Library Science, literacy, Reflections

How to #KonMari Our Personal Digital Archives

It’s the end of January. For many it is the realization that a new years goal, new habit, or personal objective has been met. For many, the start of a new year and new decade might even mean saying goodbye to old things that are taking up space in your life, i.e. clutter. Some of the clutter that is often overlooked are usually at our finger tips and in the cloud — digital clutter.

With more opportunities to create, capture, make, and share with emerging technologies, there are increasingly even more ways accumulate and hoard digital bits. We barely think twice about snapping multiple photos, as it is either on a digital camera and often on our mobile devices (that we have not thought about about in a while). I’ve been thinking about this issue since I left my university role last August. You would not be surprised to learn how much your life can get digital entwined and how much one person accumulates in terms of digital files, folders, projects, etc. in just one decade. Now factor in this digital mass with your personal devices (all of them), cloud-storage, and obsolete technologies you have collecting dust at home. Who knows what lies within our digital archives personally and professionally? [No really. Who knows?] Since I was studying this topic last year in INFO 5841, I thought I’d share my own research and reflection of what to do when downsizing these digital artifacts — or at least taking account and review if you actually need “these digital things” in your life anymore. #DoesItBringYouJoy

It is so easy to continually collect, hoard, and stockpile all things digital these day. There is such portability with how we carry these images, books, information, and content, that we rarely think twice about space or cleaning out these digital closets in our personal lives. Gunn (2018) defines the term personal digital archiving (PDA) as “the collection, management, and preservation of personal and family materials created in digital media,” (p. xi) such as photos, videos, documents, email, websites, and social media content. With our social media existence and how we contribute a large amount of digital content virtually, there is no doubt that our PDA contents could fill a digital abyss. With our tethered technologies, access to networking platforms, and ability to connect with others, there are more digital, social platforms collecting a growing number of written comments, image or photos, and media files (e.g. videos, music, & audio files) scattered among our email inboxes to an outdated device and even amassing real estate in the digital cloud to save it all.

Although organized, stored, and audited my my professional and scholarly life, I will need to confess I have neglected to offer any of my PDA the same attention. As a researcher and learning design consultant, it is critical to showcase and preserve the formal knowledge in academic journals, data repositories, conference presentations, and more via Google Scholar Citations, ORCID, and ResearchGate. Additionally, you can find my invited talks in SlideShare, educational video clips in YouTube, and training audio or podcasts archived on Soundcloud to offer examples of my learning experience design and consulting portfolio.  That being said, there has been very little accomplished with regards to formal wrangling of my digital footprint  outside of my career. We could all use some “life-changing magic of tidying up” (Kondo, 2014) when it comes to archiving our personal digital lives. The average American seems to thrive in digital clutter with an average of 582 pictures stored on their mobile, 83 websites bookmarked, at least 21 desktop icons, and 13 unused phone apps with almost 645 gigabytes stored on external space and between 1000 to 3000 unread emails (Booth, 2019).  These digital hoarding statistics and the European Commission’s (2017) goals to protect personal data with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, it seemed like an appropriate time to deal with PDA aspects of any forgotten online accounts, untouched social media channels, rarely used apps, and even outdated, electronic hardware and/or storage devices.  With these factors and the need to consolidate personal digital archives, it was time to figure out how to get rid of this personal digital excess and unorganized mess.

The KonMari method (Kondo, 2014) of tidying up and clearing the clutter asks one question when as you decided to keep or discard an item: “Does it brings you joy?” For the thousands or millions of virtual artifacts in our personal archives, this question might be an exhausting practice as we sift through all we have collected and curated in our digital lives. There are a number of unused accounts that need to be closed, passwords that require updates, and artifacts that need to be preserved into a usable and accessible format (Palfy, 2019). In addition to this, we have to identify the apps, accounts, web services, subscriptions, and emails that need to be purged. With this purge comes sentimental values as we consider the text messages, voicemails, emails, photos, and videos we have been holding onto – along with the accounts, websites, and apps we no longer frequent; however, all are holding space on our devices, in the cloud, and, maybe within our hearts.

