Digital learning environment or DLE is the total of the digital resources, whether computers, software, storage, and systems, that are utilized to manage an academic enterprise, thus, facilitate learning. In this millennium, the DLEs serve as the dominant venue of learning in elementary, secondary, and post secondary or tertiary schools. Technology is not an option anymore in the teaching-learning process but rather it is part of most, if not all, of the curriculum nowadays.
As an e-learner, it is imperative to have knowledge on how to use technology effectively in learning and develop behaviors to endure the challenges in a digital learning environment. The following are some suggestions to ensure survival in a DLE:
1. TIME-MANAGEMENT. Most e-learning platforms are scheduled based on modules. Usually, it is self-pace interaction and depends on the availability of the e-learner. Some e-learners study in digitally because they are full-time or part-time workers and entrepreneurs. In this case, time-management skills are essential. You have to learn how to budget your time, allotting time for studying and reading modules, writing critical essays and finishing assignments. Sometimes you might missed deadlines and this is kind of bombarding because it will add up to the next module as scheduled.
To help you improve your time-management skills, read this article “Time Management for Online Learners – 10 Tricks” (https://www.elearners.com/education-resources/online-learning/time-management-for-online-learners/).
2. RESEARCH and MEDIA LITERACY. In digital learning, modules include assignments in which you need to submit critical essays and analytical papers. It is paramount that you know how to conduct a successful research. You should know which site is trustworthy and valid. You should be familiar with reliable sites of the topic or content being studied. For example, if you are researching about space explorations, you may want to visit NASA website (https://www.nasa.gov/).
To help you successfully complete research assignments, read this article “Improving Student Research Skills: 10 Ways to Improve Student Research Skills” (http://libguides.uhcl.edu/improving)
3. SELF-MOTIVATION. A fundamental factor which affects students’ performance is their learning efficacy and motivation. In the classroom, educators know how to motivate their students and how to exploit this knowledge to optimize their teaching when a student shows demotivation signs. In eLearning environments it is much more difficult to evaluate student motivation level (Etherington, 2017). Personally, I think this is the most important characteristic that an eLearner should possess. In digital learning, you are interacting with the teachers, and even your classmates virtually, which means no one is physically present to help you out and encourage you. You might only read motivating words that will boost your morale in your submissions and forums. Also, you are studying at your own pace and at your own time. You might not feel motivated to continue studying because of stress or lack of interest. Furthermore, lack of face-to-face and personal interaction poses a great challenge in sustaining interest in the online course you are taking.
To keep yourself motivated, read this “e-learning tips how to stay motivated to learn.”(http://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/e-learning-tips-how-to-stay-motivated-to-learn/)
Indeed, learning in a digital environment provides a convenient way to acquire knowledge. It gives students some element of control over time, place, path or pace. However, challenges might decrease self-efficacy and this might affect the learning process. Improving one’s self by managing time well, knowing how to conduct reliable researches and increasing motivation will boost confidence and learning efficacy. This will yield positive results and will create a healthy learning environment for a digital learner.
What concepts from social learning theory are at work behind the following scenarios?
1. Jun sees a guy about his age in a TV advertisement buying flowers for a girlfriend. The ad also shows the woman hug the man when he gives her the flowers. A day later, Jun buys a dozen roses for the girl he is courting.
Provide a complete explanation for Jun’s behavior, based on social cognitive theory.
Answer: In this example, Jun displayed vicarious learning. Jun based his behavior from the guy in the TV advertisement (Attention). The age and gender are factors that affected the probability on engaging with the behavior. A positive reinforcement (hugging) gave Jun an idea that this behavior (buying flowers) will highly likely to produce an intended result, which is a hug or approval from the girl he is courting.
2. You are driving 65 on Commonwealth Ave, which has been marked speed limit of 60. You see a car that has been pulled over for an apparent traffic violation. You immediately apply the brakes and slow your own vehicle.
Identify two concepts from social cognitive theory that are illustrated in this instance. Explain.
Answer: This example demonstrated learning by following the behavior modeled by someone with whom one can identify and learning by observing others and being motivated because of punishment or consequence of an action. In this situation, the driver is not sure if the other car is pulled due to a traffic violation but his attention was caught because the one being stopped was a driver as well. Here commonality is evident. The driver noticed as well that the car was stopped. This is a form of reinforcement. He is not sure if the driver will be punished but in order not to be caught also he slowed down.
3. Greg concludes, “I seem to have a feel for French,” as he begins his homework. His teacher often compliments him on the high quality of his written work, and his effort has continually increased.
