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

Becoming Chemists through Game‑based Inquiry Learning: The Case of Legends of Alkhimia  pp185-198

Yam San Chee, Kim Chwee Daniel Tan

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

Traditional modes of chemistry education in schools focus on imparting chemistry knowledge to students via instruction. Consequently, students often acquire the mistaken understanding that scientific knowledge comprises a fixed body of provenŽ facts. The y fail to comprehend that the construction of scientific understanding is a human and social endeavor. Consequently, there can be alternative and conflicting views and theories. To provide students access to an enhanced learning curriculum, Legends of Alk himia was designed and developed as an educational game for 13 to 14‑year‑olds to foster the learning of chemistry through inquiry. The multiplayer game supports four concurrent players. It is played on personal computers connected via a local area networ k. The game embeds students in problem solving challenges related to the use of chemistry in realistic contexts. In attempting to solve these problems, students must engage in individual laboratory work using an in‑game virtual chemistry lab. The game lev els take students through a narrative arc that provides coherence to the entire gameplay experience. Legends of Alkhimia, together with its associated curricular materials, instantiates classroom learning based on performance pedagogy: a pedagogy that con structs learning through the lens of performance theory. Leveraging the immersive affordances of 3D game environments, the learning experience is designed to engage students in the dialectic interplay between learning in the first person, based on playing the game, and learning in the third person, based on the Bakhtinian notion of dialog. The learning process follows a developmental trajectory of becoming a chemist. Enacting performance pedagogy in the classroom requires a shift in traditional classroom culture toward that of a professional practice community. We report on an empirical study of a game‑based learning classroom intervention where students in the Alkhimia learning program participated in an 8‑week curriculum sequence involving six levels of game play. We compared pre‑ and posttest survey responses from a class of 40 students who learned chemistry using the Alkhimia curriculum. We also compared learning outcomes of students in the said intervention class with a control class of 38 students w ho learned chemistry through traditional classroom instruction. All students in our study were 13‑year‑olds from a typical government secondary school. We noted significant shifts in intervention students perceptions of their identity, their epistemologi cal beliefs, their dispositions toward science inquiry, and of classroom culture. Students understanding of chemistry was evaluated through a common assessment that comprised a complex separation task involving mixtures, solutes, and immiscible liquids. Two evaluation criteria were used: (1) effectiveness of separation, and (2) demonstration of conceptual understanding of chemistry. We found that the Alkhimia students significantly outperformed the control students when assessed on the extent to whic h effective separation was achieved in the students proposed solution (t75 = 2.56, p = .026) and when assessed with respect to conceptual understanding of chemistry in the separation task (t75 = 3.41, p = .002). We discuss, from a theoretical perspec tive, how and why learning with the Alkhimia curriculum is efficacious. Our findings are significant in that they suggest how inquiry learning can be successfully enacted in a chemistry game‑based learning curriculum, and they underscore the efficacy of a pproaching game‑based learning in terms of performance.

 

Keywords: performance, play, dialog, inquiry, chemistry, identity, epistemological beliefs, classroom culture

 

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Journal Article

Students Constructionist Game Modelling Activities as Part of Inquiry Learning Processes  pp235-248

Zacharoula Smyrnaiou, Moustaki Foteini, Chronis Kynigos

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

Learning science requires the understanding of concepts and formal relationships, processes that ‑in themselves‑ have been proved to be difficult for students as they seem to encounter substantial problems with most of the inquiry‑learning processes in wh ich they engage. Models in inquiry‑based learning have been considered as powerful tools that may help students in enhancing their reasoning activity and improving their understanding of scientific concepts. Modelling, however, in the form of exploring, designing and building computer models of complex scientific phenomena has also been embedded in the constructionist learning approach. Working collaboratively with constructionist game microworlds that by design invite students to explore the fallible m odel underpinning the game and change it so as to create a new game, may provide students opportunities to bring into the foreground their conceptual understandings related to motion in a Newtonian space and put them into test making them at the same time objects of discussion and reflection among the members of the group. Apart from the meaning generation, we also study in this paper, the students' group learning processes i.e. the construction of emergent activity maps to either plan their actions as th ey engage in game modelling activities or to report on the outcomes generated when these actions are implemented. The connections between the students activities as they work with a constructionist medium and the inquiry‑based learning activities from wh ich the students are considered to pass when engaging in scientific inquiry also constitute one of the main issues this paper attempts to study.

