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Professional Diploma in Digital Learning design

An English Pronunciation Course for Myanmar learners

Fiachra McCleary

Introduction

Pronunciation is key part of any language learner's journey towards speaking proficiency. Learners need an understanding of how to produce individual sounds and build these sounds into words to convey meaning. They need to understand the intricacies of stress and intonation to know how speakers manipulate these words when communicating. An understanding of connected speech is essential in deciphering rapid speech.

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context

I worked in Myanmar as a teacher, teacher trainer and academic coordinator from 2014 to 2017. My wife is from Myanmar and we now reside in the UK. We recently created a Facebook page and Youtube channel named Tea Leaf English that helps Myanmar people improve their language and professional skills.

Implementation and Evaluation

Part 2

Micro Design and Development

Part 1

Macro Design

Part 3

Part 1

Macro Design

1

The Who of Learning

Who?

My pronunciation course is targeted at Myanmar learners living in Myanmar, but also Myanmar people based in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.I skimmed through our 8,000 followers and reflected on former colleagues and students when generating profiles for potential learners to limit judgements and stereotypes - Malamed (2009)

Learning should be fun and games make everything more enjoyable!

I want to sound 'British' when I speak.

Working with people from all walks of life excites me!

Seek perfection in all you do!

I want people to be able to understand everything I say!

I'm a bit scared that I will not be able to follow the course.

Learning Personas

The Who

The learning profiles were an invaluable factor in the design of the course. I have covered some of the key changes I made to the course based on these below.

Improvement

Digital literacy skills

Mobile-friendly

Gamification

Constructivist approach

Electives

Extra tutorial

AI

The Why of Learning

Learning Gap

Myanmar people have always been keen to learn English but recent political turmoil has resulted in floods of people attempting to master the language in order to take up jobs and university positions across Thailand, Japan, the UK, the US and beyond.In terms of speaking skills, many Myanmar learners often have poor pronunciation incluing problems with specific sounds and come across as rather robotic. Since the military coup in 2021, most Myanmar students prefer to take classes and courses online. There are an endless amount of resources that focus on building vocabulary, improving grammar and attaining fluency, but there is a huge gap in the market for a high-quality online pronunciation course tailored to meet the needs of Myanmar learners and including the latest technological innovations like ChatGPT4-0.

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Sound pedagogy in the digital age

Acceptance of online learning

Pronunciation focus

Business and Personal Need

Our aim at Tea Leaf English is to build an online pronunciation course for Myanamar learners that helps them to improve their English. This will increase the work, study and life prospects for those that successfully complete the course.We also want to develop as digital creators and start to build high quality learning content in course format, which has the added benefit of revenue generation.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has been much more of an acceptance of online learning and course delivery. Teachers and students can now see the advantages and opportunities digital learning provides.

There is now lots of Myanmar-focused English language learning content with some creators even having hundreds of thousands of followers. Some of this content is less sound pedagogically. We strive to build a course that is highly engaging, based on sound pedagogy and with clear learning aims.

Pronunciation content has been one of the core focuses of our business. We have created a podcast series and Youtube-style videos on Facebook and Youtube up to now which have proven somewhat popular. A pronunciation course is the next logical step.

Upon successful completion of this course, Learners will be better able to:

Learning Outcomes

The What of Learning

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Course Structure

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Toolkit

A toolkit will be available at the end of each module that allows learners to do a deeper dive into the content. It will contain links to articles and videos, a summary of the content and audio scripts in English and Myanmar amongst other content.

Mapping Learning Outcomes

Course Overview

In the final live class, learners will complete an interactive quiz and a ceremony will be held with certificates and prizes given out.

Results will be given out at the end of module 9.

Learners can purchase tutorials with expert tutors if required.

Learners will be presented with the project brief during live class 2. The project will need to be submitted by end of module 8. This is backed by Kilroy's (2024) belief that asynchronous online courses should always try to include extended assignments.

There will be three synchronous classes throughout the course - attendance is not compulsory.

All course participants will be granted access to a discussion forum moderated by Tea Leaf English.

Each module will last for 2 weeks. Learners will only be able to access the next module after the completion of the previous module and from a specific date.

Learners will complete an initial speaking diagnostic task and publish it on a Padlet.

There will be a section that shows learners how to move around the course.

Modular Framework

Info

The How of Learning

learning session 2

Mode of delivery and building Blocks

The course is fully digital and primarily delivered in an asynchronous way to accommodate learner schedules, electricity issues and the fact I am based outside of my target area. Learners can complete the course at different times and from any location. It is primarily delivered through video due to learner preferences and trends.It is a 20-week course with a new module covered every second week. Learners are expected to keep pace with the course. There are three optional synchronous live classes which will also be recorded and available to view at a later date. A Facebook group that allows synchronos and asynchronous chat allow further opportunities for collaboration and discussion.

