#800×80

The other day I discovered #800×80, an art project by @arc4g and @lochieaxon, and since then I’ve been having so much fun goofing-off and creating and sharing animated gifs in a “weird resolution” with some supremely talented and amazingly skilled like-minded people on Twitter – we need more weird resolution art, right?

Automation and Tooling – WHY NOT consider them as helpful colleagues and team members

For a while I’ve been thinking about how adopt a different approach to tooling in our team, beyond nameless and obtuse groups of tools built on google sheets that record and reveal information about our projects.

I think there’s value in considering these tools more like colleagues and team members with position descriptions and real roles to perform. I also think there’s value in extending the metaphor to the point of giving these team members names, for fun and function.

Meet the team

Introducing Wanda, Dennis, Terry, Justin, Gordon, Velma, Valerie, Bruce and Pam – as google sheets and valued colleagues, their job is capture logistical information such as hours on task, courses scheduled, course and production information etc. Super helpful, but I think there’s something more we can add to their position descriptions.

I often need to provide a quantitative update on a project e.g., hours used, progress etc but I try to add a qualitative element to add meaning and context to the reporting. 

Right now, I capture this in a centre sanctioned meeting log for each project, but it’s overly formatted google doc and divorced from other tools and project contexts we use to capture and share information about a project – it’s hard to maintain, access and isn’t as helpful as it could be.

Exposition and inspiration for another skillset

In the UK, the National Health Service uses patient diaries with critically ill patients – they may also be used here in Australia and other jurisdictions, but I heard about the UK variant so that’s my inspo.

“Patient diaries can be used to help patients understand and come to terms with what has happened to them whilst they have been critically ill. Diaries provide a factual account of what has happened in Critical Care so filling gaps in memory. They provide a context for memories that exist and can help dispel inaccurate and delusional beliefs.”

Because rehabilitation is recommended

“following critical illness starts as soon as possible and addresses psychological as well as physical symptoms. Equipping patients with a better understanding of what has happened to them in Critical Care may help to set realistic goals for recovery and minimise the risk of adverse long term problems”

The patient diary is accessible by family and friends and should not contain information confidential to the patient or to close relatives only.”

Patient diaries need to be

“easily accessible and started promptly for any patient who may benefit.”

What to write? It’s a good a question and the

“simple rule is that anything you are prepared to tell the patient, and that the patient is willing to share with family and friends, you can write down.”

“All staff in the multi-disciplinary team should be encouraged to contribute to the diary to give it added depth and meaning. Factual detail on the patient’s condition and observation of their behaviour and environment can all be helpful.”

“It is helpful to note the date and time of events and to write the diary, when possible, in sequential order. Jargon and abbreviations should be avoided, as they should be with any communication with patients and relatives. Similarly, avoid information confidential to the patient as others will read the diary.”

Bringing it back to our context

Our projects are patients, and although I don’t believe our projects are critically ill, they do require a high level of care throughout their journey from inception to delivery. Reporting on the projects journey needs to be quantitative and qualitative and easily available to everyone at any time.

Here’s what I’m thinking.

I don’t believe we need to create another colleague just to capture each diary entry because we have Wanda and Dennis and they already communicate really well, and I want this feature to be super-quick to be developed and to be carried out throughout our work shifts.

What about adding another work type to Wanda e.g., 10. Reflection and then another column to the right of “Notes” called Diary. Each entry is an observation.

BTW, I’m not wedded to a new work type but I wanted to allocate time to reflection, which is a separate activity and different from development – notes feature isn’t reflection.

For Dennis, add a column e.g., Diary and then pull in all dates and diary entries related to that project, much like he does for total team time (hours) and person.

What do you reckon – yeah or nah?

“Learner revisitation of the same MOOC: formative feedback and its impact” at the Virtual FLAN Meeting: 24.08.21

On Tuesday 28 August, 2021 I presented “Learner revisitation of the same MOOC: formative feedback and its impact”, informally known as Our course could be your life(style): formative feedback edition at the Virtual FLAN Meeting – FLAN is a network of academics and research students based at FutureLearn partner institutions, and the aim of this group is to share research, and explore shared research opportunities.

For expediency, we’ll assume that everyone is familiar with MOOCs, massive open online courses and the hopes and dreams for them to make learning available to everyone at scale, and that there’s some awareness of the huge amount of research on them as a phenomenon.

Our research was to identify the factors that contribute to learners revisiting a MOOC. We asked:

‘What can we discover about the behaviour and motivations of revisiting learners from comments in a MOOC and how can these findings inform the design of MOOCs in the future?’

Although the goal of this research was to investigate enrolment data, learner activity data and themes identified from comments made by revisiting learners between 2015 and 2020 to identify the factors that contribute to learners revisiting a MOOC, this presentation will focus on the contribution that formative feedback made to learner revisiting.

‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ (known as MIND) and the follow-up complementary ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’ (known as MINDLIFE) are four week courses, with a time commitment of 3 hours per week to work through the course material and sample each mindfulness exercise.

Each experiential course makes extensive use of video and audio as well as text-based explanations of mindfulness concepts. Quizzes, articles and additional reading are also included to provide learners with opportunities to check their understanding or dedicate more time to explore the science of mindfulness in more depth, and to provide additional information to where claims or references to research are made in the course.

Learners are strongly encouraged to watch the videos, practise the mindfulness meditations and exercises, share their ideas, reflections and experiences and join in the discussions – each run of the course features two course mentors to ensure appropriate facilitation and guidance of learners throughout the course.

So, what’s a revisiter?

For the purposes of our study, we defined a revisiter as a learner who has enrolled in more than one run of either of Monash’s mindfulness courses on FutureLearn between 2016 and 2020.

What we know. Combined, a total number of 33,990 revisiting learners joined a Monash mindfulness offering between 2015 and 2020. It’s worth noting that this number is determined by enrolments (joiners) and does not represent active learners – typically, around 4% of learners leave a course run.

It’s also worth noting the varying number of revisits, so there were joiners who revisited a monash mindfulness course from as many as 14 times (12 learners) incrementally down to revisiting 2 times (21,321 learners).

A lot of time was spent exploring the comments. Initial thematic analysis of the comments revealed core themes of:

  • Revisiting
  • Community
  • Observed outcomes

Of note are the themes of:

  • Content approval – identified the value of the course content (videos, written content, mindfulness meditations and exercises, and bespoke weekly feedback videos).
  • Course team – celebrated and valued the contribution made by the course team – the lead educators and course mentors.

How formative feedback fits within the themes of content approval and course team.

Video is the primary means of content delivery in a Monash mindfulness courses. 

Besides pre-recorded course content, video is also created in response to learner activity and plays a critical role in enabling educators and course instructors to provide formative feedback to learners throughout the delivery of the course.

Henderson and Phillips (2015) reported that the affordances of video enable instructors to convey detailed and elaborate feedback as well as encouragement and praise to learners more so than written commentary.

They also reported positive learner response to video-based feedback, where learners felt they had a closer connection with the instructors or educators. Echoing the reports from Henderson and Phillips are learner reviews posted on Class Central, a search engine and review website for free online courses.

The use of video-based feedback in this capacity not only addresses any potential knowledge deficit experienced by learners, ‘makes the massive feel intimate’, but also personalised the course in a meaningful and practical way, while actively contributing to the change in learner perceptions of the course as the type where an ‘instructor is not as available because there are tens of thousands of others in the class’

Because weekly feedback videos by the lead educators are freshly recorded at the end of each week of each run of MIND and MINDLIFE they deeply personalise the course experience for learners.

Responding this way to learners helps cultivate a unique currency for learners to contextualise their experience to immediately relatable personal and emerging (local and global) situations that may benefit from the application of mindfulness practices.  

Formative feedback modality – presence of the course team

For learners in an online course like a MOOC with potentially thousands of learners, a course team presence is a crucial component that ensures the facilitation and guidance of discussions and interaction between the learners so they can have a rewarding experience. 

Learner reviews about Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance on Class Central revealed the contribution of the presence of the course team as mode for formative feedback.

A learner review on the course description of MIND noted the course team as being like mindfulness companions. 

Revisiting learners greatly valued the efforts made by the course team to connect the conversation in the course comments (with the course mentors) to the conversation (between the lead educators) in the weekly feedback videos. 

Typical comments made by revisiting learners in relation to the theme of the course team include references to the lead educator’s capacity to model mindful behaviour and attitudes with their relaxed non-judgmental approach that help build a bond of trust and confidence between them and the learners. 

Learners also noted how the course mentors help frame course content and provide additional support (in the comments and in the feedback videos) as the course progresses.

Some clear conclusions about our revisiting learners. First time course participants may join for the content, but then choose to revisit for the community, course team, content updates and the impact that revisiting has on the way they act and feel. 

Analysis of the comments revealed learners revisit because they’ve been able to cultivate a greater awareness of emotions, attitudes, stress response and how to manage them, and establish or continue their formal mindfulness practice, but benefit from ongoing participation in the course as a reminder to re-establish their lapsed mindfulness practice. 

This highlights the importance of the value that revisiters place on a sense of community or affinity of a group of like-minded people that support each other throughout the course. This is connected to the role of the course team, where the way the course team engages, interacts and models mindful behaviour to learners, which is another contributing factor for revisiting. 

What learnings are there for course designers?

Understanding the factors that contribute to learner revisiting is of interest to all organisations that offer online learning experiences (particularly those that are experiential or open-ended with no logical conclusion) because it may provide insights on how to best design, develop and deliver the experience. 

When cultivating opportunities for formative feedback, designers need to:

  • ensure opportunities for conversation and rich discussion and a strong presence of the educators/course team.
  • consider how different modalities can be used to cultivate an educator presence and interactions between learners.

Know your customer (KYC) – consider learner archetype e.g., FutureLearn’s ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ learner archetypes – their motivations go beyond learning about mindfulness, and extend into life outside of the course. 

To support this, course design could create opportunities for these learners to further embed what they’ve learned into a lifelong practice by providing access to content (for offline use/outside of course) and tools (apps, journal templates, downloadable checklists) for learners to practice and also reflect on their experience. 

Many thanks for attending the session – I hope you found it interesting.

References

Adamopoulos, P 2013, ‘What makes a great MOOC? An interdisciplinary analysis of student retention in online courses’, In Thirty fourth international conference on information systems, Milan.

Henderson, M & Phillips, M 2015, ‘Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal’, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 51-66.  

Hew, KF 2014, ‘Promoting engagement in online courses: what strategies can we learn from three highly rated MOOCS’, British Journal of Educational Technology (Online First), http://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12235.

The New York Times 2012, ‘The Year of the MOOC’, retrieved 21 July 2018, <https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massive-open-online-courses-are-multiplying-at-a-rapid-pace.html>.

FutureLearn 2018, ‘Who are our Learners? Part 1: What we did and why’, retrieved 5 September 2020, <https://www.futurelearn.com/info/press/research-insights/learners-part-1>.

FutureLearn 2019, ‘Learner archetypes’, retrieved 1 August 2020, <https://partners.futurelearn.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034529654-Learner-archetypes>.

Class Central 2018, ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’, retrieved 20 June 2020, <https://www.class-central.com/course/futurelearn-maintaining-a-mindful-life-9078#reviews>.

Class Central 2018, ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’, retrieved 20 June 2020, <https://www.class-central.com/course/futurelearn-mindfulness-for-wellbeing-and-peak-performance-3714#reviews>.

Chambers, R 2020, ‘What is Mindfulness & Why Does It Matter?’, retrieved 18 September 2020, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsIXw4GGZZw>.

Chambers, R & Hassed, C 2015, ‘Mindfulness: how not to be driven to distraction in this modern world’, retrieved 1 September 2020, <https://www.futurelearn.com/info/blog/mindfulness-how-not-to-be-driven-to-distraction-in-this-modern-world>.

My first instanced geometry

Building on the momentum of making my way through my very, very first noise displacement tutorial, I had a go at Polyhop’s instancing geometry in TouchDesigner tutorial.

Again, you literally start with a ‘blank canvas’ and then slowly build up a network that results in a fun and visually interesting output.

My key takeaways

  • It’s possible to assemble 3D forms from various geometry with a merge SOP.
  • You can use Python expressions to access parameters e.g., scale and height of spheres at the end of the tube – super cool and efficient!
  • Split the screen to create a clear and uncluttered workspace e.g., TOP viewer, and then Display modal window, and uncheck background CHOPs.
  • Because Nulls act like a conduit, they’re great for creating space and increasing flexibility in a network – easier to swap out or experiment with inputs in a given network.
  • Polyhop’s expression “moving a SOP to CHOP land” – love it!

My first noise displacement

Super-stoked about taking my very first steps with the visual coding software TouchDesigner by making my way through Polyhop’s Noise Displacement Tutorial – it’s a fun tutorial with just the right amount of detail designed especially for first timers like me.

You literally start with a ‘blank canvas’ and then over time slowly build up to something something visually interesting and fun to play with – I’m most likely going to adopt this workflow while I’m still finding my feet with TouchDesigner.

My key takeaways

  • Learning how to chain together Noise TOPs
  • Using Nulls to connect nodes
  • Polyhop’s expression “toot the parameters” – love it!

My noise displacement network
MovieOut of my noice displacement network

Content and code management – tooling

Today I spoke to the team about how we might explore the use of a tool/service that allows us to easily store, manage and share regularly used content and/or code snippets.

I was really interested in hearing from them if exploring the use of tools/service is something worth doing? Remembering this is not so much about creating cookie-cutter courses (because they’re all individual and unique), but more about creating readily reusable code that forms the foundation.

An example – while the set of Arts translation and interpreting courses are based on a template for their structure, there’s still a large number of frequently used elements (call-out boxes, buttons, accordions etc) that would benefit from their code, CSS and event instructional copy being stored in a readily available single source.

What we do now

I think we currently store our HTML and CSS in a variety of places e.g., google docs, google sheets and homebrew tools e.g., Velma, Wanda, Dennis, Terry, Justin, Gordon, Valerie, Bruce or Pam. We store our instructional copy in our storyboards because it’s usually heavily intertwined with the content (and is developed at different stages of the production pipeline and features contributions from outside the team) – I’m being careful not to conflate the two.

Doing this isn’t necessarily a problem but is it the most efficient way? How might we use more tools like:

Dreamweaver (and it’s snippets feature to reuse code chunks across “sites” i.e., courses) – this software is available to us through our Monash Creative Cloud subscription – using Dreamweaver means we can also make use of the visual tools to generate/edit HTML if you didn’t want to do it by hand with a text editor/.

A private repo on GitHub – how might we all have access to the single source and most current code chunks by storing these elements on a private repo – we have access to this with our yearly subscription to GitHub (this is where all of the course content for the data science microcredential is stored).

We could use Dreamweaver in tandem with Github, or not at all – we could continue to code all HTML and CSS by hand then store on Github. Snippets of instructional copy could also be managed in this way – I can’t be the only person that has frequently used phrases or FUPs as I sometimes like to call them, right?

Another approach is creating our own BEAST (like the team from the Faculty of Education), an online code generator like the team in Arts have – how might that help?

Is it possible to create a library of assets/elements in Moodle Workplace that we can then import/load in individually as required in a course?

Why do this?

My reasoning behind this is that there must be ways for us to increase efficiency of writing (instructional copy) and authoring our courses (using HTML, CSS and instructional copy) in the platform (Moodle), particularly those that are a set of courses with an established styles e.g., Arts T&I, or even the Business Exec Courses – repurposing these elements may be one way of achieving this, maybe.

What do you think – yeah, nah?

i made this – Bicycle Seat Post Skateboard Rack

Skateboards are not the best mode of transport – getting around to skate spots is really better suited to a bike. The only problem is how to carry your board. I discovered the awesome Bicycle Seat Post Skateboard Rack intractable, and then made it. It worked pretty well for me, I reckon.