 Our digital lives are continuing to scale and are ubiquitous with how we live. Beyond a digital clean up, how can we preserve our memories and mementos we are creating and contributing online, in apps, and within virtual spaces? There always seems to be more cloud storage or added space on upgraded devices, that we forget to remove personal digital archives and artifacts that may no longer serve us. Also, these digital platforms and channels allow for communities to grow, experiences and events to happen, and information to be shared across the globe. This means that PDA may also impact and influence cultural institutions, museums, library collections, and other organizations, who often have little guidance for how to guide digital preservation digital collections and/or how to best guide public outreach to offer support for their digital archiving practices among community members (NDIIPP, 2013). This could include government documents, like the recent Mueller report, or even historical events and alternative news coverage, such as the Iran elections and political uprising that surged on Twitter in 2009-2010, as the platform allowed for communication and revolutionary protests.  PDA creates an individual mountain that is difficult to climb and a rising concern among community members and our society as we try to find ways to preserve digital artifacts connected to a time, place, and group of people. Specifically, how can we archive events, experiences, news, and knowledge as it is created digitally? Additionally, as platforms, digital file types, and ways to store and access evolve, what are the best methods to archive these personal artifacts? And how can we model and help others curate their personal digital artifacts and archives for digital preservation and future access?

This is a serious endeavor and tremendous feat for most individuals, let alone any community or organization that lives in digital environments. In reviewing a comprehensive guide from the American Library Association on conducting effective a PDA practices (Marshall, 2018), there are a number of suggestions for public and community audiences, academic colleagues, and individual efforts; however, this paper will target the individual level for PDA best practices. Beyond file organization, naming conventions, and storage and back up tips, Marshall (2018) expressed her growing concerns and issues every day users will have for being able to translate, apply, and put into practice archival standards set out by the library profession as it is always evolving and it can be quite complicated. The Library of Congress established outlines a toolkit for suggestions for hosting a Personal Digital Archive Day or Event at a conference or community organization, to help users answer these complicated questions about preserving personal artifacts, such as audio, video, electronic mail, digital records, websites, blogs, social media, and transferring data or files from devices to long-term storage options. Additionally, the Library of Congress has offered continued support for addressing issues and questions for PDA on their blog, The Signal, to guide how to preserve digital memories, strategies from real-world archiving experiences, outlining of potential issues/challenges, and offering a way to connect users to institutions, learning, or outreach to support PDA practices (NDIIPP, 2013). There is no shortage of PDA storage options, data repositories, and ways to preserve your memories; however, the sentimental aspects of identifying what you want to save and deciding what is most important might slow you down as you de-clutter and organize your personal artifacts, make copies, manage PDAs in different storage locations, and make places for an annual review to ensure storage system access and/or updates.

So beyond cleaning out your closets, selling back old books, or shredding your bills or paperwork, maybe it’s time to pay attention to the digital clutter that has been accumulating over the years. How do you account for your digital artifacts? Do you spend some time organizing, reviewing, and discarding these digital items? Tell me about it — I could use some suggestions for my own review.

References

Booth, S. (2019, February 6). [KM5] How digital hoarding may be damaging your mental health. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/are-you-a-digital-hoarder 

Gunn, C. (2018). Introduction: Putting personal digital archives in context. In B. Marshall (Ed). The complete guide to personal digital archiving, (pp xi-xxii). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Kondo, M. (2014). The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.

Marshall, B. H. (2018). The complete guide to personal digital archiving. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). (2013). Perspectives on personal digital archiving. Library of Congress. Retrieved from http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/documents/ebookpdf_march18.pdf  

Palfy, S. (2019, January 26). How to “Marie Kondo” your digital life in 2019. The Next Web. Retrieved from https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2019/01/26/how-to-marie-kondo-your-digital-life-in-2019/


highered, Horizon Report

What’s On the Horizon [REPORT] for 2020?

