Editorial for EJEL Volume 14 Issue 3 pp150‑151
The art of Gamification; Teaching Sustainability and System Thinking by Pervasive Game Development pp152‑168
Abstract: In 2013 Hedmark University College conducted a research project where students from a game development project/study program developed and tested a Pervasive Game for learning as part of a class in System Thinking. The overall game goal was to t each Sustainability through System Thinking, and to give the students a real world experience with their game;. It was tested on 5th and 7th graders in elementary school, spending one school day in each of the classes. This article focuses on the design o f the project: how the game was developed, how the children played it and how research was designed and data collected.
Keywords: Keywords: Gamification, game development, pervasive games, games and learning, pedagogy, system thinking, sustainability
The Effects of Instructor Control of Online Learning Environments on Satisfaction and Perceived Learning pp169‑180
Abstract: Instructional design is important as it helps set the discourse, context, and content of learning in an online environment. Specific instructional design decisions do not only play a part in the discourse of the learners, but they can affect the learners levels of satisfaction and perceived learning as well. Numerous studies have shown the value that both student satisfaction and learning have on learner achievement. For this reason, the question of whether instructors can impact satisfaction a nd perceived learning through various instructional design decisions is important. This study looked at broad‑based instructor decisions to see if online environments with higher levels of instructor control lead to higher levels of student satisfaction a nd/or perceived learning. Three different online environments were used, with each one containing progressively more instructor control. The results show that there were no significant differences in regards to mean levels of satisfaction between the thre e environments. However, there were significant differences among mean levels of perceived learning based on the differing instructor‑controlled environments. This study shows that increasing the levels of instructor control within online environments lea ds to an increase in perceived learning.
Keywords: Keywords: computer mediated communication, instructor control, instructional design, online learning, perceived learning, satisfaction
Student Characteristics and Learning Outcomes in a Blended Learning Environment Intervention in a Ugandan University pp181‑195
Abstract: This paper explores the design of a blended learning environment in a transition from face‑to‑face and seeks to determine whether learner characteristics and background together with blended learning design elements are significant factors for l earning outcomes such as intrinsic motivation, satisfaction, knowledge construction and learning performance in blended learning. It is aimed at examining the learner characteristics and backgrounds such as age, gender, self‑regulation, attitudes, family and social support as well as the management of workload in blended learning. It is again to find out the levels of use and satisfaction with blended learning design features such as interactions, learning management system tools and resources, face‑to‑fa ce support and technology quality by learners. Students from three schools and one directorate were involved in a face‑to‑face set up in the first part of a seventeen week semester and in an online set up in the second part. They finally had a face‑to‑fac e at the end to review their work after which they took end of semester examinations. A questionnaire survey was administered to 270 respondents in this group to gather data on student characteristics and background, design features and three of the outco mes. The examination results were used as a measure of the performance variable in the learning outcomes. We applied the online self‑regulated learning questionnaire for data on students self‑regulation, the intrinsic motivation inventory for data on mot ivation and other self‑developed instruments to measure the other constructs. Descriptive statistics showed that the identified learner characteristics manifest strength for blended learning design and the learners involvement with design features was fo und to be high and satisfactory. ANOVA results showed no significant differences between age groups in performance and t‑test results showed no significant differences between male and female students. Regression analysis results showed learner attitudes as predictors of learner satisfaction and motivation while workload management is a significant predictor for learner satisfaction and knowledge construction. Among the design elements, regression results showed only learner interactions as significant pr edictors of knowledge construction and satisfaction. As a consequence, a number of learner characteristics and design features are seen to be important for blended learning design and the non‑significant ones remain a focus for future research.
Keywords: Keywords: Student characteristics, blended learning design, learning outcomes and learning management system
The effectiveness of instructor personalized and formative feedback provided by instructor in an online setting: some unresolved issues pp196‑203
Abstract: Formative feedback has great potential for teaching and learning in online undergraduate programmes. There is a large number of courses where the main source of feedback is provided by the instructor. This is particularly seen in subjects whe re assessments are designed based on specific activities which are the same for all students, and where the assessment is performed by the instructor, not by a peer. Additionally, in introductory or basically procedural courses, there is often a need for instructor feedback, as opposed to peer‑feedback, as it demands high quality feedback both in the content and in the process in order not to mislead students. Therefore personalized feedback provided by instructor is an academic demand in the current educ ational models that have positioned the student at the center of the learning process. However in the present context of high student‑staff ratio, it is not easy to extend the use of individual comments delivered by instructors among the academic communit y. This article focuses on the virtual higher education environment given its present and future potential as well as the amount of queries currently surrounding it. Literature on formative feedback in higher education has been reviewed for the period 200 0 to 2014, in order to find answers as to which aspects are relevant to efficiently implement personalized feedback prepared by the teacher.Findings show that effective personalized feedback in an virtual environment requires a three‑dimensional analysis: from the student perspective, from the instructor one and from the media perspective (written text, video recording or audio recording) , in order to find shared aspects that contribute to the enhancement in the use of personalized feedback performed by faculty.
Keywords: Keywords: formative feedback, effective feedback, online feedback, student-professor dialogue
The relationship between an Online Synchronous Learning Environment and Knowledge Acquisition Skills and Traits: The Blackboard Collaborate Experience pp204‑222
Abstract: Online learning is becoming more attractive to perspective students because it offers them greater accessibility, convenience and flexibility to study at a reduced cost. While these benefits may attract prospective learners to embark on an onlin e learning environment there remains little empirical evidence relating the skills and traits of knowledge acquisition with a synchronous online environment supported by Blackboard Collaborate. Without understanding this relationship colleges and universi ties cannot assess if their programs offered through educational communication technologies, such as Blackboard, enhance learner⠒s skills and traits that are essential for knowledge acquisition. The purpose of this paper is to (i) examine the relatio nship between an online learning environment, which is supported by Blackboard Collaborate, and the skills and traits of knowledge acquisition, (ii) assess the influence of online learners motivation on knowledge acquisition skills and traits, and (iii ) propose alternative Blackboard Collaborate layout and structure derived from the process of a critical reflection. Data was collected from 84 learners who studied online courses in a Higher Education Institution in the United Arab Emirates. The Analys is of Moment Structures (AMOS) was employed to perform the path analysis and SPSS was used to determine the factor structure of the examined variables. The study revealed three major findings. First, easy access of the Blackboard Collaborate and an effe ctively designed structure enhanced learners⠒ problem understanding and communication. It also improved the personal traits of conceptualisation, tolerance and amiability that are essential for knowledge acquisition. Second, the readiness of the online learners with educational communication technologies had a positive influence on their liberal arts knowledge. Third, learners⠒ attested motivation to embark on synchronous online classes enhanced their knowledge acquisition skills and traits. Finally, alternative Blackboard Collaborate layouts and struc
Keywords: Keywords: Blackboard collaborate, e-learners, online learning, knowledge acquisition, synchronous
Abstract: This paper presents a case study of using blended learning to enhance students language skills and learner autonomy in an Asian university environment. Blended learning represents an educational environment for much of the world where computers and the Internet are readily available. It combines self‑study with valuable face‑to‑face interaction with a teacher. This study puts the spotlight on learning outcomes in an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) class in Thailand in which e‑learning str ategies are used in parallel with traditional classroom language teaching methods of the four language learning skills. These skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing. The achievements and attitudes of students were compared between the control group and the experimental group to measure the potential of available technology to develop language skills and learner autonomy. The findings from this study show that online practice is directly beneficial to enhance the four language learning skills as well as autonomous learning and learner motivation.
Keywords: Keywords: blended learning, e-learning, learner autonomy, Communicative Business English, English for Specific Purposes, ESP, motivation