20 Facts About the Impact of E-Learning

The article was published on March 23, 2015 – little bit outdated but still with valuable stats. Article excerpt and link:

Online learning has become one of the fastest-growing industries in education technology, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

The availability of mobile devices on campuses has drastically changed the playing field for e-learning. By 2020, the global mobile-learning market is on track to reach $37.8 billion, according to a new infographic from TalentLMS, a learning management system. By 2019, half of all college students will be enrolled in online courses.

“This means that the development costs of eLearning courses will diminish with time, boiling down to only the cost of the student. With the cheaper rates at which mobile broadband data is available, 74 percent of eLearners will be mobile learners,” according to a March 2 blog post from TalentLMS. Online learning is also changing the culture of learning itself.

Read rest of the article by D. Frank Smith.


Healthy Brain Optimize Learning: Turmeric

Research shows health benefits to the brain from curcumin, which is the key compound found in the plant turmeric. Benefits include a reduction or removal of depression, protects the brain from aging, and prevents Alzheimer disease. Researchers studying the compound think that curcumin increases the neurotransmitters for serotonin and dopamine to help with depression. Experiments showed that curcumin was as effective as a person taking SSRI medication. Curcumin protects the brain from aging in three ways. One is that it serves as an antioxidant for the brain to prevent it from free radical damage. It increases blood flow to the brain to help with memory and concentration. Finally, it increases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps the brain create new brain cells.

All the more reasons to regularly add more curry into our diet! I searched for recipes and had good results with this one: Creamy Thai Sweet Curry. I slightly modified the recipe to fit my fridge and added chicken, kale, diced onion, and cinnamon. This could also work well as a vegetarian soup by removing the chicken and increasing coconut milk or regular milk.

1. http://www.curcuminforhealth.com/the-difference-between-turmeric-and-curcumin/
2. https://bebrainfit.com/curcumin-supplements/
3. http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/turmeric-brain-health.html
4. https://pinchofyum.com/creamy-thai-sweet-potato-curry

ASU #1 Innovative School

For the second consecutive year, Arizona State University is the nation’s most innovative school, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The widely touted list compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. The latest review, released today, is based on a survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation. ASU has taken the top spot in each year the innovation category has been considered.

The back-to-back No. 1 rankings demonstrate that the news magazine’s annual poll recognizes ASU’s overarching approach, rather than a single initiative or moment, university officials said.


Smartphone App Evaluation: Video Editing


Power Director is a video editing software for mobile devices. Users can import videos, images, music, and use the built in tools to create a video using their smartphones. I would recommend this app. It was easy to use with nice in-app tools for making videos. A comparison review coming soon.


  • Free to download and use
  • built in video tutorials that shows how to start using tools
  • nice editing tools
  • easy to use

Weakness: only available for Android devices

Learning objectives that are best met: 

  • Develop and use multimedia features and skills on smartphone: audio, video, images
  • collect information outside the class environment
  • explain, show, analyze

How can it enhance cognitive, social, instructor presence:

  • Cognitive: Information presented through both the visual and audio channels deepens understanding; experiential learning for user
  • Social: students can share and critique eachother’s work; possibly collaborate as a group assignment: pool resources, discuss through storyboarding, each responsible for particular section
  • Instructor: video introductions for class assignments and information; improves social presence for async online classes; video demonstration of an example

Thinking for Tomorrow

This was in reference to the new and the exciting at ISTE 2015 . Would love to try out the VR headsets and saw that on Google the prices are affordable. The article talked about a keynote speaker who used them help students better understand specific careers. This sounded interesting, maybe something similar to a day in the life of a veterinarian or some other profession. The supplemental link didn’t provide the information related to this, but I could imagine that it would be something similar to traditional method such as a cameraman following the daily routine of a doctor, and another half that would allow a person wearing the headset to make choices such as where to go and possibly communicate with computerized characters or with real people in avatars such as in Second Life.

