Analyzing Scope Creep

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                                             (As cited in Sehgal, 2017)

For review sake. What is project scope? “Project scope is the set of tasks, goals, deliverables, costs, and deadlines determined by the involved parties in the planning of a project.” (Burger, 2015) And Scope creep is essentially what happens when uncontrolled changes affect the scope of a project. (Sotak, 2011)

So, a few years back my mother bought a house and it needed major remodeling before it was ready to be lived in. The contractor worked out a “budget and timeframe” of when he believed things would be accomplished. To break it down the major fixes included:

  • Knocking down a wall (to open the kitchen space)
  • Replace tile and carpeting (both upstairs and downstairs)
  • Remodel Fireplace
    • Replace brick with stone
  • Install new kitchen cabinets and fixtures
  • Replacing light fixtures
  • Install bathroom cabinets and fixtures (total of 3 bathrooms)
    • Shower
    • Sinks
    • toilet
  • Paint interior
  • Remodel Garage
    • Take down workbench
    • Paint cement

Again, together my mother and the contractor (who by the way was more of a freelancer) spoke agreed upon a budget and timeframe that these things were to be completed by so that she could leave the house she was renting and move in. He guaranteed that she could move in in about a month and half’s time. Stating that not everything will be accomplished but at least you can begin to move things in. Placing all her trust in the contractor she said ok sounds great. Let’s just say he underestimated and over promised. Because she was not able to even semi-live in the house until three months of the promised time. And to speed up the process the contractor thought it was a good idea to hire extra help without first discussing it with my mother. So, know not only did she not move in the house in the time promised but know he has increased the budget by hiring outside help.  And those truly were the main issues overpromising and not delivering. Costing my mother both time and money.

However, if she were to do it all over again I would strongly advise her to properly define, document and control the scope of the project. She sort of left things in his hands only checking every now and then. By properly scoping the project they could have avoided many of these issues. And start the project with the best possible cost and time estimates while accurately assessing priorities. (Sotak, 2011)

 

 

References

Burger, R. (2015). 3 Ways to Prevent Scope Creep During a Construction Project. Retrieved from https://blog.capterra.com/prevent-scope-creep-construction-project/

Sehgal, S. (2017). Poor Project Scope Management Practices could lead to Project Failure. Retrieved from https://www.simplilearn.com/poor-project-scope-management-practices-article

Sotak, J. (2011). Old House Newbies: Renovation Scope Creep. Retrieved from http://www.oldhouseweb.com/blog/renovation-scope/

Budget Costs and Resource Plan

 

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(Adams, 2009)

These resources are for those seeking information on how to begin a project plan and what steps are deemed necessary to include in such project plans. Mostly these resources are informative and geared more toward novices in search of better understanding/knowledge of the overall processes involved when creating and executing successful projects.

  1. How to create a perfect Project Plan
    1. This resource by Rastogi explains the many variables involved with creating a project. It further goes to define what a project is and the varies entities needed to make it succeed. I do like the source includes a few sample images/templates of certain tasks like creating a project charter, WBS, and communication plan.

 

  1. Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design
    1. This article focuses on estimating costs and time for ID projects. It further goes on to explain how estimating costs vary depending on 1. The nature of the project and 2. How close you are with stakeholders (communication). Clark explains that when using the “ISD model performing evaluations throughout the various phases and using the feedback to adjust the program for the desired results is what estimating costs and resources is all about.” (Clark, 2015) Using an eLearning development program as a guide he showcases the various elements and considerations needed to execute a project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Adams, S. (2009). Dilbert by Scott Adams. Retrieved from http://dilbert.com/comic/Budget%20Estimate

Clark, D. (2015). Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html

Rastogi, A. (2017). How to create a perfect Project Plan: A step by step guide. Retrieved from https://www.greycampus.com/blog/project-management/10-steps-to-create-a-project-plan

Project Management: Resources

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During my research of resources that can be useful in planning Instructional Design projects or any project for that matter. I came across a downloadable book called  Project Management.PM Books

The book discusses many aspects of project management. Including “process of initiation, planning, execution, control, and closeout that all projects share.” (Watt, 2014) The chapters are relatively short as they guide learners to focus on basic principles. What I liked about this book is that it was assessible everywhere as it is free and downloadable but featured many helpful aids. The book is equipped with various styles that may suit different types of learners. Under the contents page in the Back-Matter tab there are several files on each chapter. The files feature chapters in the form of PowerPoint, audio, and chapter questions. Because I am new to project management as far as structural components and overall breakdown of things such as budget, scheduling, and resource allocations I think this is a wonderful first step in getting acquainted with the material. It has examples like how to create a Work Structure Breakdown.

