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

Using an Online Games‑Based Learning Approach to Teach Database Design Concepts  pp104-111

Thomas M Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Evelyn McLellan

© Mar 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

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Abstract

The study of database systems is typically core in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes related to computer science and information systems. However, one component of this curriculum that many learners have diffi‑ culty with is database analysis and design, an area that is critical to the development of modern information systems. This paper proposes a set of principles for the design of a games‑based learning environment to help the learner develop the skills necessary to understand and perform database analysis and design effectively. The paper also presents some preliminary results on the use of this environment.

 

Keywords: Collaborative e-learning innovative teaching and learning technologies for web-based education e- pedagogy design and development of online courseware

 

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Journal Article

Evaluating Online Dialogue on "Security" Using a Novel Instructional Design  pp1-10

Payal Arora

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 75

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Abstract

This paper explores evaluation strategies to gauge the impact of a novel instructional design on international community participation online. This is done by conceptualizing and devising indicators for measuring "engagement" online amongst marginalized adult communities worldwide. In doing so, a review of online evaluation literature is conducted. In comparing dialogue sessions based on an ongoing traditional model to the new instructional approach, various challenges are faced in "measuring" asynchronous discussion. While the initial findings of marginal increase in engagement with the adapted instructional approach is not sufficient to prove that the new model works, this paper demonstrates various strategies challenges in evaluating dialectic engagement.

 

Keywords: online evaluation, instructional design, community participation, international, marginalized, engagement

 

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Journal Article

The eLIDA CAMEL Nomadic Model of Collaborative Partnership for a Community of Practice in Design for Learning  pp197-206

Jill Jameson

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

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Abstract

A nomadic collaborative partnership model for a community of practice (CoP) in Design for Learning (D4L) can facilitate successful innovation and continuing appraisals of effective professional practice, stimulated by a 'critical friend' assigned to the project. This paper reports on e‑learning case studies collected by the UK JISC eLIDA CAMEL Design for Learning project, which implemented and evaluated learning design (LD) tools in higher and further education as part of the 2006‑07 JISC Design for Learning pedagogic e‑learning programme. Project partners carried out user evaluations on innovative tools with a learning design function, collecting D4L case studies and LD sequences in post‑16HE contexts using LAMS and Moodle. The project brought together learning activity sequences from post‑16HE partners into a collaborative e‑learning community of professional practice based on the CAMEL (Collaborative Approaches to the Management of e‑Learning) model, contributing to international D4L developments. This paper briefly provides an overview of key project output contributions to e‑learning innovations, including results from teacher and student evaluations using online surveys. The paper explores intentionality in the development of a community of practice in design for learning, reporting on trials of learning design and social software that bridged some of the tensions between formalised intra‑institutional e‑learning relationships and inter‑institutional project team dynamic D4L practitioner development. Following a brief report of practitioner D4L e‑learning case studies and student feedback, the catalytic role of the 'critical friend' is highlighted and recommended as a key ingredient in the successful development of a nomadic model of communities of practice in the management of professional e‑learning projects. eLIDA CAMEL Partners included the Association of Learning Technology (ALT), JISC infoNet, three universities and five FESixth Form Colleges. Results reported to the UK JISC Experts' Pedagogy Group demonstrated e‑learning innovations by practitioners in D4L case studies, illuminated by the role of the 'critical friend', Professor Mark Stiles of Staffordshire University. The project also benefited from case study evaluations by Dr Liz Masterman of Oxford University Learning Technologies Group and the leading work of ALT and JISC infoNet in the development of the CAMEL model.

 

Keywords: e-learning, communities of practice, collaboration, design for learning, JISC, case study

 

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Journal Article

The Enhancement of Reusability of Course Content and Scenarios in Unified e‑Learning Environment for Schools  pp137-146