I’ve seen how other industries have thought about potential uses for these. One was a travel agency that would allow customers to get a 360-degree view of a particular travel destination. Recently when I visited Hawaii, one of the things that I noticed was a gap that occurred when reading about a place and then travelling there. This occurred when my gf and I stayed in a residential area called Aiea, which was arranged through AirBnb. From the website you could see pictures of the room, the house, and its location from Google Maps. By going directly to Google Maps you could see what the neighborhood looked like through the street view. The gaps that I noticed were the pictures of the room looked nicer than what it really was. And the neighborhood was nicer than the impression that I had from the images on google. It was quiet and safe, and this was a bit surprising because the houses looked old and seemed like where lower income families would live. So the VR headsets may provide the answer. Websites provide lots of data and descriptions like the history, housing prices, demographics, and news and weather to help with understanding. But the other half occurs through our senses such as hearing, seeing, feeling, and interacting with people. Could VR headsets simulate this process and provide a more accurate representations of a particular geographic location? It would be useful for someone like me who is planning a big move back to U.S. from South Korea but in an unfamiliar section of the U.S (southwest). Maybe they could apply it to students who want to visit a particular university and connect portions of the virtual with the reality.

Note: next time you travel, collect as much data as possible about the place, go there and see if your perception of the place is accurate, and then make note of the results.


Edtech 522 Module 3 Reflection

This week we learned about the symbiotic relationship in a community of inquiry and studied how online teaching tools can be used to support each of the roles within. Community of inquiry states that learning is achieved through a combination of instructor, social, and cognitive presence. The activities and interactions are set up to develop problem-based learning and critical thinking. To look at it from an instructional design perspective the module is a good example of effective learning in an asynchronous environment achieved through the way the module was organized and the application of community of inquiry. The module consisted of the following:

  1. Description of the topics to study and objectives to achieve. It included a YouTube video to introduce one of the topics. The video was a good way to add variation to a predominantly textual-based content.
  2. Reading content: chapters in the course textbook and supplemental journals that focused on online teaching tools. The selection was well thought out. The textbook provided an explanation on the contributing parts of community of inquiry and a chapter that explained using tools to facilitate the process. Journals provided additional examples of how tools were used in different learning situations, which could be further analyzed through the perspective of community of inquiry.
  3. Online tool presentation assignment to research a teaching tool and evaluate how well it could satisfy the community of inquiry and a sample lesson using the tool. The activity was interesting and effective. Each member could self-direct and choose a tool to learn based on preference and relevance. The activity added a social element by reviewing and commenting on each other’s works through VT. In essence we collaborated on the larger topic of online teaching tools but it felt like we were working on individual projects.
  4. Blogging to reflect on topics in a meaningful way.

I thought that using VoiceThread was an effective way to add variation to the discussion board. In the first two weeks, communication was done using text, but VT allowed users to add different forms of media to express their ideas. It added a personal connection, which is particularly beneficial for students studying at a distance. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I would say a discussion board is more efficient in having students interact, provide rich details, and develop high level of thinking.  VT provides a more pleasing presentation by stimulating the audio and visual channels, but may require more training and time to prepare in utilizing the other forms of media.

An experiment performed by the course professor and colleague talked about using a smartphone and Twitter to do microblogging. Students captured graphic design examples relative to their geographic locations and collaboratively critiqued their examples with classmates. The major of role of the instructor was to organize the activity and provide support when it was needed. The experiment brought up the idea of using mobile devices in an authentic context outside of class. The experiment showed that the power of mobile technology can have a strong influence in how learning is done. I feel that this is dependent on specific careers or activities that places emphasis on learning on the road. From a personal standpoint, I have used this method of learning when I took a trip a new area to use the map and learn about destination places and in general every day activities not related to work. In general when I consider myself to do serious type of learning, I prefer to be in one location, preferably my home using a laptop. It allows me to do deeper level of thinking due to less distractions. Also it’s more convenient to work on multiple applications and type ideas using a regular size keyboard mostly due to the nature of the job. I see the internet as the authentic environment in the future where people from different locations tap into it. There are advantages to contextualized learning and learning outside of class but some of those situations don’t require mobile technology. I see mobile technology primarily as a communication tool and organizer to collect bite size information.


Hsu, Y.C & Ching, Y.H. (2012). Mobile Microblogging: Using Twitter and Mobile Devices in an Online Course to Promote Learning in Authentic Contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4).

Edtech522: Module 1 Discussions

Describe the instructional technique(s) utilized by teachers you’ve had in the past that were effective. What made the technique(s) effective? How did they incorporate adult learning principles in their teachings?

