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Analyzing Scope Creep

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The PMBOK® Guide describes scope creep as “adding features and functionality (project scope) without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources, or without customer approval” (PMI, 2008, p 440) (Larson, & Larson, 2009).

The academic group project that experienced scope creep entailed an online collaboration between 5 group members, with each week a different team member having another role within the ADDIE model. For example, the team member with the least amount of ID experience, which was myself, had different tasks in the analysis phase, while the other team members with more experience were changed around through the design, development, implementation, and evaluation phases. The scope creep occurred when additional information was being added which had an impact on the other phases of the project. For example, since there were many individuals pitching ideas and no one idea was chosen, a team member chose his idea and started working on it. The next team member had to adjust to that idea without having agreed to it; it was a surprise change. This occurred when the instructional objectives had to be created.

The way the team dealt with the scope creep was through quick adjustment. Different team members helped the team member who had to adjust with advice about how to proceed, and with information and research.

I think a communication plan would have helped. We learned this the hard way in the middle of the project. If we took the time to create a communication plan since the start of project, the team member would have known how to proceed and who to communicate with, effectively avoiding what occurred. As stated by Project Management Institute (2013), some action steps are the following:

  1. Position communication as a strategic function: “Unless communication is approached through the context of what you’re trying to achieve, you risk staying too focused on the tasks instead of the big-picture communication goals,” says Atos’ Mr. Letavec.
  2. Define the target: “If you leave any one group out, you risk turning someone who could be a supporter into a detractor,” Mr. Letavec says.
  3. Make it a group effort: “Everyone has to participate in the communication process or you’re going to face a lot of surprises,” says Barrick’s Mr. Colborne.

 

 

References

Larson, R. & Larson, E. (2009). Top five causes of scope creep … and what to do about them.

Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2009—North America, Orlando, FL. Newtown

Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute (2013). Communication: The Message Is Clear. Retrieved from

https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/white-papers/communications.pdf

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Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

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I am very interested in finding information regarding e-learning, because I want to create and sell my own psychology online courses and assist in the design and development of distance education at our university after completing my M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology. I also have a project entailing an online certification training in infidelity recovery coaching that my sister, who is a certified relationship coach in Aruba, has asked me to help her develop. I have found great, helpful resources while conducting my web search about instructional design, e-learning, and project management.

The first site I found is an E-Learning Heroes (2018) community on Articulate. To be able to enter this site, you must become a member of the community, which is free. On the site, they have various templates to assist you in project management and planning. For example, they have templates for RASCI chart, project charter, project accountability matrix, course seat time estimator, e-learning project estimates worksheet, basic project management plan in Word, basic project management timeline in Excel, e-learning course quality assessment, needs analysis questions, audio recording script in Word, Bloom’s taxonomy Excel chart, the scenario mastery blueprint, issue log, list of reviewers for e-learning projects, e-learning course development agreement, design maps for visual analysis, and project kick-off questions. For me, templates are very helpful because they give me a guideline I can follow to complete certain aspects of my project. For example, I can use the e-learning project estimates worksheet and the basic project management timeline to plan for my own project.

The second site that I found is a blog by Christy Tucker called ‘Experiencing E-Learning: Building Engaging Learning Experiences through Instructional Design and E-Learning’ (2014). In this blog post, Christy discusses “Time Estimates for E-Learning Development”. Research by Bryan Chapman (2010) and Karl Kapp (2003) are used as benchmarks; however, Christy prefers using Chapman’s research because it is more detailed. She provides a link to Chapman’s (2010) research, and the research does give you detailed guidelines for the time and costs of creating e-learning, from Level 1 (basic) to Level 3 (advanced). I did not have an idea about how much it cost and how long it would take to create e-learning until I read this research. Christy (2014) also provides an overview of the tasks and the percentage of time each task takes. She then shows how she tweaks the numbers for her own development.

The third site I found is by Raccoon Gang, with the title “How much does it cost to create an online course?” (2018). They also mention Kapp’s (2003) and Chapman’s (2010) research. What I found very helpful as guidelines is how they break down the tasks according to the ADDIE model phases. The provide high levels of detail also in their tables, for example the time and the money invested in the design and development phases. I used their table format in my project proposal.