VOMIT WRITING TASK #5: VOMIT SCAPE

Vomit writing tasks to define and slowly refine my research paper for the last two units (EDX703/704) in my Masters.


Introduction and literature review

Since their emergence in the mid-2000s, massive open online courses (MOOC) have been predicated on making learning available to everyone, and at scale. Much effort has been spent analysing data generated by MOOC participants (eg., Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014; Savage, 2009; Wang, 2017) to determine if video production methods, format, style, type or even duration has the capacity to solely influence student learning and engagement. Research across a variety of MOOCs (eg., Engle, Mankoff & Carbrey 2015; Hew & Cheung, 2008; Taib, Chuah & Aziz, 2017) has also been conducted into better understanding the impact of pedagogical dimensions such as cooperative learning, feedback, activities and assessments on learner participation, therefore suggesting that there may be more factors to cultivating an engaging learning experience than video instruction alone.

‘What am I doing here?’ (Rollins Band 1987)

Many learners take MOOCs to develop or build-on existing skills to enhance their future employability, shape a goal for college application, connect with people, understand basic concepts or general understanding and satisfy their curiosity (Zheng, Rosson, Shih and Carrol, 2015). In their examination of learners taking a five-week ‘Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization’ MOOC, Liu, Kang and McKelroy (2015) found the top two reasons for taking the MOOC were to learn more about the topic for personal reasons (employment prospects/career readiness) and for their current job. Other main reasons included learning about future career possibilities, what MOOCs are like, getting course materials, and learning from specific instructor(s). Achieving a certificate (of completion) and engaging with MOOC takers as a community of learners were also listed as reasons for taking the MOOC, but resulted in fewer responses. The results from interviews by Zheng et al., (2015) with learners about their reasons for taking a MOOC support findings of Liu et al., (2015), where learners revealed they took MOOCs to fulfill their current study needs, help their current position (as a student or in the workplace), develop a social connection with others who shared similar interests and also to prepare for future job opportunities or to gain experience in a field they might study in a more formal manner after taking the MOOC (Zheng et al., 2015). Reasons for learners taking a MOOC were further explored by Xiong, Kornhaber, Suen, Pursel & Goins (2015), where they defined a general interest in taking a MOOC as intrinsic motivation, taking a MOOC for external rewards, such as earning a certificate as extrinsic motivation, and taking a MOOC for connecting with others as social motivation. As observed by Crues, Bosch, Anderson, Perry, Bhat and Shaik (2018), to this end, the subject matter of the course was also indicative of the reason a learner might take a MOOC.

Factors noted by research carried out across a variety of MOOCs (eg., Engle, Mankoff & Carbrey 2015; Hew & Cheung, 2008; Taib, Chuah & Aziz, 2017) may seem elementary for a single instance or one-off run of a MOOC, but what of revisiting learners – those learners who repeatedly join and then continue to actively participate in the same MOOC over multiple instances? An example of this cohort would be the learners who continue to participate in Monash University’s ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ (MIND) and ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’ (MINDLIFE) free to join courses on FutureLearn.

Both courses are predicated on mindfulness, in MIND participants learn mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and improve wellbeing and work/study performance (possibly for the first time), while in MINDLIFE participants learn how to apply mindfulness techniques to improve communication, relationships and emotional health – it builds upon the introductory MIND course and demonstrates to learners how to embed mindfulness into all aspects of life. Demographic data identifies MIND and MINDLIFE learners to originate from many countries around the world, with the highest number of learners from the United Kingdom, Australia, United States of America, followed by India, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France and New Zealand. Demographic data is gathered via an optional survey at the enrolment stage of the learner journey. For gender, of those learners who responded to the survey, seventy-six per cent of learners identified as female while twenty-two percent identified as male. For employment status, thirty-two per cent of respondents revealed they work full time, twenty-three per cent are retired, fourteen per cent work part time and ten per cent are self-employed. For age group, twenty-two per cent were aged above sixty-five years of age, twenty-two per cent aged between fifty-six and sixty-five, eighteen per cent aged forty-six and fifty-five, and fifteen per cent aged thirty-six and forty-five.

`WIP - See: https://patthomson.net/2019/02/04/getting-ready-to-write-about-the-literature/  `
`WIP - nature of the content (that lovely phrase about no logical conclusion)…`  
`WIP - For steady enrollments or even growth might mean a high-quality course has no natural limit to continuation and expansion (regardless of whether the course changes over time), while decline could indicate that pent up demand was met the first time around (meaning the market for a course might be finite). http://degreeoffreedom.org/mooc-learn-repeat/ `
`WIP - GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MOOCS (What is a MOOC) Who does MOOCs? Something like this sort of thing? https://monitor.icef.com/2014/07/who-uses-moocs-and-how/ `
` Next – a very general sort of overview of what sort of research is already being undertaken about MOOCs…  While many researchers have explored …. and …., little has been said about returning students and what impacts on their intention to return and their actual return…What is missing….? `
` Set the scene for the next part. Tell the reader what to look for in what is coming… Eg… Studies have identified a range of factors which impact on student engagement with MOOCs: a), b), c)….  Then unpack each one. `

‘This course could be your life’ (Groom 2016)

`WIP - consider writing a short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting.`
`WIP - where else have people come for the course and stayed for the community #4LIFE`

According to Horrigan (2016), people undertake learning for personal and professional reasons. Personal learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to increase their knowledge and skills that benefit themselves and others. Professional learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to maintain or improve their knowledge and skills. Irrespective of the learner’s inclination for undertaking learning, the opportunity must be flexible and permit the learner drop-in and out at their discretion, often at intervals throughout their life, much like ‘a personal learning continuum, rather than as unrelated, separate gatherings’ (Aras Bozkurt & Jeffrey Keefer 2018). Communities that foster a culture of participatory learning contribute to the premise of lifelong learning, something to be part of, an idea ‘that the teaching and learning experience, the idea of imagining where you stand within that environment is something that’s akin to the DIY punk experience‘ (Groom 2016). While the course creates an environment for this type of experience, it’s an environment that is suited for a learner that is self-determined, attentive, can think critically, reason, and is ready to collaborate (Pegrum, 2009). The presence of instructors is once again critical, where they support learners, the development of a community of learning, all the while gently guiding learners through the course. This raises the question as to why learners continue to participate and persist with a course and continue to engage in the community of learning.

As MOOCS are voluntary, is it possible that learners simply enjoy being part of a community or their goals to deepen their knowledge and skills are being met, or is it the convenience, ease of use and flexibility afforded by the platform, or possibly even something else entirely that’s related to their individual needs that’s being served? Learners (Class Central, 2018) who participated in either or both of the mindfulness-related offerings by Monash reported ‘The two courses that I have been blessed with the opportunity to do on a number of ocassions [sic] have really enhanced the quality of not just my life but those who share their lives with me in any way. I am simply a better person for the learnings that I have had through undertaking the courses’, ‘I have found the leaders, […], really engaging and great role models for their subject, being calm, measured and reassuring, but also inspirational and encouraging. The strength of the course is their rapport in the short videos and audios which acknowledge human frailty and make the continuing practice of mindfulness seem vital and attainable in daily life.’ and ‘I plan to take the course again when it is offered in November, so I can delve more deeply into this more authentic way of viewing the world and living my life’, which goes some way to providing some insight into their ongoing participation. Furthermore, the learner sentiment expressed towards the mindfulness related offerings is somewhat akin to the model proposed by Peltier, Drago, and Schibrowsky (2003), that identified student-to-student interactions, student-instructor interactions and instructor support and mentoring, as well as course content, course structure and information delivery technology to key components to learner perceived quality of the online learning experience.

Repeater (Fugazi, 1990)

For the purposes of this study, revisiting learners are learners who have self-identified as having completed more than one run of either of Monash’s mindfulness course on FutureLearn between 2016 and 2020, with some learners having repeated participation since the first run of MIND in 2015.

In their comments, revisiting learners revealed their participation helped them to stay motivated and maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, to feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge (because practising mindfulness has no natural limit).

Revisiting learners also revealed behavioural and emotional reasons for their ongoing participation, with many learners noticing an increased awareness and changes in behaviour, staying on track and maintaining their established mindfulness practise, starting unitasking/efficient attention switching instead of multitasking, changing ingrained behaviours with a positive impact, reinforcing and practising mindfulness and creating permanent change to their outlook on life. These learners also noticed how their ongoing participation made them feel less anxious or anxious for a shorter time, more motivated and less overwhelmed, and part of a global community made-up of old friends.

Vividness is defined as the quality of being very clear, powerful and detailed in your mind (Campbell, Fuller & Hess, 2009). When applied to digital experiences, through the use of multimedia components such as video, text, voice and animation, for example, vividness is a media capability (Campbell et al., 2009) that should engage and fully immerse the user in a sensorially rich mediated environment that appeals to multiple senses (Coyle & Thurston, 2001) that are associated with increased feelings of being elsewhere.

While multimedia vividness is associated with increased feelings of telepresence, vividness of course content in a MOOC (which are often sensorially rich mediated environments) has been found to be positively associated with a students’ intention to revisit (Huang, Zhang & Liu, 2017), meaning an individual’s readiness or willingness to make a repeat visit to the same destination (Stylos, Vassiliadis, Bellou & Andronikidis, 2016).

`WIP - Do learners revisit for other reasons? https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3027385.3029448 mentions a study in this area "finds that while MOOC learners commonly re-take a course for eventual completion, some learners re-take a MOOC despite success in earlier trials".`
`looked at click-logs` - worth looking at the quantitative - stuff are they more likely to engage in discussions - let's find out about the different types of learners - social, fully participating etc. what's different about behaviour - why do they return - is there behaviour different when they return? is there a particular part that they do more or engage more with, or finish? 
`WIP - Would non or less open-ended skills based courses increase likelihood of revisiting? What does the literature say?`
`WIP -  bit more about what literature says about courses that are open-ended skills - mastery learning theory - "introduction to mastery learning theory" https://programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/sites/programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu.intranet/files/upstf-student-success-bloom-1968.pdf      

‘Have we got a video? Yes, we’ve got a video!’ (Young Ones – Nasty 1986)

`WIP - consider writing short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting`

Although the use of video isn’t exclusive to MOOCs, video is the primary means of content delivery. Each MOOC is unique, where educators, course content designers and producers work together to create video content that makes use of a diverse combination of video types (text, static image, image and presenter face/talking head and fully animated) and video design elements (static slides, digital ink/scribbler/analysis, discussion/discursive), that complements the pedagogical approach. The impact of video production on learning is of great interest to educators and MOOC producers. Guo, Kim and Rubin (2014) found that videos of short duration are engaging to learners. An equal level of engagement was identified for video types that featured the ‘talking head’ of a presenter or used digital ink/scribbler/analysis to provide a more detailed explanation. Neilson (2014) and Savage (2009) support the approach of videos of short duration. To maintain learner engagement, Neilson (2014) recommended that videos should combine different video types and design elements, such as a presenter face/talking head with a digital ink/scribbler/analysis – instructors who sketched Khan-style tutorials could situate themselves “on the same level” as the student rather than talking at the student in “lecturer mode” (Guo et al., 2014).

Multiple studies have investigated the role of cinematography and cinema production design/methodology on learner engagement. In his research, Wang (2017) identified camera shot style and background design ‘down to the granularity of how the image is captured, recorded and delivered’ (Wang 2017) to be as equally as important as video types and video design elements on learner attention and engagement. In addition, Wang, Chen and Wu (2015) observed the impact of different video types and video design elements on learning. They concluded that the production cost and intensity associated with creating ‘lecture capture and picture-in-picture videos may be worthwhile for online learning from the perspectives of improved learning performance and reduced cognitive load’ (Wang, Chen and Wu 2015). The use of video isn’t reduced only to pre-prepared and pre-recorded content that contributes to the course material. Video can also be created in response to learner activity and play a critical role in enabling educators and course instructors to provide feedback to learners throughout the delivery of the course. Henderson and Phillips (2015) reported that the affordances of video enable instructors to convey detailed and elaborate feedback as well as encouragement and praise to learners more so than written commentary. Henderson and Phillips (2015) also reported positive learner response to video-based feedback, where learners felt they had a closer connection with the instructors or educators. Echoing the reports from Henderson and Phillips are learner reviews posted on Class Central, a search engine and review website for free online courses, ‘The final feedback video each week is the jewel in their crown. It sums up the week’s thoughts and mentions some of the issues and talking points brought up in the online comments’, ‘Weekly feedback on YouTube responds to learners questions and comments as they have arisen that week’ and ‘The weekly feedback sessions allowed the participants to feel engaged and gave a more personal feel to an online course’ (Class Central 2018). The use of video-based feedback in this capacity not only addresses any potential knowledge deficit experienced by learners, makes the ‘makes the massive feel intimate’ (Pappano 2018), but also personalised the course in a meaningful and practical way, while actively contributing to the change in learner perceptions of the course as the type where an ‘instructor is not as available because there are tens of thousands of others in the class’ (Pappano 2012). While video plays a vital role in the delivery of course content and as a mechanism for feedback to learners of Monash’s mindfulness offerings, it also plays an important role as edutainment, that is, content that is primarily educational but has incidental entertainment value (Zheng et al., 2015). These edutainment videos are made publicly available via the Monash Mindfulness YouTube channel and act as exclusive supplementary content for learners to watch in their spare time (without joining the course) as well as standalone content to increase awareness of Monash mindfulness offerings to non-learners. To this end, the use of video in Monash’s mindfulness offerings makes a crucial contribution to the course design and delivery and learners intention to revisit.

‘Everybody online. Looking good.’ (Aliens 1986)

`WIP - consider writing short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting`

When thinking about why learners persist with a course or even choose to repeat the same course again, it’s critical to consider the role of instructors, course mentors or any of the multitudes of names for the course team members who are responsible for facilitating discussions and interacting with learners on the platform. According to Hew (2014), instructor accessibility and passion are some of the features that were identified as key for promoting learner engagement, where engagement is defined as an observable action in the course. While engagement is different from completion and retention (which in MOOCS, are an often misconstrued metric devised by educators and platform providers for defining their view of learner success, satisfaction, needs or goals) an analysis by Adamopoulos (2013) revealed that the role of the instructor did have the largest possible effect on the likelihood of completion. Learner reviews posted online ‘In addition to this there are two outstanding mentors who support the learning and help clarify the more scientific aspects of the course and make lots of useful links and resourses [sic] available to enable the independant [sic] exploration of a complex subject’ (Class Central 2018), ‘The moderators are extremely active in their support for learners’ (Class Central 2018) and ‘The mentors had valuable insights and comments and added a lot’ (Class Central 2018) echo the findings of Adamopoulos (2013) and Pilli & Admiraal (2017) in relation to learner interaction with an instructor, where learner retention and satisfaction is higher when instructors are highly responsive. However, some earlier literature on MOOCS (Kop, 2011; Mackness, 2013; Milligan & Littlejohn, 2014) seemingly bemoan the absence of interaction between instructors and learners, asserting that learners may be prevented from having a quality learning experience due to their limited capacity to undertake self-directed learning. In the past, a diminished learning experience may have been inevitable, considering the vintage of the online environment in which their learner cohort was constrained (the anti-social EdX platform and the hardcore Connectivist Edupunk-ness of the open web). Since the launch of FutureLearn, a platform that’s been ‘inspired by Laurillard’s Conversational Framework’ (Sánchez-Vera, Maria del Mar, Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Davis, Hugh C 2015), a diminished learning experience seems less likely as the platform is predicated on a social learning experience, instructor-learner, learner-learner and learner-content.

