Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Final Thoughts!

During the course of this project, I learned a lot about communication, both digitally and verbally. The 'net generation, or learners born in the 1980's and later (as introduced by Diana Oblinger of Educause, whom I had the chance to meet earlier this year at ELI) tends to favor email, as we've grown up with the internet--or at least have had computers around throughout most or all of our lives. Our SMEs were a bit more receptive to phone calls as a primary means of communication. By the end of the Immersion experience, through improved communication with both the SMEs and team members, I think all of us learned the lesson of adapting to the needs of the client (and that this can really improve your interactions and productivity with a project, especially one focused on instructional design!).

My team was comprised half of 'net gen learners and half of adult learners (roughly). Adult learners are defined, roughly, as learners above the age of mid-20s who have multiple life roles (parent, full-time employee, spouse, etc.). Tie this in with the Myers Briggs personality type test that we took during the second week of school--I tested as an extrovert while the others were introverts--and you've got some interesting communication dynamics. Sometimes I felt that my voice was a bit ignored during team meetings; the rest of the team would remain silent when I made a comment about something that needed to be fixed or not comment on an idea that I'd stated. It took awhile to adapt to this, but it opened my eyes to different styles of communicating that I may encounter in future career and academic experiences, and gave me the relational know-how to elicit responses and answers from people with different personalities. (To read more about Oblinger's and other experts' thoughts on the 'net gen, see Educating the Net Generation, an Educause e-book.)

Finally, after hard work and many late nights, the Underground Coal Mine Supervisor Online Training System is complete. Thanks to all of my team members, professors, and SME who made the 2006-2007 school year the incredible learning experience that it was. I will never forget it!


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