For those of you who read the annual Horizon Report — you know that another one is around the corner. As EDUCAUSE has taken over the helm for the development of this technology forecast/guide for higher education, it has been interesting to see how this report is created as a member of the 2020 HR panel. After a few iterations of input, voting, slacking, emailing, side conversations, and exploring what is going on — it appears we have come to identify a few trends for postsecondary teaching and learning. Here are the six emerging technologies and practices for teaching and learning in higher ed identified for the next report:

  1. AI/Machine Learning Educational Applications
  2. Open Educational Resources
  3. Adaptive Learning Technologies
  4. Analytics for Student Success
  5. XR (AR/VR/MR/Haptic)
  6. Elevation of instructional design, learning engineering, & UX design in pedagogy

These will be flushed out further when the 2020 Horizon Report comes out; however, one critical piece of this document will need to include some examples and exemplars. EDUCAUSE would like to hear from you — the community — of professionals, scholars, educators, students, and more. They would like to learn about your projects or initiatives related to these six areas that best illustrate these technologies and practices in action. If you have any work from, for, and by postsecondary campus stakeholders — let EDUCAUSE know. If your institution or organization is working with any of the six (mentioned above) trending areas, I would encourage you to submit your project(s) or initiative(s) for the 2020 Horizon Report. [Pssst… you are more than welcome to submit more than one project/initiative.]

2020 Horizon Report Call: https://tinyurl.com/HR2020call

Are you piloting a new program? Do you have a research project on the topic you care to share? Or are you faculty evaluating and testing one of these emerging trends or practices? Let them know. Any initiative/project is welcome no matter what the form or stage you are at — seriously! The goal is provide readers of this report a more concrete sense of how these technologies and practices are playing out in higher education. If your work is applicable to any of the six, then you might be invited to author a post for the EDUCAUSE T&L blog Transforming Higher Ed.

Submit your work for the 2020 Horizon Report at: https://tinyurl.com/HR2020call

Deadline: December 4, 2019

Uncategorized

Learn/Perform Mixtape Podcast

As I mentioned, I am actively reviewing all things learning and performance to prepare for the first Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) exams. As I apply and interview for new opportunities, it has been fun to refresh and review theories, models, and concepts I studied in my PhD program. The CPLP shows up on a number of jobs descriptions and it seems to be sought after within industry for a number of learning design, organizational change management, and other talent development roles. To help me review all the Areas of Expertise (AOE) and sub-topics in the Association for Talent Development Competency Model, I decided to create a new podcast that focuses on workplace learning and performance called the Learn/Perform Mixtape.

Learn/Perform Mixtape – Podcast Trailer
Podcast Art for the Learn/Perform Mixtape

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE to the Learn/Perform Mixtape podcast: https://learnperform.transistor.fm/subscribe

FFor the 80+ hours of prep, I will be preparing for these exams “out loud” by writing study notes and audio commentary about what I’m reading and reviewing. Processing the concepts and concepts from the ATD Learning System: CPLP Edition + reviewing books and journals in my own library, notes, and experience as individual podcast episodes has been very helpful for me. As a podcast host/producer, I always learn so much recording, editing, reviewing, and writing up the show notes for podcast episode. Since I use Transistor.fm to host my current podcasts, I thought why not share what I’m reviewing about learning and performance for others to hear? [FYI: A subscription to the Transistor podcast hosting platform allows you to to create and manage multiple podcasts with their own RSS feeds from one single account.]

There are a number of suggestions for how to prepare for the CPLP, like in-person workshops, online courses, and creating a local CPLP study group. Knowing myself and the time that is left, I thought the best accountability for me would be to document my progress as I prepare for the CPLP Knowledge and Skills exams. I am a voracious reader and avid podcast listener, because I just I love to learn! As self-directed learner and somewhat of an autodidact, I figured it would be fun to pull back the curtain on my study techniques to share what I am learning and how I am thinking about learning/performance today. I am less concerned about how many downloads or subscribers of the pod I have. Really, the Learn/Perform Mixtape is designed to map out the 99+ sub-sections of the 10 AOE and the Foundational Global Competencies. Also, it offers me another study tool to make these concepts and topics portable and accessible later — in both audio and written format.

