June 5, 2017

Dialogex creates opportunities for participant voice and agency

The Institute for Learning’s 2017 Conference, Designing for Difference, featured outstanding workshops and presentations. It was also the first such event in which DialogeX participated and it will not be the last.  I was impressed by how many of the fellows and partners with whom we met were already familiar with the online professional development projects that DialogeX and IFL are pursuing.  Further, several IFL fellows are now deeply involved with our technology partner, NexPort Solutions, to develop features and functions to make IFL online offerings come alive (virtually speaking…).  I must say that in 30 years of training and education experience, I have seldom encountered such an incredibly engaged group of professionals. Several of this year’s conference topics spoke to opportunities for creating voice and agency among student populations.  However, what about those instances when the “student population” (i.e., the participants) is comprised of professionals?  Perfunctory “one-shot” solutions at professional development seldom provide opportunities for voice or agency.  DialogeX is working with IFL to provide such opportunities and to enhance the online experience. DialogeX’ technology partner, NexPort Solutions, is working directly with IFL fellows to identify their needs, values, opinions, passions, and ambitions for the NexPort Campus online platform (i.e., voice).  Experienced software developers will tell you that it is from these user stories that great user experiences emerge.  This is resulting in a set of features and functions that will enable IFL to act upon the online environment that delivers their programs (i.e., agency).  Here are some examples:

Independent, pair, and small-group assignments:  Coaches and facilitators can introduce unique assignments for specific students or small groups on the fly, allowing participants to work independently, in pairs, or in small groups.

Video coaching:  Participants can upload their own task-based videos (even from their phone or tablet) to NexPort Campus where master coaches will provide review and comment.  The upload, processing, and notification process is contained entirely within NexPort Campus and provides automated email notifications to participants.

This effort yields two significant results.  First, DialogeX can provide workshop participants with a collaborative program that allows them to address their interests, challenges, and goals.  Second, workshop participants are empowered to meet where and when their schedules permit, using devices that they use every day (e.g., login when your schedule allows and collaborate with your peers with a Smartphone or tablet).  The bottom line is that educators can now choose to act with a purpose, pursuing an online professional development experience that addresses their needs rather than enduring a one-shot “death by PowerPoint”.