`WIP - Unpack Laurillard`

It’s time we all had- High Hopes (Gorilla Biscuits, 1988)

The goal of this research is to investigate themes identified from comments made by revisiting learners between 2015 and 2020 and also examine which pedagogical dimensions, or combinations of, that could possibly contribute to learners’ intention to revisit an online course over multiple instances. This investigation hopes to further the rise of continued ongoing course participation and enhance guide course design for unique cohorts in alternate and expanded online course offerings.

Research methodology

Data sets of learner comments were sourced from course runs of Monash University’s ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ (MIND) and ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’ (MINDLIFE) free to join courses on FutureLearn between 2015 and 2020. Grounded theory was applied in this research, where the process of the collection and analysis of data sets of learner comments generated from course runs were carried out. During the initial data analysis, core themes of revisiting/repeating, community, personal practice, content approval, observed outcomes and course team were identified as core themes (reasons for revisiting) in comments made by revisiting learners. Further analysis of the learner comments revealed rich themes of behavioural change and emotional impact from participation, which are congruent with the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixed’ learner archetypes in the context area of ‘Personal Life’ defined by FutureLearn.

Results

Results indicate that revisiting learners chose to return because the course enabled them to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge, stay motivated to maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and access and engage with new/course specific content.

Huang, Zhang and Liu (2017) identified vividness of course content as a quality that is positively associated with a learner’s intention to revisit. These findings support comments made by learners in Monash’s mindfulness courses as to why they say they revisit the course – to access and engage with new/course specific content. Revisiting learners also revealed in the comments that feeling supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people was another reason for their return, and as identified by Huang et al. (2017), teachers’ (lead educators and course mentor) subject knowledge and their interactivity (along with vividness of course content) were all positively associated with the intention to revisit.

Further analysis of comments made by revisiting learners indicate their ongoing participation to be of significant benefit to their behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Revisiting learners seeking behavioural and emotional change is congruent with the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetype in the broad context area of ‘Personal Life’, which were identified by researchers from FutureLearn during their exploration of learners’ motivations for choosing to learn with them. According to FutureLearn, ‘Flourishers’ enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives, while ‘Fixers’ learn in order to understand or manage aspects of their personal life.

When framed in the context of the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetypes and their needs, learners revisiting Monash’s mindfulness offerings (as an ongoing experience) shouldn’t be surprising because these types of learners are motivated by the physical or mental health of themselves or people close to them, situations requiring practical life skills or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy. These learners are motivated to manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, help others or improve relationships. Another contributing factor that could explain why learners revisit could be that mindfulness is an open-ended skill that requires ongoing practise – learners continue to revisit because they feel the course has no natural limit to continuation and expansion (regardless of whether the course changes over time) Degree of Freedom (2013).

Discussion

`Critical assessment, evaluation, analysis and synthesis of the research findings, identifying implications and conclusions that can be drawn from these findings about the research problem and the thesis linked to the theoretical themes identified in the Literature Review.`

References

Adamopoulos, P. (2013). What makes a great MOOC? An interdisciplinary analysis of student retention in online courses. In Thirty fourth international conference on information systems, Milan, 2013.

Aliens 1986, film, Brandywine Productions, USA

Aras Bozkurt & Jeffrey Keefer (2018) Participatory learning culture and community formation in connectivist MOOCs, Interactive Learning Environments, 26:6, 776-788.

Campbell, D., Fuller, M., Hess, T. (2009) Designing Interfaces with Social Presence: Using Vividness and Extraversion to Create Social Recommendation Agents. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(12), 889-919.

W. Wang, C. Chen and C. Wu, “Effects of Different Video Lecture Types on Sustained Attention, Emotion, Cognitive Load, and Learning Performance,” 2015 IIAI 4th International Congress on Advanced Applied Informatics, Okayama, 2015, pp. 385-390.

Class Central 2018, Maintaining a Mindful Life, retrieved 20 June 2020,

Class Central 2018, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance, retrieved 20 June 2020,

Degree of Freedom 2013, MOOC, Learn, Repeat?, retrieved 10 July 2020,

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale (pp. 41-50).

Henderson, M., & Phillips, M. (2015). Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 51-66.

Hew, K. F. (2014). Promoting engagement in online courses: what strategies can we learn from three highly rated MOOCS. British Journal of Educational Technology (Online First). http://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12235.

Huang, L., Zhang, J., Liu. (2017) Antecedents of student MOOC revisit intention: Moderation effect of course difficulty. International Journal of Information Management, 37(2), 84-91.

IMDB 2018, The Young Ones – Nasty, retrieved 21 July 2018, .

James R. Coyle, & Thorson, E. (2001). The Effects of Progressive Levels of Interactivity and Vividness in Web Marketing Sites. Journal of Advertising, 30(3), 65-77.

Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: learning experiences during a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 19e38.

M. Liu, J. Kang & E. McKelroy (2015) Examining learners’ perspective of taking a MOOC: reasons, excitement, and perception of usefulness, Educational Media International, 52:2, 129-146, DOI: 10.1080/09523987.2015.1053289

Mackness, J. (2013). cMOOCs and xMOOCs-key differences. Available from: https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/cmoocs-and-xmoocs-key-differences/.

Milligan, C., & Littlejohn, A. (2014). Supporting professional learning in a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(5), 197e213.

Neilson, B. (2014). Video Production and Learner Engagement in MOOCs, retrieved 22 July 2018,

Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Perth, Australia: University of Western Australia Publishing.

Peltier, J.W., Drago, W., & Schibrowsky, J. A. (2003). Virtual communities and the assessment of online marketing education. Journal of Marketing Education, 25(3), 260e276.

Pew Research Center 2016, Lifelong Learning and Technology, retrieved 20 July 2018,

Pilli, O., & Admiraal, W. (2017). Students’ learning outcomes in massive open online courses (MOOCs): Some suggestions for course design. Journal of Higher Education, 7(1), 46–71.

R. Wes Crues, Nigel Bosch, Carolyn J. Anderson, Michelle Perry, Suma Bhat, Najmuddin Shaik (2018) Who they are and what they want: Understanding the reasons for MOOC enrollment. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Educational Data Mining, 177-186.

Sánchez-Vera, Maria del Mar, Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Davis, Hugh C. (2015) Challenges in the creation, development and implementation of MOOCs: Web Science course at the University of Southampton. Comunicar, 22 (44), 37-43.

Stylos, N., Vassiliadis, A. C., Bellou, V., Andronikidis, A. (2016) Destination images, holistic images and personal normative beliefs: Predictors of intention to revisit a destination, Tourism Management, 53, 40-60.

The New York Times 2012, The Year of the MOOC, retrieved 21 July 2018,

This Course Could Be Your Life, Keynote – Jim Groom 2016, YouTube, CIRT Lab, 3 March, retrieved 20 July 2018, .

Wang, P.-Y. (2017). The impact of camera shot and background design for MOOC videos on student recall and flow experience. Journal of Educational Media and Library Science, 54(3):237-268

What am I doing here?, Life Time (Rollins Band album), retrieved 28 June 2020,

Zheng, S., Rosson, M.B., Shih, P. C., Carroll, J.M. (2015) Understanding student motivation, behaviors and perceptions in MOOCs. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work & social computing, pages 1882–1895.

Xiong, Y., Li, H., Kornhaber, M.L., Suen, H.K., Pursel, B., Goins, D.D. (2015) Examining the relations among student motivation, engagement, and retention in a MOOC: A structural equation modeling approach. Global Education Review, 2 (3). 23-33.


	

Vomit Writing Task #4: ‘Incremental chunks’

Vomit writing tasks to define and slowly refine my research paper for the last two units (EDX703/704) in my Masters.

Since their emergence in the mid-2000s, massive open online courses (MOOC) have been predicated on making learning available to everyone, and at scale. Much effort has been spent analysing data generated by MOOC participants (eg., Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014; Savage, 2009; Wang, 2017) to determine if video production methods, format, style, type or even duration has the capacity to solely influence student learning and engagement. Research across a variety of MOOCS (eg., Engle, Mankoff & Carbrey 2015; Hew & Cheung, 2008; Taib, Chuah & Aziz, 2017) has also been conducted into better understanding the impact of pedagogical dimensions such as cooperative learning, feedback, activities and assessments on learner participation, therefore suggesting that there may be more factors to cultivating an engaging learning experience than video instruction alone.

WIP - Also identify research on student’s reasons for taking a MOOC and the nature of the content (that lovely phrase about no logical conclusion)…

These factors may seem elementary for a single instance or one-off run of a MOOC, but what of revisiting learners – those learners who repeatedly join and then continue to actively participate in the same MOOC over multiple instances? An example of this cohort would be the learners who continue to participate in Monash University’s ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ (MIND) and ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’ (MINDLIFE) free to join courses on FutureLearn.

Both courses are predicated on mindfulness, in MIND participants learn mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and improve wellbeing and work/study performance (possibly for the first time), while in MINDLIFE participants learn how to apply mindfulness techniques to improve communication, relationships and emotional health – it builds upon the introductory MIND course and demonstrates to learners how to embed mindfulness into all aspects of life. Demographic data identifies MIND and MINDLIFE learners to originate from many countries around the world, with the highest number of learners from the United Kingdom, Australia, United States of America, followed by India, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France and New Zealand. Demographic data is gathered via an optional survey at the enrolment stage of the learner journey. For gender, of those learners who responded to the survey, seventy-six per cent of learners identified as female while twenty-two percent identified as male. For employment status, thirty-two per cent of respondents revealed they work full time, twenty-three per cent are retired, fourteen per cent work part time and ten per cent are self-employed. For age group, twenty-two per cent were aged above sixty-five years of age, twenty-two per cent aged between fifty-six and sixty-five, eighteen per cent aged forty-six and fifty-five, and fifteen per cent aged thirty-six and forty-five.

WIP - GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MOOCS (What is a MOOC) Who does MOOCs? Something like this sort of thing? https://monitor.icef.com/2014/07/who-uses-moocs-and-how/ 
 Next – a very general sort of overview of what sort of research is already being undertaken about MOOCs…  While many researchers have explored …. and …., little has been said about returning students and what impacts on their intention to return and their actual return…What is missing….? 
Set the scene for the next part. Tell the reader what to look for in what is coming… Eg… Studies have identified a range of factors which impact on student engagement with MOOCs: a), b), c)….  Then unpack each one.

This course could be your life’ (Groom 2016)

WIP - consider writing a short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting.
WIP - where else have people come for the course and stayed for the community #4LIFE

According to Horrigan (2016), people undertake learning for personal and professional reasons. Personal learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to increase their knowledge and skills that benefit themselves and others. Professional learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to maintain or improve their knowledge and skills. Irrespective of the learner’s inclination for undertaking learning, the opportunity must be flexible and permit the learner drop-in and out at their discretion, often at intervals throughout their life, much like ‘a personal learning continuum, rather than as unrelated, separate gatherings’ (Aras Bozkurt & Jeffrey Keefer 2018). Communities that foster a culture of participatory learning contribute to the premise of lifelong learning, something to be part of, an idea ‘that the teaching and learning experience, the idea of imagining where you stand within that environment is something that’s akin to the DIY punk experience‘ (Groom 2016). While the course creates an environment for this type of experience, it’s an environment that is suited for a learner that is self-determined, attentive, can think critically, reason, and is ready to collaborate (Pegrum, 2009). The presence of instructors is once again critical, where they support learners, the development of a community of learning, all the while gently guiding learners through the course. This raises the question as to why learners continue to participate and persist with a course and continue to engage in the community of learning.

As MOOCS are voluntary, is it possible that learners simply enjoy being part of a community or their goals to deepen their knowledge and skills are being met, or is it the convenience, ease of use and flexibility afforded by the platform, or possibly even something else entirely that’s related to their individual needs that’s being served? Learners (Class Central, 2018) who participated in either or both of the mindfulness-related offerings by Monash reported ‘The two courses that I have been blessed with the opportunity to do on a number of ocassions [sic] have really enhanced the quality of not just my life but those who share their lives with me in any way. I am simply a better person for the learnings that I have had through undertaking the courses’, ‘I have found the leaders, […], really engaging and great role models for their subject, being calm, measured and reassuring, but also inspirational and encouraging. The strength of the course is their rapport in the short videos and audios which acknowledge human frailty and make the continuing practice of mindfulness seem vital and attainable in daily life.’ and ‘I plan to take the course again when it is offered in November, so I can delve more deeply into this more authentic way of viewing the world and living my life’, which goes some way to providing some insight into their ongoing participation. Furthermore, the learner sentiment expressed towards the mindfulness related offerings is somewhat akin to the model proposed by Peltier, Drago, and Schibrowsky (2003), that identified student-to-student interactions, student-instructor interactions and instructor support and mentoring, as well as course content, course structure and information delivery technology to key components to learner perceived quality of the online learning experience.

Revisiting and vividness

For the purposes of this study, revisiting learners are learners who have self-identified as having completed more than one run of either of Monash’s mindfulness course on FutureLearn between 2016 and 2020, with some learners having participated since the first run of MIND in 2015.

In their comments, revisiting learners revealed their participation helped them to stay motivated and maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, to feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge (because practising mindfulness has no natural limit). Revisiting learners also revealed behavioural and emotional reasons for their ongoing participation, with many learners noticing an increased awareness and changes in behaviour, staying on track and maintaining their established mindfulness practise, starting unitasking/efficient attention switching instead of multitasking, changing ingrained behaviours with a positive impact, reinforcing and practising mindfulness and creating permanent change to their outlook on life. These learners also noticed how their ongoing participation made them feel less anxious or anxious for a shorter time, more motivated and less overwhelmed, and part of a global community made-up of old friends. Vividness is defined as the quality of being very clear, powerful and detailed in your mind (Campbell, Fuller & Hess, 2009). When applied to digital experiences, through the use of multimedia components such as video, text, voice and animation, for example, vividness is a media capability (Campbell et al., 2009) that should engage and fully immerse the user in a sensorially rich mediated environment that appeals to multiple senses (Coyle & Thurston, 2001) that are associated with increased feelings of being elsewhere. While multimedia vividness is associated with increased feelings of telepresence, vividness of course content in a MOOC (which are often sensorially rich mediated environments) has been found to be positively associated with a students’ intention to revisit (Huang, Zhang & Liu, 2017), meaning an individual’s readiness or willingness to make a repeat visit to the same destination (Stylos, Vassiliadis, Bellou & Andronikidis, 2016).
`WIP - Do learners revisit for other reasons? https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3027385.3029448 mentions a study in this area "finds that while MOOC learners commonly re-take a course for eventual completion, some learners re-take a MOOC despite success in earlier trials".`
`looked at click-logs` - worth looking at the quantitative - stuff are they more likely to engage in discussions - let's find out about the different types of learners - social, fully participating etc. what's different about behaviour - why do they return - is there behaviour different when they return? is there a particular part that they do more or engage more with, or finish? 
`WIP - Would non or less open-ended skills based courses increase likelihood of revisiting? What does the literature say?`
`WIP -  bit more about what literature says about courses that are open-ended skills - mastery learning theory - "introduction to mastery learning theory" https://programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/sites/programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu.intranet/files/upstf-student-success-bloom-1968.pdf      

‘Have we got a video? Yes, we’ve got a video!’ (Young Ones – Nasty 1986)

`WIP - consider writing short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting`

Although the use of video isn’t exclusive to MOOCs, video is the primary means of content delivery. Each MOOC is unique, where educators, course content designers and producers work together to create video content that makes use of a diverse combination of video types (text, static image, image and presenter face/talking head and fully animated) and video design elements (static slides, digital ink/scribbler/analysis, discussion/discursive), that complements the pedagogical approach. The impact of video production on learning is of great interest to educators and MOOC producers. Guo, Kim and Rubin (2014) found that videos of short duration are engaging to learners. An equal level of engagement was identified for video types that featured the ‘talking head’ of a presenter or used digital ink/scribbler/analysis to provide a more detailed explanation. Neilson (2014) and Savage (2009) support the approach of videos of short duration. To maintain learner engagement, Neilson (2014) recommended that videos should combine different video types and design elements, such as a presenter face/talking head with a digital ink/scribbler/analysis – instructors who sketched Khan-style tutorials could situate themselves “on the same level” as the student rather than talking at the student in “lecturer mode” (Guo et al., 2014).