Answer: Greg has an increased self-efficacy because of he receives positive feedback (reinforcement) from his teacher. As a result, he continuously exert effort in his homework in French and he feels positively motivated to do it.
4. Teachers who model persistence in problem-solving tasks have students who persist longer than teachers who don’t (Zimmerman & Blotner, 1979).
What form of modeling occurs in such situations? Which modeling function is best illustrated by the students’ increased persistence? Explain.
Answer: In this situation, a live model (teacher) is present. She acts as an authority and demonstrate a behavior (peristence in problem-solving) that increases likeness to model the skill. In this example, the teacher is regarded as a superior source of knowledge and skill. In turn, student will model the behavior because he/she views the teacher as someone in authority.
5. One group of students watched teachers successfully solve problems, a second group watched peers do the same, and a third saw no models.
Which group successfully solved the most problems, and which solved the fewest? Explain.
Answer: In this example, the group of students who observed the teacher will most likely solve more problems and the one who does not have any model to follow will solve the least. The teacher, as an authority and source of knowledge will be able to solve most problems and in turn, the student who observed the teachers will have greater chance of solving them. The one without models to follow will least likely solve problems as they do not have source of knowledge.
I just had a recent realization on how behaviorism was able to demonstrate a change on my students’ behavior, thus, facilitate learning.
I have been a proponent of technology use in the classroom. However, as an educator, I have to make sure that the technology or application that I am using is aligned with the curriculum and pedagogy and not just merely giving students means to have fun. As they always say, “Learning while having fun.”
I have been teaching science to middle school students for 2 years now and it is quite difficult for students to remember bunch of terms in science. Moreover, it seems difficult for them to analyze problems, conduct investigations and make reflective essays on how science can make an impact to some global issues. It is not because they don’t have the skills but rather because they lack sufficient terms to use in explaining. And so as a teacher, I have to address this matter.
I ponder, “How can I let the students remember the terms and keep these in their minds so that they can pull it out whenever they need it, for example in making a lab report?” And I remember this Quizlet app I tried using a year ago in my class. I failed to engage my students in learning before probably because I was not able to navigate its usage and maximize its potential.
Quizlet is an online platform where educators and students can create flashcards or study sets that can be used in studying and reviewing. One can create a study set by listing down the terms and writing its definition. Pictures associated to the term can also be added. After going through series of webinars, I learned how the technology works and realized how it can be a game-changer in my classroom.
I was astonished how efficient the flashcards can be done and used in the classroom. However, merely reading the sets I made and learning independently seems not effective in bringing about a change on my students’ behavior, which is evident as getting low scores in the test given after.
Then I discovered something. There are two features of Quizlet that can engage my students and motivate them to learn – Quizlet live and Gravity. And so I tried.
In Quizlet live, students are grouped into teams and each teams compete to finish first. Each members have sets of vocabulary cards on their devices. A question, that is the same, is given among the team members and the member who has the card pertaining to the answer should tap it.
Positive reinforcements are finishing first, being awarded with badges and beating the other teams.
Gravity, on the other hand, is an independent learning game for the students. In this feature, an asteroid, with a question on it, is falling on the screen and the student must type the answer as fast as he can. There is a score to beat, which is a positive reinforcement. A score is rewarded at the end of the game.
These two features are the top on my students’ list and they crave for more and more sets everytime we have lessons. Now I understand, how these type of teaching strategies keep the students engage and more likely to continue the behavior of learning. Through a positive reinforcement in behaviorist perspective, learners will increase repetition of a certain behavior.
Now science terms are easier to learn than before. Indeed, rote learning still is needed for the students to be able to analyze, synthesize and evaluate. Thanks to technology, I do not have to prepare too much and spend much time for it. Now that students are motivated to learn using it, I practiced them how to create their own study sets and are now reviewing on their own, beating their own scores and letting their classmates use their sets and beat their scores. Because technology was presented to them in such a way that they can grasp the benefit from it and reinforced, students positively embraced it and will keep doing it as long as they can see that they are gaining something from it.
Note: We just finished the Final Exam this week. And those that are challenged and troubled learners got some good grades this term.
After reading on some of the problems and issues in the Philippine Educational System, it keeps me wondering, “What really causes poor quality of graduates in our country? Or do we really produce poor quality graduates as what some literatures are claiming?”
I researched some factors that shows the status of the Educational system in the Philippines compared to other countries and some variables that might have a direct or indirect effect on it.
