Extending Time of Study

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Contents

Module Summary

Online learning sequences—whether from digital learning objects (like videos or simulations or interactive objects) or online courses or collaborative assignments—are necessarily limited. They are designed for a particular time period, and then, the learning is over. Oftentimes, it can be beneficial for learners to extend their time of study related to the particular topic. This module explores what “time of study” is and how it may be extended responsibly.

Takeaways

Learners will...

  • consider what “time of study” is for a particular learning sequence
  • review some benefits to extending the formal or required time of study
  • conceptualize some strategies for extending the time of study; consider how much official supervision will be provided during the extended time of study
  • review some considerations for the design of extended time of study
  • consider some possible benefits to learners by having an extended time of study around a particular topic


Module Pretest

1. What is understood as the “time of study” for a particular learning sequence (digital learning object, online course, or other sequence)?

2. What are some benefits to extending the formal or required “time of study”?

3. What are some strategies for extending the time of study? How much official supervision will there be during the extended time of study?

4. What are some considerations in the design of extended time of study?

5. What are some possible benefits to learners for extended time of study for a particular topic?


Main Contents

1. What is understood as the “time of study” for a particular learning sequence (digital learning object, online course, or other sequence)?

A learning object contains “a unit of learning” that may be consumed over a general range of time. While it may take some learners more / less time than others, the finiteness of a learning object means that the time invested into learning from it will be limited. This time limitation applies to non-credit learning as well as credit-based learning.


2. What are some benefits to extending the formal or required “time of study”?

If a learner extends the time of study, he or she can theoretically acquire deeper knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) in the particular domain or field. While a college instructor has a particular set time period during the length of a term to interact with and support a learner, he or she may extend the time of study for the learner (if the learner is willing to invest more time and effort beyond the length of formal study).


3. What are some strategies for extending the time of study? How much official supervision will there be during the extended time of study?

There are a number of strategies for extending the time of study. One common one is for the faculty member to continue the professional tie with the learner. Student clubs, based on learning, may help extend the learning in a formal way under the purview of the university or college.

There are ways to tap the resources in the environment. For example, appropriate online learning resources may be shared with the learner. Or suitable online learning communities may be introduced to the learner. Or subject matter experts (SMEs) may be introduced to the learner.

The level of official supervision for the extended time of study will vary depending on the context. For novice learners, the more structured support there is, the better.


4. What are some considerations in the design of extended time of study?

Practically, there are various considerations in the design of extended time of study.

A critical one is the fit to the particular learner. Follow-on learning sequences should be within the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) for the particular learner, so that he or she is not frustrated and can benefit from the learning.

The source of the online learning—whether it is a digital learning object (DLO) or massive open online course (MOOC) or something else—should be accurate. It should promote accurate learning for the learner (to avoid mis-learning). The host organization of the online learning should also be a stable and supported resource, so it will last into time…and be a solid “go-to.”

The learning experience should be accessible and friendly.


5. What are some possible benefits to learners for extended time of study for a particular topic?

The learner can acquire new insights on a domain; new learning skills; digital objects for their portfolios; and digital badges and credit. The learner may become aware of additional resources: podcasts, video series, books, and other resources, to enhance their learning. They may discover online learning communities and co-learners, who may be supportive of their learning.

Examples

How To

The point of extending the “time of study” for online learners is to advance their knowledge, skills, and abilities, in a particular subject area.

It seems to be a good idea to know learners sufficiently well to support their particular learning ambitions and to help them fill gaps in their knowledge, skills, and abilities (or “KSAs”).

Instructors may begin with an environmental scan to find out what is available in the world to support the learning. Some of these resources may be free or low-cost. Others may be for-cost but worth it…

They can look for online learning communities that may support the learner in his / her learning track.

They can identify subject matter experts (SMEs) who can benefit the learners in their learning.

They can offer themselves to support the learner, in order to extend their time of study.

These are some beginning ideas, and there are many other reasonable approaches as well.

Possible Pitfalls

This module is generally about mapping paths forward for learners outside the purview and support of the original instructor. This work involves conducting an environmental scan to find what resources are available in the particular topic and supporting learners in transitioning to using these other resources. This effort may also include supporting learners into connecting with other learning groups and being supported by other subject matter experts (SMEs) in the field.

Some risks include the following:

  • Publicly available learning objects may not be available into the near-future.
  • The quality of the sites may also change over time.
  • Learners may be encouraged to find their own resources online and may go off-track and acquire inaccurate learning. These other sources may be in direct conflict with already achieved learning. (Conflictual information is not necessarily negative if the learners are capable of vetting the new and old information…and of applying critical thinking to these works.)

If possible, it is a good idea to maintain contact with the learner, if he or she wants to, and to support his / her learning.

Module Post-Test

1. What is understood as the “time of study” for a particular learning sequence (digital learning object, online course, or other sequence)?

2. What are some benefits to extending the formal or required “time of study”?

3. What are some strategies for extending the time of study? How much official supervision will there be during the extended time of study?

4. What are some considerations in the design of extended time of study?

5. What are some possible benefits to learners for extended time of study for a particular topic?


References

Extra Resources