Multiple studies have investigated the role of cinematography and cinema production design/methodology on learner engagement. In his research, Wang (2017) identified camera shot style and background design ‘down to the granularity of how the image is captured, recorded and delivered’ (Wang 2017) to be as equally as important as video types and video design elements on learner attention and engagement. In addition, Wang, Chen and Wu (2015) observed the impact of different video types and video design elements on learning. They concluded that the production cost and intensity associated with creating ‘lecture capture and picture-in-picture videos may be worthwhile for online learning from the perspectives of improved learning performance and reduced cognitive load’ (Wang, Chen and Wu 2015). The use of video isn’t reduced only to pre-prepared and pre-recorded content that contributes to the course material. Video can also be created in response to learner activity and play a critical role in enabling educators and course instructors to provide feedback to learners throughout the delivery of the course. Henderson and Phillips (2015) reported that the affordances of video enable instructors to convey detailed and elaborate feedback as well as encouragement and praise to learners more so than written commentary. Henderson and Phillips (2015) also reported positive learner response to video-based feedback, where learners felt they had a closer connection with the instructors or educators. Echoing the reports from Henderson and Phillips are learner reviews posted on Class Central, a search engine and review website for free online courses, ‘The final feedback video each week is the jewel in their crown. It sums up the week’s thoughts and mentions some of the issues and talking points brought up in the online comments’, ‘Weekly feedback on YouTube responds to learners questions and comments as they have arisen that week’ and ‘The weekly feedback sessions allowed the participants to feel engaged and gave a more personal feel to an online course’ (Class Central 2018). The use of video-based feedback in this capacity not only addresses any potential knowledge deficit experienced by learners, makes the ‘makes the massive feel intimate’ (Pappano 2018), but also personalised the course in a meaningful and practical way, while actively contributing to the change in learner perceptions of the course as the type where an ‘instructor is not as available because there are tens of thousands of others in the class’ (Pappano 2012).

`WIP - What’s my conclusion here about video?  Personalise the literature to your study. How does this work relate to your MOOC and your students?
Describe how we use video - the different types of video - 
Incomplete chunk - Guo et al., (2014) mention Table 1. Summary of the main findings and video production recommendations that we present in this paper - monash mindfulness video use/production is inline with many of the findings that are listed in table. 
See: https://patthomson.net/2019/02/04/getting-ready-to-write-about-the-literature/  ` 

‘Everybody online. Looking good.’ (Aliens 1986)

`WIP - consider writing short exposition for the pop-culture sign-post, word count permitting`

When thinking about why learners persist with a course or even choose to repeat the same course again, it’s critical to consider the role of instructors, course mentors or any of the multitudes of names for the course team members who are responsible for facilitating discussions and interacting with learners on the platform. According to Hew (2014), instructor accessibility and passion are some of the features that were identified as key for promoting learner engagement, where engagement is defined as an observable action in the course. While engagement is different from completion and retention (which in MOOCS, are an often misconstrued metric devised by educators and platform providers for defining their view of learner success, satisfaction, needs or goals) an analysis by Adamopoulos (2013) revealed that the role of the instructor did have the largest possible effect on the likelihood of completion. Learner reviews posted online ‘In addition to this there are two outstanding mentors who support the learning and help clarify the more scientific aspects of the course and make lots of useful links and resourses [sic] available to enable the independant [sic] exploration of a complex subject’ (Class Central 2018), ‘The moderators are extremely active in their support for learners’ (Class Central 2018) and ‘The mentors had valuable insights and comments and added a lot’ (Class Central 2018) echo the findings of Adamopoulos (2013) and Pilli & Admiraal (2017) in relation to learner interaction with an instructor, where learner retention and satisfaction is higher when instructors are highly responsive. However, some earlier literature on MOOCS (Kop, 2011; Mackness, 2013; Milligan & Littlejohn, 2014) seemingly bemoan the absence of interaction between instructors and learners, asserting that learners may be prevented from having a quality learning experience due to their limited capacity to undertake self-directed learning. In the past, a diminished learning experience may have been inevitable, considering the vintage of the online environment in which their learner cohort was constrained (the anti-social EdX platform and the hardcore Connectivist Edupunk-ness of the open web). Since the launch of FutureLearn, a platform that’s been ‘inspired by Laurillard’s Conversational Framework’ (Sánchez-Vera, Maria del Mar, Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Davis, Hugh C 2015), a diminished learning experience seems less likely as the platform is predicated on a social learning experience, instructor-learner, learner-learner and learner-content.

<pre>`WIP – Unpack Laurillard`</pre>

Hopes & Dreams

The goal of this research is to investigate themes identified from comments made by revisiting learners between 2015 and 2020 and also examine which pedagogical dimensions, or combinations of, that could possibly contribute to learners’ intention to revisit an online course over multiple instances. This investigation hopes to further the rise of continued ongoing course participation and enhance guide course design for unique cohorts in alternate and expanded online course offerings.

Research methodology (section)

`WIP - Explain what I did and describe the process`
`A critical discussion of the research methodology(ies) informing the research approach taken justifying the research strategy chosen as well as evaluating its usefulness, a description of the research methods (procedures) including difficulties (practical and conceptual) encountered in producing data.`

Results indicate that revisiting learners chose to return because the course enabled them to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge, stay motivated to maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and access and engage with new/course specific content.

Huang, Zhang and Liu (2017) identified vividness of course content as a quality that is positively associated with a learner’s intention to revisit. These findings support comments made by learners in Monash’s mindfulness courses as to why they say they revisit the course – to access and engage with new/course specific content. Revisiting learners also revealed in the comments that feeling supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people was another reason for their return, and as identified by Huang et al. (2017), teachers’ (lead educators and course mentor) subject knowledge and their interactivity (along with vividness of course content) were all positively associated with the intention to revisit.

Further analysis of comments made by revisiting learners indicate their ongoing participation to be of significant benefit to their behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Revisiting learners seeking behavioural and emotional change is congruent with the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetype in the broad context area of ‘Personal Life’, which were identified by researchers from FutureLearn during their exploration of learners’ motivations for choosing to learn with them. According to FutureLearn, ‘Flourishers’ enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives, while ‘Fixers’ learn in order to understand or manage aspects of their personal life.

When framed in the context of the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetypes and their needs, learners revisiting Monash’s mindfulness offerings (as an ongoing experience) shouldn’t be surprising because these types of learners are motivated by the physical or mental health of themselves or people close to them, situations requiring practical life skills or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy. These learners are motivated to manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, help others or improve relationships. Another contributing factor that could explain why learners revisit could be that mindfulness is an open-ended skill that requires ongoing practise – learners continue to revisit because they feel the course has no natural limit to continuation and expansion (regardless of whether the course changes over time) Degree of Freedom (2013). 

Discussion

`Critical assessment, evaluation, analysis and synthesis of the research findings, identifying implications and conclusions that can be drawn from these findings about the research problem and the thesis linked to the theoretical themes identified in the Literature Review.`

Vomit Writing Task #3: ‘EXPOSITORY VOM’

Vomit writing tasks to define and slowly refine my research paper for the last two units (EDX703/704) in my Masters.

Since their emergence in the mid-2000s, massive open online courses (MOOC) have been predicated on making learning available to everyone, and at scale. Much effort has been spent analysing data generated by MOOC participants (eg., Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014; Savage, 2009; Wang, 2017) to determine if video production methods, format, style, type or even duration has the capacity to solely influence student learning and engagement. Research across a variety of MOOCS (eg., Engle, Mankoff & Carbrey 2015; Hew & Cheung, 2008; Taib, Chuah & Aziz, 2017) has also been conducted into better understanding the impact of pedagogical dimensions such as cooperative learning, feedback, activities and assessments on learner participation, therefore suggesting that there may be more factors to cultivating an engaging learning experience than video instruction alone.

These factors may seem elementary for a single instance or one-off run of a MOOC, but what of revisiting learners – those learners who repeatedly join and then continue to actively participate in the same MOOC over multiple instances? An example of this cohort would be the learners who continue to participate in Monash University’s ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ and ‘Maintaining a Mindful Life’ courses on FutureLearn. 

The goal of this research is to investigate themes identified from comments made by revisiting learners between 2015 and 2020 and also examine which pedagogical dimensions, or combinations of, that could possibly contribute to learners’ intention to revisit an online course over multiple instances. This investigation hopes to further the rise of continued ongoing course participation and enhance guide course design for unique cohorts in alternate and expanded online course offerings.

Revisiting and vividness

Repeat learners or revisiting learners are learners who have self-identified as having completed more than one run of either of Monash’s mindfulness course on FutureLearn between 2016 and 2020. Results indicate that revisiting learners chose to return because the course enabled them to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge, stay motivated to maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and access and engage with new/course specific content.

Vividness is defined as the quality of being very clear, powerful and detailed in your mind. When applied to digital experiences, through the use of multimedia components such as video, text, voice and animation, for example, vividness is a media capability (Campbell, Fuller & Hess, 2009) that should engage and fully immerse the user in a sensorially rich mediated environment that appeals to multiple senses (Coyle & Thurston, 2001) that are associated with increased feelings of being elsewhere.

While multimedia vividness is associated with increased feelings of telepresence, vividness of course content in a MOOC (which are often sensorially rich mediated environments) is also positively associated with a students’ intention to revisit (Huang, Zhang & Liu, 2017), meaning an individual’s readiness or willingness to make a repeat visit to the same destination (Stylos, Vassiliadis, Bellou & Andronikidis, 2016). 

Huang, Zhang and Liu (2017) identified vividness of course content as a quality that is positively associated with a learner’s intention to revisit. These findings support comments made by learners in Monash’s mindfulness courses as to why they say they revisit the course – to access and engage with new/course specific content. Revisiting learners also revealed in the comments that feeling supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people was another reason for their return, and as identified by Huang et al. (2017), teachers’ (lead educators and course mentor) subject knowledge and their interactivity (along with vividness of course content) were all positively associated with the intention to revisit.   

in progress
Do learners revisit for other reasons? https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3027385.3029448 mentions a study in this area "finds that while MOOC learners commonly re-take a course for eventual completion, some learners re-take a MOOC despite success in earlier trials".
Would non or less open-ended skills based courses increase likelihood of revisiting? What does the literature say?

Down for life

Further analysis of comments made by revisiting learners indicate their ongoing participation to be of significant benefit to their behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Revisiting learners seeking behavioural and emotional change is congruent with the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetype in the broad context area of ‘Personal Life’, which were identified by researchers from FutureLearn during their exploration of learners’ motivations for choosing to learn with them. According to FutureLearn, ‘Flourishers’ enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives, while ‘Fixers’ learn in order to understand or manage aspects of their personal life.

When framed in the context of the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetypes and their needs, learners revisiting Monash’s mindfulness offerings (as an ongoing experience) shouldn’t be surprising because these types of learners are motivated by the physical or mental health of themselves or people close to them, situations requiring practical life skills or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy. These learners are motivated to manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, help others or improve relationships. Another contributing factor that could explain why learners revisit could be that mindfulness is an open-ended skill that requires ongoing practise – learners continue to revisit because they feel the course has no natural limit to continuation and expansion (regardless of whether the course changes over time) Degree of Freedom (2013).

in progress
A bit more about what literature says about courses that are open-ended skills - mastery learning theory - "introduction to mastery learning theory" https://programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/sites/programs.honolulu.hawaii.edu.intranet/files/upstf-student-success-bloom-1968.pdf

‘Have we got a video? Yes, we’ve got a video!’ (Young Ones – Nasty 1986)

Although the use of video isn’t exclusive to MOOCs, video is the primary means of content delivery. Each MOOC is unique, where educators, course content designers and producers work together to create video content that makes use of a diverse combination of video types (text, static image, image and presenter face/talking head and fully animated) and video design elements (static slides, digital ink/scribbler/analysis, discussion/discursive), that complements the pedagogical approach. The impact of video production on learning is of great interest to educators and MOOC producers. Guo, Kim and Rubin (2014) found that videos of short duration are engaging to learners. An equal level of engagement was identified for video types that featured the ‘talking head’ of a presenter or used digital ink/scribbler/analysis to provide a more detailed explanation. Neilson (2014) and Savage (2009) support the approach of videos of short duration. To maintain learner engagement, Neilson (2014) recommended that videos should combine different video types and design elements, such as a presenter face/talking head with a digital ink/scribbler/analysis. Multiple studies have investigated the role of cinematography and cinema production design/methodology on learner engagement. In his research, Wang (2017) identified camera shot style and background design ‘down to the granularity of how the image is captured, recorded and delivered’ (Wang 2017) to be as equally as important as video types and video design elements on learner attention and engagement. In addition, Wang, Chen and Wu (2015) observed the impact of different video types and video design elements on learning. They concluded that the production cost and intensity associated with creating ‘lecture capture and picture-in-picture videos may be worthwhile for online learning from the perspectives of improved learning performance and reduced cognitive load’ (Wang, Chen and Wu 2015). The use of video isn’t reduced only to pre-prepared and pre-recorded content that contributes to the course material. Video can also be created in response to learner activity and play a critical role in enabling educators and course instructors to provide feedback to learners throughout the delivery of the course. Henderson and Phillips (2015) reported that the affordances of video enable instructors to convey detailed and elaborate feedback as well as encouragement and praise to learners more so than written commentary. Henderson and Phillips (2015) also reported positive learner response to video-based feedback, where learners felt they had a closer connection with the instructors or educators. Echoing the reports from Henderson and Phillips are learner reviews posted on a review website ‘The final feedback video each week is the jewel in their crown. It sums up the week’s thoughts and mentions some of the issues and talking points brought up in the online comments’, ‘Weekly feedback on YouTube responds to learners questions and comments as they have arisen that week’ and ‘The weekly feedback sessions allowed the participants to feel engaged and gave a more personal feel to an online course’ (Class Central 2018). The use of video-based feedback in this capacity not only addresses any potential knowledge deficit experienced by learners, makes the ‘makes the massive feel intimate’ (Pappano 2018), but also personalised the course in a meaningful and practical way, while actively contributing to the change in learner perceptions of the course as the type where an ‘instructor is not as available because there are tens of thousands of others in the class’ (Pappano 2012).

‘Everybody online. Looking good.’ (Aliens 1986)

When thinking about why learners persist with a course or even choose to repeat the same course again, it’s critical to consider the role of instructors, course mentors or any of the multitudes of names for the course team members who are responsible for facilitating discussions and interacting with learners on the platform. According to Hew (2014), instructor accessibility and passion are some of the features that were identified as key for promoting learner engagement, where engagement is defined as an observable action in the course. While engagement is different from completion and retention (which in MOOCS, are an often misconstrued metric devised by educators and platform providers for defining their view of learner success, satisfaction, needs or goals) an analysis by Adamopoulos (2013) revealed that the role of the instructor did have the largest possible effect on the likelihood of completion. Learner reviews posted online ‘In addition to this there are two outstanding mentors who support the learning and help clarify the more scientific aspects of the course and make lots of useful links and resourses [sic] available to enable the independant [sic] exploration of a complex subject’ (Class Central 2018), ‘The moderators are extremely active in their support for learners’ (Class Central 2018) and ‘The mentors had valuable insights and comments and added a lot’ (Class Central 2018) echo the findings of Adamopoulos (2013) and Pilli & Admiraal (2017) in relation to learner interaction with an instructor, where learner retention and satisfaction is higher when instructors are highly responsive. However, some earlier literature on MOOCS (Kop, 2011; Mackness, 2013; Milligan & Littlejohn, 2014) seemingly bemoan the absence of interaction between instructors and learners, asserting that learners may be prevented from having a quality learning experience due to their limited capacity to undertake self-directed learning. In the past, a diminished learning experience may have been inevitable, considering the vintage of the online environment in which their learner cohort was constrained (the anti-social EdX platform and the hardcore Connectivist Edupunk-ness of the open web). Since the launch of FutureLearn, a platform that’s been ‘inspired by Laurillard’s Conversational Framework’ (Sánchez-Vera, Maria del Mar, Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Davis, Hugh C 2015), a diminished learning experience seems less likely as the platform is predicated on a social learning experience, instructor-learner, learner-learner and learner-content.