 

Keywords: modelling, games, half-baked microworlds, constructionist and inquiry-based learning.

 

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Journal Article

Blending the Community of Inquiry Framework with Learning by Design: Towards a Synthesis for Blended Learning in Teacher Training  pp183-194

Katerina Makri, Kyparisia Papanikolaou, Athanasia Tsakiri et al

© May 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECEL, Editor: Mélanie Ciussi, pp126 - 226

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Abstract

Abstract: As e‑learning is evolving into a mainstream, widespread practice, adopted by higher education institutions worldwide, much effort is geared towards the articulation of models and strategies for implementing e‑learning in formal education setting s. In the field of pre‑service teacher education, a rising challenge is to equip the ⠜21st century teacher⠀ with the necessary toolset of skills and competencies to grapple with the idiosyncrasies of the new generation of ⠜millenials⠀. To this pur pose, what still remains an open issue is the degree of innovation afforded by specific e‑learning designs, in a field where traditional teacher training pedagogies co‑exist with e‑learning‑specific ones. This article proposes a synthesis of two models, t he Community of Inquiry (COI) model, based on the Practical Inquiry model introduced by Garrison, Anderson, & Archer (2000) and the Learning by Design framework (LbyD), based on the conceptualization of â New Learning⠒, articulated by Kalantzis & Cope (2012). Both models were invented with new learning styles and circumstances in mind. The proposed synthesis guided the design of the six‑month introductory course in Technology Enhanced Learning by the School of Pedagogical and Technological Edu cation (ASPETE) research team (located in Athens) and implemented with 18 pre service student‑teachers at the Higher Education Technological Institute (TEI) of Lamia, located in another geographical area of Greece. In this context, elements of the C OI framework were employed as tools both for designing and for evaluating the contents, structure and activities of the e‑learning course. Two elements of the framework, teaching and cognitive presence were the axes supporting the course structure, whilst the kinds of activities most promoted were discussion, collaboration and reflection. The LbyD framework functioned as an awareness enhancement mechanism for trainee teachers to formulate, collaboratively negotiate and finally articulate and support pedag ogical scenarios integrating the meaningful use of technol

 

Keywords: Keywords: Community of Inquiry, blended learning, learning design, online teacher training, course design

 

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Journal Article

Improving Virtual Collaborative Learning through Canonical Action Research  pp326-338

Peter Weber, Christian Lehr, Martin Gersch

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, Editor: Dr Rikke Ørngreen and Dr Karin Tweddell Levinsen, pp313 - 410

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Abstract

Abstract: Virtual collaboration continues to gain in significance and is attracting attention also as virtual collaborative learning (VCL) in education. This paper addresses aspects of VCL that we identified as critical in a series of courses named Net Economy: (1) technical infrastructure, (2) motivation and collaboration, and (3) assessment and evaluation. Net Economy is an international online setting, focusing on the business impact of new technologies and is highly notable for the divergent educational and cultural backgrounds of its participants. Having been subject to research from the onset in 2008, in which approximately 10 students were analysed and evaluated, the course has continued to gain significant success as a learning tool, wit h over 150 students currently enrolled throughout the various course cycles. In this paper we focus on how we implemented changes with regard to the above mentioned critical elements as part of canonical action research between the last course cycles. We outline the general learning scenario behind our VCL‑courses, describe problems that we identified with the help of evaluation results and explain solution approaches and the impact of their implementation. The paper aims to provide a comprehensive exampl e for virtual collaborative learning as well as explaining and exemplifying a systematic approach of improving complex e‑learning settings through a series of steps, developed to ease the transition between each stage.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Social Networking Services, Virtual Collaborative Learning, Virtual Team Work, Web 2.0, International Cooperation, Community of Inquiry Framework, CoI

