eLearning Conversion

I think I found a little gem in the HLM, or Hybrid Learning Model, as part of my postgrad elearning studies at the Open University. What is interesting is that when I first saw it, I didn’t think about learning design, its primary purpose most likely – I thought about elearning conversion.

What is the HLM? It’s a tool developed by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Ulster (http://addl.ulster.ac.uk/odl/hybridlearningmodel). It provides a language for describing learner interactions (what they describe as learning events) through flash cards. Because the vocabulary stems from just 8 learning events, it is simple to assign one of the events to each activity within a course, then go deeper into what the exact interaction would look like.

Wait… was this about elearning conversion?

Certainly. Picture this: there is a very successful course that was designed for classroom delivery. So successful in fact that you have now been asked to convert the course into a viable elearning solution.

Where to start? The course design documents, of course. But there’s more good news: Like many successful courses created in the corporate space, this one developed incrementally from a slide deck and particularly polished presentation by a bright individual who no longer works at the company. Design documents? No such thing, the course evolved through multiple iterations into what it is today without leaving a document trail.

No need to panic – the HLM can be used to “reverse engineer” any course by decomposing it into learning events. The model provides resources to create a mapping or script that describes each activity, succinctly enough to require little time, but accurately enough to capture how learners interact throughout the course.

Nice, but why would we need that?

Yes, why bother, when it’s a simple matter of encapsulating the course into a PowerPoint, flash, web or other video/audio container? The reason is that by “canning” a successful classroom course, I am almost sure we’ll be canning its future success too. Learning is about interaction. And no, those brief interactive assessments at the end of each canned course module are not interaction – if in doubt, ask a Gen Y learner.

It’s Web 2.0 out there. When thinking about elearning conversion, we must look beyond learner-computer interaction and some simple form of summative assessment. A successful classroom course deserves a close look at how learners interact with the material, the instructor, and other learners. The key to its success lies partly on the content, partly on those interactions. An elearning conversion should successfully translate learner interaction by harnessing the many tools available in a Web 2.0 space, and this is where the HLM model may come handy. With millennial learners, it is no longer a matter of video, sound, and a few clicks to check knowledge.

The Hybrid Learning Model can be found at http://addl.ulster.ac.uk/odl/hybridlearningmodel.


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