“Analyzing Scope Creep”

 

scope creepProject managers have been plagued by scope creep since the dawn of project management.  Managing scope creep in project management is a challenging job that needs clearly defined, documented and controlled specification.  What does “project scope”  mean?  Simply put, it is a project’s parameters.  It’s no secret that managing scope creep in project management can be a daunting challenge

Pornty, 2008 states that scope creep is mainly considered a natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members who try and improve the product’s output during the process (Pornty, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008. p. 346).
Scope Creep1A personal experience that I encountered about a year ago.  I was asked to chair a committee to recognize the volunteers that had an impact on our teachers and students in building.  Excited about this project, I met with the committee and began brain-storming on ideas.

The scope creep in this project was not having dedicated team members who were willing to go the extra mile for the success of the project.  Every project needs to balance its functionality, staffing, budgeting schedule, and quality objectives.  Although I met with the committee and communicated with them each of their roles in completing this task, a committee of ten became a committee of six before completion thus leaving the remaining members to assume the responsibilities.  The scope creep happened within in the committee whom was selected to complete a task.  Committee members became complacent and their purpose for being on the committee.

As project manager selecting members according to their experience and/ or ability would eliminates “some” scope creep.  Additionally, clear roles should be established for each member.  In an effort to increase efficiency and accountability, increase of communication among the team members will enable the team be on the same page.

Effective communication is the key prerequisite, for success in any project that you endeavor to complete.

References:

Laureate Education.  (Producer). (2010).  Project Management Concerns:  ‘Scope Creep’ online.  Retrieved from Walden University eCollege.

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2010). Monitoring Projects. [Online]. Retrieved from Walden University eCollege

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

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This week I am tasked with finding two resources that would be useful in estimating costs, effort, and/or activity duration associated with instructional design (ID) projects.

Accurate time estimation is a crucial skill in project management.  Without it, you won’t know how long your project will take and, and you won’t be able to get commitment from the who need to sign off.  To have a chance of being successful as a project manager, you need to be able to negotiate sensible budgets and achievable deadlines.

pic7This website http:/www.projectmanagementguru.com/estimating.html has articles and tools that can be used in different project management phases.  Keeping projects on schedule and budget takes a lot of planning.

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The second website I found was http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html.  This resource offers great guidelines for you to have successful project.   This article has an excellent page about estimating costs that provides a variety of ballpark estimates for different instructional design tasks, which gives a useful baseline for estimation.

I found each web site to be very interesting and informative and utilizing them can result in a successful project.

References:

Clark, D. (2010).  Estimating cost and time in instructional design.  Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/cost.html

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Sheen, R. (2012).  Project management estimating tools and techniques.  Retrieved from http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Budget%20Estimate

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“Communicating Effectively”

 

“We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that”.

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Communication is not a skill to be learned, but an art to be cultivated.  No matter your age, background, or experience, effective communication is a skill that builds trust and respect, foster learning accomplish goals.

Adams (2013), states that the number one rule in communication is to be direct, to the point, and as concise as possible while focusing on a central idea or message.  Too often communication in a business environment can be vague.

Communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. Effective communication is how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended.

After reviewing these different modalities, I see clearer why communication is so important.

The email was a good form of documentation but to me it was the least effective form of communication.  The Project Manager tone of the email showed no urgency for needing the document for the report.  I think command became a request in other word whenever you get around to it.  “A little laid back”

The voicemail modality an oral communication.  PM was direct and to the point, of what she needed it.   The tone of her voice shared a sense of urgency letting Mark know a quick response was needed.

The face-to-face was the most effective.  The PM relayed the importance of what she needed and I think being face-to-face her tone and facial features allowed Mark to see him the urgency of her request and that it needed to a priority.

Effective communication is so important for organizational success that not only managers, but also their employees must be effective communicators.  Communication is essential for effective functioning in every part of an organization.

Reference
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with Stakeholders. [Multimedia]. Retrieved from  http://laureate.ecollege.com Laureatte Education, (n.d.) 2013.

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Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

For this week’s Learning from a Project – “Post-mortem,” I have decided to share a personal experience that I encountered about a year ago.  I was asked to chair a committee to recognize the volunteers that had an impact on our teachers and students in building.  Excited about this project, I met with the committee and began brain-storming on ideas.

