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UXA2022 Day 2; Justin Cheong - Design principles for online learning

UXA2022 Day 2; Justin Cheong - Design principles for online learning

Have you ever had to design training for an online audience? You probably had a few questions. What’s the optimal lesson length? Should it be delivered live, or pre-recorded to enable self-paced learning? How can you maximise for social learning?

In 2020, Justin created an online cohort course that teaches visual thinking to designers around the world. In doing so, he tried his best to answer the above questions. Through this case study, Justin shares some strategies and best practices for online training, including principles of ‘New Learning’ pioneered by Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope

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August 26, 2022
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  1. Note that this is an unedited transcript of a live

    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. www.captionslive.com.au | captionslive@outlook.com | 0447 904 255 UX Australia UX Australia 2022 Friday, 26 September 2022 Captioned by: Carmel Downes & Kasey Allen
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 79 STEVE BATY: Thanks very much, Rich. (APPLAUSE) That brings us to lunch on day two. Thank you, very much. Before you run out the door and before I forget, we have a design leadership conference coming up in November but the important part is that the call for presenters, if you have got an idea that you would like to be up here sharing with an audience like this one, is on and open now. I think there is a few days left before that closes. It might even be one week but time is running out. If you have an idea, you have an ambition to be on stage, as Tim said this morning, get out there and share your ideas because you will only get better if you do share them. It is fun up here, right, Rich? It is all right. There you go. Lunch, an hour. See you back here afterwards. Thanks, very much. (LUNCH BREAK) STEVE BATY: Come on in everyone and take a seat. Let's get the afternoon underway. Come on in. Come on in. Come on in. All right. So the next four sessions will all be here on stage. The very first of those is Justin from Visual Academy who will be familiar to some of you, but Justin, welcome to the stage. Justin will be talking to Australia about design principles, frontline learning. Please join me in welcoming Justin. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) JUSTIN CHEONG: All righty. Okay. Hey everyone, I'm Justin. Today I will be talking about design principles for online learning. This talk will be most relevant to you if you are a trainer or learning designer or even if you're just interested in the topic of learning, which I suspect many of us are. First a bit of background. So for the past two years, ever since
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 80 COVID, I've been teaching and exploring online learning formats through a venture called Visual Academy. So it is just covered by the captions there. Visual Academy specialises in visual thinking which is why you see all these drawings and people holding up the drawings to the camera. Now before this I have been teaching workshops in person for several years and as with many other things COVID forced me to do this all online and that really challenged me on my approach. Mostly, it got me thinking, there are so many online courses out there but what does an actual ideal learning experience online look like? How long should the lessons be in what format should it take? Should it be live or should it be self-paced, like pre-recorded videos. Today online courses number in the hundreds of thousands, so every learning designer out there is wrestling with these questions. In my own attempt to answer these questions I drew on a couple of sources of inspiration. The first was my own experience teaching at university about a decade ago in a previous life before UX and at one point at university I got to trial what's known as a flipped classroom model. Some of you may have heard of it. Has anyone heard of flipped classrooms? Got a few. We can compare to it the traditional classroom. In a traditional classroom there is a teacher at the front of the classroom who is like an expert or a store of knowledge and the way the class time is allocated is - it's spent for the teacher to distribute that knowledge to the attendees. In a flipped classroom, the class time is instead used to focus on student activities. So rather than a teacher delivering the lesson you might have students catch that outside of class and then use class time itself to have facilitated interactions. So this experience here gave me some ideas on how I can approach class time. Later on, I came across a Coursera called e-learning ecologies by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis. They describe a set of principles for what they call new learning and I have drawn a lot of inspiration from their
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 81 work as well. So I highly recommend their course and their book if you ever want to dive deeper into this topic. So with all of this in mind I want to share with you what I've learnt for the past couple of years about online learning formats and just for fun I'm going to split the rest of this talk into two section, each corresponding to a metaphor with some drawings as well just to stimulate your thinking a little bit. These metaphors are a bit playful so I hope you have fun following along as I walk you through them. Sound good? Okay. Let's start with the first metaphor. Learning as downloading. I want you to imagine for a moment that you are, in fact, a robot and as a robot what learning means for you is simply downloading and installing some software package and once you have installed a package the outcome is that you are now able to perform some new action or have some knowledge that enables you to perform an action. So that's learning as downloading for a robot. Now let's change the viewpoint. Let's say instead that you are a teacher but your students are all a bunch of robots and because they are a bunch of robots your role as a teacher therefore is essentially to try and help every robot install some software package so they can all reach an outcome. That outcome might be now the successfully now able to bake a cake or speak French or some other skill acquisition or knowledge acquisition but, again, learning as downloading. All right. So how does this metaphor compare to reality? On the one hand if you've ever been a teacher or tried to teach someone something this might feel familiar in that you often do want the people you are teaching to just try and get something that you've got so that they can also arrive at some outcome and as a learner it might also feel familiar in that when you learn something it often sticks with you. It is almost as though you are permanently installed some package in your brain that you can access over and over. However, it also feels like there
