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EDTEC 540 Online Instructors' Job Aid for Fostering Learner Engagement
Related Artifacts:
Performance Analysis; Job Aid Design Report
Go to EDTEC 540 Assignments website

In EDTEC 540: Educational Technology, I designed and developed a job aid using The Handbook of Job Aids for guidance. In an accompanying report, I detailed what, why and how I created the job aid and report on the initial results of the pilot test.

Project Description

The assignment required students to introduce context for requiring a job aid, conduct an analysis, define objectives for using the job aid, and work out with a job aid.

Since distance education has been my interest of study, I decided to select a topic in that domain. I searched over ERIC and the Internet and found many discussions about online teacher development. Many articles proposed that training programs for pre-service online teachers were the best solutions for preparing teachers to teach online. Positive results were reported when comparing teacher performances before and after training. However, it's often that knowledge would be forgotten not very long after training. How can knowledge and skills learned from training programs be sustained? The idea of designing job aids for online teachers came to me.

Since online teaching involved a wide range of topics, I narrowed down my scope to focus on group online activity processing. My goal was to design an easy-to-read and easy-to-memorize object that contains principles and techniques for facilitating an online discussion. The object should be able to be pinned on the wall or carried in a pocket. I follow the following processes to create the job aid:
  1. Reviewing the literature to find what previous studies had said about assistance that the new online teachers need;
  2. Defining objectives for my job aid: how I wanted my audiences to benefit from it;
  3. Sketching a concept map to categorize ideas I gathered from literature and other ideas I learned from my practices into groups;
  4. Selecting a format that was similar to the checklist for my job aid;
  5. Choosing web pages as the media for displaying the job aid ;
  6. Developing the job aid;
  7. Pilot testing the job aid;
  8. Creating a questionnaire on SurveyMonkey and conduct a survey; and
  9. Revising the job aid based on survey results.

Demonstrating Processes Standard

I followed guidelines provided by The Handbook of Job Aids and have demonstrated mastery of processes standard: " Understand processes such as change, design, development, and learning". Each process was linked with the other processes. The design of the job aid was based on previous performance analysis results, and the format of the job aid was chosen based on the flowchart given in The Handbook. In the meantime, my steps for developing the job aid complianed with the processes of the ADDIE model.

Problems & Opportunities Encountered

The first major problem I encountered while completing the job aid was to define gaps between the ideal and the actual situation. Data collected from ten prospective audiences were not able to cover all aspects of what new online teachers would need for help. With that limitation, previous studies became the important sources from which I would gather user requirements. It was not very easy to have collected literature that gave out useful information. I looked for clues in the reading materials from previous courses I had taken from EDTEC; I searched over several databases such as ERIC; and I asked experts in the field for recommendations.

The second major problem came almost at the same time as the first one. The problem was, "How could I know that I have considered everything that an online teacher might need from a job aid?" Was there a scheme for categorizing data collected? After reading many articles, I finally decided to use Berge's four areas of necessary conditions for online moderators as the coding scheme.

On the other hand, completing the assignment provided me with opportunities to:
  • Practice the newly learned performance technology skills;
  • Re-consider the basic issues regarding distance education such as competencies of online teachers, the changes in roles of teachers while transferring classroom teaching to online teaching, etc.

  • Lessons Learned

    Following lessons gained from completing the assignment include:
  • Academic conclusions should derive from theories and evidences. I could not decide the needs of a new online teacher if I did not review the findings from previous research.
  • Developing job aids are creative tasks. It would be helpful to learn from other people’s creations when drafting your own ideas. When I was creating diargrams for my job aids, I tried quite a few ideas. Some of the ideas were my innovation, others were derived from diagrams found on the Internet. The process helped me finalize my design.
  • Taking advantage of free online services such as basic accounts for OfficeLive and SurveyMonkey could save tremendous effort for developing job aids.