As (Greer, 2010) shared in the article that conducting a project, “post-mortem” involving asking of team members to find out their opinions of the success of the projects, and bringing respondents together for a lesson learned meeting was utilized to facilitate conversations about the upcoming project. Greer also suggested general questions that are appropriate for a post-mortem, and then suggest ‘phase-specific questions.”

One of the most frustrating components of the project was not having dedicated team members who were willing to go the extra mile for the success of the project.  Every project needs to balance its functionality, staffing, budgeting schedule, and quality objectives.  Although I met with the committee and communicated with them each of their roles in completing this task, a committee of ten became a committee of six before completion thus leaving the remaining members to assume the responsibilities.  The most instrumental part of to the success of this project was the team effort of the six remaining members and their commitment in completing of the final project.

As project manager, I think that one of the things that I would do differently next time to avoid the frustration would be to plan a little more carefully and select members according their experience and/ or ability.  Additionally, clear roles would be established for each member.  Intermittent “progress checks” would be implemented to evaluate the advancement of the project.  In an effort to increase efficiency and accountability, increase of communication among the team members will enable the team be on the same page.

Effective communication is the key prerequisite, for success in any project that you endeavor to complete.

References:

Greer, M. (210).  The Project management minimalist:  Just enough PM to rock your projects (Laureate Education ED ed.).  michaelgreer.biz/?page id=636

Laureate Education.  (Producer). (2010).  Project Management Concerns:  ‘Scope Creep’ online.  Retrieved from Walden University eCollege.

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My Perceptions of Distance Learning In the Future

My Perceptions of Distance Learning In the Future

As technology has changed, so has the definition of distance learning.  Although it is thought of as a new term, distance learning has been around for well over 100 years.  Greenberg (1998) defines contemporary distance learning as “a planned teaching/learning experience that uses a wide spectrum of technologies to reach learners at a distance and is designed to encourage learner interaction and certification of learning”.

I have learned that the traditional classroom is no longer median, distance learning is becoming more and more common as the years go on. Technological advances have reorganized how we teach and how we learn. As Dr. Siemens shared in his presentation that people are becoming more comfortable with using technology in form of communicating online and recognizing “distance is not a factor” (Siemens, n.d). As technologies evolve so does distance education and changes the way instructional designers instruct, design, develop, implement and evaluate distance learning.

As Distance education is perhaps the most powerful means of extending resource and making it accessible to all, I think that in the next 5-10 years Distance Learning will be even broader then it currently.  As Dr. Siemens (2010) states distance learning is and will continue to increase in acceptance in society.  I believe the next 10-20 years, we will observe a greater enrollment in the distance learning program as it exceed that of the traditional face-to-face environment.  Everyday Universities are improving their marketing approach, and as distance learning programs continue to demonstrate their worth through their adherence to high standards and quality education.

How Can You As An Instructional Designer Be A Proponent for Improving Societal Perceptions of Distance Learning?

As an Instructional Designer I would strive to Be A Proponent for Improving Societal Perceptions of Distance Learning, by being aware of or keeping abreast of technological advances, that have made profound changes in teaching and learning possible.  Utilizing these skills will give me the capacities as distance learning continues to expand as its advantages to business, education and everyday life become widely known and appreciated.  Focus on creating  a value online learning environment and enduring to discover new technologies and instructional opportunities.  (Simonson, 2009), stated that more and more research is proving that distance learning provides an equivalent or even superior education.

How Will You Be a Positive Force for Continuous Improvement in the Field of Distance Education? 

To be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education I would  link with different professional affiliations that will enable me to stay in the tune pertaining to advances and breakthrough of the science in instructional design and technology. I would continuously improve my design and communication skills; by conducting my personal and work habits with integrity; keeping current with developments in design and technology.  I would also further my experience my sharing what I have obtained through workshops, seminars and other training.

References:

Greenberg, G. (1998). Distance education technologies: Best practices for K-12 settings.Technology and Society Magazine, (Winter) 36-40.

Siemens, G. (n.d.). The Future of Distance Education. Lecture presented for Laureate Education, Inc.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S.(2009).  Teaching and learning at a distance:  foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA:Pearson

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Converting to a Distance Learning Format

   7   Converting to a Distance Learning Format

 

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Consider the following scenario: A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

Sometimes there may be the need to convert a face- to face course or some parts of it for delivery as a distance learning course. This may be due to changes in timings, the need for use of better technology or provision of access to more learners. This scenario is most common in corporate training environments where workers are required to combine training with their jobs.

