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Journal Article

Determining Areas of Weakness in Introductory Programming as a Foundation for Reusable Learning Objects  pp21-30

Eileen Costelloe, Elizabeth Sherry, Patricia Magee

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

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Abstract

Teaching programming to novices has proved challenging for both learner and lecturer due to the abstraction and complexity of the subject matter. The work described in this paper is part of an EU funded Minerva project called TUPULO (Teaching Undergraduate Programming Using Learning Objects) which aims to address the challenges faced by novice programmers by providing them with an innovative learning tool. This learning tool that is currently under development and rollout incorporates a set of Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) based on sound pedagogical principles and encapsulated in a Constructivist Learning Environment (CLE), which includes a meta‑cognitive interface. The subject matter experts and instructional designers in the local academic partner institutions designed these learning objects. The outputs and findings of the TUPULO project will not only benefit learners in the partner institutions involved, but by being disseminated to the wider educational community, they will also help learners in the domain on a broader scale. This paper describes the preparatory work undertaken in order to establish a set of potential LOs for development based on the student's main areas of weakness. When attempting to build learning objects for use in any domain the primary consideration should always be the needs and abilities of the learners. This paper describes the work done by the authors in conducting a user needs analysis in order to establish the key problem areas facing learners of introductory programming. A methodology for user needs capture and analysis was produced based on the set of user groups available at the Institutions and the needs of the users were captured and analysed. The methodology was devised to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the information available to us regarding students. Exam scripts and corresponding results together with focus group discussions were used in order to ascertain perceptions regarding the course content, delivery, level of difficulty and areas of difficulty in programming. Additional institutional information such as students' leaving certificate points and Maths grade together with students' overall performance in other subject areas were used to investigate possible correlations. The analysis of this data provided some preliminary information on the ways in which students interpret various questions and their conceptual difficulties in understanding certain topics. This analysis leads to the final selection of programming topics for potential development as reusable learning objects.

 

Keywords: novice programmers, learning objects, programming pedagogy, meta-cognitive support

 

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Journal Article

Exploring Virtual Opportunities to Enhance and Promote an Emergent Community of Practice  pp261-270

Kathy Courtney

© Feb 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, e-Learning in Health Care, Editor: Pam Moule, pp251 - 304

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Abstract

This paper gives an account of an attempt by an educational developer to support and strengthen an emergent Community of Practice (CoP) (Wenger 1998a). This community consists of members of staff associated in different capacities with the Centre for Interprofessional e‑Learning (CIPeL), a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), based at Coventry University and Sheffield Hallam University. The support is specifically targeting CIPeL Secondees who are recruited to CIPeL on a part‑time basis, for the purpose of creating interprofessional Learning Objects (LOs). While Secondees receive individual support, there is little formal contact between Secondees. An online CIPeL Community site was created, in order to provide a space where CIPeL members could meet virtually and share problems and experiences relating to the construction of LOs. Initially, the key question appeared to be how online participation by members of the community could be encouraged. Using Wenger's (1998a) CoP theory of learning, and after exploring how the Community site was being used, the focus of attention shifts to an exploration of reified objects and the role they play in guiding practice, which in this case relates to the creation and use of interprofessional LOs. This in turns leads to the difficult question of how relevant reified objects may be identified and built, and it is advocated that existing CIPeL LOs should be exploited as reified objects for the purpose of guiding the construction of new LOs. It is felt that invoking constructs from Wenger's (1998a) CoP theory of learning has resulted in a more detailed picture of the nature of the challenges involved in moving from an emergent CoP to more established practice. The approach has simultaneously helped clarify how support for an emergent CoP might be more effectively focused. As a final point, it is suggested that it may be fruitful to explore parallels between CIPeL as an emergent CoP and interprofessional practice (IPP) itself, based on the view that IPP is also an emergent practice.

 

Keywords: Communities of practice, learning objects, interprofessional learning objects, Interprofessional Practice, community development support, Reified Objects

 

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Journal Article

Learning Objects and Virtual Learning Environments Technical Evaluation Criteria  pp127-136

