Advice for a new starter

Posted on: February 17, 2017

Categories: Consultancy

I was recently asked the question about how I made the transition from school teaching to online learning.

This has been a gradual journey - one on which I’ve been supported by great managers, advisors and colleagues.

Starting points

I did a post-graduate diploma in Elearning. This was with Hull University, but, these days, I’d probably recommend the MSc in Digital Education from Edinburgh, or, for a short course, go for CIPD’s Digital Learning Design, run by Clive Shepherd. He’s a real expert in the subject.

Apart from the thinking that the course provoked, it also helped me start my personal learning network (PLN). You don’t need the qualification, but it might help get interviews, and it will certainly help as you start thinking from the online learning perspective.

My PLN comprises experts in various fields around learning, technology and web design. These are people who publish their ideas and with whom I can interact.

You’d probably have your own set of people to read, but I’d start with Stephen Downes, Cathy Moore, Tom Kuhlmann, Kate Graham and Ryan Tracey.

I have learnt enough HTML, CSS and Javascript to be able to know what’s possible, and to be able to talk to real developers in the same language. W3Schools is a good place to start.

I also used my teaching experience to think in terms of activities and learning outcomes rather than just resources. There are a lot of people who just create nice looking resources with no real thought about how people will use them and what they will realistically learn from them. As a teacher you have an advantage on many people in that you will have much more of an insight into how people learn.

Constant CPD, through my PLN, through Twitter, through meetups and conferences, is essential. Get as much as you can. The world of learning technology is changing very rapidly and its easy to get left behind.

Join the Elearning Network and try to get along to some of their events. You’ll learn masses!

Useful books

The Really Useful Elearning Instruction Manual by Rob Hubbard

Don’t Make me Think by Steve Krug

The New Learning Architect by Clive Shepherd.