Categorie archief: English Jam

Learning blended (?) about blended Learning in BlendKIT2017

Hi Judith,

First I want to introduce you to my classmates and teachers of the BlendKIT2017 Course I am participating in. We all are interested, like yourself, in Blended Learning and how to get (more) experienced in building blended course(s) material. There are several bloggers a-like who are going to share their course experiences online. I will mention them later.

Classmates, I want to welcome you to the duo-blog Judith and I share over the last couple of years. Most of it is in Dutch, because we both are IT in Education enthusiasts in the Netherlands at Zuyd University of Applied Science. But I have been blogging in English before, which you can find under the category: English Jam. Judith is the big engine in this blog, the hero that finds time in her schedule and room in her head to blog about anything she encounters at Zuyd that has to do with IT in education, innovation in education or inspiring stories in education. I, as a sidekick, am trying to keep up with her. So our course will be an opportunity to make up some ground. We write to each other in our blogposts about our experiences, so that is the form that I am going to use for our course blogs as well.

The BlendKIT2017 course is a course on Canvas. As you know I know Blackboard inside out, and I have experienced with Coursera and Edx, but I didn’t use Canvas before. So that also is a learning experience. On the first look it seems to deliver a lot of structure, but after the orientation and the first week content (being on another website) I am still have to see a lot of action to be able to make a judgement of Canvas.

The topic of week 1 is chapter 1 of the Blended Learning Toolkit. And the main discussion there is the definition of Blended Learning. As we have seen in our past projects at Zuyd that was, and still is, an issue. The most important thing is to create a common language within an institution on that topic. As we are an University of Applied Science with 10 faculties, with all of them experts and strong opinions it is important that someone makes or chooses a definition that fits all of our needs. As we are building Guidelines for our Zuyd Professional project to build blended learning courses we should reflect on how others did that. McGee and Reis have made an overview of guidelines and handbooks and have researched the elements of them ( For me the most interesting resource in the first chapter, because it illustrates the struggle in getting uniformity and gives several directions that can be taken to categorize blends or elements in a blended learning environment.

Choosing a blended learning model to build a framework upon is something that our research center Technology Enhanced Learning and our iTeam is working on. So I was glad to read that this was the road presented to us. The importance of blended learning for a university, teacher or student are different (economics and engagement from institutions, quality and engagement from students, efficiency and flexibility) but the challenge is to trigger all three with our model and framework.

For me Blended Learning is the combination of F2F and online where we choose the options based on student, teacher, institution (preferably in that order). In a dutch blogpost on designing your blend I posted a presentation on which cheat 8 illustrates a  blended strategy choosing several F2F and online items in a course. This is the way I would like to design my own blended (part of a) course. I hope I can use the next weeks of the course to work and learn on that.

Marcel Schmitz

Laatste nog te beoordelen huiswerk: Learning analytics for learning design, an opportunity for better learning.

Ha Judith,

Om je deelgenoot te maken van het laatste nog te beoordelen huiswerk van de laatste van vier online cursussen die ik nodig heb voordat ik aan mijn eindwerk mag beginnen, post ik bij deze mijn bijdrage. Het gaat over learning analytics for learning design kortom een onderwerp dat zeker past op dit blog.


Groet Marcel

Learning analytics for learning design, an opportunity for better learning.

          Despite the great success surrounding learning analytics and the increasing amount of available learning analytic tools, most educational organizations, are only aware of the potential of learning analytics regarding personalized learning and have limited experience with its application (Bichsel). All educational organizations use some form of learning design to organize their education. Analyzing the behavior and actions of students with regard to the learning design enables institutions to adapt for better learning. In order to shift the educational sector towards a more data-driven educational science, it is necessary to gain more insights in the effects of applying learning analytics in learning design.