‘This course could be your life’ (Groom 2016)

According to Horrigan (2016), people undertake learning for personal and professional reasons. Personal learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to increase their knowledge and skills that benefit themselves and others. Professional learners often choose learning opportunities that are likely to maintain or improve their knowledge and skills. Irrespective of the learner’s inclination for undertaking learning, the opportunity must be flexible and permit the learner drop-in and out at their discretion, often at intervals throughout their life, much like ‘a personal learning continuum, rather than as unrelated, separate gatherings’ (Aras Bozkurt & Jeffrey Keefer 2018). Communities that foster a culture of participatory learning contribute to the premise of lifelong learning, something to be part of, an idea ‘that the teaching and learning experience, the idea of imagining where you stand within that environment is something that’s akin to the DIY punk experience‘ (Groom 2016). While the course creates an environment for this type of experience, it’s an environment that is suited for a learner that is self-determined, attentive, can think critically, reason, and is ready to collaborate (Pegrum, 2009). The presence of instructors is once again critical, where they support learners, the development of a community of learning, all the while gently guiding learners through the course. This raises the question as to why learners continue to participate and persist with a course and continue to engage in the community of learning. As MOOCS are voluntary, is it possible that learners simply enjoy being part of a community or their goals to deepen their knowledge and skills are being met, or is it the convenience, ease of use and flexibility afforded by the platform, or possibly even something else entirely that’s related to their individual needs that’s being served? Learners (Class Central, 2018) who participated in either or both of the mindfulness-related offerings by Monash reported ‘The two courses that I have been blessed with the opportunity to do on a number of ocassions [sic] have really enhanced the quality of not just my life but those who share their lives with me in any way. I am simply a better person for the learnings that I have had through undertaking the courses’, ‘I have found the leaders, Craig and Richard, really engaging and great role models for their subject, being calm, measured and reassuring, but also inspirational and encouraging. The strength of the course is their rapport in the short videos and audios which acknowledge human frailty and make the continuing practice of mindfulness seem vital and attainable in daily life.’ and ‘I plan to take the course again when it is offered in November, so I can delve more deeply into this more authentic way of viewing the world and living my life’, which goes some way to providing some insight into their ongoing participation. Furthermore, the learner sentiment expressed towards the mindfulness related offerings is somewhat akin to the model proposed by Peltier, Drago, and Schibrowsky (2003), that identified student-to-student interactions, student-instructor interactions and instructor support and mentoring, as well as course content, course structure and information delivery technology to key components to learner perceived quality of the online learning experience.

References

Adamopoulos, P. (2013). What makes a great MOOC? An interdisciplinary analysis of student retention in online courses. In Thirty fourth international conference on information systems, Milan, 2013.

Aliens 1986, film, Brandywine Productions, USA

Aras Bozkurt & Jeffrey Keefer (2018) Participatory learning culture and community formation in connectivist MOOCs, Interactive Learning Environments, 26:6, 776-788.

Campbell, D., Fuller, M., Hess, T. (2009) Designing Interfaces with Social Presence: Using Vividness and Extraversion to Create Social Recommendation Agents. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(12), 889-919.

W. Wang, C. Chen and C. Wu, “Effects of Different Video Lecture Types on Sustained Attention, Emotion, Cognitive Load, and Learning Performance,” 2015 IIAI 4th International Congress on Advanced Applied Informatics, Okayama, 2015, pp. 385-390.

Class Central 2018, Maintaining a Mindful Life, retrieved 20 July 2018,

Class Central 2018, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance, retrieved 20 July 2018,

Degree of Freedom 2013, MOOC, Learn, Repeat?, retrieved 10 July 2020,

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale (pp. 41-50).

Henderson, M., & Phillips, M. (2015). Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 51-66.

Hew, K. F. (2014). Promoting engagement in online courses: what strategies can we learn from three highly rated MOOCS. British Journal of Educational Technology (Online First). http://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12235.

Huang, L., Zhang, J., Liu. (2017) Antecedents of student MOOC revisit intention: Moderation effect of course difficulty. International Journal of Information Management, 37(2), 84-91.

IMDB 2018, The Young Ones – Nasty, retrieved 21 July 2018, .

James R. Coyle, & Thorson, E. (2001). The Effects of Progressive Levels of Interactivity and Vividness in Web Marketing Sites. Journal of Advertising, 30(3), 65-77.

Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: learning experiences during a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 19e38.

Mackness, J. (2013). cMOOCs and xMOOCs-key differences. Available from: https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/cmoocs-and-xmoocs-key-differences/.

Milligan, C., & Littlejohn, A. (2014). Supporting professional learning in a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(5), 197e213.

Neilson, B. (2014). Video Production and Learner Engagement in MOOCs, retrieved 22 July 2018,

Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Perth, Australia: University of Western Australia Publishing.

Peltier, J.W., Drago, W., & Schibrowsky, J. A. (2003). Virtual communities and the assessment of online marketing education. Journal of Marketing Education, 25(3), 260e276.

Pew Research Center 2016, Lifelong Learning and Technology, retrieved 20 July 2018,

Pilli, O., & Admiraal, W. (2017). Students’ learning outcomes in massive open online courses (MOOCs): Some suggestions for course design. Journal of Higher Education, 7(1), 46–71.

Sánchez-Vera, Maria del Mar, Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Davis, Hugh C. (2015) Challenges in the creation, development and implementation of MOOCs: Web Science course at the University of Southampton. Comunicar, 22 (44), 37-43.

Stylos, N., Vassiliadis, A. C., Bellou, V., Andronikidis, A. (2016) Destination images, holistic images and personal normative beliefs: Predictors of intention to revisit a destination, Tourism Management, 53, 40-60.

The New York Times 2012, The Year of the MOOC, retrieved 21 July 2018,

This Course Could Be Your Life, Keynote – Jim Groom 2016, YouTube, CIRT Lab, 3 March, retrieved 20 July 2018, .

Wang, P.-Y. (2017). The impact of camera shot and background design for MOOC videos on student recall and flow experience. Journal of Educational Media and Library Science, 54(3):237-268

Vomit Writing Task #2: ‘Report, Relate & Evaluate’

Vomit writing tasks to define and slowly refine my research paper for the last two units (EDX703/704) in my Masters.

Repeat learners or revisiting learners are learners who have self-identified as having completed more than one run of either of Monash’s mindfulness course on FutureLearn between 2016 and 2020. Results indicate that revisiting learners chose to return because the course enabled them to refresh and reinforce their skills and knowledge, stay motivated to maintain and grow a regular/ongoing meditation practice, feel supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people, and access and engage with new/course specific content. Further analysis of comments made by revisiting learners indicate their ongoing participation to be of significant benefit to their behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Revisiting learners seeking behavioural and emotional change is congruent with the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetype in the broad context area of ‘Personal Life’, which were identified by researchers from FutureLearn during their exploration of learners’ motivations for choosing to learn with them. According to FutureLearn, ‘Flourishers’ enjoy self-help learning in order to be happy and healthy in their personal and professional lives, while ‘Fixers’ learn in order to understand or manage aspects of their personal life.

Huang, Zhang and Liu (2017) identified vividness of course content as a quality that is positively associated with a learner’s intention to revisit. These findings support comments made by learners in Monash’s mindfulness courses as to why they say they revisit the course – to access and engage with new/course specific content. Revisiting learners also revealed in the comments that feeling supported in a community of like minded and enthusiastic people was another reason for their return, and as identified by Huang et al. (2017), teachers’ (lead educators and course mentor) subject knowledge and their interactivity (along with vividness of course content) were all positively associated with the intention to revisit.    

When framed in the context of the ‘Flourisher’ and ‘Fixer’ archetypes and their needs, learners revisiting the course (as an ongoing experience) shouldn’t be surprising because these types of learners are motivated by the physical or mental health of themselves or people close to them, situations requiring practical life skills or major life changes such as bereavement, parenthood, retirement or redundancy. These learners are motivated to manage stress, be enriched, build self-esteem, help others or improve relationships. Another contributing factor that could explain why learners revisit could be that mindfulness is an open-ended skill that requires ongoing practise – learners continue to revisit because they feel the course has no natural limit to continuation and expansion (regardless of whether the course changes over time) Degree of Freedom (2013).  

References

Huang, L., Zhang, J., Liu. (2017) Antecedents of student MOOC revisit intention: Moderation effect of course difficulty. International Journal of Information Management, 37(2), 84-91.

Degree of Freedom 2013, MOOC, Learn, Repeat?, retrieved 10 July 2020,

Vomit Writing Task #1 – ‘Vividness’ & ‘Intention to revisit’

Vomit writing tasks to define and slowly refine my research paper for the last two units (EDX703/704) in my Masters.

Vividness is defined as the quality of being very clear, powerful and detailed in your mind. When applied to digital experiences, through the use of multimedia components such as video, text, voice and animation, for example, vividness is a media capability (Campbell, Fuller & Hess, 2009) that should engage and fully immerse the user in a sensorially rich mediated environment that appeals to multiple senses (Coyle & Thurston, 2001) that are associated with increased feelings of being elsewhere.

While multimedia vividness is associated with increased feelings of telepresence, vividness of course content in a MOOC (which are often sensorially rich mediated environments) is also positively associated with a students’ intention to revisit (Huang, Zhang & Liu, 2017), meaning an individual’s readiness or willingness to make a repeat visit to the same destination (Stylos, Vassiliadis, Bellou & Andronikidis, 2016). As noted by (Huang et al., 2017), teachers’ subject knowledge and interactivity (along with vividness of course content) were all positively associated with students’ intention to revisit.

References

Campbell, D., Fuller, M., Hess, T. (2009) Designing Interfaces with Social Presence: Using Vividness and Extraversion to Create Social Recommendation Agents. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(12), 889-919.

Huang, L., Zhang, J., Liu. (2017) Antecedents of student MOOC revisit intention: Moderation effect of course difficulty. International Journal of Information Management, 37(2), 84-91.

James R. Coyle, & Thorson, E. (2001). The Effects of Progressive Levels of Interactivity and Vividness in Web Marketing Sites. Journal of Advertising, 30(3), 65-77.

Stylos, N., Vassiliadis, A. C., Bellou, V., Andronikidis, A. (2016) Destination images, holistic images and personal normative beliefs: Predictors of intention to revisit a destination, Tourism Management, 53, 40-60.

I got to skate, on my birthday

Today is my birthday, and in among all the wet and cold weather and COVID-19 scenarios, I was able to slip out and go for a simple and very slippery skate. It wasn’t bad. It was almost real, and it was just before the rain came down, again.

Feeding, mounting and cleaning-up after creatures in No Man’s Sky

I’ve only just started playing No Man’s Sky with my two children, which we’ve been thoroughly enjoying. The creative mode, or the mode where you’re not required to survive, has brought the most enjoyment so far, particular feeding/baiting/training/befriending the local fauna, mounting them and then cleaning-up their faecal matter. Much hilarity for the kids!

Feeding the local fauna.
Note the faecal matter which you can collect.
Giddy-up!

I got to skate, late tonight

At the best of times, it’s a challenge to find time to skate. It’s either under the cover of darkness, first thing in the morning or late at night. This time it was late at night.

Interestingly, the COVID-19 restrictions that limit skating at skateparks here in Melbourne hasn’t had a great impact on me, mainly because of the seasonly late sunrise – it’s normally too late for me to be out shredding by the time the sun is up, anyway!

From down below, to up above. We’re ‘Puking Love’.

I’ve formed a three-piece DIY-Garage-Grind-Fam-Core band with my two children. We’re called Puking Love, and we’re love-sick.

We sing about all the things that matter to people that are 7, 9 and 40+ years of age – homework, increasing vocabulary, chores, screen time, and more.

Been caught streaming

I’ve started experimenting with streaming my skateboarding sessions via my Repossessed to Skate channel on Twitch – a streaming platform for game oriented content. Why do this? I was curious how the platform worked, explore streaming as a ‘thing’ (particularly as a streamer with no viewers) and find out how particular communities form and interact with each other and curate and narrate (usually gaming related) content. It was also fun learning how to set up OBS, connect additional services like Twitter, YouTube, Nightbot and Google Maps.

So far, I’ve streamed about eight times, but being a non-turbo user means my broadcasts are saved for 14 days before being deleted. There’s an option to archive on YouTube, which I’ve done.

I’ve noticed the slight disconnect of skating and the narration of it and how it impacts the joy of skating. Perhaps streaming is the antithesis of skateboarding. That is, skateboarding as an activity predicated on being completely focused and immersed in the moment at the exclusion of everything else.

I got to skate yesterday

I got to skate for about one hour, yesterday. In full daylight, and everything. I worked on the slappy-inspired crooked grind, where I slightly lift the front truck and then place it on the edge of the small ledge. The goal is to grind the front truck while the rear of the board flails up in the air. Got some grind action on the front truck, but couldn’t land any of my attempts. It’s taking a long time to land this trick, but I feel like I’m getting much closer to landing it than ever before. Felt much better afterwards.

Professional Practice Action Plan – Service Design

Service design

Stickdorn and Schneider (2011) describe service design thinking as an interdisciplinary approach that includes and connects various fields of activity. These fields of activity result in the design of systems, processes, products and experiences that benefit the end user (and the organisation). Service design is as an iterative process made up of four stages: exploration, creation, reflection and implementation, and are a very basic approach to structure a complex design process (Stickdorn and Schneider, 2011). Design Council (2019) describe a similar process of discover, define, develop and deliver, which is another way of working to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution. There are also a large number of tools that can be used to conceptualise and develop ideas in each stage of the service design process. Stickdorn and Schneider (2011) specify five core principles of service design thinking: User-centred, where any (proposed) design is experienced from the user’s (learner) perspective. Co-creative, where users and associated stakeholders are involved in the exploration and design process. Sequencing, where service processes are deconstructed as touchpoints and user interactions over a period of time. Evidencing, where a user is made aware of an experience (intangible service) with something tangible. Holistic, where there’s an intent to understand and consider every aspect of the user’s context and service being designed. These principles, or at least some of these principles may be familiar to those who work in an educational context, where there’s been a pedagogical shift towards more student-centred, project-based and inquiry-based forms of learning activity, in which students whether individually or in groups e are expected to take greater control of, and responsibility for, their own learning (Beetham and Sharpe, 2013). While a single user-centred (student-centred) learning experience may not be strictly considered service design (because it’s missing the iterative process of exploration, creation, reflection and implementation) it does place them at the centre of the experience – this is a good thing. Does service design have a place in education, in all of its aspects? Sure it does. Although service design (and innovation) has its origins in manufacturing, management, business services (Carvalho and Goodyear, 2017) and more recently healthcare, social work and crime prevention, however, as identified in What’s service got to do with learning? and bemoaned by Carvalho and Goodyear (2017), service design has yet to be used in education to tackle the complex problem of designing services that integrate around the learner. This sentiment is echoed by Blomkvist, Vink and Wetter-Edman (2018), where there’s a pressing need arises to understand exactly what it is about design methods and their associated practices that catalyses service innovation. As noted on What’s service got to do with learning?, Deakin’s Cloud Campus is one example where service design has been used in education, and while it would be considered in the pejorative as student administration rather than core processes of learning (Carvalho and Goodyear, 2017) it does contribute to a student’s capacity and capability to learn. My hopes and dreams for applying service design thinking to my professional context would also be considered administrative, where my goal is to work through the four stage iterative process with my project team to refine reporting and course content updates to improve our digital learning experiences. Using the methods and tools of service design thinking by exploring (stakeholder maps, customer journey maps), creating and reflecting (idea generation, storyboarding, agile development, co-creation) and implementing (service blueprints, customer lifecycle maps), I’ll collaborate with the team to discover new perspectives on a (existing) service, visualise new ideas and concepts and then test them, and then implement the ideas to enhance our processes for producing digital learning which (hopefully) results in a better experience for learners (the ‘other’ users).

