Thursday, June 11

Got A New e-Learning Job! Got Any Tips to Share?


On June 15th (2009), I will embark on another e-learning adventure, and become the new e-Learning Manager at the International Medical University (IMU). I am looking forward to working with educators in the fields of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Nursing, Medical Biotechnology, Nutrition & Dietetics, Biomedical Science and Psychology (my undergraduate roots! Cool!).

I am dreaming of conceptualizing and nurturing with IMU educators electrifying and sizzling e-learning environments (I suppose this only makes sense to 'The Rock'!). In other words, conceptualizing and nurturing e-learning environments that are:
  • Relevant
  • Engaging
  • Fun
  • Interactive
  • Collaborative

That would be awesome! However, having experienced both sides of the learning continuum (Disaster to Success) during my career as an e-learning professional, I know for sure it won't be easy. But you know what, I am looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully it works out!

Interestingly, they are currently using Moodle as their main online teaching and learning platform, so that is great news. In the past, I have experienced a customized in-house developed e-learning platform (no so bad!), a customized commercial one (a total disaster!), and Moodle, which I promoted as an alternative learning space at UNITAR.

Whatever, e-learning platform or LMS (Learning Management System) one is using today, let's face it; learning will increasingly take place outside the LMS, in the forms of wikis, blogs, micro-blogs, virtual worlds, video channels (e.g. YouTube), social bookmarking, social networking, etc. Although, e-learning platforms (e.g. Moodle and Blackboard) often have such features and tools, they are usually not up to par with the specialized free learning tools available. But thanks to RSS and integration modules the information flow can still easily be captured and shared in the big old LMS. If it can't, then it better soon, or adios amigo! I suppose LMS will still be around for a few more years for student/course management, tracking, assessment, and some discussions, but I suppose most of the real learning will increasingly take place beyond it.

What about SCORM? That alien should be transferred back to the US military. Unless you are buying off-the-shelf courseware that has assessment you want to track, or you want to sell your self-developed courseware, it is seriously a disaster. I suppose in the corporate sector (where it is often needed for tracking purposes) one still mumbles about it, but in the University space not many learning professionals really talk about it anymore (it is there, but nobody cares! Relevant today?). Well, we have SCORM 2004, which really indicates the year that it stopped evolving. Reusable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Durable! What a joke, if you know what I mean :)

I know that there are many exceptional learning professionals and educators that are reading (scanning or browsing) this blog, and it would be wonderful if some of you came (out of the passive learning mode) and shared with us some tips on e-learning in the medical fields (or other fields for that sake!), especially in terms of:
  • Online Facilitation
  • Content Development
  • Open Educational Resources
  • e-Learning Platform (features and tools to use?)
  • e-Learning 2.0 (any stories to share?)
  • Etc.
If you feel uncomfortable sharing in the comments section, I would truly appreciate any suggestions, or tips through other means, such as Twitter and e-mail.

Besides working on a few prototype courseware for John Hopkins University (Pediatric Sedation and Pain Management) in 2001, I have to admit I have a lot to learn about the medical fields. However, I am seriously looking forward to this new e-learning adventure, and hopefully my passion, knowledge, skills, and experience will assist in energizing IMU forward with e-learning that sizzles and electrifies (translation above!). And with your advice and tips, I am sure the road to success will be much smoother. Even a 'Good Luck' note, would be appreciated. Thanks :)

P.S. I suppose my blog posts will be shorter and fewer in the comings weeks. IMU here I come :)


Graeme Boxwell said...

Congratulations mate, I'm sure you'll do a good job. The enthusiasm you show in your blog will come out in your work and you'll do really well.

Meri said...

It's great to hear YOU are the person who's going to do this job, Zaid! I'll hope that medical education takes a BIG LEAP forward now. Are you connected to Deidre Bonnycastle? She's also working with doctors and education... bet you two can dream up some great stuff together.

It's gratifying to me to read your conclusions here about how LMS are just going to go bye-bye if the makers can't figure out how to EASILY integrate new resources that are available to use adhoc online. I've been predicting this for the last 3 years... and am seeing it start happening.

I know evaluation is still part of "credentialing" but there are lots of other ways to evaluate new learning than piling up grades and checking off lists in LMS's, aren't there?

Good luck with your new work! If I can help you anytime with virtual meeting strategies, you know where to find me, right?
I've just released a new 10-day E-course on building trust working with others online.

Maybe medical students would benefit from it. It's free at

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Graeme,

Thanks for the enthusiastic support :)

Let's hope you are 100% right!

Highly appreciated!

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Meri Walker,

Thank you so much for the tips, and I will surely want to connect with Deidre Bonnycastle soon. Actually, we bumped into each other a few days back on Twitter. So, the dreaming has already began :)

As for grading, there are certainly many creative ways to grade and assess students today beyond MCQs, though they often require human intervention, which again means time consumption, which increasingly educators lack due to the growing responsibilities often forced upon them, including using rapid e-learning development tools :)

As for me, I would recommend that students reflect more what they are learning (besides doing) and then relate findings to the big picture, using for example blogging or micro-blogging tools.

I suppose educators would then need to use tailored assessment rubrics to assess and so on.

Yes, I will certainly check out the virtual meeting coach, and then get back to you when needed :)

Have a great day discovering and learning,

Again, thank you so much :)

Warm Regards,


e40sam said...

Great news,Zaid! I am sure the medical fraternity will be more digitally literate with web 2.0 tools and use them meaningfully as they will be able to visualize better and learn to corroborate their findings with their peers from around the world in real time.
I am extremely glad that you are their new elearning manager.Congratulations and Good Luck!:)

Meri said...

I see you subscribed to my new 10-day E-Course at, Zaid. I appreciate your confidence and interest! I'd love to have your feedback on the course when you've completed it. Your own thoughtful, creative instructional design inspires me ... and I'm interested in your thoughts, feelings, and questions about this course in the 10-day format. If you have time, maybe you could Tweet them.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Esther Shamsunder,

Thanks for your enthusiastic support :)

Let's hope so!

Warm Regards,


Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Meri Walker,

I cannot promise so much feedback in the coming weeks (new job to engross!), but I will surely explore it further.

Thanks for the Twitter tip :)

Have a great week exploring and learning :)

Warm Regards,


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Stephen said...

I do, check out the salary ranges for different teachers across the country, find a job and move their. It's the only way to do it.

Frashad Shah said...

This is great news! Congratulations Zaid!

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Thanks Frashad Shah,

Should you be interested to join IMU later as a Senior Instructional Designer, I would certainly recommend you :)

Thanks again!

Warm Regards,