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Speaker: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.

Marjorie Olavides: All right, hello, everyone. My name is Marjorie Olavides. I am a Project Specialist for the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network, also known as OTAN. And I'd like to welcome you all to this month's OTAN's Tech Talk.

Our speaker today is Yecsenia Delgado from Hacienda La Puente Adult Education. And she's also an OTAN subject matter expert. And today she'll be sharing with us Accelerated Learning, Five Tech Tools to Try With Adult Learners. All right, so Yecsenia, take it away, please.

Yecsenia Delgado: Thank you, Marjorie. And welcome, everyone. I'm so excited to have this opportunity to present to you. So today's topic is going to be accelerated learning. And I'll be sharing five tech tools for adult education.

So as we know, accelerated learning programs are one of the fastest growing transformations in adult education and across higher education as well. So just a really quick review of our agenda. We're going to be do a quick review of accelerated learning. I'll talk about a couple of things that I look for in accelerated learning, and why pick those specific tools.

And then we're going to discuss the five tech tools that can be used in adult education. We are not going to be providing a specific training on those five tech tools, but they are going to be available as trainings through OTAN that you can sign up for shortly after this presentation.

So why accelerated learning? So accelerated learning programs are one of the fastest growing transformations, as I said earlier. And it has really become a powerhouse that has absorbed instructional process.

It really creates a highly engaging environment that's centered around learner needs. So the purpose for me presenting to these, really, some of the tools that I've selected and some of the technologies that serve as scaffolds to help students self-regulate their own learning and why it's so important.

So one of the key things that I always talk about when it comes to changing our programs. So I'm really-- I talk a lot about accelerated learning. I've helped different programs take their year-long programs into shorter versions of them, 18 to 24 weeks when they were previously maybe 10 month programs.

So I get really excited when I talk about this topic. It's really how much can I feed my students? In what amount of time? And does it really work? And, really, what I have found is that there are specific tools that we need to have in place. And make sure that we're able to utilize those tools effectively so we can speed up that process of learning.

So one of the things that I always talk about is as instructors, keeping that really open mind. What are our perspectives about education? So as educators, we tend to really hold on to our educational perspectives. And really what happens in accelerated learning, we really go from lecturing to facilitating.

And a lot of our teachers, especially in adult education, we're used to that lecturing model in front of the class. We're used to that typical face to face classroom that we forget that there's so many tools out there that can really help us switch over from that lecturing, into a facilitating mode. So when it comes to accelerated learning, it's really the responsibility of both the student and the instructor.

So we're going to go through these really, really quick. But the results of accelerated intensive learning, really, it's a little bit more focused and concentrated on the learning. It's more in-depth participation. Studies have shown that there's an improved performance, less procrastination from the students. They're are not holding back from the work that they're doing.

We're kind of taking off all the fluff. We're not going over unnecessary details in the course. We're not filling in our time with all of those extra activities. But we're more focused in the objectives of the course, and what they really need to learn in order for them to graduate from our course or complete the course.

So what we have found through many studies is that there is a positive effect on future performance as well. They seem to grasp these concepts. And they seem to be able to really-- be able to go into the job field and complete some of these tasks that they're being asked to do.

So here is my favorite tool. So we're going to talk about a couple of things before each tool. So one of the things that I look for when I'm looking at an accelerated learning course is I really look for combining core concept learning with a customized and personalized learning.

So one of the key principles that aids in the concept of learning really comes from our old-- what we learned as educators from Vygotsky. And one of the things that he notes is that concepts are not works but, rather, they're organized and intricate knowledge clusters.

So this is a really simple and really profound principle. It means that while we must teach in that linear fashion that we're used to, we must also present concepts individually, and in really small clusters. And we need to apply these concepts to real life scenarios somehow.

Accelerated learning really hones in on this. And, really, what we're looking for is making sure that we choose a learning management system that is able to provide this for us. So making our thinking visible requires that students create different activities, that they talk to each other, that they write, that they explain, that they analyze, that they judge what they're doing, that they report on what they have learned.

And also we need to build in some time for them to inquire too, right. So these activities make it clear that students know and what knowledge they have gained. And it also allows for those activities to stimulate student growth.