Assessment and feedback

Activities

Content

Course Flow and Timeline

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Reflective Commentary

The Who

In feedback, I larned that I should focus on mmy project more and not on the shiny aspects from the exemplars. earned to think more from the reader's perspective - what is clear in my head may not necessarily be clear in another person's. I will get my partner to do a more thorough check before submitting my next version.

The Why

I have had the idea to create an online pronunciation course for a long time, but a key change I have made recently from interacting with the course material and the creation of learning personas, is the inclusion of AI in a speaking task at the end of each module. This serves as both a business/personal need and as a learning gap since AI is set to revolutionise all and not embracing this change will result in one being left behind.

The What

Building confidence

Live class

Action plan

As the course is larger in scope, developing The What was more of a challenge than I had first anticipated.

SME

Bottom-up approach

Cognitive overload

The How

I decided that the Core and Spoke model would be the most beneficial as it would provide learners with the most flexibility while also covering the most important concepts. The core content is delivered in a linear fashion but learners can go back over content as many times as they need to.Creating the course flow document was an extremely useful process as I had not fully utilised this when creating classroom-based courses in the past. I feel like classroom-based courses, particularly with adult learners, generally provide more variety in terms of flow and the learninig path. In the online space, consistency is important to allow learners to focus on key content and not get lost with navigation or an overwhelming number of options. Having this document allows the course developer to better manage course development and make adjustments where necessary.

References

Underhill, A. (1994) Sound Foundations, Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching. First viewed 27/05/2024

Kilroy, J (2024), VC2 45.52 - Project Brief, Viewed 2/5/24

Malamed, K. (2009) Learner Personas for Instructional Design, viewed 27/05/2024, <https://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/audience/learner-personas-for-elearning/>

Part 2

2

Micro Design and Development

Format Choice

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Video is one of the most popular forms of learning nowadays. I have chosen instructional videos due to learner preferences and because of how important it is to see a face when teaching pronunciation!

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Wireframe

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Wireframe

Storyboard/Script

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Design Considerations

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talking head, importance of video nowadays, fewer captions

Many of the design features below were taken from ... ,odule 2

Reflective Commentary

Video

When focusing on pronunciation, it is useful to see a person producing the sound. Audio is obviously important. Text and images to support learning are also necessary to illlustrate and highlight features that learners cannot identify. On the other hand, cognitive dissonance can be a factor. I decided to blend a talking head style with only essential text and examples appearing on screen and also a ppt style for a deeper text analysis. I wanted to create a multimedia eLearning course originally, but felt that video would be more appropriate due to the subject matter and popularity of video amonga ll people nowadays. Essential that course partcipants are actually learning as videos make up a significant percentage of this course.I have co-created videos before this with my wife. These were not part of a course, but were mainly instructional or in podcast format (TeaLeafEnglish) We didn’t have a clear process. We usually started with an idea and developed a script. We added things in the moment. We definitely improved our ability through tacit understanding but have now reached a point where we want to have a systematic process in place guided by learning and design theories when building videos, particularly for our courses. It's crucial to go through the stages f scoping, wireframing and scriptwriting.

Used Shotcut previously, used descript for video editing - helpful in editing. Originally planned to use interactive video, but decided to ask questions of the learner and allo pauses for refletion. There will be a knowledge check after each video instead. An earl test draft of my video and analysing the other videos I created showed me that I didn’t smile or look friendly enough in videos. Despite occasional pauses for reflection, I made editing tight and snappy as this is what is popular online these days. I wanted 5 sections originally - cognitive overload principle - 3 enough - digital toolkit more - focus on most importantUnsure how much humour to inject v more serious manner. Wanted to be myself so did attempt to be humorous at times.Added stock video as popular nowadays. Wanted to include video clips as is popular, but after resr=earch, it is a gray area due to copyeight issues.

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Part 3

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Implementation and Evaluation

Learning PLatform

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Accessible in Myanmar,Not expensive Compatblewith mobileSimple to navigate - facebook heavy audienceLearner personasNo scalability costs - low cost - lots of userscloud-based? internet issues? save instantly?Video integrationAccepte xAI/SCORM?Complies with GDPR? Myanmar? needed?Integrates with Facebook?TeachableWant to build a app?

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Learning PLatform

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Want to integrate my fetaures, record own content and post.Record video?AI integrationMyanmar payment options? in app purchasesData analytics?Learner needsProgress trackingMobile friendlyFacebook integration

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Staff/Resources

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'Go Live' PLan

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Learner Engagement

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Gamification

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Reflective Commentary

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Wanted to use Articulate Storyline as it seemed to be the buzzword, but the course clearly mentioned not to use a learning platform based on your personal experience. Had to think of my context.

Electives

Language learners often have specific needs and appreciate having a choice.

SME

As a lifelong educator with a particular passion for pronunciation and having worked and lived in Myanmar, I used myself as the SME for the development of this course.I consulted with my wife on specific occasions as she is an expert teacher and teacher trainer from Myanmar.