Giving learners self-direction was an instructional technique that I found useful for effective learning. It was emphasized and organized in a surprising way in Edtech 532 Games and Simulations. All assignments were organized and available using 3D GameLab at the beginning of the course, which allowed students to work on them in a non-linear fashion. Activities were broadly organized in categories: scholarly, multimedia, and experience-based. Learners not only self-directed, they developed particular learning patterns and interest(s) with continuous practice of this technique. Using myself as an example, I noticed that I gravitated towards games that I could play and test and activities that help me to understand gameplay techniques that could also be found in education. The online environment is well-suited for self-direction. It naturally promotes this behavior due to the abundant resources and choices that are available on the internet. Learners decide the topics and ways to interact with the content. This in turn helps learners become intrinsically motivated to learn as mentioned in Dan Pink’s model on motivation. Experiments showed self-direction is more effective in making workers more productive than using monetary rewards. I haven’t studied Pink’s model in detail, but I’d be curious to see the similarities that would arise with Edtech 532.

Describe one ice-breaker activity that you have experienced in an online course or you plan to use in your future online course. State your reason for this activity.

An ice breaker activity that I’ve used in the past was to have students share any photo or picture doing something with family or friends or some activity they experienced. I found it to be a good way to understand students and their interests. I use it as a speaking activity so it’s also great way to get them talking. I used the warm-up activity on a first year university student who studies education. After doing the activity it was evident that her interest was art. She showed a picture of cat. I thought it was sketch, but it was actually thousands of dots she made with her pen. It was impressive!

Jamie: EDTECH 532 sounds really interesting. I would agree that self-direction is really important for all learners, not just adult learners. I know my 7th grade students always loved when they could move through course material at their own pace or choose a starting point. How do you plan to use what you have learned in 532?

Me: I created some activities using the game Plague, Inc. to help students to better understand the Ebola Virus and develop skills that they could apply in TOEFL reading passages. The skills were: notetaking, learning new vocabulary, reading, and agreeing or disagree on a topic.  In one activity students could read an article about the origin and transmission of the virus, its infection rate and fatalities. They would then use the information and create a virus in the game and see if the results were the similar or different and provide explanations to share with classmates. Many of the games that I tested did not require much reading and so much of this was done using connected resources. But I think with additional digging other game options would come up targeting this skill.

Miriam: Robert, It sounds like 532 is an interesting course based on gaming theory. It is very appealing to me as well and with your opinion, I think I would gravitate to the games to play the same way. On the other hand, I’ve had experiences were students will not be motivated by gaming at all. It is like everything, some will work well, but others would get frustrated.

I taught a 7th grade Tech Apps class a couple years back and had all my students register to a National Video Game design competition. In general, it was great for most students. I assigned different “jobs” to be fair and rotated the jobs weekly. It was an interesting project based unit and some of the challenges that came about included the lack of motivation on students that had a higher level of frustration in gaming.
I am looking forward to continue learning techniques to help self-motivation to increase student perseverance.
Me: I like the way Colin explained it – developing self-motivation with options that play to various learning preferences. The game design competition sounds really interesting but I could imagine it being frustrating if it involves using a lot of codes. Frustration could come from different sources so it might be worthwhile to further investigate the causes. If it is the coding aspect using a program like Sploder might help. This program is drag and drop so that students can focus more on applying game design principles to develop complex games without codes.
Colin: The experience with 532 sounds really interesting, especially being able to access all of the assignments in the non-linear fashion you describe.  I think sometimes its easy to think students need to be provided course material in a pre-determined fashion that might make sense to instructors, but the experience you describe dis-spells this notion and illustrates how students can develop self-motivation with course material when there are options that play to various learning preferences.  Thanks for sharing.

Me: I’d be curious to see if this model would work for students at the secondary levels. One person’s comment somewhere on the internet was that it would mean a complete change in the educational framework. Thinking about this brought up some questions:
What would be the role of the teacher? 
How would activities be managed if it requires prerequisite learning?
If it’s a face-to-face classroom, how would class time be managed?

Colin: You  bring up some good questions…and it got me to thinking, the role of the teacher might become more of a facilitator, as in a constructivist approach.  One way to manage the activities could be a scaffolded approach where students start with easier activities that build on one another and accomplish the prerequisites needed.  And in a face-to-face class, maybe using a flipped model would work; lectures occur online and activities happen in class.
Did you come up with some ideas?