First to illustrate, learning analytics is the field of learners data, which can be automatically harvested and analysis of these data has the potential to provide evidence-based insights into learner abilities and patterns of behavior, cognition, motivation, and emotions. The use of learning analytics to inform decision-making in education is not new, but the scope and scale of its potential has increased enormously with the rapid adoption of technology over the last few years (Siemens). At the data side, the rise of Big Data leads, in addition, to rapid development of useful techniques and tools to analyze large amounts of data. Better analysis on bigger amounts of data can be made within educational institutions by combining information across faculties. At the visualization side, better and more informative dashboards have come commercial available for institutions to use to get more insights in the actions and behaviors of students. These insights in turn can provide a crucial guidance for a more personalized curriculum design and can help teachers with the design of their education.

Secondly, illustrating Learning design as the combination of the learning activities and the support activities that are performed by different persons (students, teachers) in the context of a unit of learning e.g. a module or course. Donald et al. stated that “A learning design (product) documents and describes a learning activity in such a way that other teachers can understand it and use it in their own context. Typically a learning design includes descriptions of learning tasks, resources and supports provided by the teacher. learning design is also the process by which teachers design for learning, when they devise a plan, design or structure for a learning activity” (179). In further detail, developing a learning design a teacher or educational designer works on all phases of an instruction; starting from the definition of prior knowledge prerequisites of the target student group, design of learning objectives and outcomes, and design of the assessment to test if the outcomes have been achieved. In between are many choices for appropriate learning activities and sequences, content, teaching methods, materials and other resources that contribute to achieving the learning objectives. Efforts to incorporate personalized learning into learning designs are sought, because personalized learning is a potential approach to meeting future educational needs. Little educational concepts embed tools into their learning design to optimize personalized learning. Thus, little knowledge considering the actual use of learning analytics in educational practice and its contribution for educational theories is available (Wise). A lot of opportunities are available to improve the usage of learning design.

After illustrating learning analytics and learning design, the potential of the combination of them both, to improve education to a more personal level can be shown. The teaching activities and resources evolving from the learning design are provided increasingly over IT infrastructures and are most of the time also digitally available. This offers opportunities to use learning analytics as part of the learning environment and the learning design (Lockyer). It is of crucial importance for a learning analytics-supported learning design to consider potential learning analytics indicators already while designing the learning objectives and various activities (Lockyer). Like assessment procedures, learning analytics indicators should be considered in the very beginning of the development of the learning design. In that way, e.g. a ‘forum discussion’ is not only an effective learning activity on itself, but learning analytics can also provide an much more efficient and effective overview of e.g. student participation that could provide both student with self-monitoring information and make teachers more aware of the learning process of his students and adds possibilities for personalized feedback. However, a clear and user-friendly presentation of the learning analytics information is essential for the effect of it. learning dashboards are used to visually present learning performances. A dashboard can be defined as a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance (Few).  A learning dashboard can provide both teachers and students with insights in study progress and potential for improvement.

In order to apply learning analytics in learning design, learning designers must gain awareness and knowledge about the potentials and limitations of learning analytics. A comprehensive introduction to different domains that are affected by learning analytics was provided by Greller and Drachsler. They developed a generic design framework that can serve as a guide in developing Learning application in support of educational practice. The framework addresses six fields of attention that have to be addressed in every Learning analytics design: 1. Stakeholders, 2. Objectives, 3. Data, 4. Instruments, 5. External constraints, 6. Internal limitations (42). The stakeholders are the students, teachers, institutions, but also the service providers. The objectives of using analytics can be to reflect current behavior, but also to predict if for instance students potentially drop out. How open the data is that can be used and how the data that is used can be protected are part of the data field. The instruments to gather data, analyze it and intelligently perform computations upon are the fourth field. External constraints are privacy and ethics issues. And last field, the internal limitations consider the competences users bring to use learning analytics.

Besides technical implementation, the competences of users of learning analytics for learning design have to be considered in developing a solution. There are the two crucial aspects of ’awareness’ and ’reflection’ that need to be taken into account when dealing with learning analytics for learning design. The reflection on presented analytics results is not possible without awareness which in turn depends on some form of feedback to the user. According to Endsley being aware of one’s own situation is a three level process and a prerequisite for making decisions and effectively performing tasks: the perception of elements in the current situation is followed by the comprehension of the current situation which then leads to the projection of a future status (32). Reflection can promote insight about something that previously went unnoticed and lead to a change in learning or teaching behavior. Verbert et al. emphasize the importance of these aspects in their four-stage process model for learning analytics applications: awareness, reflection, sense making, and impact (1500). Technology, thus, is not the only aspect of implementing a learning analytics for learning design solution, the competences of the users is an equally important aspect.

