End-of-Life Educators Teaching Adults Online: Educational Technology for Online Course Creators
In an increasingly connected world, opportunities to educate online abound. However, unless you are a veteran virtual trainer or educator, you may not have an awareness of the abundant educational technology (ed-tech) resources to help make learning more engaging for adult learners. The purpose of this blog post is to introduce three user-friendly applications to expand your teaching tool-set.
Whether you are an experienced online instructor or a newer educational entrepreneur (edupreneur) creating virtual courses, these three applications offer content creation assistance to better engage your learning audience.
The Importance of Interactivity and Engagement
What is so special about ed tech? Ed-tech is effective in engaging learners to achieve more by increasing interaction with educational content and the evidence shows that adding elements of tech such as gamification increased adult student engagement (Ng & Lo, 2022). Research done on tech engagement with older adults suggests that applications (apps) used to promote health literacy and promotion for adults were successful when using certain features, such as quizzes, leaderboards, rewards, and social sharing capabilities (Guo et al., 2022).
Advantages and Challenges of Ed Tech
There are a number of advantages to using ed tech in virtual training spaces for adult learners. Asynchronous online learning benefits greatly from implementing ed tech, such as videos, quizzes, and presentations. Ed-tech which offers services such as virtual proctoring and interactive laboratories increase access to courses and programs not traditionally available in certain geographic areas. Further, online courses allow adults to engage in self-directed learning, expand their skill sets, and improve their prospects for employment, and ed tech can help strengthen those skills by increasing engagement with content (Stephens et al., 2022).
The challenges of using ed tech in virtual training spaces do exist. Access and technical knowledge are two common barriers. Evidence also suggests that we may encounter additional types of digital exclusion, such as the inability to keep up with technology in both physical and educational formats (Selwyn et al., 2019).
Recommended Applications to Improve Overall Engagement
Scribe is a web-based and desktop launch (desktop for enterprise level only); installation of web extension required
Where can I find it?
What does it do?
Scribe captures process steps as you complete them to create user-friendly documentation. Rather than creating a process document from scratch, formatting, capturing screen prints, and capturing individual steps, have Scribe do the work for you.
Connectivity and Ease-of-Use
Easy to sign-up and get started. It does involve adding an extension to your browser to allow you to capture content.
User-friendly, though there is a slight learning curve for editing and sharing documents.
Collaboration functions allow you to share documents with team members for edits and peer review.
Sharing documents is simple, with the ability to share via HTML, PDF, or hyperlink.
The resource page provides advice for creating various types of content, as well as video tutorials on their YouTube page. There is also an area that shares Scribes created by other users on topics such as Google Sheets, Zoom, Salesforce, and others.
Free! The free version offers basic features to create as many process documents as you need. Expanded paid memberships allow for enhanced features, such as image manipulation (e.g. redaction, resizing). The enterprise membership is phenomenal for large entities. It provides a desktop app to record processes for enterprise-level software, as well as hardy collaboration features between multiple teams.
Screencast-O-Matic is a web-based and desktop launch (download required for desktop)
Where can I find it?
What does it do?
Screencast-O-Matic is a video creation and editing software. It also offers screen capture features and personal video messaging.
Connectivity and Ease-of-Use
Easy to sign-up and get started.
User-friendly, though there is a learning curve for editing videos. This is mostly a time investment to learn how to use the application's features. The site’s Resources page provides a wealth of easy-to-follow instructions, as well as video tutorials on their YouTube page.
Editing capabilities are limited with the free version, but a limited variety of free features are included.
Free! The free version offers basic video and screen capture features to create unlimited videos. However, the video cannot exceed 15 minutes in recorded length. That said, the free version allows plenty of features to meet basic needs. Expanded paid memberships allow for corporate or enterprise-level collaboration
Genially is web-based
Where can I find it?
What does it do?
Genially creates multimedia content to meet a wide range of needs, such as infographics, video flashcards, presentations, interactive quizzes and e-learning materials, and animated graphics.
Easy to sign-up and get started. No plug-ins and no downloads.