Eugenijus Kurilovas, Valentina Dagiene

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

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Abstract

The main scientific problems investigated in this article deal with technical evaluation of quality attributes of the main components of e‑Learning systems (referred here as DLEs — Digital Libraries of Educational Resources and Services), i.e., Learning Objects (LOs) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). The main research object of the work is the effectiveness of methods of DLE components quality evaluation. The aim of the article is to analyse popular existing LO and VLE technical evaluation tools, and to formulate new more complex tools for technical quality evaluation of LOs and VLEs based on requirements for flexible DLE, as well as to evaluate most popular open source VLEs against new more complex criteria. Complex tools have been created for the evaluation of DLE components, based on a flexible approach. The authors have analysed existing tools for technical evaluation of LOs, and it was investigated that these tools have a number of limitations. Some of these tools do not examine different LO life cycle stages, and other insufficiently examine technical evaluation criteria before LO inclusion in the repository. All these tools insufficiently examine LOs reusability criteria. Therefore more complex LO technical evaluation tool is needed. It was investigated that this new more complex LO technical evaluation tool should include LO technical evaluation criteria suitable for different LO life cycle stages, including criteria before, during and after LO inclusion in the repository as well as LO reusability criteria. The authors have also examined several VLE technical evaluation tools suitable for flexible DLE, and it was investigated that these tools have a number of limitations. Several tools practically do not examine VLE adaptation capabilities criteria, and the other insufficiently examines general technical criteria. More complex VLE technical evaluation tool is needed. Therefore the authors have proposed an original more complex set of VLE technical evaluation criteria combining (1) General (Overall architecture and implementation; Interoperability; Internationalisation and Localisation; Accessibility) and (2) Adaptation (Adaptability; Personalisation; Extensibility and Adaptivity) VLE technical evaluation criteria. The authors have also selected and proposed to use the universal, clear and convenient DLE components' evaluation rating tool, and have evaluated three most popular open source VLEs against technical (both general and adaptation) criteria in conformity with this rating tool.

 

Keywords: managing quality in e-learning, technical evaluation, virtual learning environments, learning objects, repositories

 

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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

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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Journal Article

Knowledge Enriched Learning by Converging Knowledge Object & Learning Object  pp3-13

Sai Sabitha, Deepti Mehrotra, Abhay Bansal

© Jan 2015 Volume 13 Issue 1, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp1 - 56

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Abstract

Abstract: The most important dimension of learning is the content, and an LMS suffices this to a certain extent. The present day LMS are designed to primarily address issues like ease of use, search, content and performance. Many surveys had been conducte d to identify the essential features required for the improvement of LMS, which includes flexibility and a user centric approach. These features can suffice the need of all learners, when they have different learning requirements. For a true learning, kno wledge should also be delivered along with the domain information. Thus, there is a need to design an architecture for user centric Knowledge Driven Learning Management System. Thus for holistic learning, knowledge enriched teaching skills are required, w hich can enhance and increase the thinking skills of the learner to a higher level. The current LMS needs an improvement in the direction of knowledge discovery, exploration so that knowledge enriched learning can be provided to the learner.. It can be ba sed on knowledge engineering principles like ontology, semantic relationship between objects, cognitive approach and data mining techniques. In this paper, we are proposing an idea of an enhanced Learning Object (LO) called Knowledge Driven Learning Obj ect, which can be delivered to the user for better learning. We had used a data mining approach, classification to harness and exploit these objects and classify them according to their metadata, thereby strengthening the content of objects delivered thro ugh the LMS.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Learning object, knowledge objects, lms, kms, classification, decision tree, knowledge driven learning objects, knowledge driven learning management system, e-learning

 

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Journal Article

Customer‑Driven Development for Rapid Production of Assessment Learning Objects  pp1-6

Andrew Adams, Shirley Williams

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

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Abstract

Customer‑Driven Development is a technique from the software development method called extreme Programming (XP) where customers (most importantly including end users of all levels) are closely involved in the software design and redesign process. This method of producing software suitable for customers has been adapted to help in the production of e‑learning material, in particular, Assessment Learning Objects (ALOs) consisting of multiple‑ choice questions. Asking undergraduate students to produce multiple‑choice questions as part of their formal assessment processes facilitated this. The outcome shows two distinct benefits to this process. Firstly, the students who took part in this project benefited from the encouragement to participate in reflective learning, both on the specific topic on which they chose to produce a multiple choice question, and in the methods and purposes of multiple choice questions (which form a significant part of their self‑assessment regime and summative assessment exam). Secondly, of the questions produced by students a significant number of them were of suitable quality to be used for future cohorts and to be made available to the wider community. This gives two important benefits to staff: developing a wide range of questions is difficult and time consuming; student insight into misunderstandings of material can often be greater than that of staff. Resources for the development of ALOs are scarce and given that students benefit directly from being asked to develop their own questions, the year‑on‑year expansion of a question set produced by students can be a very useful resource.

 

Keywords: Learning Objects, Multiple Choice questions, Extreme Programming, Computer Aided Assessment

 

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Journal Article

Using Conceptual Lattices to Represent Fine Granular Learning Objects through SCORM Meta‑Objects  pp141-148

Luciano Silva, Pollyana N. Mustaro, Denise Stringhini, Ismar F. Silveira

© Aug 2010 Volume 4 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp111 - 148

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Abstract

Ideally, learning resources should be built over a shared pool of fine reusable granular learning objects. However, in order to avoid contextual lacks, dynamic creation of such resources would mostly rely on the conceptual relationships among learning objects inside a repository. These conceptual relationships, as well as the learning objects creation, are best established if students' learning styles are considered. Common standards like Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) do not have tools to provide conceptual relationships among fine granular learning objects. This paper presents a conceptual lattice‑based architecture for using SCORM to provide an effective mapping of conceptual relationships among learning objects.

 

Keywords: learning objects, conceptual lattices, SCORM, granularity

 

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