Reflective Professional Practice Plan

My context

If you would ask ten people what service design is, you would end up with eleven answers, at least (Stickdorn & Schneider, 2011). Interestingly, service design (practitioners) actively reject definition of their ‘approach’ (if not actively, are unable to provide a consistent or single definition), preferring to refer to it as a new way of thinking that combines different methods and tools from different disciplines. Perhaps, definitions are not so important or of concern when an ‘approach’ has core principles that guide a way of doing or thinking about something such as a problem, task or a digital learning experience. These principles are what interests me about service design. Because service design defies definition, I’m comfortable with how my definition of it might develop over time – more interestingly for me is how I might go about applying a service design approach to improve my work as much as possible.

From the course

One of the key concepts I’ve learned about service design so far (particularly from What’s service go to do with learning? in ‘Transforming digital learning’) is that there is a need for it in education and in digital learning, that is, if the need is to think about how you can design experiences for your intended audience / end user(s) that are useful, usable, effective and desirable. Another learning for me is that there is no common definition of service design (Stickdorn & Schneider, 2011), with Stickdown and Schneider (2011) defining service design as a way of thinking required to design services – a way of thinking that’s informed by five core principles. I see service design helping me with my practice by informing a new way of thinking, but also making available methods and tools to explore, create, reflect and implement digital learning.

Professional-self

Current (short-term goal)

I made the deposit. I hired. I fired. I did the inventory. I did ice cream scooping. The works (Rollins, 1994). My role in digital learning initiatives is to work with academics, educators and subject matter experts to design, develop and delivery digital learning experiences (manifested as short online courses / digital learning blasts / micro-learning). My role, like many others in the modern workplace, is flexible and broadly scoped to include additional duties such as project management, recruitment and management of project team personnel and reports, media production, project communications and marketing, and liaising with digital partners. A role with a broad scope is a good thing, and the broad scope is something that’s shared by others who also work in the area of digital learning in education. For example, in the May 2019 TELedvisors network webinar (will require login, but a sample from my personal notes have been placed in Appendix C), members from the TELedvisors community shared their unique perspectives and experiences of being a ‘learning technologist’, the role’s associated skills and practices, and how the role is perceived by different people and organisations. When thinking of the flexibility of my role, and the opportunities that it affords in relation to (improving our capacity and capability to create better digital learning experiences) my keen interest in service design, my goal is to adapt and apply service design principles to (an aspect of) at least one existing digital learning project (from end-to-end) during 2019, and then all new digital learning projects in 2020.

Future (long-term goal)

I’d like my future role to expand further from learning design / education design and production to service design with a focus on digital (learning experiences). Obviously there are challenges associated with this goal, and besides the ideas I’ve listed in ‘Areas for improvement’ and ‘Professional development’, additional challenges include ‘high-level organisational stuff’ such as classification of roles, project team personnel, hopes and dreams and direction of the organisation / portfolio / department, existing / available service design personnel or consultancies. Challenges aside, my goal is to incorporate and make visible an approach to service design that improves our digital learning offerings.

Areas for improvement

Current (short-term goal)

The strengths that I bring to the area of digital learning practice are in storyboarding and prototyping interactions and learning activities (which works best when collaborating with others in project team and subject matter experts / academics), as well as media production (copywriting, communications, script writing, audio production, video production and design). In the short-term, I’d like to make better use of these strengths by trialling, evaluating and then implementing more efficient design, development, delivery and evaluation processes, for example, adopting and co-opting the Google design sprint methodology to answer questions about the digital learning that we develop, our processes and possible directions we can take it, and most importantly test assumptions (Margolis, 2014). Ideally, I’d want to trial this with at least one digital learning project (as described in the ‘Current (short-term goal)’ section of ‘Professional self’.

Future (long-term goal)

In the long-term, I’d like to change and improve my approach to reflection, and become more of a reflective practitioner (Sletto, 2010) by formalising it and making it more part of our team production workflow for all of our digital learning offerings, and less of a happy accident. As I commented on Step 3.8 Models of reflection in education in Week 3 of EEE726.4 Evaluating digital learning practice, for our digital learning projects, we ask selected project members to prepare an end of project report/summary that adopts Gibbs’ reflective cycle. We find this model works for us because we entrust them with their professional expertise from phase (1) to phase (5), and then collaborate with them on the phase (6) action plan. In phase (6), we work with them to rate/rank proposed improvements/updates/edits in order of priority/urgency etc and when they’ll be actioned, for example, short, medium or long-term. We then use this as a tracking sheet of tasks to be assigned to the team to get done before the start of the next run. Furthermore, I’d also like to find out what users (learners) of the digital learning experiences that I build actually need (more of), ideally by carrying out user experience (UX) research. Right now, our design decisions for our digital learning experiences are informed by data but we never really have the opportunity to carry out research in the formal sense of defining a research objective choosing a research method and writing a research plan. I’d like to change that. While there are many resources (and consultants) available, the Research user experience (UX) – Digital Standards prepared by The State Government of Victoria will most likely be the resources that I’ll use to make a start. While learning how to carry out UX research by just doing it is probably the quickest (State Government of Victoria, 2019), I’d consider adding UX research training (either self-directed online or by attending workshop by an organisation like General Assembly) to my list of professional development, if possible. To inform my UX research, I’ll need to get better at working with data (generated from carrying out research and data generated by multiple runs of our short online courses) to inform our decision making. This means ‘Introductory data science, wrangling and visualisation’ is another area that I’d like to improve, and most likely, add to my ‘Professional development’. My hope is that all of this contributes to me becoming more like a T-shaped person (Hansen, 2010), as defined by IDEO CEO Tim Brown, where the person has two characteristics – a vertical characteristic (depth of skill that allows the person to contribute to the creative process) and a horizontal characteristic (disposition for collaboration across disciplines) that form a shape of the letter ‘T’.

Multi-disciplinary team

Current (short-term goal)

My digital learning team is incredibly small considering its output and increasing number of projects that are commencing and continuing run since the inception of the team around five years ago. While digital learning (meaning exclusively online) is an area of interest for the organisation, it’s of less interest than the on-campus learning experience. This explains my comment on Step 2.10 Your professional practice plan as outlined in the Current (short-term goal) section of ‘Multi-disciplinary team’ in my Reflective Professional Practice Plan (Appendix A), where I moaned that I’d need to beg, borrow or steal additional human resources at 0.8 time fraction from within my organisation to join my team during the next 6 months. In her reply to my comment, Lisa, course mentor for ‘Transforming digital learning’ mentioned alternatives or workarounds such as student placement or work integrated learning (WIL) as possible solutions to my predicament. These alternatives are promising, but are faced with the challenge of student availability that best fits our production schedule, which is largely indifferent to the on-campus semester experience, due dates, exam periods etc – these students are most to be our talent pool! My organisation’s definition of WIL extends to student-led and defined projects that feature interventions and input from industry, not students working for industry on projects. Another alternative, and the most likely to be approved, is casual labour.

Future (long-term goal)

My long-term goal is to build a permanent team dedicated to the production of digital learning. As mentioned in my ‘Areas for improvement’, I’d like to get much better at working with data (generated from carrying out research and data generated by multiple runs of our short online courses) to inform our decision making. I’d then use my newfound data science acumen to demonstrate and garner organisational support for additional human resources to support digital learning production going forward. Naturally, a full-time project team member would be preferred, but if that’s not possible, an alternative could be to seek a solid commitment from colleagues (with skill sets, knowledge and availability) within the department / portfolio or organisation to provide assistance to carry out specific tasks along the production pipeline. We schedule our production reasonable far in advance, which means we’d be able to relatively easily identify peak production / resource usage that would help communicate our needs and minimise interruptions to the colleague’s own production.

Professional development

Current (short-term goal)

Currently, my short-term goal is to complete my Master of Professional Practice (Digital Learning) within the next 18-24 months, but hopefully sooner! I’ve recently joined (and started lurking around) the TEL edvisors community of practice, which complements the ‘Ed designers community of practice’ and the recently formed ‘Learning analytics community of practice’ that’s active in my workplace, and that I’m a part of. Being part of these professional networks/communities (of practice) is a good thing, and something I’ll keep being a part of for the long-term.

Future (long-term goal)

To improve my future practice, I’d like to gain a minimum of six months work experience, mentoring or shadowing in the service design profession (focussing on digital) during the next 12 months. To guide my long-term goal, I’ll need to map it out. Effron (2018) describes the idea of creating your own ‘personal experience map’, where you list the experiences you want to acquire in the next two to five years to grow your career. You can make a start on your map once you’ve interviewed experts in your field. According to Effron (2018), interviewing experts in your field can help you understand which experiences (functional and management) can assist with building your competency – the interviews provide you with raw material to create your personal experience map. Experts in the field that I’d most like to interview and ask for insights would include specialists from organisations (outside of education) like Deloitte Digital, PwC digital services, KPMG Digital Consulting Services, Nous and SEEK.

Evaluation

Current (short-term goal)

Currently, we have our own in-house evaluation frameworks, for both the evaluation of the digital learning that’s been developed (like a developer checklist / quality assurance) and the experience of the learners (project team course summaries – during / after course run), and the experience of the project team (that’s an area for improvement). The experience of the project team is much like a postmortem, where we examine both what went right and what went wrong how often, and why (Shirinian, 2011). As mentioned in my comment on Step 2.9 Evaluating innovative practices, my goal is to review our current evaluation frameworks (in-house checklist derived from WCAG 2.0, feedback from digital education partner, academics and subject matter experts) and then compare and contrast against existing and emerging frameworks (for example, OSCQR Course Design Review and the WoVG Digital Standards Framework) and (adopt, adapt and then) apply to at least one digital learning project during the next 12 months.

Future (long-term goal)

In the long-term, I’ll continue to monitor and maintain the adopted digital learning framework to determine currency and relevance to digital learning projects during next 18 months. With this approach, I’d like to incorporate service design thinking and methodologies from Agile software development (I understand that we’re not making software, but we can still place the ‘user’ (learner / team member) at the centre of what we do), which privileges individuals and interactions over processes and tools, responding to change over following a plan and collaboration (Beck et al., 2009). Some service designers may argue that Agile development is considered a tool of service design, and it most likely true, but I wanted to make a clear distinction about what ‘things’ I’d like to use to achieve my long-term goal of evaluating my professional practice.

Reflecting on my feedback, and more

I found the peer feedback on my professional practice action plan to be reasonably helpful, particularly the recommendations on how I can improve the ‘investigation’ (and ‘reflection’, although reflection is part of this submission, not the previous) section by focussing on the user (of the service). In response to the recommendation, I included further detail on the methods and tools of service design that could be used to better understand my ‘users’. My peer feedback referenced the MUSIC model of academic motivation as an approach that I could use to help build my service. As my use of service design is to refine reporting and course content updates to improve our digital learning experiences, the MUSIC model isn’t the best fit for this context, and considering my users and the five principles of service design thinking that will inform my usage, the MUSIC models components of empowerment, usefulness, success, interest and caring are appropriately addressed/considered throughout the process. The feedback also suggested my non-reference hyperlinks to be included in the references section of my plan as they won’t be discoverable if action plan was a print-based experience. I value the suggestion, but because the hyperlinks were not citations and only examples to further illustrate an idea I won’t include them – the examples are still authentic or valid (as a print-based experience) and are not predicated on the hyperlink functioning.

References

This reference list both acknowledges and attributes the original authors and sources of information included in my Professional Practice Action Plan.

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (Eds.). (2013). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing and delivering e-learning. RoutledgeFalmer.

Beck, K., Cunningham, W., Thomas, D., Sutherland, J., Schwaber, K., Highsmith, J., Cockburn, A., … Martin., R., C. (2001) Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Retrieved from https://agilemanifesto.org/

Blomkvist, J., Vink, J., Wetter-Edman, K. (2018) Staging aesthetic disruption through design methods for service innovation. Design Studies, 55, 5 – 26.

Carvalho, L., Goodyear, P. (2018) Design, learning networks and service innovation. Design studies, 55, 27-53.

Design Council (2019) The Design Process: What is the Double Diamond? Retrieved from https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/design-process-what-double-diamond

Effron, M. (2018) A Simple Way to Map Out Your Career Ambitions. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/11/a-simple-way-to-map-out-your-career-ambitions

Margolis, M. (2014) The GV research sprint: a 4-day process for answering important startup questions. Retrieved from https://library.gv.com/the-gv-research-sprint-a-4-day-process-for-answering-important-startup-questions-97279b532b25

Hansen, M. (2010) IDEO CEO Tim Brown: T-Shaped Stars: The Backbone of IDEO’s Collaborative Culture. Retrieved from https://chiefexecutive.net/ideo-ceo-tim-brown-t-shaped-stars-the-backbone-of-ideoaes-collaborative-culture__trashed/

Rollins, H. (1994) Get in the van. Los Angeles: 2.13.61 [Publications]

Shirinian, A. (2011) Dissecting the postmortem: lessons learned from two years of game development self-reportage. Retrieved from https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134679/dissecting_the_postmortem_lessons_.php

Sletto, B. (2010). Educating Reflective Practitioners: Learning to Embrace the Unexpected through Service Learning. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(4), 403–415. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X10362771

State Government of Victoria (2019) Research user experience (UX) – Digital Standards. Retrieved from https://www.vic.gov.au/research-user-experience-ux

Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2011). This is service design thinking: Basics-tools-cases. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.

Digital learning intervention plan for a 6 credit point postgraduate Mindfulness ‘Train-the-Trainer’ program

Context and cohort

Mindfulness, in its simplest and most universal sense, is a mental discipline that involves training attention (Hassed, n.d). Mindfulness is also about intentionally paying attention to whatever you’re doing and what’s happening around you, which as a practice, can result in improvements to cognitive and academic performance, health and wellbeing and improved relationships. Deliberately paying attention is important, and as research by Sheline, Barch, Price, Rundle, Vaishnavi, Snyder, and Raichle (2009) and Broyd, Demanuele, Debener, Helps, James, and Sonuga-Barke (2009) suggests, when we’re not paying deliberate attention our brain switches to ‘Default Mode’ – a type of attention associated with poor cognitive functioning and impaired performance.

With growing evidence to support the efficacy of mindfulness interventions in improving cognitive and academic performance (Chan & Woollacott, 2007), health and wellbeing (Hofmann, Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010) and improved relationships (Gambrel & Keeling, 2010), it’s not surprising that mindfulness is being explored by many education sectors to be part of their health and wellbeing programs. Indeed, these initiatives show promise, and as suggested by Zenner, Herrnleben-Kurz and Walach (2014), mindfulness-based interventions for children and youths are able to increase cognitive capacity of attending and learning.