In conclusion, more applications of learning analytics in learning design are an opportunity to increase learning experiences for students. This development is both an effort on implementing the currently available data analytics technology in an educational context, and an effort to invest in supporting competences of the users of learning analytics for learning design applications. Succeeded in these challenges will deliver a more personalized learning environment and thereby better learning efficiency and satisfaction for students.

Works Cited

Bichsel, J. “Analytics in Higher Education: Benefits, Barriers, Progress, and        Recommendations.” EDUCAUSE: Center for Applied Research, 2012, pp. 1–31.

Donald, C., Blake, A., Girault, I., Datt, A., & Ramsay, E. “Approaches to Learning Design:

past the head and the hands to the HEART of the matter.” Distance Education, 2009, vol. 30 no. 2, pp. 179–199.

Endsley, M.R. “Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness in Dynamic Systems.” Human

Factors, 1995, no. 37, pp. 32–64.

Few, S. “Information Dashboard Design.” The Effective Visual Communication of Data Sebastopol, 2006, no. 1, pp. 223.

Greller, W., Drachsler, H. “Translating learning into numbers: A generic Framework for

Learning Analytics.” Educational Technology & Society, 2012, vol. 3, no. 37, pp. 42–57.

Siemens, G. “Learning Analytics: The emergence of a Discipline.” American Behavioral

Scientist, 2013, vol. 10, no. 57, pp. 1380 – 1400.

Verbert, K., Duval, E., Klerkx, J., Govaerts, S., Santos, J. “Learning Analytics Dashboard

Applications.” American Behavioral Scientist, 2013, vol 10. no. 57, pp. 1500–1509.

Wise, A., Shaffer, D. “Why Theory matters more than ever in the age of Big Data.” Journal

of Learning Analytics, 2015, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 5–13.

The basics of my PhD research

Hi Judith,

You know that I have been trying for a while to get a PhD research started. You also know that I didn’t get the funds or that my job as teacher/part of the management team had more priority. As I have written in this blog more often I tried to do my research on Gamification. Health care is a great context to use that in, but I didn’t manage to get the funds necessary. It brought me a great Healthcare and IT project where I can do some Gamification Research in, but not a PhD position.

Sometimes you have to wonder in new environments to get back to your roots. That basically is what happened in the last years. A sort of homecoming is what happened in the last months. I have a PhD research spot now at our research team Technology Enhanced Learning (Technologie-Ondersteund Leren in Dutch). In the last weeks I am finishing an internal proposal and I am ready to come out and shout aloud that I have started a research on how to use learning analytics on learning design in a run-time setting to improve student satisfaction and/or learning effectivity/efficiency.

In the next four years I am going to research an environment, say Learning Dashboard, which helps teachers and students to change or keep their behavior towards the learning design in an course. Students and teachers not only will get insight in their behavior and actions after the course but also during the run-time of the course so that we as an institution can build a more personalized learning environment for our students.

Together with the help of our Bachelor students I am going to research and develop this environment in a design science research. So the things I am going to write about are: Learning Analytics, Learning Dashboards, a little bit of Learning Design, the competences of students and teachers to be critical about the things they see in the Dashboard and the ability to interpret the information. And which techniques can we use to change the behavior of the students en teachers, so that the Learning Design is Learning Analytics driven. Or perhaps better phrased that we use our environment to enable user driven learning design. And that phrase can be in my proposal too.

So you see a work in progress but a fun one to do with all kinds of opportunities and chances to grasp. And to blog about ;). And you may reply in Dutch but I want the exercise in English.


megaNFL – The collaborative alternate reality health game of 2024

At the Games 4 Change 2014 festival, member of the board of directors, Jane McGonigal took a glimpse into the future (2024) and presented 5 nominees of the ‘Game 4 Change Of The Year Award” from 2024. Jane, known from her work at the Institute For The Future, her TED talks, her book(s) (she is gaming a new one!) and her inspiring interviews and lectures has some great potential winners for her audience.