So the learning management system becomes super important in this-- as we're trying to promote accelerated learning. We really want to make sure that we're fully utilizing those discussion forums, the blogging, the journals, the small work in a really organized fashion. So that's where we have to take our LMS and we have to make sure we organize it really well into those small clusters.

And it is a good idea to use our LMS to its fullest potential. So that means learning our LMS. How can we make all these activities happen within that LMS? And taking advantage of that training so that way we can engage our learners and help them build those links between what they're learning with the assignments that we're providing in that learning management system.

So my favorite learning management system-- and I know there's a lot of them out there, there's tons of different technology that we can use. But the one that I wanted to introduce today that I absolutely love is NEO.

NEO is a learning management system. The technology has really revolutionized the way our adult learners use the technology itself, and how they approach learning. But NEO has a lot of benefits.

It is free, so educators can get a free account for up to 200 users. The platform itself is really intuitive. It's really easy. And it is really visually appealing to the students. It supports about 40 different languages, especially for our ESL teachers. It's accessible on mobile apps. That's probably my favorite feature.

The mobile application is amazing. I've seen it both on the student side and on the teacher side. I can literally, as an instructor, grade all of my assignments on my phone. And it's not like-- it's really easy to use. It's super flexible, so I do love that feature. But my students love the NEO application on their phones.

I've had students take my classes that only use their phone to do my entire course. And it's a career technical course with a lot of assignments a lot of videos, so they literally just use their phone. They have told me that they don't have a computer or an iPad or anything like that, and they just-- they have used their phone-- their phone for the entire thing.

So it's a really great program. As we built in our learning management program that we use, we want to make sure that it has the functionability that we need for our student and the program that we're teaching in. And just remember that even though you're using that learning management system, we also want to make sure that we present-- we're present in the class itself through the learning management.

The other thing that I really look for is I try and build the self-efficacy of my students. We want students to require a lot of interaction. And they must be able to take responsibility for their own learning.

So for a lot of our students, if it's not digital, it doesn't exist. So for a lot of them, if it's not accessible to them 24 hours a day, it doesn't exist. It doesn't help to have notes in a paper notebook because if they don't have it with them, they can't study.

So this means that content that students use has to be accessible at all times. Students want to learn or they want to be able to access what they know everywhere. And that's where the learning management system really helps.

But one of the other key things that I love using is my tool number two which is OneNote. And I love OneNote as a digital notebook. So I really use-- because they're able to use it across all of their devices, there's a phone app for it too. And students are able to take notes and organize them.

It is also a free application. There is key features that they can purchase. But the key application works perfect. It's basically a digital notebook. I highly encourage all of my students to have a digital notebook. And I actually require it for some of my classes where they share the notebook with me. And that's where I do some of my grading of their notes. They have to submit their notes.

I love making it an interactive notebook where we put charts, we put pictures. I've used it with literacy students where they literally build a picture dictionary on a digital notebook. And it's had great success.

The other features that I do love about OneNote is that you can have handwritten notes. If the student has a tablet or in their phone, they can do handwritten notes, they can do typed notes, they can do drawings, they can do screenshots to upload on there, as well as voice recordings, and then any video links that they want to add to there. So it's just the quick access.

And, really, this just builds on them developing their own self-study skills, them taking organization of their own notes. The other thing that really helps with accelerating learning is those microcast. As we discussed in the beginning of the presentation, it's so important to build it in small clusters.

So microcast are going to be your short podcast of no more than maybe five to 10 minutes. I usually try and keep all of my videos under 15 minutes. So microcast can be broken down longer lectures. Think about maybe doing smaller videos for those longer lectures. Having them really concise as part of your online content so students are able to review them again.

This is a great way to frontload a lot of the information that you're reviewing as well before they do come to your in-person class so we can provide instruction before they even get there. And the tool that I love using for that is Loom. So I create short micro cast videos that are on the shorter end.

Sometimes I have maybe four or five videos for one specific topic. It just depends. I usually utilize this to frontload a lot of information. I concentrate on specific parts of content. This Loom application allows you to record. And there's other apps. This is one of my favorites. But there's other apps as well out there.

But think about recording your video, you can record your computer. And they have-- you have a little screen where your picture shows up. So it allows you to record yourself, your camera, your microphone, your desktop. And then it also allows you to instantly share your videos with your students through a link.

