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

Behind the Scenes with OpenLearn: the Challenges of Researching the Provision of Open Educational Resources  pp139-148

Stephen Godwin, Patrick McAndrew, Andreia Santos

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

Web‑enabled technology is now being applied on a large scale. In this paper we look at open access provision of teaching and learning leading to many users with varying patterns and motivations for use. This has provided us with a research challenge to find methods that help us understand and explain such initiatives. We describe ways to model the research and identify where pressures and contradictions can be found, drawing on a reflective view of our own practice in performing the research. Open educational resources are defined as technology‑enabled educational resources that are openly available for consultation, use and adaptation by users for non‑commercial purposes (UNESCO, 2002). OpenLearn is one of the largest of such initiatives and is committed to the provision of open educational resources for all. It is being developed by The Open University and is primarily sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It provides users with over 4 200 hours of higher educational material drawn from Open University courses. Other learning tools such as discussion forums, video conferencing, and knowledge mapping software are also available to the user. In this paper we aim to introduce OpenLearn and outline some of the main research issues surrounding such an initiative. We seek to explore theoretical and practical approaches that can provide suitable tools for analysis. Activity theory is seen as a suitable approach for macro analysis and its use is illustrated in terms of the complexity of large scale research. Activity theory, besides informing research perspectives, can be turned in upon the research process itself allowing us to consider the challenges and context of the research. By using activity theory in this way and illustrating from a range of practical approaches we demonstrate and illustrate a useful research approach.

 

Keywords: e-Learning, open content, tools, action research, activity theory

 

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Journal Article

e‑Learning Success Model: an Information Systems Perspective  pp62-71

Anita Lee-Post

© May 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 85

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Abstract

This paper reports the observations made and experience gained from developing and delivering an online quantitative methods course for Business undergraduates. Inspired by issues and challenges experienced in developing the online course, a model is advanced to address the question of how to guide the design, development, and delivery of successful e‑learning initiatives based on theories of a user‑centered information systems development paradigm. The benefits of using the proposed model for e‑learning success assessment is demonstrated through four cycles of action research after two action research cycles of pilot study. Findings from our empirical study confirm the value of an action research methodology for promoting e‑learning success. The paper concludes with a discussion on the merits of the proposed model in furthering our understanding of how to define, assess, and promote e‑learning success.

 

Keywords: e-learning success, e-learning assessment, action research, information systems success model

 

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Journal Article

The Kaleidoscope of Voices: An Action Research Approach to Informing Institutional e‑Learning Policy  pp293-300

Gelareh Roushan, Debbie Holley, David Biggins

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

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper describes a two‑spiral action research approach (AR) in its analysis of the experience of a British University endeavouring to change and reposition itself in the context of fast pace external change in terms of innovation. Taking the European Union (EU) 2020 digital competence framework (Ferrari 2013), with its drive to address the huge EU digital skills gap as technological adaptation and use speed up and the call from the UK Government, employers, and students themselves to produce digitally competent graduates Higher Institutions need to consider their proposition. An action research approach, with its reflective stance, is relevant for complex and policy based studies, we argue, as the framework can encompass mixed methods techniques. Informed in conjunction with a ‘Panel of Experts’, thought‑leaders drawn from industry and academia, and incorporating a strong student voice, we believe the AR approach is key to offering insights and transparency in the quest for change. The transition from an initial top‑down management approach to a kaleidoscopic middle‑out partnership of the executive team with key internal stakeholders, including students, academic staff, librarians, learning technologists and IT specialists offers a new and inclusive approach offering the agility and the synergy that traditional models lack. Results indicate that strong research and technological leadership, building internal alliances with key stakeholders, focusing on the ‘middle out’ and a partnership approach to working with the Students Union all contribute to a transformational and shared approach to institution‑wide change at a time of complexity and contestation in Higher Education policy.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Higher Education, Action Research, Digital Competencies, Technology Enhanced Learning.

 

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Journal Article

IT Worked for Us: Online Strategies to Facilitate Learning in Large (Undergraduate) Classes  pp179-188

F. Greyling, M. Kara, A. Makka, S. van Niekerk

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3, Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz, pp161 - 254

