The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
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Journal Article

An exploration of autonetnography as an eResearch methodology to examine learning and teaching scholarship in Networked Learning  pp322-335

Lyz Howard

© Dec 2016 Volume 14 Issue 5, Editor: Robert Ramberg, pp291 - 349

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Abstract

Abstract: As an experienced face‑to‑face teacher, working in a small Crown Dependency with no Higher Education Institute (HEI) to call its own, the subsequent geographical and professional isolation in the context of Networked Learning (NL), as a sub‑set of eLearning, calls for innovative ways in which to develop self‑reliant methods of professional development. Jones and De Laat (2016, p.43) claim that NL is different from other eLearning sub‑sets, for example, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and Computer‑Supported‑Collaborative‑Learning (CSCL) because of its “focus on pedagogy and understanding how social relationships (and networked practices) influence learning rather than having a predominantly technical agenda for change in education”. NL, rather than TEL or CSL, therefore, locates the context for this paper. My intent was to develop a bespoke professional development framework to facilitate independent and self‑directed NL teaching development. To scaffold my professional development autonetnography (ANG) was chosen to facilitate my learning. The concept of ANG was introduced by Kozinets & Kedzior (2009) as an autobiographical extension to the ethnographic genre Netnography defined by Kozinets (2006) as an interpretive research methodology to examine online observations and interactions. Whilst recent researchers of digital learning claim that has potential to add to a growing body of knowledge that accepts the post‑modern use of self as an insider researcher (Ferreira, 2012; Persdotter, 2013; Mkono, Ruhanen & Markwell, 2015) none have explained how to undertake ANG. There appears here, to be a theory‑practice gap (Kessels and Korthagen, 1996) and the problem lies within the argument that there is no current theory upon which to practice ANG. This opportunity to examine more closely the subjective and reflexive insider researcher perspective of being an online scholar (as a learner or teacher) would respond to this gap in current eResearch knowledge. This paper uses meta‑ethnography (Noblit & Hare, 1988) as a method to systematically examine methodology relating to autoethnography, with the purpose of working towards developing a framework for undertaking ANG as an emerging eResearch methodology. Seven phases of meta‑ethnography formed the method for synthesising autoethnographic methodological data and translating these into ANG methodological data. Findings from this synthesis are reported through the autoethnographic tripartite scheme of mimesis, poiesis and kinesis (Holman‑Jones, Adams, & Ellis, 2013a). From this synthesis, the autonetnographic “I” framework was developed and forms a methodological basis for future ANG studies to examine teaching and/or learning scholarship in NL and the potential for considering adaptation of ANG for use in eLearning more generally.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Autonetnography; ANG; autoethnography; meta-ethnography; eLearning; networked learning; reflexivity; eResearch methodology; online learner and teacher scholarship; online professional development

 

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Journal Article

Watch out — the Power Users are Coming  pp79-86

Karin Tweddell Levinsen

© May 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECEL 2006, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 86

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Abstract

This paper analyses and discusses the future challenges that tertiary educational institutions may expect to face when the traditional organisational forms and norms of the industrial society meet the first generation of natural born ICT using students who have lived their whole life with ICT and the ever changing norms and demands of the unfolding information society. In order to analyse the premise for these challenges the paper applies a long‑term perspective on the generations and organisations affected by the transmission. A key to gain insight to the future students and the nature of the encounter is research aimed at the present primary school. Additionally a key to the organisational perspective is identification of organisations' readiness for change and the potential barriers for adaptation to the information society and the ´ power users´. Based on the analysis, the paper comprises an outline of institutional obstacles inhibiting a successful encounter and argues the necessity of integrating top‑down and bottom‑up initiatives in future organisations. Thus, the process of change demands awareness and support from both the authorities empowered to make grants and from the management of the educational organisations, and the paper explicitly focuses on collaborating teaching staffs as a tool for improving both individual and organisational adaptability.

 

Keywords: ICT, Power users, game generation, university pedagogy, collaborative teaching staff, adaptability to change, information society

 

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Journal Article

Implementing International Virtual Elementary Classroom Activities for Public School Students in the U.S. and Korea  pp207-218

Eunhee Jung O'Neill

© Dec 2007 Volume 5 Issue 3, ICEL 2007, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp173 - 250

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Abstract

In today's global society, individuals with an understanding of different cultures that have the ability to apply this understanding to real world problem solving are more likely to become leaders. Preparing students for a global society is becoming a significant part of education. While many international online exchange projects have been conducted at schools to help expose students to the world and experience international collaborations, few studies have focused on both developing intercultural competence for elementary school students and discovering practical ways of implementing a cross‑cultural exchange program into the public elementary school systems as well. This study, International Virtual Elementary Classroom Activities (IVECA), planned to explore how American and Korean students can develop culturally meaningful interactions through asynchronous online communications in a content management system (CMS), Blackboard; and investigate the factors or strategies useful for integrating IVECA into public school curricula. Data were collected using observation and interview methods, and also included reviewing students' journals. The data analysis involved interpretive analytic induction. Findings indicated that IVECA (a) promotes students' intercultural competence; (b) developed their social interaction skills both in the regular classrooms and the virtual classroom; (c) facilitated diverse students' motivations for learning at school; (d) enhanced writing and reading skills; and (e) engaged learning disabled students in the classroom activities. Additional findings from this study indicate that (a) a systematic support system for teachers' technology use and instructional design is necessary, and (b) school administrators' positive perception toward cross‑cultural exchange activities and their coherent connections between state learning standards and IVECA objectives are important. Further considerations are addressed and the different influences of IVECA on the U.S. students and Korean students and its implementation, which takes into consideration such influences, will also be discussed.

 

Keywords: international virtual elementary classroom exchanges, intercultural competence, cultural awareness, online content management system, technology integration strategies, instructional technology support system

 

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Journal Article

Mobile City and Language Guides — New Links Between Formal and Informal Learning Environments  pp85-92

Mads Bo-Kristensen, Niels Ole Ankerstjerne, Chresteria Neutzsky-Wulff, Herluf Schelde

© Jun 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp85 - 190

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Abstract

One of the major challenges in second and foreign language education, is to create links between formal and informal learning environments. Mobile City and Language Guides present examples of theoretical and practical reflections on such links. This paper presents and discusses the first considerations of Mobile City and Language Guides in language centres, upper secondary schools and universities. The core concept of Mobile City and Language Guides is geotagging. Geographical locations can be geotagged either through GPS or by marking positions directly in, e.g., Google Earth or Google Maps. Students or teachers can add various kinds of information to geotags: Photos, audio, text, movies, links, vocabulary and various language tasks. This allows the student, in self‑defined learning contexts, to down‑ and upload location‑based materials with his or her mobile phone, for immediate or later processing. More and more students are able to afford mobile phones with multimedia and broadband Internet. The potentials of user‑generated mobile‑ and web‑based content are increasing. In these years, the internet is moving from the so‑called Web 1.0 to the more user‑centered Web 2.0, i.e. Weblogs, YouTube, Google Maps, MySpace, FlickR, etc. In an educational context, Web 2.0 represents an interesting development of the relatively monologue Web 1.0, where traditional homepages often only allow minimal interaction with the site content. This paper investigates the opportunities that Mobile City and Language Guides seem to give second and foreign language students to learn from informal, location‑based, experience‑based and authentic materials; and discusses how language centres, upper secondary education and universities can involve informal learning contexts through student use of mobiles with broadband and Internet technology supporting second and foreign learning. Mobile City and Language Guides is only of several possible mobile and Internet‑based language educational scenarios. The challenge for the future, therefore, is to develop and implement new, meaningful and exciting scenarios that strengthen the linkages between formal and informal learning environments.

 

Keywords: second and foreign language education, formal and informal learning, broadband mobile technology, web 2.0, geotagging

 

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Journal Article

Interventions for Second‑Order Change in Higher Education: Challenges and Barriers  pp85-92

Sebastian Fiedler, Terje Väljataga

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

From 2005 to 2008 the international research and development project iCamp carried out a series of targeted educational interventions into existing teaching and studying practices within a cluster of European universities. These interventions were meant to establish educational experiences that would correspond with key features of international, distributed and technologically mediated work settings. The main educational objective was the advancement of important dispositions (skills, knowledge, attitudes and orientations) for collaborating with others and for self‑directing intentional learning projects in such settings. The large‑scale, homogenous and centrally administered landscapes of tools and services commonly provided in institutions of higher education proved to be conceptually and technologically incompatible with iCamp's overall intervention perspective. Instead, iCamp fostered the systematic use of loosely‑coupled, networked tools and services in the realm of social media and social software (such as Wikis, Weblogs, Webfeeds, etc.) to augment personal and distributed learning environments. The conceptual and technological shift provoked by iCamp challenged institutional representatives, facilitators, and students alike. This paper focuses on the description and interpretation of some key challenges, tensions, and barriers experienced by the research and intervention team in the context of the final field study carried out within the project. The paper finally suggests that the reported challenges and barriers represent re‑occurring problems in educational research and argues for the need to develop an adequate conceptual framework for educational intervention that focuses on second‑order change.

 

Keywords: educational intervention, social media, higher education, system change

 

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Journal Article

Collaborative Language Learning for Professional Adults  pp161-172

Linda Joy Mesh

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

Institutions of higher education realise the importance of the role of learning organisations in terms of providing personnel training and updating. Yet further consideration should be given to flexible and accessible means for meeting the growing request for continuous learning. Jason Hughes describes an organization's capability to learn how to learn as a fundamental change in the outlook towards learning, not only by providing training for short‑term skill gaps, but by engaging in an ongoing approach for the development of learning opportunities which encourage innovation and enable a more proactive outlook by organizations. Sustainable support for educational development using new technologies in education depends on having a basic roadmap that links current demands for developmental support to a plan for ways in which longer term needs will be recognized and met. The growing demand for continued learning of a second language is evident within the workplace where new technologies offer flexible solutions. In order to meet the special needs of professional adults the University of Siena Language Center (CLA) has developed a multiple‑level series of blended English courses from beginner to intermediate levels for life‑long learners including the hospital staff of the Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese (AOUS), the employees of a local bank and university technical‑administrative personnel. The pedagogical approach takes into consideration both the needs of adults who are working full‑time and the aims of the curriculum, which are to develop the four linguistic abilities of reading, writing, listening and speaking up to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B1. Taking into consideration a constructive use of teaching hours, classrooms and, above all, the limited time available to adult learners, a blended approach was chosen. This paper will present conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the blended approach for continuous learning of a second language (L2) by adult learners. Through a primarily qualitative analysis of formative and summative course evaluation data we illustrate that communicative language learning online in collaborative activities fosters improvement in second‑language writing and reading comprehension skills, while face‑to‑face (f2f) lessons were found to be useful for the development of conversation and listening comprehension. This paper also demonstrates that online collaborative learning activities in English for specific purposes (ESP) can increase communicative ability, stimulate motivation and provide a flexible context for language learning which adults view as a definite advantage for structuring study time when and where it is most convenient.

 

Keywords: continuous learning, connectedness, blended learning, CMC, second language

 

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Journal Article

Enhanced Approach of Automatic Creation of Test Items to foster Modern Learning Setting  pp23-38

Christian Gutl, Klaus Lankmayr, Joachim Weinhofer, Margit Hofler

© Apr 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECEL 2010 special issue, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho, pp1 - 114

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Abstract

Research in automated creation of test items for assessment purposes became increasingly important during the recent years. Due to automatic question creation it is possible to support personalized and self‑directed learning activities by preparing appropriate and individualized test items quite easily with relatively little effort or even fully automatically. In this paper, which is an extended version of the conference paper of Gütl, Lankmayr and Weinhofer (2010), we present our most recent work on the automated creation of different types of test items. More precisely, we describe the design and the development of the Enhanced Automatic Question Creator (EAQC) which extracts most important concepts out of textual learning content and creates single choice, multiple‑choice, completion exercises and open ended questions on the basis of these concepts. Our approach combines statistical, structural and semantic methods of natural language processing as well as a rule‑based AI solution for concept extraction and test item creation. The prototype is designed in a flexible way to support easy changes or improvements of the above mentioned methods. EAQC is designed to deal with multilingual learning material and in its recent version English and German content is supported. Furthermore, we discuss the usage of the EAGC from the users’ viewpoint and also present first results of an evaluation study in which students were asked to evaluate the relevance of the extracted concepts and the quality of the created test items. Results of this study showed that the concepts extracted and questions created by the EAQC were indeed relevant with respect to the learning content. Also the level of the questions and the provided answers were appropriate. Regarding the terminology of the questions and the selection of the distractors, which had been criticized most during the evaluation study, we discuss some aspects that could be considered in the future in order to enhance the automatic generation of questions. Nevertheless the results are promising and suggest that the quality of the automatically extracted concepts and created test items is comparable to human generated ones.

 

Keywords: e-assessment, automated test item creation, distance learning, self-directed learning, natural language processing, computer-based assessment

 

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Journal Article

The Global Classroom Project: Learning a Second Language in a Virtual Environment  pp90-106

Brant Knutzen, David Kennedy

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

This paper reports the progress of a pilot project exploring the integration of a collaborative virtual learning environment (Second Life) with the instruction of English courses at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. An educational partnership was developed with two TESOL teacher‑training courses at Texas A&M University in the US. The project enrolled over 200 participants, with about half from each participating university. Coordination of online activities was done using the Moodle learning management system. A large non‑traditional language learning facility was developed in the Second Life virtual environment in the style of a 1950's American diner on a private island, complete with Cadillac booths, traditional diner booths and tables, and outdoor campfire settings to facilitate conversational groupings. Both IM typed chat and VOIP voice interactions were explored inside the virtual environment. Student behavior observed during the study indicates the conditions which result in the most productive interactions, and also highlights several key problem areas which must be addressed before successful interactions can be achieved. This paper presents a process which has been developed and trialed, and the plans at Lingnan University to adopt it on a wider scale to support the development of language skills.

 

Keywords: collaborative virtual environment, language learning, ESL, educational partnerships

 

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