Analyzing Scope Creep

 

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During any particular project whether personal or professional, unanticipated issues may arise that could result in an increase in the scope of a project. For example, timelines may change or lengthen your duration of certain activities, both of which will directly impact your project’s schedule. In this week post, I will like to share a personal project in which I experienced scope creep. 

 

In my initial post for EDUC 6145, I shared my family experience with moving from a rental property to a property we purchase.  Because there were many planning and development mistakes from the beginning, the scope creep issues occurred in the very beginning stages of the “project.”  On the moving day, we didn’t have the necessary resources to carry the heavy furniture; therefore, we had to rent a dolly which was not accounted for in the budget. Then a critical step to contact the electricity company was missed caused a delay in the moving deadline and interrupted the schedule.

 

My family or the “stakeholder” didn’t take the issues very well. Because of the scope creep my husband had to take additional days off from work to finish moving, the budget increase because we had to rent the moving truck for extra days and recruit more manpower.

 

We are currently looking to move closer to our job, and I know I will have a better handle on the “project.”  I will ensure I have a schedule with the clear designated resource.  It will include important task, based on high-level priorities to lower level priorities.  I will communicate with my family the expectations and the timeline.  I will collaborate with my family and listen to any suggestion or feedback and incorporate any missed task.

 

Looking back, there are many things I could have done to manage these issues better and control the scope of the project.  It would have been very helpful to put together a work breakdown to ensure all the human resources were in place with the proper resources.  A good breakdown of support, communication plan, accountability matrix, resource allocation, and identify the key stakeholder would have made the “project” successful, on-time and within the budget allocated. The project manager must faithfully monitor and control the constraints of scope, time and resources for a project to be successful (Lynch & Roecker, 2007).

 

 

 

References:

 

Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J. (2007). Project managing e-learning: A handbook for successful design, delivery, and management. London: Routledge.

 

Portney, 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.

 

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Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

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This week our task is to locate useful resources that will be helpful in estimating costs, time and/or activity length associated with Project manager instructional design projects. After searching online for different resources for estimating project cost and budgeting. I found Microsoft project which had great tips on how to prepare a budget. There five simple steps to follow to prepared your project. It would be one of the tools I think I will use to prepared by budget because it breaks down the budget by pay rate, cost per use, fixed costs, task and resources.

Microsoft Project: https://products.office.com/en-US/project?legRedir=true&CorrelationId=5fad7593-d2c9-409e-b1c5-b0ac162019d1

The second resource I found is Wrike. Wrike is an online tool for project management and work collaboration. Wrike incorporates, task management, interactive Gantt chart, workload management, time-tracker, email integration, custom Fields, iPhone and Android apps, customized reports, Discussions, real-time newsfeed, document collaboration, box, dropbox, and Google Drive integration. It’s a great tool that can help the PM bridged the gap from project planning and actual work. With Wrike integrated tools it could help you to easily handle and monitor projects, tasks, deadlines, and other schedules.

Wrike: https://try.wrike.com/all-in-one-collaboration-and-project-management-us-vb/?ga_campaign=%28roi%29%20branded%20-%20us&ga_adgroup=wrike&ga_adgroup=Wrike&ga_keyword=wrike%3Fga_campaign%3D%28ROI%29%20Branded%20-%20US&ga_keyword=wrike&gclid=CNvtxe7b8dECFdQ6gQodCFYKIA

ProjectManager.com an online platform that features project tools like Gantt Charts, time sheets, resource tracking, task tracking, real-time dashboards, and collaboration features. The online and the mobile app are geared for all levels of users.

Project Manager: https://www.projectmanager.com/

The last resources I want to share is Bright Hub. This site gives methods for organizing your financial plan and templates to help facilitate the life of the project manager. The template that is given appears to be exceptionally essential and simple to utilize. They also given tips on what ought to be included and not into the budget. This is a great starting point for any project manager.

Bright hub: http://www.brighthubpm.com/

Resources:

Microsoft Project. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from : https://products.office.com/en-US/project?legRedir=true&CorrelationId=5fad7593-d2c9-409e-b1c5-b0ac162019d1

Wrike. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from https://try.wrike.com/all-in-one-collaboration-and-project-management-us-vb/?ga_campaign=%28roi%29%20branded%20-%20us&ga_adgroup=wrike&ga_adgroup=Wrike&ga_keyword=wrike%3Fga_campaign%3D%28ROI%29%20Branded%20-%20US&ga_keyword=wrike&gclid=CNvtxe7b8dECFdQ6gQodCFYKIA

Project Manager. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from https://www.projectmanager.com/

Bright Hub Education. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2017, from http://www.brighthubpm.com/

Communicating Effectively

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To communicate effectively, you need to be aware that communication is not just exchanging information. You also need to consider the emotion and intentions under the information. Effective communication is not just how you deliver the message. It is also how the message is received and understood by the person precisely the way you intended. Also how you hear the meaning of what is said and how you let the other person know that you heard and understood. Therefore, a project manager should be able to communicate effectively with all the project members because it is essential for a project’s success.