So, how can a university better equip their students for the rigours of study and ensure they’re less stressed and performing at the best of their academic abilities? Mindfulness programs limited only to face-to-face workshops may impact the continued adoption of mindfulness practices (particularly if workshops require participants to travel or be in residence for a number of days, a retreat for example) – something that the affordances of digital may be able to counteract by providing greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness of delivering programs at scale. Already, there are a number of organisations (Center for Mindfulness, Openground), resources (www.mindfuled.org, www.mindfuleducation.org, Reachout) and digital tools (smilingmind, headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm) available that share ideas and training opportunities for mindfulness programs as well as the development of a personal practice, but there are few digital solutions that directly support the development and capacity of teachers.

Teachers are probably the best placed to impart mindfulness practices to their students, and according to Zenner, Herrnleben-Kurz and Walach (2014), ideal for promoting mindfulness in their pupils through teaching mindfully, and through teaching mindfulness directly in diverse settings. An alternative to mindfulness-specific programs, would be to make mindfulness an essential component of a teachers unit of study, where practising teachers embed mindfulness as part of their teaching. To do this, they’ll need training.

My digital learning intervention plan describes the specifications for a 6 credit point postgraduate Mindfulness ‘Train-the-Trainer’ online program. Aimed solemnly at practising teachers in higher education, this AQF level 8 criteria program trains teachers how to embed mindfulness practices into their online teaching. This program is not designed for pre-service teachers, although pre-service teachers may benefit from the personal mindfulness practices in the program. This program could also be amended to suit other education cohorts as well as corporate and other professional contexts.

It’s also worth noting that any digital platforms, services, tools or apps mentioned in this digital learning intervention plan are not prescriptive, nor is the plan dependent on any one of these. Any platforms, services, tools or apps mentioned are for reference only, and for the purposes of this plan, it’s assumed that they, and all program content (including learning activities and assessments), meet all organisational requirements for data protection and privacy and the Level AA success criteria of W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.


Intended learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes (LOs) describe what the participant* should know and be able to do at the end of the Mindfulness ‘Train-the-Trainer’ program. By the end of the program, the participant should be able to:

  1. relate the history and origins, science and evidence, and underlying principles of mindfulness
  2. describe and demonstrate formal and informal mindfulness practices
  3. formulate appropriate mindfulness interventions to facilitate learning
  4. apply mindfulness practices to unique contexts, including stress, performance, communication, relationships and movement
  5. incorporate mindfulness practices and principles with learning theories and principles to embed mindfulness-based learning experiences.

*Please note, I’ve used the term ‘participant’ instead of learner / student to avoid potential confusion between the context of a learner / student in this online program and the future-state where the participant is teaching learners / students’ in their online program.

Placed within the ‘Relational’ level of the SOLO Taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982), the learning outcome LO1 is critical given the participant’s eventual teaching context, where they’ll need to show a connection, benefit and value of undertaking mindfulness practices to their students (which also benefits the participant’s own understanding of mindfulness) and other stakeholders. The participant’s capacity to relate what it means to be mindful, the cost of unmindfulness, default mode and being able to present a case for being mindful is vital, particularly when faced with the challenge of changing preconceptions towards mindfulness. This is particularly useful when participants are required to justify the benefits any additional efforts of mindfulness practices to students and organisational stakeholders.

Placed within the ‘Multistructural’ level, LO2 prepares the participant to lead a variety of meditations / exercises (formal practice) and elaborate on the spheres of mindful practice as well as the attitudes of mindfulness and its qualities (informal practice). The participant’s capacity to model what it means to be mindful through the demonstration of formal practices is essential, as is the skill to lead students through a meditation that helps cultivate their own ongoing practice. Attitudes and qualities (curiosity, openness, non-reactivity, self-awareness), spheres of practice (mundane moments, leisure time, communicating, movement, working) also known as informal mindful practices, are also aspects of mindful the participant will need to master and demonstrate to their students – informal practices are equally important as they’re the majority of moments that make-up the day.

Placed within the ‘Extended Abstract’ level, LO3 readys the participant to create their own mindfulness interventions relevant to their students and teaching context. Context shape content, and the program participant’s understanding of how mindfulness interventions (which practices, and in what sequence etc) can be assembled in response to their specific teaching context is critical for student learning, not only the mindfulness practices but also the unit of study.

Placed within the ‘Relational’ level, LO4 charges the participant with skills for teaching students how to respond to the stress response, understand the cognitive aspects of stress and mindful stress reduction, which is critical in an educational setting. Of equal importance is performance, communication, relationships and movement. The program participant will be teaching students how to apply mindfulness practices to situations/approaches that contribute to impaired performance, including distraction, multi-tasking, apathy, mindsets and cognitive biases. Communication and relationships can also contribute to impaired performance and stress – with this learning outcome the participant will be able to teach students how to apply mindfulness practices to these contexts.

Placed within the ‘Multistructural’ level, LO5 equips the participant to better understand how students learn and how mindfulness-based learning experiences can be embedded in their teaching practice. As this program is designed for practising teachers, it’s likely the participant will have their own unique approach and preferences for learning theory and principles preferences that informs their existing teaching practice. While this is understandable, this learning outcome is predicated on learning in a digital age and how the affordances of technology can increase the availability of mindfulness-based experiences that can better equip students for the rigours of study and ensure they’re less stressed and performing at the best of their academic abilities.


Assessment

The Mindfulness ‘Train-the-Trainer’ program contains three summative assessment tasks.

Assessment task 1: Leading a meditation session

For this assessment task (AT), the participant is required to submit a recording of them leading a meditation session (maximum 10 minutes). The purpose of this assessment is for the participant to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in formal mindful practices and the application of mindfulness practices to unique contexts. This assessment reflects the participant’s eventual teaching context, where they’ll need to lead a meditation session within their digital offering and / or provide instruction and support around their student’s use of digital tools.

The meditation session must be based on the participant’s context and must include any additional information that may be needed by the audience prior to commencement of the session. As part of the submission, a transcript of the meditation used in the session must be provided. The submission format is flexible, meaning a video or audio recording of the participant leading the session is acceptable. If audio is submitted, supplementary photographs of the participant demonstrating the desired position / posture are required to provide an equivalent instructional experience. The video hosting service used to submit the recording is also flexible, where the participants can choose from a service that permits sharing of ‘Unlisted’ videos, for example Vimeo or YouTube.

To guide the participant’s submission, the following materials will be provided: expository information (assessment task brief / scope, how-to information, technical requirements, deadlines, academic integrity) including a worked example, assessment rubric, and references to related learning materials.

Format: Multimedia (Video, Audio, Photographs / Images, Written)

Word count: Determined by duration of meditation (if 10 minutes, roughly 1,000 to 2,00 words)

Weight (%total mark): 20%

This assessment task aligns with a number of key elements (1, 2, 3, 7 and 9) from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010) and maps to LO2 and LO4. Refer to Appendix A for the assessment task rubric.

Assessment task 2 – Implementation plan for a mindfulness intervention

For this assessment task, the participant is required to submit an implementation plan for a mindfulness intervention in their teaching context. The purpose of this assessment is for the participant to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in formulating mindfulness interventions to facilitate learning in their specific context. This assessment reflects the participant’s eventual teaching context, where they’ll need to plan, explain and advocate for the mindfulness intervention to be included as part of their teaching. The resulting plan could also potentially be used to inform similar interventions carried out by peers, or even elsewhere within the organisation.

The participant’s plan will need to describe the teaching context, goals and objectives, the resource implications (personnel, budget, tools, equipment and technology, facilities), schedule, management and reporting, any risks (of implementing or not implementing the mindfulness intervention), and associated contingencies.

Like Assessment task 1, this assessment task will provide expository information including a worked example, assessment rubric, references to related learning materials within the program will also be included to guide the participant’s assessment submission.

Format: Written

Word count: 1500

Weight (%total mark): 30%

This assessment task aligns with a number of key elements (1, 2, 3, 7 and 9) from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010) and maps to LO2, LO3 and LO4. Refer to Appendix B for the assessment task rubric.

Assessment task 3 – Mindfulness intervention business case

For this assessment task, the participant is required to submit a business case for a mindfulness intervention in their teaching context. Building on AT2, the purpose of the assessment is for the participant to demonstrate their reasoning for initiating a mindfulness intervention in their specific learning context and to provide stakeholders with information they need to make a decision. This assessment reflects the participant’s eventual teaching context, where they’ll need to communicate the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management ‘cases’ of the mindfulness intervention to stakeholders, who are most likely responsible for approving and resourcing the intervention.

The business case must contain an executive summary, finance, project definition, project organisation section (Workfront, 2019) and must provide a clear justification for the intervention on the basis of its expected benefit to students and the organisation.

Like previous assessment tasks, this assessment will provide expository information to guide the assessment submission.

Format: Written

Word count: 2500

Weight (%total mark): 50%

This assessment task aligns with a number of key elements (1, 2, 3, 7 and 9) from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010) and maps to LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5. Refer to Appendix C for assessment task rubric.


Learning activities

For this program, it’s assumed that all learning activities are inherently social, where participants, as described by Laurillard (2012), learn through peer discussion. Participants can share their thoughts on prescribed discussions, provide their own comments and respond to others, reflect on what they’ve learned, and check their understanding with a quiz. It’s also assumed that participants can engage with content and be provided with ‘mentoring’ from highly responsive members of the course team on the platform, and elicit extrinsic feedback from the lead educators on their activity (which is then provided via email and bespoke summary videos).

Learning activity – What do you know about mindfulness?

For this learning activity, participants need to share what they know about mindfulness with other participants, watch a video featuring mindfulness experts introducing mindfulness and then reflect on any ideas or concepts presented in the video that are new, meaningful or challenge their existing assumptions of mindfulness and mindfulness practices. Participants then share their personal reflection, list ideas or concepts important to them and then briefly explain how these ideas or concepts could be integrated or change their existing teaching practice. Participants then select one idea or concept and then elaborate on how they’re going to practise it / apply it outside of the online program and to their teaching context.

This learning activity adopts the 4-A Model, where participants anchor the content within their experience, add new information, apply the content in a new way or to a new situation and then decide how they will use this learning in the future (Goetzman, 2012). The activity aligns with all nine elements from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010) and also maps to LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5 and assessment task (AT) 2 and AT3.

For a mockup of the learning activity, please refer to Appendix D.

Learning activity – Out of the chair and into your life!

For this learning activity, participants need to share what they know about formal and informal mindfulness practice and watch a video featuring experts describing each practice, its application, differences, strategies and exercises and digital tools that can help increase an awareness of mindful development. Participants then reflect on any ideas, concepts or digital tools presented in the video that are new, already aware of or are meaningful and contribute to their development. Then, participants share their reflection, explaining how they could apply formal and informal mindfulness practices to teaching context. Participants then share the digital tools they’ve chosen to help support their mindful development and help track their progress.

This learning activity adopts the 4-A Model (Goetzman, 2012) and aligns with all nine elements from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010). It also maps to LO2, LO3, LO4 and AT1 and AT2.

For a mockup of the learning activity, please refer to please refer to Appendix E, Appendix F and Appendix G.

Learning activity – Flip the script

For this learning activity, participants need to identify an aspect from their teaching context that would benefit from a mindfulness intervention, prepare a script for meditation that benefits the identified aspect and then share it with other participants for review and feedback. After receiving feedback on their work, the participant needs to reflect on any amendments they would improve their script. As part of the learning activity, the participant will also need to provide feedback on a script submitted by at least one other participant.

This learning activity aligns with all nine elements from a model of authentic learning (Herrington, Thomas & Oliver, 2010) and maps to LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 and AT1, AT2 and AT3.

For a mockup of the learning activity, please refer to Appendix H.


Relevance

My approach outlined in the digital learning intervention supports the learning activities and assessments, and meets the learning outcomes and needs of the participants by the very nature of being digital. Being digital is a direct response to the limited availability or exclusivity of mindfulness training (that’s traditionally been face-to-face / workshop based). Being digital means the program is immediately more accessible to prospective participants, it can operate at scale and seamlessly incorporate existing and emerging digital services and tools, potentially from other partners / providers. Being digital also means that participants can collaboratively construct knowledge (for example, through the creation of scripts, meditations etc), which is an efficiency for the program participant, where in their eventual teaching context they’ll need to formulate (or at least clearly articulate to developers and designers) their own mindfulness learning experiences.


References

This reference list both acknowledges and attributes the original authors and sources of information included in this digital intervention learning plan.

Assessment Design Decisions (n.d.). Assessment Design Framework. Retrieved from http://www.assessmentdecisions.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Appendix-A-the-Assessment-Design-Decisions-Framework.pdf

Biggs, J.B., & Collis, K., F. (1982). Evaluating the quality of learning : the SOLO taxonomy (structure of the observed learning outcome). Academic Press, New York

Broyd, S.J., Demanuele, C., Debener, S., Helps, S.K., James, C.J., & Sonuga-Barke, E.J. (2009). Default-mode brain dysfunction in mental disorders: a systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 33(3), 279-296.

Chan, D., & Woollacott, M. (2007). Effects of level of meditation experience on attentional focus: is the efficiency of executive or orientation networks improved?. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(6), 651-658.

Gambrel, L.E., & Keeling, M.L. (2010). Relational aspects of mindfulness: Implications for the practice of marriage and family therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 32(4), 412-426.

Goetzman, D., M. (2012) Dialogue Education Step by Step: A Guide for Designing Exceptional Learning Events. Global Learning Partners, Inc.

Hassed, C. (n.d.). The Health Benefits of Meditation and Being Mindful. Retrieved from https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/694192/The-health-benefits-of-meditation-and-being-mindful.pdf

Herrington, J., Thomas, C., Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning. New York and London: Routledge.

Hofmann, S., G., Sawyer, A., T., Witt, A., A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 78(2), 169.

Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. Routledge: London.

Ramsburg, J., Youmans, R. (2013). Meditation in the Higher-Education Classroom: Meditation Training Improves Student Knowledge Retention during Lectures. Mindfulness. 5. 10.1007/s12671-013-0199-5.

Sheline, Y. I., Barch, D. M., Price, J. L., Rundle, M. M., Vaishnavi, S. N., Snyder, A. Z., … & Raichle, M. E. (2009). The default mode network and self-referential processes in depression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(6), 1942-1947.

World Wide Web Consortium. (2018) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/

Workfront. (2019). How to Write a Business Case ― 4 Steps to a Perfect Business Case Template. Retrieved from https://www.workfront.com/blog/how-to-write-a-business-case-4-steps-to-a-perfect-business-case-template#thebusinesscasetemplate

Zenner, C., Herrnleben-Kurz, S., Walach, H., (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00603/full


Appendix A

Rubric for ‘Assessment task 1: Leading a meditation session’.

Criteria Excellent (HD) Very good (D) Good (C) Satisfactory (P) Unsatisfactory (F)

Introducing the practice

Explanation of the formal mindfulness practice (25%)

Explanation of formal mindfulness practice is thorough and includes highly detailed information on how the practice applies to the unique context. Explanation of the formal mindfulness practice is very clear and provides a detailed description of how the practice applies to the unique context. Explanation of the formal mindfulness practice is clear and provides a reasonable description of how the practice applies to the unique context. Explanation of the formal mindfulness practice is rudimentary and provides a brief description of how the practice applies to the unique context. Explanation of formal mindfulness practice is unclear and / or not shown. There is no information given to how the practice applies to the unique context.

Preparation and position

Demonstration of seating / position and relevant preparatory information (25%)

Seating / position is clearly demonstrated and of exceptional standard. Highly detailed preparatory information has been included. Seating / position is clearly shown. Detailed preparatory information has been included. Seating / position is shown. Preparatory information of reasonable quality has been included. Seating / position is shown. Some preparatory information has been included, but lacks detail. Seating / position is unclear and/or not shown. Preparatory information has not been included.