Are you studying for the CPLP exams? Let’s Connect! Maybe you can join me to chat about how you are preparing or even discuss one of the AOE topics for a podcast episode. If you are listening to the podcast — thanks! Let me know what you think and share some love by posting a rating/review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you subscribe! If you are getting some value or it’s helping you to improve learning and performance for your work, I also welcome gratitude/donations as this podcast is self-sponsored labor of love. Thanks!

#FemEdTech

Reflecting on #FemEdTech Voices: How To Amplify One Another

Last month, with the #FemEdTech network, I was really excited to curate and amplify some of the voices that we know in the field of educational technology — who are feminists, who are proud women, scholars, educators, learners, and more. The purpose was to tweet, retweet, and amplify those in the community and others we should maybe hear about. The rest of this reflection (written; as you can hear it all above) can be found on the femedtech.net website here. Thanks for the encouragement and support Frances, Lorna, and members of the #femedtech network.

#femedtech Challenge: We need to HEAR and SEE more audio and video voices of women in ed tech. These lists are far too share. Let’s amplify women+ in our community, this includes those who identify as women and non-binary, to share our voices! As I was curating the podcasts, episodes, interviews, panels, talks, and presentations of women+, I realized there are few of us in ed tech, specifically in higher ed, sharing audio/video presentation about our work, practice, design, research, etc. If I’m wrong, then please let me know by ADDING to this open spreadsheet #FemEdTech VOICES:

http://bit.ly/femedtechvoices

Here are a few suggestions of what YOU can ADD to the #femedtech Voices curated lists:

  1. Recommended Podcasts for the #FemEdTech Network: This tab of the spreadsheet is curating podcasts that #femedtech network might want to subscribe and listen to. Please include the podcast name, URL link where we can find or subscribe to it online, and the brief description of the pod. We would like to know about podcasts created for/and hosted by women+ involved in teaching, learning, ed tech, academia, or general issues impacting feminism. More ABOUT #femedtech network at: femedtech.net/about-femedtech/
  2. Suggested Podcast Episodes & Interviews: This tab of the spreadsheet is sharing SPECIFIC podcast episodes that the #femedtech network might want to hear. This could be an interesting interview, with a member of the #femedtech network, or perhaps a conversation/topic relevant to this community.  Please include the pod’s name, episode number and direct URL to the SPECIFIC episode. Thanks!
  3. Amplifying Your Talks, Presentation, & Panels: This tab of the spreadsheet is linking us to the audio/video archives of #femedtech presentations. This might be a conference session, workshop, webinar, keynote, panel, etc. Please include the speakers names/Twitter handles, conference/event name, title of the presentation, and link to where this presentation can be viewed (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Google Slides recording, webinar archive, etc.) Feel free to share where we can hear/watch this presentation online.

I realized my “ASK” for podcasts and presentations might be a bit more complicated and challenging. I started wondering: “Are women+ creating, making, hosting, or producing audio and video representations of our work? If not why not?” Here’s my take on the barriers for women+ are not leading with our voices:

  • No Humble Brags Given: For women, often they are too modest about their accomplishments or remain silent about the amazing work they are doing. This downplay about our practices is serving no one and does not help anyone advance in our careers. Some may claim imposter syndrome; whereas, most just don’t speak up to highlight milestones and wins on campus or within their field/discipline. Women definitely need to make ourselves heard at work. Literally.
  • There Will be Epic Fails:  You are trying new things, so there is a high chance that you will mess up, make mistakes, and will not get the results you want on the first try. You might be experimenting with new platforms, practices, and tools — but really, these failures will allow you to learn and it might even help you overcome imposter syndrome. Be prepared to not be perfectly polished, find editing audio of yourself awkward, and cringe at the physical ticks only you notice from your video presentations. We all have flaws — that’s what makes us human.  Get over it and share!
  • Developing Skills Take Time: You will need practice and dedicate TIME to get through the above failures — to eventually share your audio/video presentations. Deliberate practice over time will improve your skills. Like any craft, editing and production of audio and video does take time.  I suggest teaming up with a friend or even collaborator to learn and support your skill development, give honest feedback, and perhaps introduce you to a workflow or resource to enhance the podcasts or videos you are creating. You don’t have to do it alone! And, realize you will continue to learn and improve the art of planning, recording, and editing as you go.
  • Digital Tensions: Others have expressed concerns of “presenting” or being “seen/heard” digitally — as it increases their professional/personal anxieties and fears. It is scary to put things out there that you can’t edit (words) or augment (images/slides). Podcasts, videos, and more area digital records archived online that can be discovered, shared, and disseminated to a wider audience. By capturing moving images, verbal/non-verbal cues, and live expressions — you are open and vulnerable to others who stumble upon your work online. Audio and video has presentations not only capture your skills, knowledge, and practice — but these mediums also offer others an impression and digital trace of who you are, how you represent these ideas, and where you reside online (White & LeCornu, 2011).