For this week’s assignment, we had to view a multimedia program about “The Art of Effective Communication” and reflect on a coworker message received in three different modalities. Email, voicemail and in person. The first message received was in an email format. The email sent by Jane was clear and straightforward.   She was following up on a missing report Mark needed to send her because it had data she needs to finish her report before the deadline. The email had a sense of urgency, but in a professional manner and clearly stating that she was aware of his other responsibilities which might have prevented him from sending the missing report.

The second message delivered in a voicemail format. In the voicemail message Jane’s voice came across as a being annoyed, and you could also hear her frustration. Besides, you could hear and feel the urgency in her voice. Although you hear her say I know you are in a meeting and perhaps busy, what I heard was I don’t care, I need this data now to finish my report because thanks to you know I might miss my deadline.

The final message was delivered in a face-to-face format. In this delivery format, you could see Jane facial expression and see that she is not annoyed, but that she is just in need of the data to deliver her report on time. You can see that she didn’t want to bother him, but she needs just the data that he could perhaps share immediately instead of the full report.

In my opinion, the voicemail and face to face format had the best communication approach. Maybe in the message, Jane could have asked Mark to call her back. My reasoning is that Mark could respond and deliver the data needed in the email as well as handed her the report during the face to face meeting. Stolovitch states that communication is not just words. Effective communication is influenced by spirit and attitude, tonality and body language, timing and the personality of the recipient. (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). “Effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision-making, and problem-solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.” (Robinson, Segal, & Smith, December 2016).

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Robinson, L., Segal, J. & Smith, M. (December 2016), Effective Communication: Improving Communication Skills in Your Work and Personal Relationships. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/effective-communication.htm

Learning from a “Project Post-mortem

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Learning from a “Project post-mortem.”

When my family relocated to Florida, we lived with my parents for several months.  After almost six months we decided to rent a house for a year.  After renting for one year, we finally decided to purchase a home.  It was exciting to do all the planning and to organize all the details. Planning, organizing, and controlling are three main components of a project manager’s job (Portney et al., 2008, pp. 3-4).  I made a list of everything we needed to do to including the time, and the budget.  Since we were moving across town, we decided to do it ourselves.  This was my first mistake, besides, to doing everything on my own without assigning a role to any of my family members.

The day of the moving came, and we quickly realize we needed help with carrying the heavy furniture; therefore we had to rent a dolly which was not accounted for in the budget. Then because we didn’t recruit any help, it was late at night, and I realize I never contacted the electricity company to have new services install in our new home.  Because of this oversight, we didn’t have any light and couldn’t continue to move.  Therefore, we now have to rent the truck for another day, and on top of that, we had to stay with my mother for a couple of night because we didn’t anticipate this change and we didn’t allow ourselves and overlap in the lease. I should have thought about moving earlier before our lease was up at least a couple of days to spare the stress of an overnight move.

A big mistake on my part and it is something that I have learned from.  If in the future we decide to move again, I would guarantee that mistake would not happen and I will always give ourselves some overlap time for any potential problems.

As the project manager for our moving, I felt like I didn’t deliver.  There were many planning and development mistakes.  I was doing everything on my own and lacked communication with “stakeholders” such as the electric company, cable company and to recruit resources to help with the moving.  I learned that communicating, brainstorming, and collaborating are vital to a successful project (Murphy, 1994).  This is why I failed in this project as a PM.  Besides, I did not provide clear expectations or provided clear roles and responsibilities to each of my team (Murphy, 1994) or family members. To be a successful PM, you need to be clear and make each member responsible.

Although there were bumps along the way, in the end, we were able to get everything done.  Perhaps not on time or within the budget but it was a great learning experience.  I had an excellent organization skill and organized the delivery of new furniture on time and kept everything else running smoothly by using a to-do list which helped me get everything else done on time.  The to-do list helped me to keep organized and have all the necessary information needed to get the rest of the job done.  It helped me to track the budget. All of this experience with this project has helped me learn to “build in time and money to deal with” (Laureate Education, Inc. n.d) scope creep.  It has taught me that the key to a successful project is communication and working together as a team. Lastly, the project manager has to be organized, reliable, understanding, a great communicator, and above all make sure that the PM distributes and clarifies the roles and responsibilities for each group member accordingly.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Murphy, C. (1994). Utilizing project management techniques in the design of instructional materials. Performance & Instruction, 33(3), 9–11. Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used by permission via the Copyright Clearance Center Required Media.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Project Management Course

Hello and welcome!

