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Journal Article

Impact of Communication Patterns, Network Positions and Social Dynamics Factors on Learning among Students in a CSCL Environment  pp72-85

Binod Sundararajan

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

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Abstract

At present, it is difficult to assess the quality of learning in Computer‑Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) environments, because standard pretest and posttest measures do not capture the differences in the learner's ability to engage in the material, pose interesting new questions, engage others in learning and work collaboratively. This research investigates the impact of communication patterns, network positions and social dynamics factors on students' self‑perception of learning in a CSCL environment. The study involved a combination of methodologies combining questionnaires, and archiving of communication logs for data collection. Social network analysis tools were used to analyze relational data, map emergent student communication patterns and calculate centrality scores based on the electronic and face‑to‑face communication patterns among class members in the CSCL environment. Structural equation modeling was then performed on the hypotheses model to determine the impact of these centrality measures and the social factors on students' perceptions of knowledge gained and their satisfaction with their performance in the course.

 

Keywords: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL, distance learning, social network analysis, social dynamics, respect, influence, structural equation modelling, path analysis, interaction, participation, motivation to participate and learn, satisfaction with performance, gaining new and conceptual knowledge

 

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Journal Article

Weblogs in Higher Education — why do Students (not) Blog?  pp203-214

Monika Andergassen, Reinhold Behringer, Janet Finlay, Andrea Gorra, David Moore

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

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Abstract

Positive impacts on learning through blogging, such as active knowledge construction and reflective writing, have been reported. However, not many students use weblogs in informal contexts, even when appropriate facilities are offered by their universities. While motivations for blogging have been subject to empirical studies, little research has addressed the issue of why students choose not to blog. This paper presents an empirical study undertaken to gain insights into the decision making process of students when deciding whether to keep a blog or not. A better understanding of students' motivations for (not) blogging may help decision makers at universities in the process of selecting, introducing, and maintaining similar services. As informal learning gains increased recognition, results of this study can help to advance appropriate designs of informal learning contexts in Higher Education. The method of ethnographic decision tree modelling was applied in an empirical study conducted at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Since 2004, the university has been offering free weblog accounts for all students and staff members upon entering school, not bound to any course or exam. Qualitative, open interviews were held with 3 active bloggers, 3 former bloggers, and 3 non‑ bloggers to elicit their decision criteria. Decision tree models were developed out of the interviews. It turned out that the modelling worked best when splitting the decision process into two parts: one model representing decisions on whether to start a weblog at all, and a second model representing criteria on whether to continue with a weblog once it was set up. The models were tested for their validity through questionnaires developed out of the decision tree models. 30 questionnaires have been distributed to bloggers, former bloggers and non‑ bloggers. Results show that the main reasons for students not to keep a weblog include a preference for direct (online) communication, and concerns about the loss of privacy through blogging. Furthermore, the results indicate that intrinsic motivation factors keep students blogging, whereas stopping a weblog is mostly attributable to external factors.

 

Keywords: weblog, blog, higher education, informal learning, ethnographic decision tree modelling, motivation research

 

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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 Issue

Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue / Jul 2012  pp159‑256

Editor: Dimitris Gouscos

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Keywords: activity theory, alternative approaches, budget constraints, chemistry, classroom culture, collaboration, communities of practice, complex systems, connectivism, constructionist and inquiry-based learning, context, dialog, digital educational games, digital games, emotion, epistemological beliefs, formal learning, game development, game experience, game-based learning, games, half-baked microworlds, identity, inquiry, leadership, MMOGs, MMORPGs, modelling, motivation, non-invasive assessment, pedagogical issues, performance, play, problem representation, self-organization, serious games, situated play, sustainability, teacher’s role, theory, virtual teams,

 

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