Moodle Moot bag on the beachThis afternoon I finished up Moodle Moot with one more session. On the beach, walking for about 4 kilometres to absorb, absorb, ponder and let my mind wander as I wandered in the warm afternoon sun.

I’m now soaking up the last of the afternoon sun on our little hotel balcony and listening to James Taylor as I overlook the lovely mountains and many buildings of Broadbeach.

This was my first Moodle Moot, but not my first e-learning conference. As with all conferences, the more I learn, the more I find that the best learning happens between sessions.

Sessions are more about information delivery than they are interactive and I can get information from so many different sources.

But I can’t get the time out of context to find out what the people in my network are exploring, learning and doing. And it’s more than that.

Sometimes it’s just nice to be around people who don’t think you’re more or less than what you are when you talk about the issues, trends and technologies that are of interest to you. They ‘get’ where you are and give you the right balance of reality check and affirmation you need to dive back in again. There’s some friendly rivalry as you share your latest tech toys, challenges to your newly forming opinions or deep-rooted suspicions, corrections of your thinking, sharing of yourself and your discoveries.

In the past I’ve taken copious notes, Tweeted a bushel of mini-revelations and favourite quotes, live blogged without being asked to and as a result, was able to put together a decent synopsis I could reference back to and share with others – and probably irritated a few people in the bargain.

This year I started out live blogging and then stopped. It’s not where my head or my heart is at right now. I am at a crossroad to some extent. I have SO much I need to do better, to learn how to do at all and am longing to go down some paths that aren’t what my organisation needs but I’d like to explore.

So this time, I Tweeted in bursts, took some screen shots of screens I will digest later and let it wash over me.

What has remained so far is:

– From Sarah Thorneycraft (@sthcrft on Twitter) session on creating games with Moodle: Adults don’t always have that sense of adventure, that what’ll happen when I click this?

  • What am I going to do with this and what I learned in her session on using conditional activities? To ponder ways to make clicking things less scary and even fun. Whether I do that with graphics, a game, an intro video – that’s what I need to experiment with in the 90 minutes per week I allot for PD in work hours (and the time outside work I do this). Also – consider that Angry Birds has NO TEXT INSTRUCTIONS. Text isn’t evil – it’s just that there are other clues you can use to guide people to what they need to do.

– From ANU’s presentation on “course sophistication metrics”: Setting out objective criteria for course content basics (description, outline, forums and response times, etc) can help you identify baseline standards.

  • What am I going to do about this? Work it into some guidelines I’m writing for our facilitators, for myself and get input from facilitators and peers.

– From a presentation on delivering a reasonable simulacrum of e-learning to prisoners with no access to the internet: an e-book reader can offer opportunities for people to practice search and research skills so don’t despair if your learners don’t have you-beaut, gee whiz internet connections. Consider that there are teachers who promote interaction, collaboration, inquiry, information literacy, etc. with NO INTERNET WHATSOEVER.

  • What I want to do with this: observe our experienced face to face facilitators in action and learn from them.

– From learners in my workshop on course formats: Consider that navigation needs to have consistency, that the visual gives two pathways to the content but if it cuts off good stuff around it like blocks – maybe it’s not the best way, that some scrolling is inevitable.

  • What am I going to do about this? Consider what the various formats do – grid, one topic, collapsed topics and now flexipages – and how to best apply them. Ensure that I ask learners what THEY think. Maybe do some in-house focus groups.
Sunset in laptop screen

– From my friends: patience, patience, patience. Walk a line between wanting to create courses that try to incorporate great practice and courses that facilitators can and will want to use with learners. Get buy-in but don’t be an order taker.

– From my own gut: decisions need to have an evidence base. Objective criteria is essential to decision making – but guts have wisdom too. Write up a list of where I want to improve and do a little bit every day and week to get there.

I am so very grateful that I met so many lovely people and strengthened connections with others, shared laughs and ideas.

The sun is setting and the air is cooling, so I’m going to pack up my laptop and move back inside. Cheers and farewell for now from the 27th floor in a hotel somewhere in Broadbeach.