Literacy Rate. This is the percentage of people who can, with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement about their everyday life. From 2010 to 2015, the Philippines increased its literacy rate from 95.81% to 96.62%. This is not relatively low compared to Singapore, which increases also from 95.86% to 96.77% also. However this is low compared to South Korea, which is consistent with 100%. (Data from World Development Indicator by World Bank)
Unemployment. The percent of unemployment in the Philippines decreases marginally from 2010’s 7.3% to 2014’s 7.1%. Indonesia’s unemployment rate declined from 7.1% to 6.2%. South Korea and Singapore both had a low unemployment rate since 2010, which is 4 and 3 percent respectively.
GDP. South Korea has a GDP of 1.4 trillions while Indonesia and Singapore has 888.1 Billions and 307.9 Billions respectively. Philippines is among the low income generating countries in Asia with 284.8 Billions.
Top Countries for Education. According to U.S. News, Singapore ranked top 15 and Korea got the 23rd spot. Indonesia and Philippines is among the low performing countries in education at 39th and 43rd. Scandinavian nations are ranked on top. This ranking is based from the status of public education and considering attending university in the particular country. Recently, in a study conducted by the World Top 20 Project, they listed South Korea and Singapore among the 2017 World’s Top 20 Education Poll Ranking Predictions. South Korea is on 3rd while Singapore is same on the 15th spot. Most Scandinavian countries are still on top with Finland on top.
Corruption Index. The corruption perception index shows Denmark, Finland and Sweden has been consistent among the top countries with less corruption. In 2016, Denmark ranked 1st and Finland and Sweden on 3rd and 4th. Singapore is top among the Asian countries and 7th in the world. South Korea decreased its ranking from 38th in 2015 and 52 in 2016. Philippines has been consistent among the most corrupt countries from 2015’s 99th and 2016’s 101th. Indonesia is also among the corrupt countries at rank 90.
Out of School Children. Philippines’ out of school youth decreased from around 900,000 in 2010 to 400,000 in 2012. Indonesia’s number of out of school children increases from 1.8 million to 2 million from 2013 to 2014. South Korea and Singapore have very less out of school youth.
Budget for Education. Scandinavian nations, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland ranked in the top quarter, generally outperforming Asian nations where students are pressured to perform well, according to U.S. News’ Best Countries for Education. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has said that levels of education funding do not necessarily affect academic performance, however, these countries spend some of the most money on education as a percentage of their gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.
Philippines’ Budget for Education since 2010. From year 2010-2015 the education sector received the top budget from Aquino’s Administration. This is in accordance to his goal of Education for all children in his 10-point agenda in Education and in preparation for the 2016’s implementation of the K-12 program.
2010 – 185.5 Billion based from abs-cbnNEWS.com
2011 – 207 Billion (19% increase; 12.4 B for construction of buildings, 1.8 B for 32.3 million textbooks, 1.6 Billion for hiring additional 10,000 teachers, 8.6 Billion for scholarships, training grants and student loan programs) based from Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines
2012 – 238.8 Billion (15% increase; according to Education Secretary Armin Luistro this is in preparation for Philippine Educational System to roll out K-12 Program)
2013 – 292.7 Billion (23% increase; to hire 61, 510 teachers; 31.1 Million textbooks and teachers’ manuals) from inquirer.net , some articles mentioned 293.3 Billion allocation for DepEd during this year
2014 – 309.43 Billion (14.4% increase; 44.6 Billion appropriation for construction, repair and rehabilitation of at least 43,000 Kindergarten, elementary and secondary school buildings nationwide; 8.56 Billion for 34,700 teaching and non-teaching position) based from Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines
2015 – 367.1 Billion (18.6% increase; 53.9 Billion for basic education facilities to cover the construction of 31, 728 classrooms, repair of 9500 classrooms; construction of 13, 586 water and sanitation facilities; 455 technical-vocational laboratories; 1.3 million seats; 10 Billion for 39,066 new teaching and 1,500 non-teaching positions; 3.5 Billion for 70.5 million textbooks and instructional materials to schools) based from Philstar Global and Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines
As mentioned by U.S. News’ Best Countries for Education, those countries that allocated most of their budget to Education also have the best Educational System. I have not found a study to link this (let me know if there is), but I can see the relationship between the nation’s budget and academic performance. The richest countries in terms of GDP are those that are top performers in terms of education for years. Since 2010, the country had apportioned most of its budget to the education sector. So what could be the problem? This boils down to the most problematic issue in our country-CORRUPTION. The Philippines has been suffering from corrupt leaders for a very long period of time. The problem does not lie in the system of education. Whatever system or program is being implemented, if corruption keeps taking place, it will hinder its success.