Another source I came across during my research was a product known as smartsheet SmartSheet.

“Smartsheet is designed to unleash the benefits of greater work agility and collaboration by providing a powerful platform for organizations to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work. Smartsheet empowers teams to execute with speed and accountability – and make better decisions, faster.” (SmartSheet.com, 2005) While this resource is a bit more involved than the last one. The page it led me to known as the The Definitive Guide to Project Scheduling provided some great tips and helpful insights on the process. Providing information such as the benefits, overview, and comparisons such as project scheduling vs work breakdown structure. The page also includes resources, best and important tips to project scheduling. While this guide is free. The services that Smartsheet provide are not. Apart from the guide the site offers it product and services to create easier communication with stakeholders, prioritize tasks and activities, schedule and manage overall project process. The site also offers consultation, training, videos, and support from other sources (articles, blogs, community forums). I do think this would be a great resource for organizational purposes.

 

References

Smartsheet.com. (2005). The Definitive Guide to Project Scheduling. Retrieved from https://www.smartsheet.com/definitive-guide-project-scheduling

Watt, A. (2014). Project Management. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/chapter/chapter-10-project-schedule-planning-project-management/

Communicating Effectively: 3 Modalities

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Communication occurs when signals carry information-bearing messages between a source (or sender) and a destination (or receiver). (Krauss, 2002) Communication has changed much over the years and has come to include various methods to interchange information through modes of text, audio, and video and continues to evolve as technology and social media grow. But no matter what medium we choose to convey our messages “the selection of a medium can have a drastic impact on both the efficiency of your communication and the interpretation of your message.” (DeMers, 2015)

For example, in the “Art of Effective Communication” three modes of communication are presented; email, voicemail, and face-to-face. The selection of medium plays a small but significant role in how a message is relayed. After careful reflection of the “Art of Effective Communication” my overall interpretation of each modality presented; email, voicemail, and face-to-face did not change what was being communicated. The sender in this case Jane wanted the receiver Mark to understand the importance of sharing information to conclude her report. However, in each example used to deliver the message the tone was the only thing I felt changed how I perceived the message to come across (polite, angry, demanding, etc.…). The tone of voice I felt did resonate differently from the email versus the voicemail and face-to-face. In the email I thought the tone was somewhat demanding and could be misconstrued as pointing the finger in a sense. As Jane’s work was contingent on Mark getting the data/report over to her. Where as the voicemail and face-to-face conversation there was the same urgency to receive the information needed however, the voice element provided a more clam and less demanding tone than the email counterpart. “Mastering effective communication is not necessarily done by improving one’s message but rather by improving the delivery of the message. “(DeMers, 2015)

 

 

 

 

References

DeMers, J. (2015). Communication in 2015: Text, Voice, Video or InPerson. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/communication-in-2015-text-voice-video-or-in-person.html

Krauss, R. (2002). The Psychology of Verbal Communication. Retrieved from http://www.columbia.edu/~rmk7/PDF/IESBS.pdf

Laureate Education. (n.d.). The Art of Effective Communication. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html

Learning From A Project: Post Mortem

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During my third year as an undergrad I was taking a class in operations management and my group and I were tasked with assessing different methods and processes involved in manufacturing plants or warehouse. It has been many years since I participated in this assignment, so I do not recall the specific company we were studying at the time. However, at the end of the project we presented a seemingly decent project that dove into many variables including if the company was efficient, how they ensured quality, how the eliminate waste, and what methods/processes can be improved.

Adapting the post mortem to that final project I realized that while we did accomplish our goal in delivering a top down breakdown of the innerworkings of the company followed by some methods that could be incorporated to improve other processes and eliminate waste (time & resources). The most frustrating portion was communication within the group. As we each took a portion to cover we never checked in or communicated during the process to see if we were all on track. I believe we met only once during the entire project which was used only to discuss what portion of the project we were to incorporate and assign work that was to be done individually. Looking back I do believe that had we at least communicated online during the project things could have gone a lot smoother and there would be no need for second guessing what material to cover. Specifying a timeline would have also been a great help as I believe we all worked to the last minute even though the project was submitted on time it would have been beneficial in the review process. Only one member was given all the pieces of the project and we all sort of put our faith that they would deliver a quality project. If we had successfully created a timeline we would have ample time to see how the project was going and what the final deliverable looked like before submitting it in. In the end the project did meet the basic standards set forth by the professor but failed to be refined. While our project was successful in that we did not fail the process of delivering it could have gone smoother.

Reflection: Perception on Distance Learning

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Reflection: Perceptions on Distance Learning

“The traditional delivery system for higher education has been a classroom setting with a professor giving a lecture and students listening and writing notes. Interaction between the professor and student has been viewed as an essential learning element within this arrangement. However, innovations in educational delivery mechanisms have challenged this paradigm.” (O’Malley, 1999) Before I truly understood the challenges, complexities and benefits distance education can offer. My only understanding was that distance education was a form in which to complete my studies away from the classroom providing me flexibility to balance life activities such as family, work, and other social responsibilities. However, I had no real insights as to when or why online programs were developed. Or how the advances of technology have altered and improved the way in which learning systems are delivered. Or most recently how others valued and perceived online learning. It is only through research, application, and practice that my perception and value towards distance education has changed. If only through practice and research is how my opinion changed then how would instructors and students feel about online learning who have not undergone such practices.

In an article by Hannay and Newvine (2006) they shared the mixed perceptions found in both instructors and students in regard to online learning:

  • “When comparing attitudes of instructors and students it was found that instructors had conflicting attitudes about distance education. While there were willing to teach a distance learning class, they rated the courses as equal or lower in quality than traditional courses taught on campus.”
  • “Students on the other hand were highly satisfied with these instructors and distance courses taught.”

Further exploration discovered that student satisfaction can be influenced by positive perceptions toward technology and autonomous learning modes. Skill level and motivation also play a role in how students or instructors may react to online learning environments. (Hannay, 2006)

As a future instructional designer, creating positive experiences for learners is essential while meeting the parameters of the development process. Factors such as “flexibility, cost-effectiveness, electronic research availability, ease of connection, and a well-designed interface” are all proponents from a design aspect that can influence perceptions of online education. (Yang, 2004) Instructors who utilize such platforms can also play a vital role in creating positive experiences for learners. Proper feedback, support, self-regulation/self-motivation, communication, and collaborative/differentiated instructional methods can alter and improve online instructional practices. (Yang 2004)

“Developing and designing effective learning environments is an activity that involves solving complex problems and applying multiple constraints to produce an optimized solution for a specific situation.” (Mayer, 2014) It is through these interactions and innovations that educational mechanisms have challenged and transformed what is possible in a classroom.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the various complexities, challenges, and benefits of distance education is essential to the future of online learning. As instructional designers being mindful of such complexities is essential, so the core of essential material is salient to the learner. (Mayer, 2014) Evaluating strengths and weaknesses as well as benefits/drawbacks of teaching and online learning are necessary components to improve and shape distance education. And If we continue down this path I do believe that there is a brighter future ahead for distance learning that will no longer be questioned or challenged for its quality, rigor, or value.

 

References

Hannay, M., Newvine, T. (2006) Perceptions of Distance Learning: A Comparison of Online and Traditional Learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2 (1). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/documents/MS05011.pdf

Mayer, R., E. (2014) The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. [MBS Direct] Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781139985543/

O’Malley, J., McCraw, H. (1999). Students Perceptions of Distance Learning, Online Learning and the Traditional Classroom. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 2(4). Retrieved from https://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/U_WGA_US/J990000M.pdf

Yang, Y. Cornelius, L. (2004). Students’ Perceptions towards the Quality of Online Education: A Qualitative Approach. Annual Proceedings. 1, 861-877. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED485012.pdf

Converting to a Distance Learning Format

 

teaching-online-21nizt3

During the planning process of an instructional environment. “It should be viewed as a system, a relationship among and between all the components of that system – the instructor, the learners, the material, and the technology.” (Simonson, 2014) Creating a blended learning format is not simply integrating parts of pre-existing course material to the web; but involves developing engaging and challenging activities suited for an online environment to supplement face-to-face activities. (University of Wisconsin, 2012) Identifying critical elements of learning and teaching will be important components in the construction of a blended learning environment. Below are a few considerations to review when converting to a distance learning format:

Converting to Blended Format 1

Converting to Blended Format 2

References

BlendedLearning Toolkit. (n.d.). Building your course. Retrieved from https://blended.online.ucf.edu/process/building-your-course/

College DuPage. (n.d.). Learning Technologies: An Introduction to Hybrid Teaching. Retrieved from http://www.codlearningtech.org/PDF/hybridteachingworkbook.pdf

Dashaw, B., & Lee, R. (2011). Designed learner interactions in blended course delivery. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 15(1), 68-76.

Hanna, D. (2012). Instructor Guide: Converting course to blended format. Retrieved from https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/instructional/instructor_guide_hybrid.pdf

Laureate Education. (Producer). (n.d.). Theory and distance learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education. (Producer). (n.d.). Planning and designing online courses [Video File] Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Simonson, M. (2014). Teaching and Learning at a Distance. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#books/9781623968007/

University of Wisconsin Milwaukie. (2012). Hybrid courses: Faculty resources. Retrieved from http://www4.uwm.edu/ltc/hybrid/faculty_resources/advantages.cfm

Vanderpool, T. (2012). Blended Learning Conversion list. Retrieved from https://vandylb6.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/blended-learning-checklist5.pdf

Evolution of Distance Learning

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Take a journey with me to a time where distance learning was nothing more than a one-sided communicative tool but has now evolved to a world-wide interactive phenomenon. And whether you know it as distance learning, distance education, e-learning or online education the principles remain the same. It is a method in which teacher and students do not meet in a traditional classroom during instruction but use various technologies to facilitate student-teacher and student-student communication. (Simonson & Berg, n.d.)  Even with humble beginnings distance learning has vastly changed the way we communicate and learn. With each new technological advance came new platforms to share and store information. From radio and television broadcasts which didn’t allow for student-teacher or student-student communication to now video conferencing, virtual classrooms, and mobile devices that allow interactions to and from vast regions around the world. The journey of emerging technologies coupled with the growing demands by industry, government, and military have been pushed distance learning to new levels of social, economic, and collaborative means. Providing tools that “bridge intellectual, cultural, and social differences between students.” (Simonson & Berg, n.d.)

“The connection of learners, teachers, and instructional resources become less dependent of physical proximity and communication systems become more sophisticated and widely available.” (Simonson & Berg, n.d.) As a student I have been fortunate enough to see these changes in online learning. Being a student in a small and private high school often providing certain courses proved to be challenging as they needed to find teachers with the right credentials and similar values who were willing to teach at the low end of the paying scale. When that was not possible they began looking for alternatives.

And thus, Video Education was introduced. Due to how long it was I cannot remember the name of the program. However, looking back I can recall that the materials included a telephone capable of calling in and interactive buttons to answer multiple choice questions. While the attempt of interaction was there it was still incomplete and very one sided. The chances of being picked when calling in where miniscule and any question we had about the lesson fell on deaf ears. But on the positive it did make the students collaborate in order to figure it out, but the downfall was that we may all interpret the information in a different manner. And as a result, this alternative was quickly removed as it did not “bridge the gap between that bridge intellectual, cultural, and social differences between students.” (Simonson & Berg, n.d.) Luckily this was not my only interaction with distance learning. It was only during my college years that I was able to fully embrace what online education had to offer. With a new fully online platform I was able to complete assignments, interact with peers and teachers, and complete quizzes or examinations. Through incorporated tools such as digital reading materials, e-mail, discussion forums, and test-taking functionality. My college online experience was vastly different from my high school years due to the interaction component. Interaction and the ability to work where and when I choose where other components that aided in my success.

The adoption of theories, leadership, and direction are essential tools for distance learning. Meeting the needs of both learners and institutions to provide a broad range of educational purposes and experiences. (Garrison, 2000) The journey of distance learning has been an amazing one. Moving beyond the primitive one-sided broadcast model to a “social, collaborative, personalized and interactive experience that generates mutually reinforcing success.” (as cited in Admin, 2014)

As the future of education is ever changing and evolving my hopes for online education is as Shearer states in his article Four Evolving Trends that May Shape the Future of Distance Education, “ultimately what we must stay focused on is that this is about learning; it is about changing our mental model and helping learners challenge existing ideas and expand their views of the disciplines and the world, and it is about access and success. The regulations, technologies and the rest are in support of these goals.” (Shearer, 2015)

Huesca MindMap

 

 

References

Admin. (2014). The Evolution of Distance Learning. Florida National University. Retrieved from https://www.fnu.edu/evolution-distance-learning/

Garrison, R. (2000). Theoretical Challenges for Distance Education in the 21st Century: A Shift from Structural to Transactional Issues. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 1(1), 1-17.

Shearer, R. (2015, January 12). Four Evolving Trends that May Shape the Future of Distance Education. The EvoLLLution. Retrieved from https://evolllution.com/opinions/evolving-trends-shape-future-distance-education/

Simonson, M., & Berg, G. A. (n.d.). Distance Learning. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/distance-learning

A Learning Reflection

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I have been provided with a great deal of insight and guidance in understanding how learning theories and strategies enhance the learning process. Understanding the nature of a learner and how they approach tasks. How to build adequate educational platforms that provide and include meaningful goals, positive reinforcement, and learning strategies. Each concept building upon the other and providing information and support on how to access and obtain knowledge. What surprised me the most as I furthered my knowledge on these concepts was understanding the role that each theory played in the process of learning and its impact on transforming and creating curriculum. Concepts such as constructivism, behaviorism, and connectivism are simply tools that provided insight to achieve instructional goals and nurture effective learners. These developments provide engagement, strategies, and principles so that learners may be motivated and inspired to engage in a deeper learning experience.

However, the further I explored each new concept the more apparent it appeared to me that each learner is complex and unique. And while each theory or model represents a portion of how they learn, understand, and process information no one model can properly account for the vast spectrum that is learning. For as learners we learn from various sources and networks either enabled by the environment, our social encounters, or the technology we use. Each of which cultivates successful learning by consistency of implementations, creations, and community.

Conclusion

Throughout this course, I have studied a great deal on theories, styles, and processes of learning. And what I have taken away is that “learning” is not one thing but multi-facetted and offers many schools of thought that can broaden, stimulate or reinforce understanding and learning. (Kerr, 2007) And as I broaden my knowledge in the field of Instructional Design I will know that every learner is unique and requires an equally unique and dynamic set of talents, behaviors, and systems to operate and succeed. Whilst taking the best from each philosophy and using it wisely to create solid educational experiences for our learners. (Kerr, 2007)

And as I continue this journey my hopes are that I help provide a positive and learning culture that inspires innovation and change in both myself and others.

 

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References

Kerr, B. (2007). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved from http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html.

Fitting the Pieces Together

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Fitting the Pieces together. Learning by strategy, learning by theory and learning by styles. It is important to note that these learning processes are not the same. They each provide their unique insight in how learners gain understanding. In Enquiry-Based Learning by the University of Birmingham key concepts to denote are that in Learning Theories: ‘students are as empty vessels waiting to be filled’ by or through; (behavioral learning); cognitive engagement (cognitive learning); active construction of knowledge (constructivist learning). Whereas, learning strategies and learning styles: are simply that students learn in many different ways dependent on their personality, cognitive processes and previous learning experiences.” (Enquiry-Based Learning, n.d., p.1)

The more concepts I explore within the learning process the more tools and resources I see that aid our learning. At the beginning of this learning adventure I believed simply that I was a “visual learner”. But truly had no backing/information for what that really meant. Am I a visual learner, sure but aren’t we all to some degree. Visual learning is but the use of images, maps, or graphic organizers. It is a preferred method of mine as it influences my learning but it is not the only method that influences my learning. My eyes, ears, smell, and touch are all integral pieces to my learning they are systems that allow information to be absorbed, processed, comprehended and retained to later be utilized. From a theoretical standpoint, I learn through cognition by engaging in creative thinking or problem-solving. From a constructivist view I learn by creating meaning from my own experiences. By living in a digital world, I now have technological resources at my disposal that also aid in my learning. It is with technology that I can build networks and expand my knowledge. It is what I use to research, develop understanding, brainstorm, or contribute knowledge. For example, YouTube. It is a place where I can see and hear complex concepts be broken down in a manner that is relevant to me.

It is with all these theories and styles that I have come to understand that, “The study of learning is not simply an academic exercise; it is of critical importance to both the individual and society.” (Ormorod, n.d., p.1) Building networks and gaining strategies serve both individuals and society as it allows growth and new perspectives. Understanding that we all create and perceive information in a way that is uniquely our own. It is therefore, important to take into consideration the various learning experiences and accommodate the learning theories, strategies, and styles accordingly to serve a diversity of learners. And with willingness to open our minds and allow for new attitudes and intellectual capital will make all the difference in how we approach learning and how we are to interpret it to create meaningful learning environments.

 

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(as cited in Kaiser Science, 2015)

References

 

Enquiry-Based Learning. (n.d.). University of Birmingham. Retrieved from https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/cladls/edudev/documents/public/ebl/journey/learning-theories.pdf

Ertmer, P.A., & Newby, T.J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71.

Kaiser Science. (2015). Retrieved from https://kaiserscience.wordpress.com/about/special-education/

Ormrod, J.E., Schunk, D.H., kGredler, M.E. Learning Theories and Instruction XML Vital Source ebook for Laureate Education, 1st Edition. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from

https: //mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781256289302