Virginija Limanauskiene, Vytautas Stuikys

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

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Abstract

With the expansion of e‑learning, the understanding and evaluation of already created e‑learning environments is becoming an extremely important issue. One way to dealing with the problem is analysis of case studies, i.e. already created environments, from the reuse perspective. The paper presents a general framework and model to assess UNITE, the unified e‑learning environment for schools, from the reuse perspective. UNITE is the e‑learning environment of the ongoing EU project (FP6 IST‑26964, 2006‑2008, http:www.unite‑ist.org). UNITE assets are described using feature diagrams (FDs) telling us about the internal structure of UNITE; representing relationships among the compound and atomic features, thus enhancing better transparency of UNITE and in this way empowering reuse. The factors of UNITE influential to reuse with some concrete results are also presented. We provide analysis aiming to extract from the model the relevant information of two kinds: (1) which is influential to reuse in a positive sense, i.e., enhancing reuse (e.g., application of meta‑design methodology for the scenarios description, classification of subjects in metadata, use of content management tools (e.g., Course editor, Metadata editor), multi‑linguistic approach, international and local collaboration between teachers and students in e‑learning scenario implementation and delivery, and methodological support, etc.) and (2) which is hindering reuse (e. g., age of the students, differences in national syllabus and national educational programmes, language, cultural and communication problems). Despite of some limitations of FDs, we found this notation useful because it allows the explicit representation of various aspects of the complex system (i.e., UNITE) focusing on variability of features and possible relationships and constraints. We focus on the aspects such as evaluation of the UNITE platform including tools, scenarios and content variability.

 

Keywords: Computer supported learning, e-learning environment development, meta-design, mobile learning, reusability

 

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Journal Article

The Implications of SCORM Conformance for Workplace e‑Learning  pp183-190

Gabrielle Witthaus

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

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Abstract

This paper explores the impact that SCORM conformance has had on workplace e‑learning. The author describes a project in which she was requested to "repurpose" some materials that had originally been designed for the face‑to‑face teaching of English as a Foreign Language, into SCORM conformant e‑learning materials. The rationale for this request was that the training centre management wanted to track learners' progress via a Learning Management System (LMS). However, in order to integrate SCORM‑conformant tracking functionality into the programmes, the learning materials would have to have been stripped of all the collaborative, productive and communicative aspects of their pedagogy. The learning designers and training centre management had to engage in a steep learning curve to find an alternative solution that was both pedagogically sound and administratively efficient. This anecdote highlights some of the challenges facing the corporate sector in terms of the management of e‑learning content. To put the issues into context, the paper gives an overview of SCORM, and defines some related terminology — Sharable Content Objects (SCOs), LMS and Learning Content Management System (LCMS). SCORM conformance has two main aims: the ability to deliver content on any Learning Management System, and the ability to track learners' actions and scores when they use the materials. It is argued that, while the higher education sector has chosen to emphasise the first aim, focusing more on the development of stimulating learning content that can be shared across disciplines and across institutions, the corporate sector has emphasised the second aim, focusing more on tracking learners' progress through learning programmes. It is suggested that this is one of the explanations for the continued proliferation of relatively rigid, behaviourist style teaching materials for workplace e‑learning. This instructivist style pedagogical model is considered in relation to the military and programming origins of SCORM, and a number of more innovative approaches to workplace e‑learning from the recent literature are discussed. The paper concludes by arguing that, for corporate e‑learning programmes to be successful, all stakeholders need to be included in the strategic decisions, and all stakeholders need to engage in a learning process to understand each others' points of view and explore the available options and their consequences. This study will be of value to anyone who needs to develop SCORM conformant courses, as well as managers who are charged with overseeing such projects, or developing an organisational training strategy involving an LMSLCMS.

 

Keywords: learning design, SCORM conformance, LMS, LCMS, learning objects, e-learning 2.0

 

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Journal Article

When Knowing More Means Knowing Less: Understanding the Impact of Computer Experience on e‑Learning and e‑Learning Outcomes  pp289-300

Lena Paulo Kushnir

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue, Editor: Florin Salajan and Avi Hyman, pp191 - 316

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Abstract

Students often report feeling more overloaded in courses that use e‑learning environments compared to traditional face‑to‑face courses that do not use such environments. Discussions here consider online design and organizational factors that might contribute to students' reports of information overload. It was predicted that certain online factors might contribute to stimulus overload and possibly students' perceived overload, rather than information overload per se. User characteristics and a range of design and organizational factors that might contribute to perceived overload are discussed and hypotheses of how such factors might affect learning outcomes are also discussed. An experiment was conducted to test predictions that (i) students' past online experience, (ii) the organization and relevance of online information, and (iii) the level of task difficulty affect (i) learning outcomes, (ii) students' perceptions of information overload, and (iii) students' perceptions of having enough time to complete experimental tasks. A total of 187 participants were tested in four experimental conditions that manipulated the organization and relevance of online material that students had to learn (ie, (i) a stimulus‑low environment, where the material to be learned was presented as scrolling text, with no other stimuli present; (ii) a familiar environment, where the material to be learned was set within the borders of a familiar course Web site; (iii) a stimulus‑rich or stimulus‑ noisy environment, where the material to be learned was set within the borders of an Amazon.com Web page (a Web site where you can search for, and buy books, videos and other products online); (iv) a PDF file environment, where the material to be learned was presented as a PDF file that resembled an online duplicate of the same material in the course textbook). Findings suggested that overly busy online environments that contain irrelevant information (ie, stimulus‑rich or stimulus‑noisy online environment) had a negative impact on learning for students ranked "high" on experience with e‑learning technologies, but no impact on learning for other students (as measured by a knowledge test of material studied during experimental sessions). There is no doubt that online environments contain vast amounts of information and stimuli; often some of which are irrelevant and distracting. How one handles irrelevant or distracting information and stimuli can have a significant impact on learning. Surprisingly, results here suggest that overload affected only experienced students. Perceptual load hypotheses are discussed to explain what initially seemed to be counterintuitive results. This paper examines literature that considers factors that can affect learning online, strategies for how teachers can ensure positive outcomes for the technology‑based classroom, and strategies for avoiding online pitfalls that might leave students frustrated or burdened with feelings of overload.