But I should say, it is a strategic move for the reform of educational system in the Philippines in 2016. We have to welcome change considering that we are the only Asian country left with the old system.
Moreover, I do not think Philippines is producing low-quality graduates. Literacy rates show that we are not at par to other neighboring countries. I assume that the problem lies in underemployment because of lack of available jobs or some jobs are already filled with competent but not certified or qualified in the particular field. Some students are also forced to take courses, which are not of their choice or they are unaware of possible careers due to ineffective career orientation. This lies also to the problem of schools and universities. Our system is not training the students on the skills needed for the job available right now in the Philippines, rather, they are training students for jobs that are attractive abroad.
But still lots of questions are bugging me. The government has an increasing approximation of budget for education for years and the allocation for these budgets were overwhelming. But were these projects really done? Were the school facilities built as planned? Or are they still under constructions and remained unfinished? Were the job positions filled? Were the school materials bought?
I understand that corruption halts these but why can’t we work hand in hand to solve the problems? Why can’t we eliminate corruption and promote better education. I am still hoping and still dreaming-for an Education for a Globally Competitive Nation.
Images used in this post were taken during the MXIS students’ volunteering in a public school in the Philippines.
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Briefer on the President’s Budget Message for 2011.
Department of Education. DepEd Welcomes Budget Increase; Focuses on Universal Kindergarten. Press Release. January 3, 2011.
Students are sent to school by their parents, basically, to be educated and to learn. Parents give their full trust and support to the educators and school staff to hone their child’s knowledge and skills to be able to go to a good, if not the best university and succeed later on in life.
As educators, we play a crucial role in shaping students’ mind. What we are cultivating now will be reaped in the future. It is a challenging role for us, however, are we certain that we are able to impart the knowledge and skills necessary for them to succeed in the future? Are we able to develop students, thus, reaching erudition to keep up with the changing world.
According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, organisms that possess heritable traits that enable them to better adapt to their environment compared with other members of their species will be more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass more of their genes on to the next generation (National Academy of Sciences, 2017). One of which trait that is critical to adapt and survive is – INTELLIGENCE.
John Locke conceptualized that the child’s mind is a blank tablet (tabula rasa) that gets shaped and formed by his/her own experiences. He believed the mind becomes what it experiences from the outside world. Considering the drastic changes in today’s world, we should ensure that students are adept to the needs of the 21st century. Educators need to prepare students, not only mastering the core of subjects, but also cultivate flexibility and learning quickly with the aid of technology. Communication, collaboration and creativity are the skills required in the knowledge-based industries of the future (Mubarak, 2014). NCREL suggests that educational decision makers need to acknowledge that the academics of yesterday are not sufficient for today.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills lists three types of skills essential for 21st Century Learners: Learning Skills: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Collaborating, Communicating; Literacy Skills: Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Technology Literacy and Life Skills: Flexibility, Initiative, Social Skills, Productivity, Leadership. Success in developing these skills can be attained if we develop students’ intelligences as described by Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Take for instance, linguistic and interpersonal intelligences. A student may develop collaborative and communication skills if he has a good linguistic and interpersonal intelligences. Being able to use words effectively and convey it through communication makes a student more adept and increase chances of surviving the competitive market.
In this case, educators need to incorporate activities that will ensure enhancement of intelligences through various activities, such as peer sharing and role-playing. A 70-country study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020, approximately 83 million high- and middle-skilled jobs will go unfilled because employers looking to hire in developed and developing countries will not find people with the necessary skills. Therefore, educators need to keep in mind the various intelligences that should be molded to reflect on the skills needed.
Learning abilities varies from student to student. A student may perform well in academic subjects, such as Science and Math, but may not be in other facets of education like Physical Education or Music. This contradicts Spearman’s General Intelligence or the Factor Analysis. He noted that while people certainly could and often did excel in certain areas, people who did well in one area tended also to do well in other areas. A wide array of evidence from research on development, education, neurology and genetics suggests that it is unlikely that a factor general to all abilities produces individual-differences in all of what are regarded as indicators of human intelligence. There have been many efforts to discredit and counteract this evidence: they have not altered the conclusion: no general factor has been found (Horn, 2006).
Educators are essential to enhance students’ intelligence. These intelligences can be developed, with consideration of the biological and neurological processes of one’s body and the effect of external environment. In order to keep up with the changing world, we, as educators have to rethink if we are equipping our students with the indispensable skills and promote 21st Century learning. We should have profound knowledge of the theories underlying learning and intelligence to dwell accordingly with our role in Education. As educators, we should develop ourselves and keep updated with the latest trends in teaching and learning, lest, be left behind with the world and not survive.
