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

Competency — and Process‑Driven e‑Learning — a Model‑Based Approach  pp183-194

Katrina Leyking, Pavlina Chikova, Peter Loos

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

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Abstract

As a matter of fact e‑Learning still has not really caught on for corporate training purposes. Investigations on the reasons reveal that e‑Learning modules like WBTs often miss any relevance for the tasks to be accomplished in the day‑to‑day workplace settings. The very learning needs both from an organizational and individual perspective are neglected. Content brought to the learner very often meets neither the individual competency gaps nor the organizational learning goals. Time passed between acquisition and application of knowledge is too long. In short, business processes on the one side and learning‑related processes on the other are not aligned adequately. Thus, we see an urgent need for concepts on how to derive corporate training actions from business tasks in order to improve employees' business performance. This paper presents an integrated approach for competency‑ and business process‑driven learning management supported by information technology (IT), developed within two projects named PROLIX and EXPLAIN.

 

Keywords: authoring, business process management, competency development, learning content, learning objectives, learning processes

 

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Journal Article

Online Communities of Practice Enhancing Statistics Instruction: The European Project EarlyStatistics  pp113-122

Maria Meletiou-Mavrotheris, Efstathios Mavrotheris

© Aug 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp87 - 173

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Abstract

Acknowledging the fact that teachers are at the heart of any educational reform effort, the European Union funded project EarlyStatistics aims to enrich European children's learning of statistics by offering their mathematics teachers a high‑quality online professional development program. A central conviction underlying the design of the program is that learning as part of a community of practitioners can provide a useful model for teacher professional development. Teachers participating in the program will form a virtual community of practice, which will support best practices and innovation in statistics education by providing access to a wide array of colleagues, discussions, and resources eluding teachers in their workplaces.

 

Keywords: community of practice, professional development, statistics, distance education

 

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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

Managing e‑Learning: What are the Real Implications for Schools?  pp11-18

Helen Boulton

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

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the use of e‑learning in secondary education. It is based on research that has taken place over a period of two years with students aged 14‑16 (Key Stage 4). The paper considers the current research in e‑learning and identifies the challenges faced by students, the changing role of the learner, and the impact e‑ learning can have on students. The author argues that preparation needs to be carried out at the school level prior to introducing e‑learning into the Key Stage 4 curriculum. It concludes by discussing the findings of the research which identifies a range of issues schools may want to consider, when embracing e‑learning.

 

Keywords: e-Learning, secondary, curriculum development, teaching, learning

 

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Journal Article

Developing Critically Thoughtful, Media‑Rich Lessons in Science: Process and Product  pp161-170

Philip Balcaen

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

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Abstract

In this paper, I describe a professional development approach and a conceptual framework used to create critically thoughtful and media‑rich science learning resources. Greater clarity about the nature of critical thinking and how to support teachers in learning to implement it are needed if we are to respond to broader calls for critical thinking both as a central goal in science education and as a key aspect in the ecology of 21st Century e‑learning environments. The conceptual framework is a model of critical thinking developed by the Canadian Critical Thinking Consortium that involves embedding the teaching of five categories of intellectual tools into the teaching of curriculum content. The "tools for thought" include addressing the need for focused and relevant background knowledge, criteria for judgment, thinking concepts, thinking strategies and the development of habits of mind. The professional development approach engages practicing teachers through focused inquiry groups in collaboration with rich media technicians to develop the e‑critical challenges (lessons). Aspects of this "comet approach" include a series of face‑to‑face sessions, gradual and planned for introduction to use of laptop computers, developing inquiry oriented writing teams and expert mentorship between large group face‑to‑face sessions. I explain the unique aspects of both the development process and the challenges in the context of a project involving twelve teachers in the creation of media‑rich critical thinking lessons in science for Grade 7 students. Although project assessment data analysis is currently underway, I offer several initial conclusions in relation to the four goals of the project.

 

Keywords: Critical thinking, science teaching, media-rich, professional development, one-on-one laptop, collaboration

 

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Journal Article

Some Factors to Consider When Designing Semi‑Autonomous Learning Environments  pp93-100

Paul Bouchard

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

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Abstract

This research aims to answer the question, "in what ways do mediated learning environments support or hinder learner autonomy?" Learner autonomy has been identified as one important factor in the success of mediated learning environments. The central aspect of learner autonomy is the control that the learner exercises over the various aspects of learning, beginning with the decision to learn or not to learn. But as Candy (1995) points out, there are several areas where learner‑control can be exercised. The first are the motivational‑intentional forces that drive the learner to apply some determination (or "vigour") to the act of learning. They are the conative functions of learning and include learner intiative, motivation and personal involvement. They are often associated with life goals that are independent of the actual learning goals pursued within the strict confines of the learning environment (Long, 1994). The second area of learner‑control is the one comprising the "nuts‑and‑bolts" of the act of learning, such as defining learning goals, deciding on a learning sequence, choosing a workable pacing of learning activities, and selecting learning resources (Hrimech & Bouchard, 1998). These are the algorithmic aspects of learning, and in traditional schooling, they are the sole responsibility of the teacher. In mediated learning environments, it can be shared between the platform and the actual learner. Just a few years ago, learner control was necessarily limited to these two sets of features, conative and algorithmic. Today however, with the proliferation of educational offerings in both the private and public sector, as well as the developments in educational technology, two other aspects of the learning environment emerge as important areas where learner‑control can be exercised. The semiotic dimension of learner‑control includes the symbolic platforms used to convey information and meaning, for example web "pages", hypertext, videoaudio multimedia, animation, each of these bringing with them their own specific set of possibilities and limitations for autonomy in learning. And then again, all learning environments exist in their own distinct economic sphere where decisions about whether, what and how to learn are made on the basis of cost‑benefit, opportunity cost, and extrinsic market value. We will examine the implications of each of these areas of learner‑control, and share our analysis of a series of interviews with cyber‑learners, based on this framework of conative, algorithmic, semiotic and economic factors.

 

Keywords: self-directed learning, learner autonomy, educational policy, international development self-directed learning, learner autonomy, educational policy, international development

 

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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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