Converting a traditional course into an online course there is much consideration to take into an account. Planning an online course is essential to a successful learning environment.

What are some pre-planning strategies should a trainer consider prior to converting a program?

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The instructor should begin p re-planning the course through the use of the ADDIE or the Kirkpatrick’s Four Level Training Evaluation Model in reverse, as part of his preplanning.   Focusing on the needs of the learners and with advance planning the training manager needs to consider the following components necessary for a successful online course: the learners, the content, the method of delivery, the material, the learning environment, and the technology necessary for learning to occur (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek 2012, p.137).  Refrain from dumping a traditional class online, distance learning should not be duplicate as a face-to-face class.

What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer2

 needs to consider before converting his program?

The trainer may require additional training on how to use available tools and technology
The trainer may “need to be trained in online pedagogy; particularly how to communicate content without the use of contextual cues.   The trainer needs to enhance his/her communication skills.

Therefore, when converting a face-to-face course into an online course, some key questions and issues should be considered when planning. These include knowing the learners, their technological capabilities, learning styles and the appropriate technology to use. There may also be the need for an online orientation for the learners.  For online courses, instructors should consider ways to communicate with students prior to he beginning of the course. For many successful online instructors found that a simple letter to the students with essential information can alleviate many frustrations on the part of instructors and the students. (Simonson)

How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?

According to Dr. George Piskurich (2010), the methods used to facilitate online and traditional courses are the same. The difference is that it is more difficult to make the role happen and do the communications in an online environment.

The trainer will become more of a facilitator, his management of the learning will become  more apparent.  There will be additional communication ideas and more technical aspects

The trainer will have to become a technical expert.

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What steps should the trainer take to encourage

the trainees to communicate online?

Facilitators should foster a student-centered learning environment by engaging them in stimulating collaborative activities such as small group projects and by setting up thought-provoking discussion threads and requires the students to respond to a minimum number of student posts.  “The threaded discussion is one of the most powerful techniques used in distance education” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009).

In an asynchronous environment, the facilitator might create student debates and student-moderated discussions, have students create and respond to each other’s blogs, or collaborate on projects by using Wikis. For synchronous communication, student can be encouraged to communicate using audio- and video-conferencing tools, participate in online chats, and instant messaging.

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References:

Piskurich, Dr. George. (2010) Video Program: “Facilitating Distance Learning”, Walden University, L aureate Education.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Zhu, E., Payette, P., & DeZure, D. (2003). An introduction to teaching online.

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http://oyc.yale.edu/economics

wk 5 imagesThe Impact of Open Source

 

 

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.

For this assignment I have chosen to review the  ECON 159:  Game Theory from the Open Yale courses site.  http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/econ-159#syllabus.  This course provides a syllabus, list of sessions and survey.  Reviewing this course I found that they have established a practice of a the face-to-face environment by placing a visual recorded of each sessions.  The content  was well organized, trusted and positive resource for individuals.  Simonson, Albright, and Zvacek states that the potential impact f open source software is intended to be freely shared and be improved upon and redistributed to others.  (Simonson et al, 2009, p.256).

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The instructor did consider the components of an effective learning system (learners, the content, the method and materials along with the environment (Simonson, 2009).  Open Yale has created a project to develop access to educational contents to learners.  I think that their intentions to provide lectures and other course materials on this site as a resource for critical thinking, creative imagination and intellectual exploration for their learners.

Based on our text for this course many practices are missing for this distance education course.  (Simonson, 2009), shared great factors such as:  student-instructor interaction and student-student interaction. This method of delivery does not support the blend of synchronous and asynchronous communication among students and facilitator. Deciding to take an open source courses one must be highly motivated and disciplined to go through these courses successful

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“Engaged learning involves collaboration among the members of the learning community. (Conrad & Donaldson, 2004).  After reviewing some of the courses that are offered on Open Yale, it is in my opinion that active learning was not maximized. Strategies for active learning range from giving students opportunities to think about a topic and respond to actual hands-on manipulation of learning objects” (Sorensen & Baylen, 2004). “In a video-based distance education setting, active learning experiences can include such things as small group discussions, hands-on experiences with materials available in advance of the class period, presentations, or similar types of classroom strategies.” (Simonson et al.).