 

Keywords: learning outcomes overload perceptual load design and organizational factors of e-learning interface design instructional design user experience task difficulty

 

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Journal Article

A Framework for Supporting Postsecondary Learners with Psychiatric Disabilities in Online Environments  pp101-110

Scott Grabinger

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

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Abstract

Elena has a psychiatric disability: bipolar (manicdepressive) disorder. Daniele suffers from depression. Both are serious cognitive disorders that have significant effects on learning, especially learning online. One of the problems students with psychiatric disabilities encounter is finding support in online environments, especially when 10, 50, 100, or even 6000 kilometers from the originating university. Students with disabilities represent a growing number of students in postsecondary education. As the opportunities for online education continue to grow exponentially, so does the number of students with cognitive disabilities, like Elena and Daniele. Unfortunately, this is often a forgotten group because of ignorance and fear in society. Taking online courses is an important option for all students. As we will see, at the same time an online course can be difficult for students with disabilities; it also has advantages. Access to online instruction needs to be made available to students with cognitive disabilities just as it is for students with learning, mobility, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury disorders. The fundamental question, then, of this paper is "what can be done to improve access, retention, and success for the 14% of postsecondary students with cognitive impairments taking online classes?" Targeting specific types of impairments are not an efficient option, given that even the same kinds of impairments often present themselves in different ways. Rather, this paper develops a conceptual framework around work done by the Center of Applied Special Technology in the application of recognition, strategic, and affective brain networks to improve instruction related to cognitive impairments including attention and memory, language, executive function, problem solving, and social interaction. Additionally, I recommend turning the locus of support for students with cognitive impairments 180°, addressing support for students at the instructional level instead of the institutional level, which usually takes the learner out of the classroom. This has the negative effect of making the students feel as if they are not part of the class, and it delays support until the disabilities office has time to help the learners. This just‑in‑time approach based on instructional strategies personalizes instruction, minimizes frustration, and encourages persistence„leading to better learning and success. [Caveat: Statistics and the nature of the problems here describe the situation in the United States of America and are not meant to make assumptions of the postsecondary situation in Western Europe.]

 

Keywords: cognitive impairments online education, universal design for learning

 

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Journal Article

A Case Study: Developing Learning Objects with an Explicit Learning Design  pp41-50

Julie Watson

© Jan 2010 Volume 8 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 50

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Abstract

In learning object design an emphasis on visual attractiveness and high technological impact has seemed to persist while content frequently reflects a lack of clear pedagogical basis for the application of learning objects for online learning. Most apparent is the absence of supportive scaffolding for the student user; interactivity built on an exploratory approach can fall short of achieving its learning objective if support and guidance are missing for the student user who fails to grasp the learning point being offered. Research into developing an effective learning design for learning objects, undertaken by a research and development group in Modern Languages at the University of Southampton, has evolved an explicit pedagogic design for learning objects in English for Academic Purposes and study skills for international students and English native speaker students. These separable learning objects can be aggregated into resource sets or toolkits with multiple usage options for students and teachers. Moreover, this approach to designing effective online language learning materials is based in a defined pedagogy, which also has applicability in developing discipline‑specific learning objects. It seeks to draw on key elements and processes identified in Laurillards Conversational Framework for teaching and learning (Laurillard, 2002). This paper will present a case study of the development of a toolkit of learning objects with an explicit learning design. It will present the pedagogic basis for the development of these learning objects; outlining how they operate both as micro learning contexts and as components within the wider teaching and learning framework of a face‑to‑face or online course. It will also describe research findings showing how learning objects have been received by students and tutors.

 

Keywords: Learning Objects, learning design, blended learning, teacher development, pedagogy

 

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