Building confidence

A quiz was inserted after the warm-up video in each module to activate the participants previous knowledge. I noticed that the DLI does this at the start of each module also.I have avoided technical language where possible as I find this often intimidates learners. For example, 'single-vowels' is used in place of 'monopthongs'.

Bottom-up approach

A bottom-up approach was used to create the Modular Framework. The ideas for the topics were developed from my teaching experience in Myanmar and Sound Foundations (1994). The core topics were grouped together in the development of the learning objectives to avoid repetition.

Elective modules

Learner improvement

The diagnostic assessment at the beginning of the course will allow learners to better assess overall improvement at the end. Also, students will receive certficates of course completion.

Mobile friendly

Many students will not have access to laptops and desktop computers so this will be considered when designing videos and learning content.

Live class

My own experience on the Digital Learning Design course made me fully understand how important live classes are in asynchronous course delivey.I have remained in contact with the members of my own original group and hope that course participants on the pronunciation course will do the same.

SMART

My learning outcomes were refined further through the SMART framework. An example of this was learning objective one. I added 'through in-course assessment tasks' to the learning outcome, 'demonstrate an understanding of the various features of pronunciation (sounds, stress, intonation, connected speech) to make the outcome more measurable.

Optional extra tutorial

Some learners want to have more one-on-one support. It's not possible to offer this to all students unfortunately.

Activities

The two main types of activities are the AI speaking tasks and the extended project.The AI speaking task will allow learners to practice the core content they have just covered in a natural way with an AI chatbot. This can be repeated as many times as the learner wishes.The extended project will allow the learner to consolidate all of the content in the course when designing and delivering a presentation that will assess the candidate's pronunciation and delivery.

Cognitive overload

A great challenge in developing the what, was sticking to having three core topics in each module to prevent cognitive dissonance. In consultation with the other SME, we narrowed down the areas to what we felt Myanmar learners really needed most.The teacher in me wants to cover all areas of a subject. Extra material will be provided in the module toolkit for students that want to take a deeper dive.

Action plan

The completion of a course will not lead to pronunciation mastery as it is a lifelong process. Module 10 was added to push learners down this path of reflection and continuous development in order to make learners accountable with specific objectives and tasks developed.

Module 1

Warm-up video

Diagnostic quiz on topic with feedback

Content videos for topics 1,2,3

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Knowledge checks on content topics 1,2,3

Feedback on knowledge checks

AI speaking task covering whole module

Feedback from speaking task

Closing video

Toolkit

Forum

AsynchronousMandatory(Core)

Synchronous and AsynchronousOptional (Spoke)

Week 1 - 2 3 - 5 hours

Each module will begin with a quiz that will contain six multiple choice/matching questions.There will be three core topics in each module. The content will be largely video-based and will last up to six minutes each. At the end of each module, there will be a speaking task with an AI chatbot that covers the core content of the module. Feedback will be provided to the learner.

The course structure will be made up of 10 modules as well as an introductory module that goes through the course components, assessment, policies and course navigation. A module toolkit will appear at the end of the 10 main modules.There will be 6 core modules, an elective module, a module that integrates all features, an introduction to pronunciation module and a final action plan module that focuses on the next steps. The content will be loosely designed off Sound Foundations (1994).For the elective module, candidates will have the choice of one of the following: British English, Pronunciation for IELTS and Presentations. Candidates have the option of purchasing additional electives..

Digital literacy skills

An introducton to the course module was added after consideration that some participants may struggle with navigating the course.

AI

Many students and professionals are using AI when completing tasks like writing assignments and composing emails. To harness its power and future proof the course, I need to incorporate it.

Course Flow and Timeline

This pronunciation course follows a Core and Spoke model. Learners progress in a linear fashion through the core modules and learninig content. Additional resources are available for learners that want a deeper dive into the material.The estimated course duration is twenty weeks with learners estimated to spend 3-5 hours on each module in the first half of the course and 5-7 hours in the second half of the course on each module. Learners cannot move ahead. The minimum amount is based on completing core materials and maximum being the completion of core and spoke content.

Bloom's Taxonomy

I used Bloom's taxonomy to refine the first draft of my learning outcomes through a greater adoption of higher order thinking skills.For instance, learning objective three was based on getting learners to create something from the course material. The creation and delivery of a presentation that encompasses all of the core content felt like the perfect task to assess learner performance.

Content

Most of the learning content will be delivered through instructional videos. The videos will contain some interactive elements which include getting the learner to repeat things and answer questions. Each video will be approximately 6 minutes in length.

Constructivist approach

Students want choice and to do things in their own time and at their own pace. I included a toolkit at the end of each module and widened the timeframe allowed to complete each modue to two weeks. This was also due to power issues in Myanmar.

Many students want learning to be fun. I will make quizzes and activities engaging and interactive.

Gamification

Assessment and Feedback

Learners will receive individual feedback from the AI chatbot after each end-of-module speaking task.Individual tutor feedback will also be provided to each learner on their final presentation.Quizzes at the beginning of each module will allow learners to realise learning gaps and what they need to focus on in each module.