All that being said, I really do want to HEAR and SEE what other women+ have to say online. I really appreciate and enjoy learning about what we are doing through podcasts, videos, and webcasts. By watching videos and hearing your voice, these mediums offer an intimate connection to you, your passions, your interests, and your ideas. These resonate and linger more for me in audio/video format — and these recorded archives allow a wider audience to stumble upon your work. Moving beyond text or flat visuals, I get some insight into your experiences and I feel a deeper connection to you!

Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking more about amplifying voices that don’t often get heard. This is why I co-host a podcast for/by women (#InVinoFab) and openly share resources for how to get started with podcasting. I hope to encourage others to think about how to “present” ourselves, skills, and knowledge digitally with more explainer blog posts, like  multimodal approaches for teaching/learning, virtual teaming for collaborating, and strategies for conducting interviews. I think explaining our process (e.g. animated explainer video creation) of HOW we create this type of audio/video work might be helpful. So, expect more posts from me that pulls back the curtain to show my process. Finally, I know my 1:1 coaching and work with professionals for conference events (e.g. Pecha Kucha talks), pitch meetings, and keynotes have been helpful as I share resources from a “technical presentation skills” course I’ve taught at the university the last few years. I hope to do a bit more of this with other peers to give them the support they need.

Are you interested in developing your digital presentation skills? Looking for a way to amplify your voice through podcasting or video talks? Let me know — I’d be happy to support and welcome your voice to the conversation online.

CPLP, HRD, Learning and Performance, Training & Development, Workplace

Getting Certified in Learning & Performance with the CPLP

For my time “between gigs” (and within contracts), I’ve decided to get certified for my work in Learning and Performance. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) provides the ATD Competency Model to outline what professionals in the industry of talent development needs to know and the relevant skills for industry.

In choosing to certify my knowledge and skills, it will require me to review and prepare for the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) exams. ATD certifies this and the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD). The CPLP is a globally recognized certification for those in the learning and performance, focused on the 10 areas of expertise (AOE):

  1. Training Delivery
  2. Instructional Design
  3. Learning Technologies
  4. Evaluating Learning Impact
  5. Managing Learning Programs
  6. Integrated Talent Management
  7. Coaching
  8. Knowledge Management
  9. Change Management
  10. Performance Improvement

These AOE’s have been part of my doctoral studies and what I’ve been teaching and researching this past decade. Since ATD confirmed my eligibility and I have a bit of time on my hands, I figured it would be an optimal time to review and prepare for the two CPLP exams that test Knowledge and Skills Application. Here are a few examples of the many (150) knowledge questions, to study for the Knowledge test:

  • Which theory of learning focuses on matching individual needs to appropriate instructional experiences and is particularly useful for helping employees adapt to changes in their work lives?
  • What are the five principles of andragogy?
  • What is an informal philosophy of teaching that focuses on what the instructor does rather than what the participants learn and usually refers to the teaching of children?
  • What is the difference between teaching and facilitating learning?