She supports her claim for every nominee by adding up innovations or research that have recently (2014) come to the attention of the world. One of the nominees caught my attention from a games for health perspective with regard to persuading people to live healthier by using an alternate reality game: megaNFL. As I am an USA enthusiast and sports jock I could easily relate to this game which connects to American Football, but it is easily translated into other sports like soccer, (field)hockey or handball for instance.

The first exemplary innovation that is emerging now that she uses to support her claim are the rise of gadgets and wearables that track your activity (and other body related signals). Wearable tech like: Nike+ Fuelbands, Samsung watches, Moves apps on your phone, the rise of measuring humanly produced signals is upon us. One small step for technology, one giant leap for alternate reality gaming! With the data and information collected competitions and battles can be created, often against each other or against groups.


Often these competitions are based on the miles/kilometers that your run, on how often your run, or how fast you run. But there are a few examples of storytelling and creating an immersive alternate reality. On of them is the second addition Jane shows in her claim: Zombie Run . When using this app during your runs, you get special assignments to run to a special route or distance to collect ammo, medicine or weapons that can be used against Zombies that are haunting your real life environment. It also occurs that the Zombies can attack you and that you have to run from them! In this way behavioral change is motivated by alternate reality gaming.


The third addition in the claim is the popularity of fantasy sports games. Millions of people worldwide play with a fantasy NFL team, a fantasy soccer team, a fantasy formula 1 or even a fantasy field hockey team. Some of the games are connected to real world players, some aren’t, some are for money, some are just for fun. In these games you manage a virtual team and you have to manage all aspects of that team (and some even club management). Rewards can be won or bought that improve your players, team or club. It is easy to imagine a game where real world physical actions can lead to rewards in the virtual world. An example of that is the American Horsepower Challenge where children can buy clothes and upgrades for their (horse) avatar by doing physical exercise.

A great innovation according to me and we don’t have enough of this types of games for every age group, but we are watching the award show of 2024 and Jane wouldn’t be Jane if she goes onto the next level of immersion. megaNFL let’s you collect ‘resources’ and ‘rewards’ by doing something good for the human body (as does Zombie Run or the American Horsepower Challenge), but the rewards aren’t used in a virtual world, but in the real world. In megaNFL you can ‘win’ an extra down for your team when you (and your group) reaches the goal or beats the contester (or group) of the other team. Translated to soccer that would be that the fans of Manchester United are doing a ‘who runs the most’ competition against the fans of Bayern Munich. The winner of that contest wins a corner kick for their team, or a real 12th player for the last 5 minutes of the game. Jane uses a fourth addition in her claim to support why the board members of the NFL, FIFA or field hockey federation would change their rules by 2024 to let the supports have such an impact on the games. In this addition she mentions the law suits on brain damage that were a big topic in the last NFL season (brain damage also is a problem in soccer and field hockey). As someone who has got “SuperBetter” from a brain injury she hopes that the NFL will feel the moral obligation to participate in such a step. Let’s hope they will. I sure would to like to see (a kind of) megaNFL.

What about you?


Sometimes a little tweet from someone else is enough…

Hi Judith,

Today no long stories from me. 😉 Aaah! I have read your paper but will only react on this blog when you have published it online. I have some discussion points as you know, but will discuss them when you kick the ball to me 🙂

A short story from a old student of mine. Stefan Dalemans has, as an employee of Mediaan, tweeted about an article that mentiones 5 ways to build company culture with a virtual team. Great tips which are defenitly valuable for our MOOC project. So emjoy (and kudos to Stefan)

To get you excited, these are the 5 ways, explanation in the link in the tweet.

1. Build or but the right tools and enforce them

2. Make them WANT to engage

3. Bring the mountain to the home office

4. Make them interact in their community (and benefit from their distance)

5. Make the base employees want to work with them (and distract them)

Good night!


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