User-friendly and intuitive. The application offers a “foolproof guide” to help get you started, as well as video tutorials on their YouTube page. The site also offers an inspirational community where others share their project creations.
There are nine categories of templates, with an abundant amount of free project templates provided. More are available with a Premium paid membership. Projects can be embedded (HTML), shared to social media platforms, and allow link sharing for collaboration. Premium features include a private site and password-protected content.
Free! The free membership allows you to create as many projects as you want. These projects can be embedded (HTML), shared to social media platforms, and allow link sharing for collaboration. Premium features include access to a wider range of templates with more features, a private site, password-protected content, and personal branding.
These applications each have a free version with plenty of functionality to make them a great asset. Each also has technical support and learning resources available on their websites, as well as on YouTube.
Stacking Content: Using the three ed tech apps together
You have created the curriculum for your online course. As you design the instructional elements consider adding in assets created with each of the three apps.
How-to navigation documents for the course and course site (Scribe)
Video lectures, screen-sharing instruction activities, video messages to students (Screencast-O-Matic)
Interactive quizzes, presentations, and customized video flashcards (Genially)
To help get you started on one of these ed tech apps, I am including a Scribe process document on how to create a Genially interactive quiz.
Closing Thoughts: Teaching vs. Technology
At the end of the day, remember that technology is a tool. There is no teaching with technology alone. The purpose of implementing ed tech is to enhance engagement. It does not replace the teaching and subject matter expertise you provide as a knowledge holder and sharer. Research suggests that the combination of engaging online content alongside a robust teaching presence is important for reliable and quality education. Though there has been a trend showing increased desire for online programs, research shows that teacher/student interaction is still beneficial. Technology alone is not enough. Instructors that offer support and dialog in online programs can alleviate potential isolation felt by learners. Further, even with interactive tech content, learners can feel a lack of interaction. While digital assets are beneficial, there is no substitute for the human interaction between a teacher and student, or even between students as peers (Stone & Springer, 219).
Teacher presence is essential and can still be implemented in asynchronous online courses with students accessing content on varying schedules. Learning using tech that is unbalanced in the educational context has shown to fail and not promote learning (Wang & Rose, 2020). Employing multi-media, such as video recordings and optional live meet-ups, methods to participate and engage with one another (discussions), virtual office hours, using messaging platforms for interpersonal communication.
Evidence shows that adding elements of tech such as gamification increased adult student engagement.
Asynchronous online learning benefits greatly by implementing ed tech, such as videos, quizzes, and presentations.
The use of interactive technology helps bring coursework to life by making it more engaging and enhancing achievement.
Stack ed tech apps to take advantage of a wide range of engagement opportunities.
There is no teaching with technology alone. Remember to connect with students.
Guo, Y., Yuan, T., & Yue, S. (2022). Designing personalized persuasive game elements for older adults in health apps. Applied Sciences, 12(12), 6271. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12126271
Ng, L.-K., & Lo, C.-K. (2022). Flipped classroom and gamification approach: Its impact on performance and academic commitment on sustainable learning in Education. Sustainability, 14(9), 5428. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095428
Stephens, M. L., Lowney, J., Ybarra, C. M., & Stephens, S. (2022). Adult learning facilitators in any setting, instructional designers’ roles as the adult learner and educator, and their perceived knowledge construction when preparing graduate faculty for teaching online: An interpretive study. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 34(1), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/nha3.20319
Stone, C., & Springer, M. (2019). Interactivity, connectedness and 'teacher-presence': Engaging and retaining students online. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 59(2), 146-169. https://go.openathens.net/redirector/liberty.edu?url=https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/interactivity-connectedness-teacher-presence/docview/2342506006/se-2
Samodumska, O., Zarishniak, I., Tarasenko, H., Buchatska, S., Budas, I., & Tregubenko, I. (2022). Gamification in non-formal adult educational practices. Revista Romaneasca Pentru Educatie Multidimensionala, 14(2), 156–176. https://doi.org/10.18662/rrem/14.2/573
Wang, C. W., & Rose, G. L. (2020). Teaching case—gamified tech integration coach pathway for ael teachers and staff. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 32(4), 82–88. https://doi.org/10.1002/nha3.20300