If you are interested (and maybe considering the CPLP), I will use my blog to post open “study notes” to let you know what I am reviewing. If you are interested, eligible, and have the time/resources to prepare — join me and we’ll form a digital study group. Here are 10 tips for taking the CPLP, from an ATD certified member. My goal is to work towards either the January/February 2020 exams for the CPLP Knowledge Exam and February/April 2020 for the CPLP Skills Application Exam. If you have completed the CPLP exams in the last couple of years — let me know! There has been a few updates to the I would love to gain you perspective and advice as I prepare.

mentor, mentoring, PhD, Research

Cultivating Mentoring: Peer Mentorship Matters for Doctoral Scholars

Mentoring of doctoral scholars vary between disciplines and domains of practice. Mentorship is generally seen as both a relationship and process between a minimum of two individuals seeking to share and build knowledge, expertise, and support (Williams & Kim, 2011). Mentoring occurs within informal and formal settings in terminal degree programs. Often (but not always) doctoral scholars are mentored by a faculty advisor or supervisor; however, even more are seeking mentorship from professionals, practitioners, and peers within their industry or workplace. In thinking back to your own graduate school or doctoral learning experience, who did you seek out or stubble upon for as a mentor? Where did you find professional support for your research and career plans? Who was part of your mentoring community for the work you do?

Over the past few years, I have been working with scholars and practitioners to understand how formal and informal mentoring experiences develop occupational pathways for academic writers, researchers, and higher education professionals. Traditionally, mentoring is viewed as a face-to-face, long-term relationship with interactions between an experienced colleague and a novice professional or learner to support professional, academic, or personal development of the protégé (Donaldson, Ensher, & Grant-Vallone, 2000). With emergent technologies and digital access to colleagues, this no longer needs to be the only model or experience for establishing mentoring relationships. Graduate students and early career scholars/practitioners are beginning to form peer networks to learn and thrive as they set out on their own professional paths. We can now find mentoring opportunities within our networks, communities, and areas of interest in online settings.

With the opportunity to connect to scholars and practitioners beyond geographic boundaries, time zones, and physical locations, it is possible to establish a mentoring relationship with one or many professionals/academics from afar. Also, the typical dyad of the mentoring experience is shifting as structures are evolving to support specific career goals and personal life changes. There is an increase in peer-to-peer, group, and networked mentoring opportunities. In a recent study, we wanted to know more about these digital mentoring experiences of doctoral scholars so we asked the following research questions:

  1. What type of mentoring opportunities are you involved with formally or informally to reach your personal and professional goals?
  2. What expectations and motivations did you bring to this mentoring relationship?
  3. What sort of resources, support, and kinship occurs within peer mentoring experiences in digital environments?

In exploring mentoring opportunities in-person and within digital environments, we learned most early career scholars sought out a mentor to help them with the follow areas of professional development and growth:

  • Navigating the norms, expectations, and experiences working in academia
  • Gaining career advice and guidance for planning their professional path
  • Improving or developing a particular applied skill related to scholarship (e.g. academic writing, research methods, instruction, etc.)
  • Learning from others on team-based projects, labs, or group assignments that had a shared vision, goal(s), and outcome(s)
  • Offering and receiving feedback, personal support, and professional advice from and among their peers
  • Identifying ways to communicate, virtually team, and work collaboratively from a distance

There are so many possibilities for early career scholarship mentoring, and part of this is just the beginning. I have no doubt that you might even have your own reflections or maybe research to share OR you are thinking about ways to support your graduate students. If you want to find out more about this research, I will be posting these findings and implications from this study here over the next couple of months: https://techknowtools.com/mentoring/

References:

Donaldson, S. I., Ensher, E. A., & Grant-Vallone, E. J. (2000). Longitudinal examination of mentoring relationships on organizational commitment and citizenship behavior. Journal of Career Development, 26(4), 233-249.

Williams, S. L., & Kim, J. (2011). E-mentoring in online course projects: Description of an e-mentoring scheme. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 9(2).

 

Thanks to Janet Salmons for asking me to share my reflections on these findings at #SAGEMethodSpace (https://www.methodspace.com/) you can find a version of this blog post cross-posted HERE.

Professional Development

Designing Multimodal Approaches for Learning #multimodalLX

There are so many different ways to understand a concept or learn something new. We share knowledge and communicate information in so many ways. That being said, it doesn’t often translate into how we experience “formal” learning in action in education or industry talent development. When I say multiple modes or multimodal approaches for learning, you may jump to say “learning styles have been debunked.”  This is true. There is not much evidence for said things. That being said, what is not part of the conversation is the option to offer multiple ways to meet our learners needs, preferences, or a diversity of choice for how they will learn a skills, concept, or theory.