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 82 is something deeply problematic with this metaphor, and there is. Which is that for better or for worse, probably for the better, people are not robots. People are diverse. We all have different learning preferences and we don't really all have one standard operating system to download the same software package to the way that computers do. Some of us prefer learning with peer, some of us prefer learning alone and so on. Therefore, as a teacher or learning designer, even if you are aiming for the same outcome for everyone who comes through to your class, like, for example you need them all to be able to perform heart surgery or something, you need to know that the way that you help each learner get there to be able to do heart surgery is going to be different because - and this is the tricky thing to remember, how someone gets to that outcome or that learning is probably different how you got to that learning. This is the first principle about learning design, which is that we all learn differently. As a teacher or learning designer it's therefore vital to consider diverse learning preferences. Listed here in black are some dimensions like mimetic learning, social learning, kinaesthetic learning. You sometimes hear people distinct wish themselves as one type of learner or another, some might say, "I'm a visual learner". Most people are a bit of everything. When you set out to improve one of the day mentions, let's say the verbal content in your online course, you will most likely boost experience not just for the purely verbal learners but for everyone else who learns at least a little bit verbally as well. Now for online learning practically speaking when you are a learning designer and you are trying to decide which media things to design for your pre-recorded videos, the absolute ideal that I think you can aim for is to offer all of them to be truly learner centric and as Ted Drake pointed out yesterday aim to make it multi-modal even if it takes some extra work to do so.
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 83 In my case, what I ended up creating with Visual Academy was a choose your own a-d-v-e-n-t-u-r-e-course. This is not what I named it but what a student later described it in a review which I thought described it nicely. If you think of a self-paced learner who learns through video content, the ideal experience for that learner is a well-produced video. That is not too long, it's chunked into topics, maybe even offer some exercises to help them cement the concepts. To engage different modalities I also made an article version for every lesson, which - for when a learner prefers to read instead of watching a video and while I made this article - this article modality to be a perfect substitute for the video where it is complete with images and words I have had learners report to me that sometimes I will consume both, they will watch the video and read the article because it helped them better reinforce the concepts. So this is for the self-paced learner. Okay, but what about the live learner. Well what live learners are often after is the social element, that is both the appeal and the accountability of being able to learn with other people. Now if you want to have an experience to offer both the live learners and the self-paced learner, the really simple thing is to make your life experience a viewing of the video. In our case we'd have roughly a 20 minute session where we'd come together to watch a video, which would be the same video as the one watched by the self-paced learner and then the remaining time would then be spent doing an exercise together. It is almost like watching a short film together or watching TV together but virtually and then discussing it with your friends afterwards or something like that. In our case doing exercises. Personally I found 20 minutes to be a nice amount of time for the online attention span in 2022. It might seem short for a live event these days but in an online course one really cool thing you can do is repeat this
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 84 daily, which we actually do at Visual Academy and it can fit nicely into people's routines for that daily practice. By the way it turns out I wasn't alone in trying this format. Ever since COVID turned everything online, this style of learning has popped up in many cases from universities to even conference events. I believe some UX Australia events in the past couple of years have done something similar as well. It's sometimes called the Watch Party format or the viewing party format. That is still evolving so we will see what we land on. One bit of feedback I got in doing this, which was interesting, I would have these live learners who really love coming together every day for 20 minutes say to me by the end of the course, hey, I really enjoyed that, I enjoy coming live, why do you even put videos up on the platform and - I don't get it, we just learn live. Equally I had the self-paced learners, who might be introverts who would come to me saying why do you have these live sessions, I really enjoyed the videos on the platform. That is how I know it struck a good balance in Kate erg for different learning preferences. This is your choose your own adventure learning for the live and self-paced learner. Going back to the learning downloading metaphor. People don't learn or acquire knowledge in the same way as if we are all downloading the same software package. People also don't just learn on their own. People learn dynamically, with each other and often as a result of making things seeing what other people make, getting feedback on what they are doing themselves. So in the online learning environment what this maps to is using different platforms for project boards, breakout rooms and my suggestion here is actually just offer as many of them as possible and see what works and then if one of these don't really make sense for your particular learning experience it will become pretty apparent after running your course for a few times. Some learning
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 85 platforms have these features inbuilt. Like Skill Share has a section where you can see a wall of people's project submissions. And even if you are not using a platform like Skill Share you can create your own environment using the off the shelf solutions. Just to give an example, at Visual Academy we use Kudoboard for our exercise gallery. It was originally designed for virtual birthday cards and goodbye cards but turns out to be really good for letting students share their drawings and see each other's work. That is a metaphor of learning is downloading or perhaps to show that learning isn't as simple as downloading but haven't said that if anyone in the audience secretly thinks we are all robots or if you secretly identify as a robot, just at least remember we are all very diverse robots so the key learning principle is to differentiate the media formats and as many interactions styles as you can. So that's one metaphor. Now let's look through the lens of a second metaphor, classrooms and libraries. Classrooms and libraries. I would like you to go back in time and think back to your school days. If you recall while at school there were two places where learning primarily took place, the classroom and the library. Again, over simplification. There are plenty of other places we learnt but let's focus on these two. In the classroom there was a focus on the curriculum and in the curriculum concepts would be unlocked step-by-step. Only after you got the foundations at one stage were you then moved upwards into the next, kind of like walking up a staircase. And then there was the library. Learning at the library was less rigid. You could search for books on topics that you liked or were curious about and you could build your knowledge outside of a curriculum. Again, all really simplified but the rough idea is that there is a space for step learning and there was this other place for let's call it search-based learning. Now when we look beyond schools into universities, most