 

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Journal Article

3‑M Model for Uncovering the Impact of Multi‑level Identity Issues on Learners’ Social Interactive Engagement Online  pp131-143

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy, Jessica Chavez

© Jun 2019 Volume 17 Issue 2, Editor: Antonios Andreatos, Cleo Sgouropoulou and Klimis Ntalianis, pp66 - 172

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Abstract

Abstract: A growing trend in higher education institutions (HE) to move course offerings to Blended Learning (BL) modes is challenging many of our traditional views and practices of teaching and learning. Part of the problem is that many of those working within these institutions at the macro, meso and micro levels have stubbornly resisted abandoning the view that knowledge is imparted by the institution and that knowledge is consumed by students. Advances in technology have upturned this positionality as learners and institutions alike realize that roles are evolving in the process of education. Tracking the scholarship on BL, for example, reveals a major issue preventing successful learning outcomes is reticence on the part of learners to be socially interactive and engaged online. Through the lens of socialcultural and identity theories and a conceptualization of engagement being composed of behavioural, emotional and cognitive components, this paper aims to respond to a call for greater insight into this pressing issue. With findings from a recent qualitative longitudinal study of a BL program in a large private‑for‑profit university in Chile we unravel the complex social psychological aspects that contribute to learners’ willingness, or unwillingness, to engage in interacting with others and with content online – an essential determinant of successful learning and quality BL programs. A critical discussion of the findings from multiple qualitative data sources reveals that the general lack of undergraduate students’ incentive to develop agency and adopt empowered learner identities characteristic of active participators online, is strongly influenced by the assumed or imposed identities of teachers, academic leaders and institutional decision makers that create a climate that fails to nurture community building in these contexts. Abundant evidence suggests a model for BL in HE that could lead to decisive, strategic and coordinated action at each level and measurable improvement in student online learning engagement and outcomes.

 

Keywords: Blended Learning, higher education, learner engagement, macro-meso-micro level inquiry, identity theory

 

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Journal Article

Spaces of Joint Inquiry Through Visual Facilitation and Representations in Higher Education: An Exploratory case study  pp373-386

Heidi Hautopp, Stine Ejsing-Duun

© Oct 2020 Volume 18 Issue 5, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen, Mie Buhl and Bente Meyer, pp373 - 459

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Abstract

This study investigates how the use of visual facilitation and representations, e.g. visualisations and video productions, combined with peer‑feedback sessions can create exploratory approaches to game design in online teaching. The article analyses an iterative game development process in an online learning context. The empirical data is primarily based on an explorative case study of “Games for change”; a course held in 2018 in which master students from the international Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) design games that address issues in society. Throughout the course, the students from universities in Finland, Sweden and Denmark engaged in a cross‑cultural collaboration across campuses. The purpose of the study was to explore how to establish an online space for joint design inquiry in the context of ‘games for change’ across time and space as well as cultural and professional barriers. The data used for analysis includes teaching observations, videos of play sessions, photos and visual representations, students’ reflection papers and students’ written and oral evaluations after completion of the course. The analysis is based on different problem‑based learning (PBL) activities; lectures, video instructions, presentation‑ and feedback sessions, reflexive exercises and students’ self‑directed design and learning processes in groups. As part of the game course, teachers presented game theory and exercises through videos and visualisations to support the students’ iterative game design processes. The analysis of the PBL activities shows that teachers’ video instructions relating theoretical game concepts to the students’ actual group work supported the introduction to the game field as well as their design processes. The balance between the value of video instructions with specific feedback and teachers’ time for preparation is a relevant issue for further exploration in online teaching. Moreover, findings show that the students’ visualisations and video productions exemplifying game situations created a visible reference point for further discussions in feedback sessions across campuses, which guided game development. Thus, the combination of inquiry approaches, critical game theory and design processes combined with students’ visualisations and video productions provides interesting connections for bridging gaps between cultures and professions, e.g. in art and games. By the rich and visual descriptions of PBL activities, student work and reflective evaluations, the exploratory case study can function as inspiration for applying similar approaches to new local contexts in higher education.