For the next 8 weeks I will be posted information for the Project Management course.  In this course, I will learn and explore the systematic approaches to project management and learn how to use different project management tools, which I would apply to projects in a real-world education or training environment. Also analyze the interrelated nature of the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope as well as their influence on the overall quality of the project.

Converting to Blended Learning

There are many types of online formats. However, the main ones are online, blended also called hybrid, and web-facilitated. A distance learning course content is at least 80% delivered online (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). While blended or hybrid course will vary by need but is typically between 30%-79% facilitated online. More information on blended courses will be available in this manual. Lastly, a web-facilitated course is when web-based technology is used, but only about 29% of the course content is delivered online (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). A blended learning format is a substitute to the traditional face-to-face classroom. It combines online learning and face-to-face classroom environments. A successful learning system provides a learning environment where student interact with each other and are able to reach the learning outcome. With careful planning is where this type of environment student learning is achieved (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). This guide has been developed to assist the trainer in adapting part of the face-to-face course to a blended training module that includes delivering the content online.

converting-to-blended-learning

References:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

 

Distance Learning – Mind Map

New-Mind-Map

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Distance Learning

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Prior Definition of Distance Learning

I learned about distance learning when I started my career in higher education in 2003. Before this time I thought distance learning was a correspondence study for the student to be able to complete a high school diploma or for a technical career like data entry. In college, I did an independent study in which I meet with the instructor once or twice a week. So, my thought was that this was moved to electronic correspondence where the student will email the information instead of meeting them face to face. However, when I started working in higher education, I learned more and decided to start my Master’s degree online. Since then I have only taken online classes; first for an MBA degree and now for Instructional design.

So before this course, I think I have defined distance learning as an opportunity for working professionals to continue their career education by internet from anywhere and at any time. In the past, I viewed distance education as self-study where the instructor will provide assignments for you to complete at your own pace and you will submit them by correspondence whether through snail mail or electronically.   Further, I would probably say that my prior definition only applied to students trying to get a GED or for higher education self-study opportunity.

As a freshman college student my first view or experience with “distance education” was an independent study class. The instructor will provide me with the guided reading, and I will complete assignments and send them by email. Also, I will meet with the instructor to take any test. I took several independent courses because it provided me with flexibility and I felt I was getting individualize attention and interaction with the instructor. To me, they were more efficient than the once I took in the classroom. According to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek (2012), “The day is coming when the work done by correspondence will be greater in amount than that done in the classrooms of our academies and colleges”.

New Perspectives

Distance education has been defined as an institution based education, where groups of learners are separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect students with resources and instructors. (Simonson et. al. (2012). It is also important to understand the four characteristics that distinguish distance education. Distance education is carried out by institutions; they are not self-study or nonacademic learning environment. There’s geographic separation and interactive telecommunications connect the learning group with each other and the teacher. (Simonson et. al. p. 31 (2012). It establishes a learning community which is composed of students, teacher, and instructional resources. (Simonson et. al. (2012). “Distance education uses technology to mediate the necessary two -way communication”. (Simonson et. al. p. 35(2012). Moreover, interaction can happen synchronous or asynchronous, but it must be two-way even though there’s physical separation between learners and the teacher

New definition

After reading chapter 1 of this week reading, my new definition of distance education is an institution based formal academic education of individuals within an accredited organization which learners are physically separated from the teacher. Learning occurs from anywhere and anytime by interacting, collaborating and sharing information/knowledge with each other via web-based tools. The original target group of distance education was busy professionals with social and family commitment, and this remains the primary target group today, although it has been adopted by K-12 and training and development because it provides the individuality of learning, flexibility in both time and place. I think distance education will continue to grow as new technologies are emerging, it will become the biggest form of education and training because technology and globalization is reshaping the learning styles for students, corporate and K-12.

References:

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C., (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implication for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K-12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63-67. Academic Search Complete database.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implication for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70-75. Academic Search Complete database.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70.

Reflection

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What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?