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 86 campuses kind of look like an expand version of school, right, like they might have bigger, more facility, but they are also basically have classrooms for stepped curriculum-like learning and separately reference libraries for search-based learning. Anyway, what's so special about this metaphor, what is so interesting about it? To answer that I'd like to ask you to imagine one more thing, let's pretend there is a parallel universe somewhere in the galaxy, there is a place that's identical to earth, however, in that world they don't have the internet and we do. What's the difference between this world and that world with no internet? I think the difference is that in our world the internet is the library. It's not just any ordinary library, it's a very, very big library that has no closing hours, it's got all the media formats you want, for better or for worse, articles, videos, YouTube, it has a crowd-sourced encyclopedia, and can be reached by you anytime, anywhere you have an internet connection. All of its knowledge is available at your fingertips if you have a Smartphone and know how to search the catalogue. This ubiquity of access changes everything for the classroom and library model. So this creates the month potential for a learner's learning these days to be dominated by the internet. So, for example, a learner might first come to learn about a concept like, say, chemistry, like the first time that they learn it instead of being at school might be through the internet rather than the classroom. In such a world a learner might only go into a classroom when they decide they want to explore a topic with more structure and that might be an online course. So in this way rather than the library being the secondary place of learning it may well be that the classroom becomes the secondary place of learning. Just something to think about. You know, if I revisit this first metaphor just think about the interaction where let's say you are a professor and you are trying to
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 87 explain something and suddenly your student pulls up the phone to see if your information is up to date or maybe if there's a better way to explain what you just explained, even from - on the internet as you are explaining it and at some point you wonder, "Why do I even bother? What is the role of a teacher anymore when learners can have access to all information at all times?" This brings me back to the main principle in this section which is - this brings me to the main principle in the section which a related to what we saw earlier in that analogue of the flipped classroom. The principle here is to flip the idea of a classroom from being a place of knowledge distribution as the primary activity, still important but not primary, and instead for the teacher to focus less on your core value to students as being how much you know or how complete your knowledge is. Instead, your value should come from your ability to facilitate interactions and feedback between students. It also comes from your demonstrating resourcefulness, that is showing your ability to find things rather than to know things. And designing quality experiences that are unique from what's just out there on the internet. Often that is about creating meaningful interactions and cultivating qualities in your students like curiosity and courage. In the Visual Academy course one way we do this is by peer assessment where we get learners to do a project and we ask them to ask and give feedback to one another. Pictured here is Eduflow so if you are ever creating your own learning product and want an out of the box solution, Eduflow is pretty good for that. You can see on the left a student can look at a project and on the right they can have some text books where they can reflect on the boxes and give feedback to one another. Facilitating interactions like this is going to be vital. If we zoom back out to this metaphor, while it is obvious that the internet has transformed the relationship between classroom and library, it helps to
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    event and therefore may contain errors. This transcript is the joint property of CaptionsLIVE and the authorised party responsible for payment and may not be copied or used by any other party without authorisation. Page 88 remember that there are many things a learner cannot do by simply being in the library and that's where the value of the classroom lies. The classroom becomes a unique place to experiment, interact, collaborate, get feedback, synthesise your knowledge, all the things that aren't just simply downloading stuff into your robot brain. Right, so coming back full circle these are our two metaphors and accompanying them to two main principles of differentiated learning and facilitating interactive activity. As a final note most of these ideas I have shared today are very, very new. Having the internet at our fingertips and how that transforms the relationship between information, search and classrooms, it has only been a phenomenon for a couple of decades actually having the internet at our fingertips and how that is going to change the classroom and where the online classroom sits in all this is still all evolving. Therefore, while it is all still evolving the best thing you can do as a teacher or learning designer is to remind yourself that you, yourself, are still learning. I'm still learning doing this whole online teaching stuff and one thing I've done, this conference was as good an excuse as any to ask my former student for some feedback. How can I evolve the experience and what have been the outcomes since finishing your training? Here are some more, including some of the former students' challenges since they completed the training. Shout out to the former students who shared this with me, thank you, and I hope you enjoyed that. Thank you everyone. (APPLAUSE) STEVE BATY: I just have to be really careful about that speaker. Thank you, Justin, that was really awesome. Our next speaker this afternoon is Joel Perigut. Joel is ready, while he makes his way up to the stage I have been told no singing please - I've been told it is Joel's birthday. Happy birthday, Joel.