Editorial for EJEL Volume 14 issue 4 pp233‑234
Teacher‑Student Perspectives of Invisible Pedagogy: New Directions in Online Problem‑Based Learning Environments pp235‑243
Universities and institutions of higher education are facing economic pressures to sustain large classes, while simultaneously maintaining the quality of the online learning environment (Deming et al, 2015).. Digital learning environments require significant pedagogical shifts on the part of the teacher. This paper is a qualitative examination of the nature of teaching in the digital age, and the significant changes facing teachers in the 21C. The authors describe key features of quality distance pedagogy that were exhibited during 12 weeks of a synchronous undergraduate course held in Adobe Connect. The central research questions are 1. How can problem‑based learning pedagogy enable instructors to form smaller cohesive groups of students that take greater responsibility for their own learning? 2. What strategies can be used by teachers to develop communities of practice and inquiry? 3. How can an instructor in a large virtual class co‑create the level of social capital that is required to build and maintain the relationships that are a necessary condition for a high quality learning experience? and 4. What are the perceptions of teachers about the challenges and benefits of facilitating a high quality problem based learning environment through invisible pedagogy? The research is grounded in literature through the work of Cousins and Bissar (2012), Kaufman (2013), Badge, Saunders and Cann (2012), Flavin (2012) and McNeill, Gosper and Xu (2012). These authors examine how teachers and learners adapt to the digital age. In addition, more recent work by Bowers and Kumar (2015), Hoadley (2016), Deming et al (2015) and Gunduz et al (2016) are examined.In these digital spaces, teachers become facilitators, guides, collaborators and learners themselves, thus making traditional pedagogy virtually invisible. Further, the paper uses qualitative semi‑structured interviews of two assistant professors who instructed the two groups of undergraduate students The teachers identify challenges and successes to using problem based learning as a tool for attaining 21C learning outcomes in digital learning spaces.
Investigating the Key Attributes to Enhance Students’ Learning Experience in 21st Century Class Environment pp244‑256
The 21st century marks the beginning of digital age with the extensive use of digital media, mobile devices, and Internet resources. Recent studies found that this digital era has expanded the landscape of student experiences, and educational technologies as well as increased the educator’s awareness on embracing technologies to promote effective learning. This has redefined the meaning of effective learning and the approaches in motivating students. Therefore, redesigning the learning environments plays an important role in enhancing the students’ experiences in the university classrooms. In this study, the 21st century class environment is designed by mapping Jonassen’s model and Gagne’s events to employ the constructivist learning approach, organize the information processing, and design the instructions to support effective learning. In order to study student’s perception in the 21st century class environment, this study employed the mixed methods approach, includes conducting exploratory factor analysis on the questionnaire response and the qualitative analysis on students’ comments. The research samples were formed by 300 undergraduate degree students who studied at INTI International University, Malaysia. The exploratory factor analysis has identified four main factors, group learning, motivation, skills development and knowledge transfer. In the discussion, this study presents the key attributes, the main contributors to the attributes and its impact on student learning. For instance, the factor of group learning can be stimulated by emphasizing on the identified key attributes, such as improved work relationship, improved leadership, and refined collaborative learning which enhancing student learning experience as they are keen to attempt different approach, and anticipate changes. This study aims to identify the factors and elaborate the key attributes for supporting the strategies in transforming the university class environment to enhances students’ learning experiences and promote effective learning.
Keywords: student learning experience, 21 century class environment, effective learning, key attributes
The Forms and Functions of Teaching and Learning Innovations on Blackboard; Substantial or Superficial? pp257‑265
This study is an Information and Computer Technology evaluation of the Blackboard Learning Management System into teaching and learning at an institution of higher education in South Africa. In view of the institution’s objective of developing a context‑driven, transformative, and innovative teaching and learning practices involving the integration of technology, the study sought to classify and evaluate the form and function of teaching and learning innovations on Blackboard. Using a case study research design and a purposive sampling strategy, lecturers making an extensive use of Blackboard in the delivery of their courses were sampled. Blackboard start‑up documents as well as open‑ended questionnaires for lecturers provided qualitative data. Content analysis and the extraction of themes were employed. The functional pedagogical framework and SAMR models were used as interpretive lenses for the findings. The study concludes that the nature of Blackboard innovations tended to be more superficial at the levels of substitution and augmentation. Limited transformation evidenced by modification and redefinition spelled lack of substantial changes in curriculum design and delivery. With respect to the functions served by Blackboard, the conclusion drawn is that the integration is to a large extent driven by management and efficiency concerns and less by interaction, collaboration and personalisation functions. The study signals non‑realisation of the educational functions spelt in the Blackboard start‑up documents. The study recommends a differentiated approach to Blackboard training by a multi‑disciplinary team.
Keywords: ICT integration, innovation, transformation, Blackboard, Learning Management Systems, transformational learning, pedagogical innovations
Learner‑Centred Teaching Contributes in Promising Results in Improving Learner Understanding and Motivation: A Case Study at Malaysia Tertiary Education pp266‑281
In Malaysia, traditional teaching is still a common approach among many lecturers. There have been many studies reported its limitations and many lecturers have started to adopt more learner‑centred teaching approach to promote better learner understanding and learner motivation. Throughout this effort, it is noticed there are lecturers who could not be assured and felt uncertain about this transition because they went through traditional teaching environment during their studies. Due to this, the effort in shifting from traditional teaching to a more learner‑centred teaching has been challenging and hard‑hitting. Nevertheless, educational and multimedia technology has played an important role in creating a more interesting and engaging learning environments for our digital natives in this 21st century. In this research, a framework is to be proposed based on Weimer’s Learner‑Centred Teaching model and through the incorporation of educational technology and multimedia technology in the learning environments. This proposed framework describes how this learner‑centred teaching environment could promote better learner experiences by increasing retention rate and improving learner motivation. This proposed framework is recommended through the triangulation results from pre‑test/ post‑test, learning environments surveys and students’ written comments, which in turn serves as a guideline for lecturers to identify how they could progressively shift to learner‑centred teaching environment.
Keywords: learner-centred teaching, interactive multimedia learning, learner motivation, learner understanding
This article describes the use of Moodle as a suitable platform to support the postgraduate open and distance learning (ODL) courses offered by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). Many USIM postgraduate students who take obligatory courses (e.g., research methodology and data analysis) are taught at different venues to facilitate students’ access to higher education and enhance quality of lifelong learning. Managing this complex teaching network has called for the adaptation of Moodle platform. This approach meets two relevant requirements, (a) to ensure consistency, compliance, and quality of teaching, (b) to reduce educational costs, which largely depend on the number of peripheral venues for teaching activities. This article analyses the functionalities of the Moodle platform and its use among USIM postgraduate students and academics. The data was collected based on content analysis via questionnaire applied to 18 USIM ODL postgraduate students and 4 lecturers. The results show that despite having great potential, Moodle is mainly used as a repository for materials. Moreover, lecturers recognize the importance of the use of other functionalities of this platform in order to promote the success of the teaching and learning process.
Keywords: open and distance learning, learning management systems, pedagogical tools, postgraduate courses, higher education