Web 2.0 Tools have made and will continue to make the DL learning a ‘fun’ experience. The proliferation of Android and Apple apps for smartphones and tablets has literally put online learning at your fingertips. For academic types, Google Scholar and Meta-crawler make for easier searches. For adult learners, Khan Academy makes learning Math more than tolerable. And for the visual learners, PowerPoint together with Jing, Flickr, and Camtasia provides hours of learning fun. I haven’t tried Socrative as yet, but the reviews (mostly male) were great. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. – See more at: http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/socrative/#sthash.UwWNIssh.dpuf


10 “Best Practices” for DL practitioners:-

  1. Know the learners as a group – are they familiar with the technology? Do they have devices and good access? Computer skills? Are they comfortable in the ‘tech’ environment?
  2. Build new learning content and methodology to match the learners – new wine à new wineskins
  3. Engage the support of other experts – instructional designers, techies, researchers, etc.
  4. KISS principle – keep it simple …. , package the learning activities, go from simple to complex
  5. Go slow – achievability, teach use of the technology tools
  6. Modelling – high teacher presence (American JDE, Hill/Song/West, 2009)
  7. Sustained teacher availability – discourse facilitator
  8. Encourage, persuade, assist – direct instruction
  9. Establish and nourish a supportive Learning Community – -courtesy, respect, etc.
  10. Establish smaller class sizes, 15 – 20 (Kreijns, Kischner, Jochems, 2003)



#1 – It will be very difficult to get a homogeneous class on any level. Just doing a background analysis is difficult enough. DL, by definition, reaches out to a diverse population, crossing boundaries of time and space. So there will always be a great variety of learners at the other end.

#2 – A sustained teacher presence and smaller class sizes go against the institutional notion that DL lets us do more with less, e.g. MOOCs.

Fires require a lot of constant supervision and resource management and as William Butler Yeats said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”.


1 Comment on DL – Tools, Best Practices, Issues

  1. Tzveta says:

    I’ll have to try Camtasia and Socrative, they sound good.
    About the problems you mention at the end, that not students have the same level. I think it’s a common problem with the traditional learning. This is something that we can’t change, students are different.

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