 

Keywords: visual facilitation, visualisations, online learning, students as designers, design as inquiry, higher education

 

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Journal Article

Applying the Community of Inquiry e‑Learning Model to Improve the Learning Design of an Online Course for In‑service Teachers in Norway  pp462-475

Krystyna Krzyszkowska, Maria Mavrommati

© Dec 2020 Volume 18 Issue 6, Editor: Heinrich Söbke and Marija Cubric, pp462 - 574

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Abstract

: Education authorities in Norway endorse online courses for in‑service teachers to raise education standards and to promote digital competence. Naturally, these offerings present teachers with opportunities to integrate new theoretical perspectives and their professional experience in an online learning community. The inquiry into one's professional practice, enhanced by critical reflection in a group of fellow professionals, is considered essential for a lifelong learning practitioner, however, the emerging examples of instructional design tend to prioritise content delivery rather than professional discourse. In this paper, we demonstrate how the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework could be adopted to transform learning design, which prioritises the delivery of individual assignments, into a more collaborative learning experience. Using the CoI instructional design principles and the associated questionnaire, we have investigated student perceptions of learning via an online course and formulated recommendations about how the course design can be refined to promote learning in the community. Despite the modest evidence, this investigation can serve as an example of how a concrete learning design can be improved based on this validated e‑learning model.

 

Keywords: Community of Inquiry, continuing education, distance education, deep learning design, constructivist learning

 

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Journal Article

Visualizing Solutions: Apps as Cognitive Stepping‑Stones in the Learning Process  pp366-379

Michael Stevenson, John Hedberg, Kate Highfield, Mingming Diao

© Oct 2015 Volume 13 Issue 5, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp317 - 445

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Abstract

Abstract: In many K‑12 and higher education contexts, the use of smart mobile devices increasingly affords learning experiences that are situated, authentic and connected. While earlier reviews of mobile technology may have led to criticism of these devic es as being largely for consumption, many current uses emphasize creativity and productivity, with diverse purposes ranging from blogging and social networking to near full‑scale video editing, office productivity and language translation. These affordanc es are further made possible by the large‑scale development of mobile applications (or apps). For the vast majority of mobile device users ‑ now numbering in the billions ⠍ many of these learning experiences are informal and just‑in‑time, sometimes un planned, unsanctioned by educational discourse and beyond the immediate locus of institutional control. As smart technologies become increasingly an extension of the personal, educators are faced with the question: how can we best facilitate and explicate the learning process and design relevant experiences that leverage the affordances of so many mobile devices? This paper explores how the effective use of apps enable the learning process to be visualized in ways that support meaningful and student‑cente red learning. The authors discuss recent developments in technology, mobile learning and multiliteracies, drawing on a range of case studies deploying mobile devices and using apps as part of learner‑led inquiry processes to enable creativity, collaborati on and critical thinking. Emerging from these case studies are real classroom examples, teacher‑student reflections, scaffolds and working models that all speak to the importance of using apps to visualize learning and support learners at each stage of th e learning process. Exploring the connections between mobile devices, media literacy and visual literacy, the paper also emphasizes the collaborative affordances of many current apps and the importance of multimodal forms of representation through gesture , voice, text, video and audio. Citing the com

 

Keywords: Keywords: apps, m-learning, tablets, smartphones, inquiry

 

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