vision and Mission for our redesigned educational leadership program.

The Vision: The Educational Leadership program produces school leaders that possess the skills and traits to develop a culture and climate that is optimal for student learning and success.

The Mission: The educational leadership program provides a robust blended learning environment with opportunities to learn, grow, and connect through meaningful and intentional experiences, while developing educators into quality school leaders.

Our Values:

A depth of knowledge in

  • supervision, curriculum, & technology
  • Innovative and critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Inter and intrapersonally developed
  • Data literate
  • Operation and organization management

…Leaders

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We then worked to build out the requirements for a redesign which would include a formal course description change, as well as communication and standardization among students, instructor, and department personnel.  We would look to implement processes that would support the coordination of time, resources, and activities for future collaborations, activities, and networking.

course-redesign

The most important resources in this redesigned model will be human capital and capacity building for blended learning.  It is crucial that all stakeholders understand the vision and mission of the blended learning educational leadership program.  There is a need for ongoing professional development opportunities for department staff so that they can implement and support the program fully.  It will be vital to conduct research around the program and use the results, along other points of data to implement with fidelity and sustain the redesign over time.

Here is our sample LEMx for the program redesign:

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Our artifact presentations:

Google Docs:

 

PowToons:

Discover Datasheet Results Report

Discover Datasheet - Post Feedback

Discover Datasheet – Post Feedback

Discover Datasheet - Original

Discover Datasheet – Original

The above documents are artifacts from my discovery phase of the Principal Certification Test (sub-project) workshop.  This project is part of a bigger project, the Major Hub, for the Educational Leadership department. The first document was from my observations during the Saturday workshop and provided to my team for feedback.  The second document is the updated version with their feedback and ideas.  The goal of this program is to redesign the workshop to meet the academic needs of the group, but also to add essential resources to the Hub that can be used in conjunction with the workshop (flipped classroom model).

I learned that we need to look at the data outcomes of the PCT exams over the last few years to see what content needs updating in the workshop.  I also learned that the average age of our students is much younger than previously anticipated and we need to research further how that demographic group (millennials) engages in online content. I also learned that it is important to bring visuals to any meeting whether informal or formal, it helps the client envision what you are trying to communicate.  The discovery datasheet was crucial for me.

Facilitating the Discover Step – Lessons Learned

discover

I used the discover datasheet on our sub-project, Principal Certification Test (PCT) workshop.  As our team looks at ways to engage students with the Hub, I believe that building activities and workshops around the environment will help draw students to the site.  The PCT workshop (sub-project) is an excellent way to do just that.

The datasheet allowed me to collect my observations of the environment and later reflect on how this could be connected to the Hub. My team worked with members of CeCE to discover the average age of students in our program, which is twenty-seven years of age. We took that information and results of PCT historical data to see how our students were performing and what elements of the workshop could help address those weak areas.  I use the datasheet information and informally reviewed this information, on three different occasions with different team members, to seek their feedback and input on how this workshop could be modified to connect to the Hub.  The challenge with any project is helping people see a vision for what you have in mind and the possible outcomes of the project, without overwhelming them in the process.

My biggest takeaway from this process is the value of spending time in the Discovery step of the project.  I believe it helps me be better prepared and provides me with a solid understand of environment before beginning the design process.

CC Image courtesy of Richard Fahey on Flickr