We have already talked about the eMedia: Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship for All, a a new Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnerships for Adults Education project, which aims at promoting the acquisition of basic digital skills by educating active and responsible citizens in the digital world. The project outputs will then be two educational booklets teaching digital practices, to be used for the training of the educators in non-formal and formal education centres.
During the eMedia Training in Paris, which has been hosted by La Ligue de L'enseignment, the trainers learned how to create an online course - with particular reference to the MOOCs - using the Moodle platform and what pedagogy should be used in an online learning environment. In this regard, the first thing that needed to be asked, approaching different tools for teaching and learning, was: how do we learn?
To clearly understand the differences between a face-to-face and an online learning environment, the trainer used an ice-breaker exercise, during which one of the participants was blindfolded and had to give instructions to the others, who could not speak, on how to make an origami. In this way, we have all experienced what it means to work without seeing what others are doing, without having feedback and without knowing the students' background.
We then analyzed the different types of learning approaches - passive, active, constructive and interactive - and the motivations that can act as a stimulus for the course participants, which must be as much intrinsic as extrinsic.
Successively, the participants learned how to build a programme for an online course, a detailed timeline and the General Scenario, or the course roadmap, a management document to identify the target, the trainers, the learning needs, the principles, the volume, the tone of the course. The creation of the various modules of an online course and the timeframes to devote to each topic was also the subject of training.
Part of the programme was then dedicated to the analysis and experimentation of different tools to convey content, tools that could be attractive to users. For instance, software for creating animated videos (Wideo, Moovly, Powtoon), online presentations (Sutori, Prezi) or interactive infographics (Pictogon) have been examined.
Probably the most fun and practical part of the course concerned the production of specific contents, which we created working in thematic groups, writing scripts for video presentations of our MOOC (based on the subject of robotics, coherently with one of the contents of the project), quizzes and interactive games with flash cards.
There are many challenges that this type of online courses brings to its facilitators, such as the inevitable drops out of less motivated users, the management of the activities of a large number of participants and the competition existing between all the digital tools / media that contribute to capture learners' attention. But, on the other hand, there are advantages to be taken into consideration, such as free and unlimited access to training materials, the possibility of receiving virtual support at any time and being part of a large learning community.
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