The fourth site I found is a ‘Project Planning and Gant Chart Blog’. The author writes about using Office Timeline, which is “a plug-in embedded into the PowerPoint ribbon” (“Project Timelines Communicate for Instructional Designers”, 2013). Timelines and Gant Charts can be created in PowerPoint for instructional designers to present to their clients for project proposals, or to create status reports quickly.

 

References

E-Learning Heroes (2018). Project management and planning. Retrieved from

https://community.articulate.com/downloads/course-design/project-management-planning

Office Timeline (2013, March 23). Project Timelines Communicate for Instructional

Designers. The Project Planning and Gant Chart Blog. Retrieved from

https://www.officetimeline.com/blog/project-timelines-for-instructional-designers

Raccoon Gang (2018, January 19). How Much Does It Cost to Create an Online Course?

Retrieved from

https://raccoongang.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-create-online-course/

Tucker, C. (2014, March 18). Time Estimates for E-Learning Development. Experiencing

E-Learning: Building Engaging Learning Experiences through Instructional Design

and E-Learning. Retrieved from

https://christytucker.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/time-estimates-for-e-learning-development/

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Communicating Effectively

For this assignment, the same message was given in various modalities. For example, the message was given in an email format, an audio format, and a video format. It showed how communication can be interpreted differently based on the modality it is in.

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

            My interpretation changed from the most impersonal communication (email) to the most personal communication (face-to-face). The email seemed cold to me in how it conveyed the message, and the minor grammar mistakes made the message hard for me to immediately understand. The voice message sounded like Jane was losing patience with the tardiness of Mark’s report. She wanted his report as soon as possible. With the face-to-face, I could see Jane’s facial expressions, such as her smile when she first greeted Mark. Her facial expressions helped me understand her and made me want to help her as soon as possible. She sounded nice and respectful, and her facial expressions conveyed this. The more verbal and nonverbal cues you can use to interpret a communication message, the better.

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

            The main factor that influenced how I perceived the message were the facial expressions, which made the tone of the message sound more pleasant and respectful, and which added additional nonverbal cues that I could use in interpreting the message. As stated by Stolovitch (n. d.), communication is not just words; it is influenced by tonality and body language. Facial expressions form an aspect of body language.

Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

For me, the face-to-face best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message.

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?

I would prefer communicating face-to-face with them, or via any technology where I can see their facial expressions, for example, Skype. It gives the communication a more personal feel. As stated by Stolovitch (n. d.), “93% of communication is not in the words”.

 

Reference

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video

file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). The art of effective communication

[Multimedia file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

 

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Creating my First Distance Learning Course

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For this project, I had to create an orientation to a distance learning course, which was a fully online, asynchronous elective course in Conflict Management. The project required developing a course orientation using Course Sites by Blackboard, including various content pages, such as a Welcome and Start Here, My Announcements, Course Calendar, Syllabus, Course Content, Discussion Board, Blog Forum, Annotated Resource List, Contact Info, Technology Tutorials, and a Site Map. I had to develop an original technology tutorial. I developed mine using Screencast-o-Matic video recording explaining how to use Prezi as a presentation tool.

At the beginning of the project, I made some mistakes regarding the estimate of the amount of effort and work it would take to complete the project without it becoming stressful. The mistake I made was underestimating the amount of effort and work the project would take to complete its steps. Another mistake I made was not preparing properly for working with the LMS, Course Sites. I did not take the time to neither view the course example provided by the instructor, nor to view or read about the various tutorials regarding Course Sites. As a result, the first orientation I developed lacked in detail and was not appropriate for the learner audience. After considering the feedback from the instructor, I developed an orientation that was appropriate to the target audience and that was according to the project requirements.

 

What contributed to the project’s success or failure? Why?

            What contributed to the final project success was the use of the retrospective approach from learning from experience. As stated by Terzieva and Morabito (2016), the retrospective approach entails individuals learning from experience through remembering and analyzing what occurred and discussing the consequences from situations that occurred; this approach is provoked by mistakes, and people who use this approach are ready to learn from both positive and negative experiences and make conclusions that later serve as lessons for them (p. 4).  I learned from my mistakes, and I changed that negative experience to a positive one by considering the instructor feedback and taking the time to view tutorials and the project example requirements.  As a result, I had a better understanding of what I had to do to create a successful online orientation.

