Student Story: Professional improvement one class at a time without the extensive videos
Stephen Lowe is a veteran in post-secondary education and online pedagogy but remains hungry for continuous improvement. After teaching courses in Web Media for ten years at Aoraki Polytechnic in New Zealand, he now serves as a learning designer for CORE Education, a not-for-profit organization which seeks to “push the boundaries of educational possibility.”
He is a man who not only glows with wisdom but has a shiny personality. “I took a course with __ and thought, “[use your imagination], this guy talks a lot.” Speaking from his home, which overlooks the ocean and helps him maintain perspective, he elaborated that he also grew skeptical upon enrolling in Paul Kim’s “Designing a New Learning Environment” course.
When Professor Kim started discussing ADDIE as a pedagogy framework, Stephen cringed as he had long pushed back on the process as too restrictive – a perspective which put him at odds with his executive team. However, his outlook quickly changed. Professor Kim “is such a genius of a guy and so inspiring. He sold me back on the process as a great tool for the big picture, whereas I had used it for micro-processes in the past.” Stephen now sees more eye to eye with leadership and credits the course with helping him to become more aligned with his colleagues.
The content was not only valuable for what it had to say but how it was relayed. He described the design of course as eye opening and loved the short lectures, especially in contrast to his past experience. “The class I took with ______ was exactly like being back at a university in a lecture hall. I thought: nothing new here; they are just perpetuating the old model using new technology.” In contrast, Stephen found Professor Kim’s videos very personable and straight to the point as a launch pad to an activity, with some as short as 90 seconds. “He wasn’t lecturing to us. He was giving us tools. Now, that’s a new paradigm.”
A year later, Stephen took Professor Britos Cavagnaro’s Design Thinking course. “I joined because as a learning designer, you are a designer and wondered if I might be a bit light on design skills.” He was once again blown away with the brevity of lectures, with some under 60 seconds long, and describes the experience as life changing due to its impact on his daily practice.
Stephen now runs the designing thinking model regularly with his team and in conjunction with ADDIE. “In merging ADDIE and Design Thinking, we are able to have a mechanical process on the outside with a very humanist inside. The combination of the two has totally impacted the way the team works and the E-Learning Director loves it.”
Along with hand-washing, disinfecting, and social distancing, Zoom has become part of life for many during the pandemic. However, the initial thrill of seeing distant colleagues on video conferences has given way to fatigue, anxiety, and distraction as we struggle to stay engaged.