This course gave me the opportunity to rediscover and learn and understand my learning style and strategies.  It provided me with a better understanding of the different learning styles and theories. What I found surprising was the idea that as an instructional designer you can increase the motivation level in the learner. Instruction designers can achieve learning environments and stimulate and sustain motivation, even though they cannot control it. The learner is the one responsible for their motivation, but it is clear that the environment can have a strong impact on both the direction and intensity of a person’s motivation. Furthermore, constructivism and social learning theories are very enlightening. The information about learning constructivist theories brings an understanding of the circumstance in which learning occurs and the social contexts that learners bring to the learning environment. The learning theories give a good foundation on the academic level and developments in the motivational research area, and the ARCS Model makes it possible to apply it to the online learning environment.  I was also surprised to learn that I am also a social learner.  I am a very private person and didn’t consider myself a social learner, however, I have learned that I enjoy more socializing in an online platform than in the classroom or a  face-to-face contact. I also learned that I use cognitive theory when understanding new content which is why I choose demonstrations and examples to learn new ideas and course material.

How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?

This course has helped me better understand my personal learning process, style and, techniques I can use to help myself.  It was quite interesting learning, the learning style of adult learners because I see I exhibit many qualities and, I also see those qualities in the students I help as a program coordinator. For instance, self-direct learning can be applied immediately to a real situation in life.  Not only was I very connected with adult learners I also found connectivism very enlightening because it helped me understand my learning process. These theories have given me a great knowledge and as a result, I understand that I have an active role in the learning environment. I really enjoyed creating the blog and the different activities we had to do using the blog.  I enjoyed also reading my classmates’ blog and was able to learn from everyone’s Learning Networks.  It made me understand how useful are all the resources available that can be used for personal and professional development. Being aware of my personal learning method also aided me to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses and helped me to gain a better understanding of myself and what I need to do to make my learning experiences successful. This course has also affirmed my choice, preferring an unconventional learning method and the advantages of this experience for me as an adult learner.

What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?

Understanding the connection between learning theory, styles, technology and motivation helped me realize how each person approach learning and how each learning aspect is used differently. Every learner will use their learning preferences and at the same time they utilize some aspects of each of the learning factors. The benefit I gain from understanding the connections between learning issues is how to use technology in an educational environment to offer solutions to most students who have their preferred learning methods. With the help of the learning matrix table, we did it was very helpful in understanding the connections between theories, learning styles and technology. The assignment gave us the opportunity to analyze the theories and their applications to technology integration.

How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?

Understanding the learning process I learned in this course will have an impact on my future career as an instructional designer. The tools and knowledge I have acquired will help me to understand how to design a course and to see what mechanics to use and implement in the course and help better motivate the learner.  I’m looking forward to incorporating different technology tools in the classroom and see how it impacts he student success by providing them with many different resources available.  When designing a course, it is important to consider and understand the learning theories and the a direction they offer in the instructional designing process.

Fitting the Pieces Together

Fitting the Pieces Together 2

Now that I have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, my views on how I learn has changed. At the beginning of the course, I said I’m a visual learner. I learn by reading the materials and then create a visual in my head to better understand the information.   Although I have learned a lot through conventional methods, I believe I learn most effectively through unconventional methods.   Not only it’s more convenient, but I can control my environment and study at a time where I can focus all my attention on the material. Furthermore, I’m a metacognitive learner since I can monitor my learning and can determine if I understand the material and whether or not I can explain it and/or apply it. If I explain it to others, I’m capable of coming up with new examples to clarify my explanation. Now that I have a better understanding of the learning theory and strategies I have identified that I learn best through Social Constructivism.

Besides, cognitive theories best describe how I learn. According to Ertmer and Newby, Cognitive theories emphasize making knowledge meaningful and helping learners organize and relate new information to existing knowledge in memory”. (Ertmer & T. J. Newby., 1993).   “Thinking, problem-solving, language, concept formation, and information processing,” are the steps I need to have to learn a new material.   The addition of constructivism, connectivism, and learning styles has helped with my understanding of how I learned in the past and how my learning environment will continue to change in the future. With the introduction of Connectivism I appreciate the significance of learning through the exposure and interaction with others; with the use of the web, blogs, and wikis to find, learn, and use information.

The role of technology in my learning experiences has advanced from textbooks to primarily digital, online learning resources. These days I use web-based resources to search most of the information needed to assist my learning process. The internet based resources include videos, blogs, web searches, online digital libraries, course discussion of collaboration, social media, and network resources.

With an understanding of learning theories, learning styles, learning strategies, and motivation I can better analyze an organization and/or individuals to provide the best learning environment. Understanding the learning theory will influence the work I will do as an instructional designer because I will have a better understanding which strategy, and content to use, for each student. “Because learning is influenced by many factors from many sources, the learning process itself is constantly changing, both in nature and diversity.” (Ertmer & T. J. Newby., 1993).

 

References:

A. Ertmer & T. J. Newby. Copyright 1993 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Journals. Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly.

Dr. Jeanne Ormrod. Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). An introduction to learning