“Pole Dynamics” by Mario Paiano is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Sadly, learning delivery, regardless of the industry or sector, rarely offers much choice/variety for learning or training.  Instruction or facilitation is commonly a lecture, presentation format with Q&A, a webinar, maybe a workshop with some activity, or some other typical face-to-face experience. Not surprisingly, there seems to be even fewer instructional approaches when the pedagogy becomes digital (i.e. online, blended, hybrid learning environments). If the goal is to reach our diverse learners, their individual needs, and perhaps their preferences — then sadly, we learning professionals could do better for how to design, deliver, and format learning experiences.

I started thinking about this as I prepped for an online workshop I’ll be facilitating next week on this topic: Designing Multimodal Approaches. As I was editing the modules and developing this introduction, I decided to intentionally model this with my own design. I wanted to engage, construct their own knowledge, and offer a personal way to learn from the start.

Here’s the what mulitmodal artifacts/learning objects I created to represent and communicate the theory of modes of meaning (Kalantzis, Cope, Chan, & Dalley-Trim, 2016) in multiple contexts:

Audio & Oral Meanings

Communication with music, ambient sounds, noises, alerts, hearing & listening and as a form of live or recorded speech, presentation, etc.

MULTIMODAL CREATE: Soundcloud audio recording and screencast with Camtasia of a slide deck with voice over plus ambient music. Audio grabbed simultaneously with Audio Hijack software while recording the screencast.

Writing & Reading Meanings

Textual: writing, notes, reading, reflections, journals, etc.

MULTIMODAL CREATE: Text presented in the slide deck + written instructions on the screen PLUS a full transcript as PDF file available for download from Dropbox,  and text format by sending my audio recording to otter.ai — then editing this transcript with links, e.g. https://otter.ai/s/HCmFi2ZcTRKdQgXgH7TeiQ Beyond these text versions, I also added this transcript to the Closed Captions on the YouTube video and edited it for timing accuracy.

Visual Meanings

Making still and video images. Similar to the “audio & oral” meanings, there are so many learning tools I have been tinkering with to make this visual for learning and to explain my process for research, design, etc.

MULTIMODAL CREATE: I decided to source some CC-BY photos, layout my slides and tabs on my screen, and develop a video with these still images and screen directions moving my mouse around the course, to different tabs, etc. to review the course resources.

Spatial, Tactile, & Gestural Meanings

Positioning oneself in relation to others; Making experiences of things that can be felt; and Communicating through movements of the body, facial expressions, eye-movement, demeanor, style, etc.

MULTIMODAL CREATE: This one can be a bit more challenging in a digital environment; however, I decided to “bring in” my learners by building a rapport, sharing a bit about how I approach multimodal learning in my work, and offer them my personal interests and ideas by scrolling through my Instagram page images, sharing about the podcasts I produce/host, and telling them about the #femedtech network I’m curating this week. Although my learners will not see my physical gestures on this video/screencast, they are able to get a feel for who I am, how I relate to their learning objectives of the workshop, and what experiences I hope we can share as we work on multimodal approaches together.

The things that are not said about designing a multimodal approach for learning, that should be noted:

  1. It takes some creative planning to identify how you can offer learning content in multiple modes and formats, specifically to reach your learning outcomes/goals in a course.
  2. Multimodal levels the playing field — it allows for Universal Design for Learning, accessibility, portability, and choice for how learners can participate.
  3. Multimodal approaches for learning REQUIRES TIME to do it well — so start small. Try re-designing or creating at ONE learning activity, object, or aspect of a course you are instructing.

Do you have advice and suggestions for multimodal approaches for learning design?

Let me know! Over the next week, I have no doubt you will see me tweeting about this workshop using the hashtag #multimodalLX. I strongly encourage and welcome YOUR suggestions, resources, and advice for how to design digital learning experiences in a variety of modes and format.

Reference:

Kalantzis, M., Cope, B., Chan, E., & Dalley-Trim, L. (2016). Literacies, 2nd Ed. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press