Online impact is more relevant as social web enters into digital learning environments. Both assessment and evaluation of digital resources is critical for supporting learning outcomes and instructional design. Before diving into any sort of online addition to your curriculum, be sure to review both your online content and learning goals.
Flickr photo c/o suavehouse113
It is okay to experiment and get acquainted with a few social media resources; however it is important to start with a needs assessment before implementing new technologies into a learning curriculum or program plan. Here are a few things to consider before as you begin the evaluation of social media tools for learning:
- Credibility – Check your online sources. Are you a critical learner with your social media tools? There is a great deal of sharing in the social web; however not all online content is reliable. Consider what mediums would be most appropriate for the subject, topic and learners. Encourage your learners to develop critical thinking skills on the web for effective methods of search, inquiry and information analysis.
- Relevance – Will your learning content find a place with a particular online medium? Have you reviewed some of the top tools for social learning? Take a look at a few online classes such as EC & I 831 and CCK09 that have been supported with social media. There are many models and examples of engaged online learning environments.
- Reach – How do you reach your learners? How will you engage your audience? It is important to consider your online influence and methods of measurement and social media reach for your learners. There are few online tools to measure connections and reach; however educators need to rely on learner participation, evaluation and feedback.
- Expertise – How many “social media experts” and #fauxperts have you seen online? It is the learning material, not the online tools that will best support your curriculum. The best expertise can be found with an instructional needs assessment and program implementation plan. Consider your learning objectives and planning your best expertise. I recommend the following educational technology associations and networks to support your instructional design and implementation needs: ISTE, AACE, AECT, The eLearning Guild, and EDUCAUSE.
- Trust – How do you build trust among learners in your online curriculum? What will help foster a sense of community? The social web creates spaces for online communities to grow and thrive. When building an online learning community it is important to consider communication channels, active participation opportunities, and collaborative networks for learners to find meaning.