References:

Open Yale Courses.  Retreived on March 29, 2012, from http://oyc.yale.edu/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Example 1:  Collaborative Training Environment

A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.

 

 

distance learning

 

Through technology and the rapid changes, it affords students to learn outside of the tradition classroom.  Various technology tools have evolved that enhance face-to-face instruction, blended learning, asynchronous learning and collaborative learning.  Many of these tools can be used to deliver, enhance and custom tailor a distance learning experience to the fit the needs of every student.  I am charge to implement a training workshop on a new automated staff information system for employees located at six different regional offices.  It is imperative that I carefully select and utilize the technology tools that would be successful for the staff in this training.

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Since the staff members are located in six different location and cannot meet at the same time this a perfect example of asynchronous distance learning environment, which limits the type of technology tools to be used in this scenario (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p.10)

To provide the Collaborative Training Environment I would utilize a Power Point to record the presentation of the new automated staff information system.  Microsoft Live Meeting, Cisco WebEx, Citrix GotoMeeting or other Web X (Boulton, 2009) to deliver the presentation live and a Wiki for document sharing for screen shots and collaboration.

 

As Web 2.0 technologies, wikis and other web applications are highly participatory and promote collaboration, networking, sharing and widespread generation of content, and the editing and mixing of content from diverse sources (p.129).  Since wiki are simple, efficient tools for managing knowledge and collaborating. They’re particularly convenient in today’s busy workplace and knowledge network.  With these factors in mind it makes wiki the ideal technology tool for implementing the training for new automated staff information system.

 

wiki

 

With major corporation Wiki has proven to be an effective learning tools and employees rely totally on it for training. (Ruffolo, 2008)

 

References

Boulton, C., (2009). eWeek, January 5, 2009, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p14-16

Ruffolo, R, (2008), IBM uses wiki approach to corporate training.  Retrieved from

http://www.itworldcanda.com/article/ibm-uses-wiki-approach-to-corporate-training/4494

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvack, S. (2012), p.10.  Teaching and learning at a   distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston

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My Experience with Distance Learning

Distance learning occurs when there is a separation between the instructor and the student with many different learning environments.
My thoughts of distant learning are courses and instruction that is provided through the internet asynchronously. I looked at distant learning as daunting and self-learning in other words “I am on my own”.
Distance Learning includes much more than I expected. When I started this journey with distant learning it opened up a whole new world for me. There was so much unexpected that I was not looking for as a student in the online environment. I thought that the expectation was outrageous it actually numb me for awhile and I vowed never to do distant learning again. I enrolled into Walden over year ago and my experience has been enlightened. Through the resource this week and research this week I found that distant learning has been around for a long period of time. (Bollag and Overland, 2001), shared in an article that developing countries were turning to state run distant education program to take the place of ever increasing enrollments and a lack of physical building space.

Below is mind map that I created to reflect my revised distant learning

mind map

I view distant learning as a growing evolving and innovating.    With different types of distant learning instructors can set the tone for learning in the education environment.  As (Walcott 1994, cited in Carter, 2000) found in a study of adult distance learning that “to effectively bridge the gaps between classroom and distance teaching, teachers need to look at the distance teaching from the students’ point of view’ (pg249).   I believe that educators and education need to meet learners where they are.  Distant learning is evolving constantly and as technology changes everyday so will the possibilities for distant learning.  While distant learning may not be suitable for everyone it is a successful when the learner is tolerance for ambiguity and an ability to be flexible.

References:

Bollag, B., & Overland M.A. (2001).  Developing countries turn to distance education.

Chroncicle of Higher Education, 47 (40), 29-31

Carter, A. (2001).   Interactive distance education:  Implications for the adult learner.

International Journal of Instructional Media 28 (3), 249-261.

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Greetings

Hello Classmates

Welcome to my Blog!

Looking forward to great sharing through this Distant Learning Course.

Barbara

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Gary Jechorek Instructional Design & e-Learning

Instructional Design & e-Learning

Learning to Design

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Gary Jechorek Instructional Design & e-Learning

Instructional Design & e-Learning

Learning to Design

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging