Project Management: Resources

project-management-1200x565

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/

Advertisements

Communicating Effectively: 3 Modalities

hypermedia

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

medical_cartoon_postmortem

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

giphy

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