So this is a really great application that allows you to upload into your LMS or to send over to your students to provide them with a little bit more knowledge that's more specific, because that's what we want as we're trying to provide our students with as much information as possible.

We also want to be able to add self-assessment opportunities to our students, allowing students to take more responsibility for their own learning. So, really, remember the key to accelerated learning is to move from our direct face to face instruction, to a more collaborative learning environment where they're taking responsibility for their learning as well.

So we want to provide as many opportunities for self-assessment. Your learning management system may provide those through quizzes, through different assignments that you give. But we really want to allow students to have an opportunity to grade their own knowledge. And this will help them. When we are able to take a look at how we're doing, it allows us an opportunity to self-assess.

And then it also encourages to build our own learning plans. If you know you didn't do well on something, then you know you're going to be coming back to class to an assessment, then you're more than likely to review those questions that you missed.

One of my favorite tools for that, my tool number three is Quizlet. I love Quizlet. I use it Quizlet live. There's different things that you can do. The students have an opportunity to actually do flashcards on their own. There's also a phone app that they're able to use. I usually put the links to my Quizlet in my learning management system so students can just click on it and access their flashcards immediately.

There's a quiz testing opportunities through Quizlet, so it really helps them prepare for a test. And then the best part about Quizlet that I love is students engage in these activities, but you can also do life features when you're in the class where you can take the quiz and either do individual assessment. Or you can do group assessments where they're playing against teams, against each other.

So it's really more of a study aid application that's designed to engage students, but it's also, really, a self-reflection tool where it allows students to see where they're at. So I do love using Quizlet, that's another tool.

And we also want to be able to provide our students with collaborative learning activities. So collaborative learning activities is going to help them build both on the social and academic goals. Not only does it enhance the learning experience and it helps them absorb that information, but it also connects them to the class.

And during those collaborative learning activities, they're engaging with the course, they're discussing. This is their time where they're able to really assess the learning and individualize it to how they want to learn that material.

So what I like to do for collaborative learning-- and this is actually my total number five. I just realized it says tool number three. But this is total number five. And this would be Padlet. So remember collaborative learning activities allows for opportunities for them to develop a learning community with the other learners in the class.

So Padlet is a tool that enables that interaction and that collaboration, whether they're doing it individually or in the class. But it allows them to communicate with their students, their teachers, their peers.

So Padlet is basically a digital board where the students can post their ideas. They can post comments. I love to use Padlet as a brainstorming board. So sometimes when I have a paper that's due or we're going to be doing something, I use it as a brainstorming tool where everybody comes in and then they grab ideas from each other. And that helps with their research.

I also use it as a closing activity to debrief from a topic. So this helps our students stay motivated and engaged and build their attributes that they need for that accelerated learning. So this was actually my fifth tool, Padlet.

My biggest recommendation when it comes to accelerated learning is to do what works and keep searching for what works better. There's tons of tools. I shared with you the five tools that I love using, but there is lots of tools out there that we can use. And we need to be able to modify that to what is our class like.

So, really, accelerated learning is rooted in creating an environment that's conductive to higher order thinking skills, and designed to connect the learner performance with direct outcomes. So the applications that are being used are endless. There's tons of apps. And it can be daunting because there are so many apps, there are so many ways that we can record videos.

There's no simple application that's perfect for every instructor or it's perfect for every learner to learn from. But the more applications we learn about, it allows us to pick and choose what applications we feel are more interesting or what applications we feel are easier to use. And we're able to start using those from our students.

Remember that, try it out, try it. Allow your students to try it with you. And have fun with it. And then if it works, you keep using it. If not, there are other tools out there as well. So thank you for allowing me this time to share these five tools with you that I'm really excited about using in adult education. Thank you so much for being here. I'm going to hand it back over to Marjorie.

Marjorie Olavides: All right, thank you, Yecsenia for all that great information. And I would also like to thank all of you for coming to this OTAN Tech Talk. If you have an edtech tool or some tips that you'd like to share with the adult education field, go ahead and email your support-- your idea to support@otan.us.

We also encourage you to subscribe to the OTAN YouTube channel where you can view archived tech talks as well as view other OTAN videos. You can contact OTAN for additional services, including free professional development at your site. Just visit the OTAN site at www.otan.us, or contact us by phone or email. And thank you, again, for watching today's OTAN Tech Talk.