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Optimizing Distributed Learning Models: An Asset Class Approach to Distance Learning Mike Menchaca, Ed.D. University of Hawaii John Cowan,

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Presentation on theme: "Optimizing Distributed Learning Models: An Asset Class Approach to Distance Learning Mike Menchaca, Ed.D. University of Hawaii John Cowan,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Optimizing Distributed Learning Models: An Asset Class Approach to Distance Learning Mike Menchaca, Ed.D. University of Hawaii John Cowan, Ph.D. Sacramento State University

2 Modern Portfolio Theory Markowitz, 1950s, Portfolio Selections Measure asset classes rather than individual securities to predict return Stocks, bonds, real-estate, money Similar assets react predictably Dissimilar assets often react in opposition (one is up while another is down)

3 Multiple Intelligences Theory Howard Gardner, 1980 - present Individuals possess primary intelligence(s) Linguistic, Logical, Musical, Kinesthetic, Spatial, Naturalistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Existential Individuals learn best with experiences that address primary intelligence(s) Individuals do not thrive with experiences that focus on weakest intelligences

4 Relating to Online Teaching Students might learn best when programs incorporate multiple delivery methods Examples: Face-to-face, synchronous, asynchronous, and web-based resources Discussion, collaboration, community-building, reflection, and assessment

5 Post-Modern Distributed Learning Theory Certain delivery methods work best with certain learning capabilities (intelligences) A diverse palette of methods ensures the greatest chance for success in online learning Programs relying heavily on one format (e.g., asynchronous) risk dropouts and failure

6 Delivery/Intelligence Match Delivery MethodIntelligences Addressed Face-to-faceLinguistic, Kinesthetic, Interpersonal SynchronousLinguistic, Kinesthetic, Interpersonal AsynchronousLinguistic, Logical, Intra/Interpersonal Web-based resourcesLogical, Musical, Spatial, Intrapersonal

7 Implementation and Research Design a program relying on classes Examine program Survey students and faculty in program Re-examine classes defined & theory

8 Case Illustration Miguel Kinesthetic & Interpersonal Thrives in face-to-face and synchronous Challenged in asynchronous environment May Logical & Intrapersonal Shy & quiet perceived as reluctant learner In asynchronous discussion thrives because no direct interaction

9 The Structure of iMET Internet-based Masters in Educational Technology (iMET) 18 – 24 month program 75% online/25% face to face using classes Cohort community A curriculum and integration focus Diverse group of students

10 iMET Synchronous Environments Face to Face (defined as its own class) Orientation retreat Friday night and Saturday sessions Tapped In (defined as its own class) Chat Interface

11 iMET Asynchronous Environments Asynchronous communication tools (defined as its own class) Email Listserv Forum Asynchronous resource tools (defined as its own class) Available via iMET website ( Syllabi, schedules, curriculum, multimedia, links Examples: PDF, PPT, DOC, WMV, HTML, etc.

12 iMET Curriculum iMET curriculum models the use of multiple tools and strategies by presenting content that allows students to: Authentically experience the tools and strategies they are being asked to learn Combine technology tools and teaching strategies Learn and collaborate online Design content that supports problem-based learning and democratic and pluralistic educational processes Conduct practitioner research Design and develop online content Design staff development programs

13 Initial Findings Despite the rigorous nature of the program, the overall completion rate, to date, is 86% (From Spring 2000 - Fall 2005) There may be a maximum number of students within a cohort for this type of experience… Findings regarding assets…

14 Cohort Size and Completion Rate In the first 7 cohorts, once group size reached 25, completion rates fell: CohortN Complete% iMET Cohort 3262077 iMET Cohort 5251976 iMET Cohort 2232296 iMET Cohort 7211990 iMET Cohort 4201890 iMET Cohort 1191789 iMET Cohort 6181583

15 Students Comments Regarding Asset Classes Students were asked to submit their thoughts on asset classes after the first class (Learning to Learn Online) and at the end of the program: Synchronous Face to Face Synchronous Chat Asynchronous Communication Asynchronous Resources

16 Synchronous Face to Face Students overwhelmingly express concern about the 4 day orientation retreat and then claim it as central to the experience by programs end I was a little confused about the initial retreat because I did not know what to expect and kept waiting for massive amounts of work to descend upon me. I was very pleased to find out the entire point of the retreat was to bond us together as a cohort. As the semester has passed, I have seen the wisdom of this approach. It is the glue that has held us together. The most challenging part was simply allowing myself to get to know everyone and work with them in groups. I am used to doing things on my own. It was an adjustment. Well worth it, I might add. …the original, multi-day retreat was a big time commitment that was tough to arrange time off for. Two or three days away from work means a HUGE pile of e- mails and voicemail messages when I return, so that was a bit of a challenge.

17 Synchronous Chat Some students struggle with chat but all adapt fairly well by the programs end and many indicated guest speaker sessions as a highlight of the program As far as tools go, I like to use the tapped in the best. It helps with our groups collaboration and information sharing since we have similar times that we like to AT HOME and not out. I cant imagine this program without tapped in. Its like "live email" with instant response. The Tapped In sessions were informative and interesting, but didn't provide the nuances or clarity that one can achieve in face-to-face sessions. This is a given. However, this format does not work to the advantage of those individuals who are not visual learners (ah, an MI reference- extra points). I felt that some of us were confused by the mode and didn't glean all the information that was being communicated, forcing some to "shutdown" as it were.

18 Asynchronous Communication Forum is my favorite. I like to do my writing ahead of time and then post when I'm ready. It's organized well and provides access into everyone's ideas on a topic. Our group uses email A LOT. It works for us because our schedules are terrible and tapped in is tough to schedule. It also allows easy file transfer when working on a project. Assignment up-dates via email are very appreciated. The beauty is we are all online so much because we're imet students, so email is responded to within a day! I thought the Forum format was good, though sometimes I think we were given too many tasks, especially readings, but we all survived and we rose to the occasion. Most students appreciated asynchronous modes of communication most but could be overwhelmed when that was relied upon too much

19 Asynchronous Resources Being able to go to the iMET site at any hour, check an assignment, and follow easy links to the forum, TI, and various outside resources is extremely helpful. If it wasn't for the amount of information that is online (basically 100%), I doubt I'd be able to keep up. I love the ability to access readings online rather than purchasing textbooks and/or going to the library. Students really liked the availability of content but consistently indicated the importance of communication exchanges The caveat to the ease of access was that downtime created significant challenges.

20 Further Study Explore the class size to completion relationship Assess further the relationship of tools use to intelligences or other inventories Determine optimal classes and percentages by class Determine if absence of classes indicates higher dropout or failure rate

21 Thank You Questions? Comments? John Cowan: Mike Menchaca: This presentation is available @

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