Here is my relation to each of the 7 categories of e-learning to my personal experience. I have been involved in educational experiences within the following categories:
Courses (as a student): Once I had the chance to take an online course called Desktop Computing. This online e-learning course covered common desktop computer applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. What I liked about it is that I learned about operating systems, the Internet, and much more. The course included features such as flash-based instructional demonstrations; instructional audio with graphics; exercises that allowed me to practice in the actual application being studied, sample files that included sample documents, application files, programs, and programming code that enabled me to practice with these files, enhancing my learning experience. The course was also challenging because it had a variety of question formats, including multi-step simulations, true/false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank exercises.
Informal learning (as a teacher): My students need for information has taken me to encourage them to search for the information they need using search engines and personal knowledge management tools, especially blogs. I have used these tools with my students at the school and I have encourage them to use them at home where they learn a lot on their own. This has helped students to discover by themselves how to do homework and carry out school projects through informal learning by means of observing different web sites and using tools such as e-mail and blogs to ask questions to other classmates or even experts in some fields that are available in the Web.
Blended learning (as a student): The blended learning courses that I have taken in the Master’s program like the SOLRC I we took last semester provided me an excellent opportunity for learning about language resource centers by means of combining both classroom and e-learning sessions as this blended learning involved face-to-face sessions and online learning. This method made it easier for me to learn more about this subject because of the increased discussions and information reviews that we had to do outside the classroom. The instructors that we had in this blended course encouraged us to socialize through their direction and facilitation and they used the best of the Studium resource center with the best of online learning.
Communities (as a teacher): There is no need to separate students in time and space when we use e-learning resources; it can be overcome by building environments where students talk to one another, build relationships, and teach one another. This I have been trying to do with grade seven students to whom I am teaching religion. I have tried one key idea that maybe has been overlooked in the design and implementation of many e-learning programs, and it is that learning is fundamentally both social and experiential. In this case I have used wikis and blogs and taken into account the context of the learning and all of the elements that comprise the experience around the major religions of the world, and I have encouraged my students to work collaboratively online looking for real knowledge about this topic and creating communities of learning where to my surprise, high levels of student satisfaction have been generated.
Knowledge management (neither as a student nor as a teacher)
Learning networks (as a teacher colleague): In the department where I work, we have created a learning community around a particular goal which is the preparation for international exams such as TOEFL and the TKT (Teacher Knowledge Test). A group of English teachers and I planned and developed a network in order to study and share experiences related to teaching English as a second language with a challenge in mind: taking the TKT exam as a result of this learning network. The use of this colleague learning network allowed us to learn more about our teaching field and to obtain good results in this international test for teachers.
Work-based learning (Neither as a student nor as a teacher): Our school has considered the possibility of providing more rigorous and expansive work-based learning opportunities to students. Work-based learning is one option that the school is considering for providing meaningful and engaged learning for them, but to provide work-based learning experiences for all students, we know that our teachers first must develop a better understanding of work-based learning options.