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Abstract

Higher education institutions are compelled to accommodate growing class sizes as student numbers have increased over time, especially at undergraduate level. Good teaching principles are relevant to all class sizes. For example, teachers of all classes are required to create safe learning environments, motivate and engage students, interact with students, provide stimulating assessment tasks and give prompt feedback. However, meeting these requirements in the context of large classes is more challenging. As a result, traditional large class teaching methods are often characterised by the passive absorption of material, which is not ideal. What constitutes a large class? Class sizes of 60 or more have been considered large. In this paper, we report on online teaching, learning and assessment strategies for classes made up of approximately 600 first year students in Business Management 1 offered at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of this ongoing research project is to integrate educational technologies in the classroom and study the impact of these classroom changes on the students' learning experience. The programme, which blends face‑to‑face teaching, paper‑based teaching materials and online learning by means of WebCTBlackboard tools, is now in its second cycle of implementation. This teaching strategy aims at greater lecturer‑student interaction, engaging students with the course materials on a regular basis and eliciting feedback from students, which is used to re‑teach concepts that the students find particularly difficult. The blended learning strategy resulted in enhanced student perceptions of the quality of teaching and learning, and a significant improvement in student throughput. The findings and recommendations reported in the paper are based on student feedback, gleaned through online surveys, online artefacts created by students and lecturers' classroom experiences. Although the authors report on online teaching, learning and assessment practices that proved to be effective in large classes, many conclusions may be of relevance to smaller classes.

 

Keywords: large classes, e-Learning, assessment, evaluation, social presence, action research

 

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Journal Article

Game Inspired Tool Support for e‑Learning Processes  pp101-110

Marie-Thérèse Charles, David Bustard, Michaela Black

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

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Abstract

Student engagement is crucial to the success of e‑learning but is often difficult to achieve in practice. One significant factor is the quality of the learning content; also important, however, is the suitability of the process through which that material is studied. In recent years much research has been devoted to improving e‑ learning content but considerably less attention given to enhancing the associated e‑learning process. This paper focuses on that process, considering in particular how student engagement might be improved using techniques common in digital games. The work is motivated by a belief that, with careful design, e‑learning systems may be able to achieve the levels of engagement expected of digital games. In general, such games succeed by entertaining players, building on their natural curiosity and competitiveness to encourage them to continue to play. This paper supports a belief that by adopting some of the engagement techniques used in games, e‑ learning can become equally successful. In particular, the paper considers how the learning process might become a form of game that helps sustain continued study. Factors affecting engagement and elements of digital games that make them engaging are identified. A proposal for improving engagement is then outlined. The approach is to encourage student involvement by rewarding desirable behaviour, including the completion of optional challenges, and giving regular feedback on performance, measured against others in the same class. Feedback is provided through a web‑based tool. The paper describes an exploratory assessment of both the tool and approach through action research. Results for two linked university modules teaching software development are presented. The results so far are very encouraging in that student engagement and performance have increased, especially at the weaker end of the class. Limitations of the approach are also outlined, together with an indication of future research plans.

 

Keywords: e-learning, digital games, engagement, feedback, action research

 

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Journal Article

Using Action Research to Investigate Social Networking Technologies  pp115-123

Lisa Worrall, Katy Harris

© Jun 2013 Volume 11 Issue 2, Editor: Roy Williams, pp80 - 167

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Abstract

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Keywords: action research, reflective practitioner, social networking technologies, continuous professional development

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 11 Issue 2 / Jun 2013  pp80‑167

Editor: Roy Williams

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Keywords: online learning; professional development; perceived usefulness of technology; perceived ease of use of technology; online qualifications, pre-service teacher education; secondary school teachers; technology uses in education; teaching methods, weblogs, blogs, e-learning; online assessment; adaptive assessment; learning management systems; web-based systems; ancient Greek literature; Greek lyric poetry, action research, reflective practitioner, social networking technologies, continuous professional development, virtual classroom, synchronous, online learning, technology adoption, e-cheating, turnitin.com, writecheck.com, plagiarism, face-to-face, online, virtual worlds, LMS, sloodle

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 14 Issue 5 / Dec 2016  pp291‑349

Editor: Robert Ramberg

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Editorial

Guest Editors


Ramberg Robert Robert Ramberg earned his PhD in cognitive psychology at the department of psychology, Stockholm University and holds a position as professor at the department of computer‑ and systems sciences, Stockholm University (Technology enhanced learning and collaboration). Ramberg also holds a position as research director at the Swedish air force simulation center (FLSC), Swedish Defense Research Agency. Broadly conceptualized, his research focuses the design and evaluation of representations and representational artefacts to support learning, training and collaboration. Of particular interest to his research are socio‑cultural perspectives on learning and cognition, pedagogy and how these theories must be adapted when designing and evaluating technology enhanced learning and training environments. And more specifically how artifacts of various kinds (information technology and other tools) mediate human action, collaboration and learning. 

 

Keywords: Higher Education, Action Research, Digital Competencies, Mixed methods research, Technology enhanced learning, Staff development, HEIs , Technology acceptance, Power, Culture, Foucault, Ofsted, Autonetnography, ANG, Autoethnography, Meta-ethnography, eLearning, Networked learning, Reflexivity, eResearch methodology, Online learner and teacher scholarship, Online professional development, e-Learning research, Educational technology, Research designs, e-Learning effectiveness, Methodology, Validity

 

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