Guiding the practice

Effective instruction and guidance (25%)

Instruction and guidance throughout practice is detailed and sequential. Highly detailed debrief/enquiry process has been included. Instruction and guidance throughout practice is very clear and sequential. Detailed debrief/enquiry process has been included. Instruction and guidance throughout practice is clear and sequential. debrief/enquiry process has been included. Instruction and guidance throughout practice is provided. A debrief/enquiry process has been included, but lacks detail. Instruction and guidance throughout practice is unclear, nonsequential and/or not provided.

Debrief/enquiry process has not been included.

Challenges and difficulties

Description of challenges and and difficulties associated with the mindfulness practice (25%)

Description is extremely thorough and concludes with highly detailed information on management / solutions to challenges. Description of challenges are clearly described and detailed solutions or approaches to managing the challenges have been provided. Description of challenges is clear and possible solutions or approaches to managing the challenges have been provided. Description of challenges is provided. Solutions or approaches to managing challenges have been provided, but lacks depth and detail. Description is unclear and/or not provided. Solutions or approaches to managing challenges in the future are not provided.

Appendix B

Rubric for ‘Assessment task 2 – Implementation plan for a mindfulness intervention’.

Criteria Excellent (HD) Very good (D) Good (C) Satisfactory (P) Unsatisfactory (F)

Background

Learning context, identified need (15%)

Learning context is highly detailed and defined, and need for mindfulness intervention in cohort is clearly articulated. Learning context is detailed and need for intervention has been articulated. Cohort not identified Learning context is detailed. Need for mindfulness intervention has been identified, but lacking detail. Learning context is provided. Need for mindfulness intervention has been identified. Learning context is unclear and / or not shown. Need for intervention not shown.

Goals and objectives

Goals and objectives of intervention and intended outcomes (15%)

Goals and objectives are clearly defined. Intended outcomes are clearly articulated and measurable. Goals and objectives are defined. Intended outcomes have been included, but are not measurable. Goals and objectives are defined. Intended outcomes included, but measurement strategies unclear. Goals, objectives and intended outcomes have been listed. Goals and objectives unclear. Intended outcomes not shown.

Resource implications

Budget, tools, equipment, technology and personnel (15%)

Highly detailed and comprehensive list of resources, with detailed explanation of digital tools / services. Detailed list of required resources, and mentions digital tools / services. Detailed list of required resources. Digital tools / services not mentioned. Incomplete list resources shown, but lacks detail. Required resources not shown.

Schedule

Timeline, schedule of events, duration (15%)

Highly detailed schedule, describes in detail ‘peak periods’ and duration for cohort / events. Detailed schedule and timeline. ‘Peak periods’ for cohort listed. Detailed schedule of events and timeline. Schedule shown, but the timeline is unclear. Schedule not shown.

Management and reporting

How the project will be managed, reported and reviewed (15%)

Highly detailed explanation of how the project will be managed, reported and reviewed. Detailed explanation of how the project will be managed, reported and reviewed. Some explanation of how the project will be managed, reported and reviewed. Unclear explanation of how the project will be managed, reported and reviewed. Management and reporting not provided.

Evaluation

Strategies for measuring success (15%)

Highly detailed metrics, milestones and performance measures linked to goals, objectives and reporting. Detailed metrics, milestones and performance measures. Metrics, milestones and performance measures have been listed. Metrics and milestones have been listed but performance measures are unclear. Strategies not provided.

Risks and contingencies

Description of risks to intervention and alternative actions (5%)

Highly detailed description of associated risks and comprehensive contingency plan. Detailed description of associated risks. Contingency planning has limited scope. Detailed description of associated risks. Contingency planning is unclear. Associated risks and a contingency plan has been listed. Associated risks and contingency plans not provided.

Expression and grammar

Scholarly, succinct with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation (5%)

Writing style is exceptional, scholarly and succinct that’s free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Writing style is scholarly, free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Writing style is scholarly, but wordy. Free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Writing is scholarly and wordy. Contains some grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Writing is unscholarly. Many grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors.

Appendix C

Rubric for ‘Assessment task 3 – Mindfulness intervention business case’.

Criteria Excellent (HD) Very good (D) Good (C) Satisfactory (P) Unsatisfactory (F)

Executive summary

Summarises business case (5%)

Summary of business case is thorough and succinctly conveys critical information about the mindfulness intervention. Summary of business case is very clear provides information about the intervention. Summary of business case is clear and provides information about the intervention. Summary of business case is rudimentary and lacks detail. Summary of business case is unclear or not provided.

Finance

Conveys financial implications (5%)

Describes in detail all financial implications for intervention, comparisons of intervention costs against benefits and all associated costs. Lists all financial implications for intervention, comparisons of intervention costs against benefits and all associated costs. Lists all financial implications for intervention, comparisons of intervention costs against benefits and some associated costs. Lists some financial implications for intervention, comparisons of intervention costs against benefits and some associated costs. All financial implications unclear or not provided.

Project definition

Explains the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ (20%)

Highly detailed description of background, objectives, benefits and limitations, scope, business interests and associated risks. Very clear description of background, objectives, benefits and limitations, scope, business interests and associated risks. Clear description of background, objectives, benefits and limitations, scope, business interests and associated risks. Limited description of background, objectives, benefits and limitations, scope, business interests and associated risks. The ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ is unclear or not provided.

Project organisation

Describes how intervention will be set up (10%)

Highly detailed and accurate description of how the intervention is linked to organisational governance framework. Clearly defined reporting measures. Detailed and accurate description of linkage to organisational governance framework. Clearly defined reporting measures. Accurate description of linkage to organisational governance framework. Defined reporting measures. Limited description of linkage to organisational governance framework. Some reporting measures provided. Linkages to established organisational governance framework or reporting measures not provided.

Strategic case

A case for change that fits strategic objectives of the organisation (10%)

Highly compelling case that meets all strategic objectives of the organisation. Compelling case that meets most strategic objectives of the organisation. Case meets some strategic objectives of the organisation. Case meets few strategic objectives of the organisation. No strategic objectives provided.

Economic case

Economic value (10%)

Case demonstrates incredibly high economic value to the organisation. Case demonstrates some economic value to the organisation. Case demonstrates low economic value to the organisation. Economic value to organisation unclear. Economic value not shown.

Commercial case

Commercial value and viability (10%)

Case demonstrates high commercial value and viability. Case demonstrates some commercial value and viability. Case demonstrates little or low commercial value and viability. Commercial value and viability unclear. Commercial value and viability of intervention not shown.

Financial case

Financial investment is affordable (10%)

Case clearly demonstrates affordability of intervention, and cost of not carrying out intervention. Case demonstrates affordability of intervention, and cost of not carrying out intervention. Case provides financial information, with limited affordability and cost of not carrying out intervention. Case provides some financial information, but affordability of intervention and cost of not carrying out intervention is unclear. Financial case is not provided.

Management case

Input from stakeholders is achievable (10%)

Presents highly detailed and accurate description of stakeholders and their level of input. Clear description of stakeholders and their level of input. Some stakeholders and their level of input provided. Some stakeholder information and level of input provided, but unclear. No stakeholder information was provided.

Presentation, expression and grammar

Structure and formatting of business case. Scholarly, succinct with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation (10%)

Structure and format is accurate. Writing style is exceptional, scholarly and succinct that’s free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Structure and format is accurate. Writing style is scholarly, free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Structure and format partially adopted. Writing style is scholarly, but wordy. Free from spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Structure and format partially adopted with errors. Writing scholarly and wordy. Contains some grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Structure and format not present. Writing unscholarly. Many grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors.

Appendix D

Mockup of the ‘What do you know about mindfulness?’ learning activity as a digital experience.

Watch Associate Professor Henry Smyth-Jones and Dr Ingrid Magnusson provide an overview of mindfulness, its history and origins, its practices and the emerging science and evidence on this area.

As you’re watching, consider the evidence and examples of mindfulness and its application that are being presented.

Talk about it

Within the Comments, share with other learners your thoughts on one or more of the following talking points:

  • Although you might, we don’t assume you have had any prior experience with mindfulness or its applications. Of the ideas presented in the video, which ones are new to you or challenge your existing ideas of mindfulness, its practices and application?
  • Which ideas, science evidence or examples of the application of mindfulness do you find most meaningful to you and your professional teaching practice, and what are some ways you could apply or integrate them into your teaching?

Also consider reading and commenting on contributions made by other learners or following learners with similar interests as you. You can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Act on it

Choose an idea or concept that you found most meaningful, and then starting this week, act on it by finding out more about how others are applying the idea or concept to their professional practice (not necessarily in the field of education). For example, you may like to investigate how mindfulness is being introduced into sporting codes, business/corporate environments or in creative applications.

Throughout the week carry out your investigation, and then at the end of the week, return to this step then share what you’ve found out in the Comments.

If you’d like to find out more about the research and current thinking in this area, consider exploring the links in the See also section of this step. There, you’ll also find links to more scholarly articles on mindfulness and its effects on wellbeing from peer reviewed journals. We hope you find them useful.


Appendix E

Mockup of the ‘Out of the chair and into your life!’ learning activity as a digital experience.

Watch Professor Joni Alferson and Associate Professor Mitch Murray discuss the differences between informal and formal mindfulness practices, their application and tools that are available, and more.

As you’re watching, consider which practices you could apply to your teaching context and the challenges associated with doing so.

Talk about it

Within the Comments, share with other learners your thoughts on one or more of the following talking points:

  • Of the informal and formal mindfulness practices presented in the video, which ones do you think are most relevant to your professional practice?
  • Which informal and formal mindfulness practices would you like to try and how might you go about establishing your own mindfulness practice?

Also consider reading and commenting on contributions made by other learners or following learners with similar interests as you. You can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Act on it

Choose a teaching context or situation where you’d like to me more mindful, and then starting this week, act on it by practising mindfulness. For example, you may want to be more mindful at work or in your studies, or even make a very conscious effort to avoid unhelpful multi-tasking, or not to be drawn into the distractions around you so you can focus on a task of greatest importance to you.

Play the meditations available in this course or use apps such as Smiling Mind or Headspace. Be sure to track your progress with a mindfulness practice record, which is available in a print friendly or digital format.

Remember, your practice record is a valuable means of looking back over these changes, reflecting where you have come from and where you want to go to.


Appendix F

Mockup of a print friendly mindfulness practice record template (Can be filled out electronically) for the ‘What do you know about mindfulness?’ learning activity.

Day Formal mindfulness practice Informal mindfulness practice Mindfulness practised in other ways
Sample entry Conducted 10 minute body scan. Noticed tension in my body and was able to let it go. Felt more relaxed by the end. Listened to birdsong on walk to work. Such a nice way to start the day, and noticed that I was calmer and more present at work. Turned off notifications on my phone/Flight mode to stop myself from being distracted from priority tasks.
Monday      
Tuesday      
Wednesday      
Thursday      
Friday      
Saturday      
Sunday      

Appendix G

Screen capture of daily mindfulness practice record included for reference only. Functional mindfulness practice record can be accessed from https://forms.gle/Jd5ayyBccTk2LTMX8


Appendix H

Mockup of the ‘Flip the script’ learning activity as a digital experience.

It’s time to bring together what you know about formal mindfulness practice and its application by writing your own script for a 5 minute meditation that would benefit an aspect of your teaching context (stress, performance, communication and relationships etc).

After you submit your script, you will then be asked to read and comment on a submission by another program participant.

What you need to do

Choose an aspect from your teaching context (stress, performance, communication and relationships etc) that would benefit from a mindfulness intervention. Your task is to write a meditation script for the teaching context, and explain its usage. Your script will have three parts.

  1. Write an introduction by briefly describing the meditation and how it complements the context (No more than 100 words).
  2. Write the meditation script (No more than 400 words). Remember, gently lead the listener through the meditation being sure to clearly describe what they’re to do or the sensations they may feel.
  3. Write a debrief, briefly describing what the listener is to do next and how they can continue to practise the meditation (No more than 100 words).

These three sections match the guidelines that will be used by other learners to review and provide feedback.

Giving effective feedback

Once you have submitted your script, you will be invited to give feedback on the work submitted by another learner. In other words, a peer review.

Constructive feedback, and the process of reflecting on the feedback you receive on your own script, are both very powerful learning opportunities, and we hope that you give and receive feedback in the spirit of creating a supportive learning environment. Here are some tips on how to give the other learner effective feedback on their work:

  • Make sure that the tone of your feedback is always constructive. There is no place in this peer review process for feedback that is negative, disrespectful or derogatory.
  • Make sure that your feedback addresses the three criteria set for the task: introduction, the meditation itself, and the debrief. If you are making suggestions, make sure they are clear, and align with one of these criteria.
  • Emphasise the positives of what your peer submitted. Look for things they did well.
  • Remember the context of this task. The task is to write a script for a 5 minute meditation that would benefit an aspect of your teaching context. Therefore, please make sure your comments and suggestions are appropriate for this task.

Reviewing the work of another learner

First read through the piece without making any notes or comments. Then read through a second time, taking the time to consider each point that is made.

Using the guidelines provided, write brief comments that provide constructive feedback to the author. Point out anything that you found particularly interesting, what you found challenging and what you learnt.

Before you submit your review, please read through again so that you can add anything you’ve missed and ensure that your comments are easy to understand. The more reviews you can do, the more you help others and learn from their experiences.


Seminar – Micro-credentials within the AQF: Who’s the winner here?

On Tuesday March 12, I attended the inaugural Victorian Edtech Seminar – ‘Micro-credentials within the AQF: Who’s the winner here?’ seminar hosted by Study Melbourne and Edugrowth.

The seminar provides an opportunity for interested people to hear from an erudite panel of representatives from across the education and edtech sectors on a topic of growing importance in education and technology: micro-credentials.

The focus of the inaugural seminar was micro-credentials within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.

Why do we need to talk about this?

The Australian Government is reviewing the AQF, and is currently exploring whether or not the AQF should include shorter form credentials (i.e. micro-credentials).

Shorter form credentials could enable easy recognition of credentials across sectors and providers, and could be included or linked to full qualifications.

  • However, what impact would this have on the edtech and education sector?
  • Would it stifle innovation or bring a badge of quality?
  • Would it provide an additional review stream for education providers or lessen the value of education products?

Who was there

The speakers were Prof. Liz Johnson (DVC Education, Deakin University), Amanda Pickrell (Director International Education, Victorian Government) and David Linke (Managing Director, Edugrowth) while the panel was made-up of Dr Asheley Jones (Head, Professional Practice and Industry Partnerships, DeakinCo), Anthony Morris (CEO, Cahoot Learning), Rohan Chandler (VP Partnerships, Go1 (Formerly SEEK) and Andy Giddy (Executive Director Business Innovation, La Trobe University).

Key takeaways

My key takeaways from the seminar were:

  • The big question for the seminar ‘Is there a winner?’ wasn’t answered.
  • Market or providers don’t necessarily want AQF governance, but it’s coming (so be a part of it).
  • Governance can be considered a good thing, particularly for demonstration of academic integrity/rigour and competitive point of difference from other ‘options’.
  • Branding and customer perception is important, unsurprisingly.
  • Universities should reconsider pre-occupation with degree only micro-credential offerings and be receptive to also offering micro-credentials for CPD (that demonstrate currency/capacity) for relevant industries.
  • If they’re not already, research-focused universities should consider how micro-credentials (short online courses) can support ‘research translation’ and getting their research out into public.
  • Industry/the market will determine and inform micro-credentials and collaborating/working with them is critical (Microsoft Certified Professional and Cisco certification are examples of industry doing it themselves).

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