Cherry. (2017). What is general intelligence? Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-general-intelligence-2795210
Cherry. (2016). What are the different theories of Intelligence? Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/theories-of-intelligence-2795035
Hammond, Austin, Orcott and Rosso. (2001). How people learn: Introduction to Learning Theories Retrieved from http://web.stanford.edu/class/ed269/hplintrochapter.pdf
Thoughtful Learning. (n.d.) What are 21st Century Skills? Retrieved from https://k12.thoughtfullearning.com/FAQ/what-are-21st-century-skills
Soffel. (10 Mar 2016). What are the 21st-century skills every student needs? Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/21st-century-skills-future-jobs-students/
Pacific Policy Research Center. 2010. 21st Century Skills for Students and Teachers. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools, Research & Evaluation Division.
Mubarak. (2014). Education system needs to adapt to a fast-changing world. Retrieved from http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/education-system-needs-to-adapt-to-a-fast-changing-world
McGinvey & Winthrop. (12 Sept 2016). Rethinking education in a changing world. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2016/09/12/rethinking-education-in-a-changing-world/
Horn. (4/3/2006). Understanding Human Intelligence: Where Have We Come Since Spearman? Retrieved from http://www.iapsych.com/articles/Horn2006b.pdf
Learning is a continuous process of acquiring knowledge, skills and behavior necessary to cope up with the changing world. A person may have different reasons and ways to learn. And one may acquire this through formal education or from experiences and observations.
A lot of my colleagues and childhood friends asked me why do I need to still study over and over. I have a stable and good job. And I’m pretty confident of myself that I can impart the sufficient knowledge and skills to my students, though, I did not receive a degree in education.
During my early years in teaching, I was able to adapt to the methodologies and strategies in teaching through personal researches, observations and experimentations. Thanks to the wide arrays of knowledge that we can obtain in just a click – the world wide web. It was quite hard but learning to teach is challenging yet fulfilling once results are seen.
However, I felt that the knowledge and skills I’m getting were not structured. Though there are lots of good sites and free courses that I can take online, still, I felt incomplete and incompetent in my profession. This was the very reason why I enrolled to an Online University.
StuDYING. Working full-time while studying kills my leisure time in a positive way. You got to miss hanging out with friends, not having enough sleep, and skip family gatherings. But at the end of the day, there is a certain feeling of accomplishment knowing that I learned something. With just one module, I felt I learned a lot. What’s good with it is that I am learning what I am currently doing and what I am supposed to be doing. I have been learning new ways of teaching, the best methods of teaching in a particular situation and whatnot.
I am not the best learner or student. But I am determined to learn more and more each day. I do not want to skip a module without fully understanding a certain topic that I am reading. (I know it’s time-consuming and makes me miss deadlines.) But I’d rather miss deadlines than miss important details and information of what I am currently studying. I do not want to go back to what I previously studied and learn it again. So I make sure that I get the most of what I am learning as of the moment. Maybe that’s the reason why some people learn better than I do.
It’s a matter of time. Time-management is of the essence, especially for e-learners. But this is what’s good with learning online. You get to choose your own phase and your own time. Coz it’s hard to focus yourself in learning. Some people learns best in the morning, some in the afternoon and some at night. Some spends little time each day and some spends a day studying.
Distractions cannot be prevented. But these should be handled properly and effectively. Learning online might sound easy. But as I experience it first-hand, it is not how you think it is. You have facebook, instagram, youtube and twitter, which prevent a person to give full attention to my learning. However, I learned how to divert my attention and experiment on ways I could deal with it effectively.
Success in learning differs from person-to-person. One may say, topping the class means learning is effective. Getting high grades maybe some students’ definition of successful learning. However, in my personal view, effective learning equates a single change in knowledge and behavior. If a certain change in one’s thoughts or ideas or skills is evident then learning takes place. It maybe as simple as learning to tie you shoelace or as complex as learning to write in Mandarin.
Learning is a personal experience through formal education or informal situation or opportunity that may bring about a certain change in one’s thoughts or actions. Whereas, academic achievement is a formalized personal experience that results from learning.
Several years from now, the world will be run by today’s youth. Therefore, it is critical on shaping what they know and experience right now. Their thoughts and actions at present will be reflected later on, hence, making education one of the best predictors of a country’s success in the future. Teaching in an international school is like shaping the world. Being able to teach students from different nations, from various countries and having diverse cultures is challenging yet gives a sense of fulfillment. It feels like I am teaching the world and the future of the world is counting on me in one-way or another.