Learning and subject retention is a joint exercise between instructor and learner and how this might be achieved in an online, distance learning environment is outlined in this blog. Download the full paper here.
Without this synthesis, learning would be like doing the tango alone; everybody knows "it takes two to tango."
We all have a mental picture of traditional teaching; the lecturer or school teacher holding forth on some subject to a passive audience who cannot or do not exchange ideas on that subject with their neighbors during class.
The collateral is often quite old and any new ideas need to be scribbled down, if there is time, and assimilated later along with reading that collateral. Asking questions of the instructor can elongate the class time, display one's ignorance or the answer confuses other students. This ability to ask questions at the time the particular sub-topic is covered is the main advantage this method has over online learning; the social interaction aspect is also pertinent.
Face to face tutorials and similar encounters are also useful in this environment but when it comes to scaling up this method, there are obvious flaws, especially in volatile subjects like information technology (IT).
The onrushing Covid-19 pandemic has made online learning, in whatever form can be achieved in a short time, mandatory across nearly all academic institutions. Much of this will persist although "seat of the pants" online training will need development to mimic face-to-face teaching as far as possible.
There is, today, a worldwide skills shortage in cybersecurity of about 3.5 m. positions and that topic is by no means the only skill needed in modern workplace IT, despite being flavor of the month, along with AI.
In short, and in the IT ecosphere, volume and volatility are the enemies of traditional teaching; this has given rise to more online learning.
Computer Aided Learning
Online learning is not new, and computer based training has been around for decades but relatively neglected.
Learning online and at a distance from the educational source has the disadvantage that it generates "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Learner" syndrome. The absence of interaction with others or learning diversions can be detrimental to absorbing and retaining knowledge.
In theory, there is no instructor involved, except in spirit in the material presented, and no interaction with one's peers. That presence needs to be woven into the online material somehow, as discussed in the next section.
The Online Learning Needs
The need then is to simulate the face-to-face environment as closely as possible in the online/distance arena. These are the areas I feel need bolstering to lift this form of learning above the "read page after page"then tackle some review questions technique. Apart from the obvious quality and relevance of the material needed, a modern online course should:
■ Have standard user interface (UI) at least in the same organization or course vendor. Some global guidelines may be more acceptable than a compulsory UI in the first instance
■ Have a flow reflecting IT as a whole and not be just a series of topics without any obvious synergy. Many course are just that.
■ Be modular with the ability to stop at any point and restart there. In addition, it should allow students to skip sections which are patently not in their list of needs.
■ Emulate the campus feeling and the world of FAQs, it should be possible to use the course as a forum where peers can exchange ideas, memory tips, give pointers to other material and so on. In short, create a Zoom/Skype sub-environment.
■ Have a self-test facility with guided support in a Q & A session for the student, perhaps generating a question for peers if the topic refuses to stick in the student's mind.
■ Give the feeling to the student that this course is not the end of learning, but emphasizes that, like breathing, it is a lifetime occupation.
■ This emphasis might point the student to journals or sites where up to date articles and other supplementary information can be acquired.
■ Have optional course exit/re-entry points, taking the student to an external medium, such as an internet article, YouTube video etc. to broaden the learner's perspective.
■ If multiple course developers are involved, their styles should conform to some standard, otherwise student confusion can arise.
■ Have the material QA (quality assured) by experienced IT people for consistency, accuracy and adequate topic coverage.
■ Eventually the course will need to be overhauled but that is common problem.
I have learned several things during my long sojourn in IT, including some gems from other people:
1. IT careers (as opposed to a single job) needs a lifelong commitment to learning your trade and passing what you know on to others.
2. Learning and retaining knowledge is best achieved by studying on the (my) LOVE principle; little, often varied and extensive. I also call this "osmotic learning," osmosis being the gradual seeping of moisture into a substance; the LOVE form of learning mimics this. Perhaps with a joke or revelation to bring them back to attentiveness.
3. Organize your study; don't just go through all the material in haphazard fashion as you will lose the ethos of your overall subject.
4. Remember that the half-life of an IT job or position is about 24 months after which it will mutate, change radically or, in some cases, disappear. You should train for a career, not a job.
IT training is changing, due to the complexity of IT, its volatility and the changing computing requirements in the workplace. Volatile material and audiences of thousands mandates online training.
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts"
– US baseball coach
The Model T automobile was introduced in 1908 ... Within a few years, competitors arrived on the scene including relic names such as Overland, Maxwell, and names that survived like Buick and Dodge. So, what does this have to do with the hybrid cloud market? From a business perspective — a lot ...
DevOps Institute announced the launch of the 2021 SRE Survey in collaboration with Catchpoint and VMware Tanzu. The survey will result in a more in-depth understanding of how SRE teams are organized, how they are measured, and a deep dive into specific automation needs within SRE teams ...
Organizations use data to fuel their operations, make smart business decisions, improve customer relationships, and much more. Because so much value can be extracted from data its influence is generally positive, but it can also be detrimental to a business experiencing a serious disruption such as a cyberattack, insider threat, or storage platform-specific hack or bug ...
Previously siloed IT teams and technologies are converging as enterprises accelerate their modernization efforts in reaction to COVID-19, according to a study by LogicMonitor ...
You surf the internet, don't you? While all of us are at home due to Covid lock-down and accepting a new reality, the majority of the work is happening online. IT managers are looking for tools that can track the user digital experience. Executives are reading a report from Gartner or Forrester about some of the best networking monitoring solutions available on the market. Project managers are using Microsoft Teams online to communicate and ensure team members are meeting deliverables on time. Remote employees everywhere use OWA to check their office mails. No matter what, you can be quite sure that everyone is using their favorite browser and search engine for connecting online and accomplish tasks ...
With the right solutions, teams can move themselves out of the shadows of error resolution and into the light of innovation. Observability data, drawn from their systems and imbued with context from AI, lets teams automate the issues holding them back. Contextualized data and insights also give them the language to speak to the incremental, product-led approach and the direction to drive key innovations in customer experience improvement. Communicating value becomes a much easier proposition for DevOps practitioners — and they can take their seat at the company table as contributors to value ...
Prediction: Successful organizations will blur (or erase) the line between ITOps and DevOps. DevOps has to coexist with traditional IT operations ... So bring a little DevOps to every aspect of IT operations. You don't even have to call it DevOps ...
The use of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions has increased since the start of the pandemic, and this increased use has created challenges for IT teams, according to a survey commissioned by NETSCOUT SYSTEMS ...
Cloud-based innovations like microservices, containers and orchestration let developers code better, faster, but the underlying infrastructure becomes dynamic and ephemeral, and service-level interactions are hard to see. It’s a critical evolution, but the rapid change reduces visibility, predictability and control. Hence, observability ...