 

Which parts of the PM process, if included, would have made the project more successful? Why?

The planning part of the project management process would have made the project more successful from the start. Taking into consideration the three core elements for project success, which are the outcome, schedule, and resources, would have assisted in making the project more successful. For example, if I focused on the project meeting its requirements and specifications at the beginning, I would have paid more attention to the project example, which is  what the outcome was expected to look like for my own orientation; by creating a schedule about the project deliverables, I could have rushed less to finish the deliverables on time, and sacrificing quality in the process; and, by considering the amount of information and technology I needed at the start of the project, my orientation would have included the appropriate features for the target audience of adult learners. These are all part of the planning operations, which as stated by Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, and Sutton (2008), include “specifying results to be achieved, determining schedules, and determining resources required (p. 3).

 

References

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., & Sutton, M. M. (2008). Project

            management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John

Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Terzieva, M., & Morabito, V. (2016). Learning from experience: the key is the project

team. Business Systems Research, 7(1), 1-15.

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Defining Distance Learning

New-Mind-Map

My Personal Definition and Observations of Distance Learning.

My personal definition and observations of distance learning before this distance learning course entailed learning using technology, such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, and the Internet, where the teacher and the student do not have to be in the same location, and where the teacher and the student do not have to connect at the same time, for example, asynchronous. I think I defined it in this way, because this was the experience I had with distance learning, and self-study at a distance. I did not define it as being only offered through an educational institution per se.

In Week 1 of the Distance Learning course, I learned that what is termed distance education has a very long history, and its definition and related terms keep evolving. For example, distance education started in Europe with the use of the post to learn via correspondence study in 1833; in 1920, with the advent of electronic communications technology in the United States, the radio, television, satellite, and fiber-optic communication systems with two-way, high quality video and audio systems were also used in education. This fiber-optic system formed the foundation for computer telecommunications, and asynchronous, Internet-based programs, which are now being offered to distance learners; in 1962, the first landmark of distance teaching universities occurred, when the University of South Africa decided to become such an institution, and in 1971, the United Kingdom’s Open University decided to become a degree-offering distance teaching university (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 36-39). There are also various related terms, and they are 1) E-learning, when distance education occurs in the private sector; 2) virtual education/ virtual schooling, which entails distance education in K-12 schools; 3) on-line learning/on-line education, which entails distance education in higher education (Simonson et al., 2015, p. 33); 4) distance teaching, and distance learning (Laureate education, n. d.). There are different definitions of distance education, such as those proposed by Rudolf Manfred Delling (1985), Hillary Perraton (1988), the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research (2006), Grenville Rumble (1989), Desmond Keegan (1996), Borje Holmberg (1985), Otto Peters (1988), and Garrison and Shale (1987).

My Revised Definition of Distance Learning

          Learning using technical media, such as print, audio, video, and computers, where the teacher and the learner are physically separated, where communication can occur synchronously (through the use of webinars, and Skype), or asynchronously (through the use of discussion boards), where a two-way communication exists between and among the teacher and the learners to facilitate and support the education process, and where it can be offered either through an institution, or through the emerging definition of open learning, where it can occur outside the traditional institution of education (Simonson et al., 2015, p. 35).

My Vision for the Future of Distance Learning.

          A form of distance learning that I am personally interested in offering is e-learning, or self-study at a distance, which, as stated by Simonson (Laureate education, n. d.), entails individuals learning skills at a distance. I am interested in providing psychological skills. I also want Aruba’s university to offer distance education in the future. I think that with the Web 2.0 tools (http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/101-web-20-teaching-tools/) that are now available, distance learning will keep evolving, encompassing more collaboration between teachers and students, and between students, and the creation of a solid community of learners on-line.

 

 

References

Open Education Database (n. d.). 101 Web 2.0 Teaching Tools. Retrieved from

http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/101-web-20-teaching-tools/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance:

Foundations of distance education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file].

Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu