LearnicsIL Goes to Summer School

Dr. Kathleen Post
September 23, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has created considerable interest and need among teachers and administrators for training to teach in distance learning environments. Prior to the pandemic, East Stroudsburg University offered a 4-course Online Teaching Endorsement program which led to the PA Online Instruction Endorsement. As a service to the community, ESU provided the introductory course in the program fee-free for area teachers during Summer 2020. 

As part of this course, LearnicsIL was shared with over 80 teachers as a tool to learn more about online learning behaviors and to reflect on instructional practices for online learning environments. We have discovered that the best way for teachers to really understand the LearnicsIL is to use it themselves, so the teachers were given an assignment in which they participated as students, recording their online learning experience using the Insight Link. Then, these students participated in a Zoom discussion with the instructor, their peers, and the Learnics Team about this experience as well as the data produced by LearnicsIL. 

We asked the teachers to reflect on this experience and some of their key take-a-aways are listed below.

LearnicsIL provided insight into their own online learning behaviors and processes, which helped them to better understand their students:

  • Adults review search results very quickly as “impatient researchers”
  • Adults can become distracted, too, during online research
  • Using different search terms or the order of search terms can change the results
  • It may not be easy to find the information you may need
  • Awareness of how often we consult the web for information during day-to-day activities
  • Students may not have the skills needed to online research


LearnicsIL challenged teachers to think about their instructional design for online learning experiences:

  • Communicate clear instructions and expectations for the assignment
  • Define anticipated time needed to complete the assignment
  • Supply recommended websites and/or sample search terms 
  • Instruct students in how to use search terms to narrow results
  • Discuss how to identify credible websites
  • Create a rubric so students know how they will be assessed
  • Use LearnicsIL as a tool for student reflection of online learning process


This quote from the reflection survey sums up this experience so well: 


“I am not as good at finding information as I thought. Sometimes searches take much longer than expected. Like my students, some searches are difficult - finding the information I am seeking is not easy to find or readily available. Perhaps because I and my students are not searching properly or know how to search for a topic. When giving an online search assignment - I need to be clear and concise with my directions and may also need to give examples of sites or searches to help guide my students.”


The use of LearnicsIL was an illuminating aspect of this introductory course in online learning and instruction. One teacher summed up their learning by saying “we focus too much on forgettable content and not on teaching them the process of researching and learning." A number of these teachers expressed interest in our Teacher Ambassador’s Program and we are looking forward to having them join our growing community of educators.

Dr. Kathleen Post works as the Teacher Education Unit Assessment & Accreditation Coordinator at East Stroudsburg University.
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