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

Topic Maps e‑Learning Portal Development  pp60-67

Kamila Olsevicova

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

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Abstract

Topic Maps, ISOIEC 13250 standard, are designed to facilitate the organization and navigation of large collections of information objects by creating meta‑level perspectives of their underlying concepts and relationships. The underlying structure of concepts and relations is expressed by domain ontologies. The Topics Maps technology can become the core of an e‑learning portal that will integrate different kinds of information and knowledge resources, available in the educational institution — this idea was explored in the Ph.D. dissertation of the author. The offered portal solution promises to bring advantages both for content consumers (students) and content providers (teachers, administrative staff), but numerous problems hinder the practical implementation of this portal and therefore it requires certain changes in the functioning of the educational institution and asks teachers, teaching assistants and e‑courses designers to change their routines and to develop new skills. In the paper we offer a new methodology for development and maintenance of the Topic Maps e‑learning portal and we briefly present a pilot application.

 

Keywords: e-Learning portal, Ontology engineering, Knowledge methodology, Topic Maps, Omnigator

 

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Journal Article

e‑Learning System Overview based on Semantic Web  pp111-118

Yas A. Alsultanny

© Jan 2007 Volume 4 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp111 - 148

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Abstract

The challenge of the semantic web is the provision of distributed information with well‑defined meaning, understandable for different parties. e‑Learning is efficient task relevant and just‑in‑time learning grown from the learning requirements of the new dynamically changing, distributed business world. In this paper we design an e‑Learning system by using a semantic web and show how the semantic web resource description formats can be utilised for automatic generation of hypertext structures from distributed metadata. It is primarily based on ontology‑based descriptions of content, context and structure of the learning materials and thus provides flexible and personalised access to these learning materials.

 

Keywords: e-Learning, semantic web, ontology, education hypermedia

 

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Journal Article

A Novel Approach to Define Performance Metrics for Students' and Teachers' Evaluation  pp87-102

Pradipta Biswas, S.K. Ghosh

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

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Abstract

Evaluation is an unavoidable feature in any teaching or learning scenario. The evaluation strategy of students differs widely throughout the world. Further, most of the institutes do not use any objective technique to assess the teaching performance of a teacher. The present paper defines performance metrics both for student and teacher evaluation and also discusses the methodology for calculating relevant metrics. In a decision‑making scenario, these metrics may help in providing enough insight into the assimilation capability of students and teaching capability of teachers. Once measured properly for an adequate length of time, these metrics can also be customised to provide other useful information like utility of a course modification, institutional performance etc. The system has been tested for analysing four courses in a premier engineering institute and the outcome found to be encouraging.

 

Keywords: education technology, evaluation system data warehouse, performance metric, ontology

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 3, ICEL 2007 / Nov 2007  pp173‑250

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

The second International Conference on e‑Learning was held in New York during late June 2007. From the wealth of high quality papers submitted some 60 were selected for presentation at the conference. It was a very difficult task to select from these a group for inclusion in the journal, so it was decided that in this edition we would reflect the international nature of the conference and the diversity of learner groups and technologies addressed.

Recently a number of people from around the world have highlighted that children coming through the school system have different learning needs to previous generations, cultural and linguistic backgrounds are also cited as impacting on learning. However it is important that e‑Learning does not concentrate on a single demographic group and the papers in this edition present e‑Learning from different perspectives, including engaging with school‑aged children (O’Neill; Van de Sande and Leinhardt) and their teachers (Balcaen and Hirtz), through to the acceptance of e‑Learning by business (Leyking, Chikova and Loos). Nakayama, Yamamoto and Santiago have investigated the learning characteristics of university students from Japan and this on‑going work provides a useful insight for course developers, while Stoltenberg and Pforte look at the more technical aspects of e‑Learning and describe a prototype system developed for recording presentations.

 

Keywords: affective communication, affective states, assessment, community of practice, computing education, data warehouse, disaffection, distance education, education technology, eigenfaces, eigenvectors, evaluation system, data warehouse, face recognition, faculty development, focus group, higher education, image normalisation, impoverished learning, internet courses, junior faculty, novel program, ontology, ontology, pedagogical framework , performance metric, performance metric, policy document, post compulsory education, principal component analysis, professional development, quality evaluation, satisfaction, short-term module, staff development, statistics, teacher training, teaching practice, virtual entities, virtual environments, virtual learning environment, vocational students, web-based PBL, web-based SRL

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 2 / Jun 2007  pp87‑173

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

eLearning continues to develop and it is important that as there are developments the opportunity is taken to reflect on the impact of technology on enhancements to learning. In this issue we have included a number of papers that evaluate the use of eLearning from both the point of view of the learners and teachers.

Following best practice the format of the journal is now single column, this will make online reading easier than the old double column format.

 

Keywords: affective communication, affective states, assessment, community of practice, computing education, data warehouse, disaffection, distance education, education technology, eigenfaces, eigenvectors, evaluation system, data warehouse, face recognition, faculty development, focus group, higher education, image normalisation, impoverished learning, internet courses, junior faculty, novel program, ontology, ontology, pedagogical framework , performance metric, performance metric, policy document, post compulsory education, principal component analysis, professional development, quality evaluation, satisfaction, short-term module, staff development, statistics, teacher training, teaching practice, virtual entities, virtual environments, virtual learning environment, vocational students, web-based PBL, web-based SRL

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 6 Issue 3 / Oct 2008  pp161‑254

Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz

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Editorial

The International e‑Learning Conference was held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, hosted in the beautiful city of sea and mountain, at the University of Cape Town. Several pre‑conference workshops were held, on such topics as mobile learning and open education resources, which meant that by the time the Conference began, discussions were already in full swing. The 68 papers presented were well attended and debates were lively. A Special Issue such as this one cannot capture the tenor of those debates, but it can offer a taste of the conference. We have thus selected excellent articles, which give a flavour of the conference, and of the issues raised.

One might have asked, with delegates from 20 very different countries, all operating in divergent contexts, was there enough commonality of interest and context for a shared conversation to be possible? The answer was clear. Despite widely different technological circumstances, delegates were united by a passion for learning, and the possibilities of technology to enable learning to take place more effectively. The focus was therefore not on hardware nor on infrastructural issues, but on leveraging the affordances of a very wide range of technologies to address the challenges of education, the challenges faced by educators everywhere, and the challenges of helping students learn. These challenges were recognisable across the board. Can technology help students be more engaged with learning? Can technology address the impersonal and alienating environments of large classes in universities? Can technology help students be more reflective and receive more feedback? Can the most basic problems of education, such as primary school literacy be helped by current technologies?

Participants at the conference commented in the final session on how delighted they were by the innovations shared, and by the standard of the discussions in all the sessions. The papers selected for this Special Issue is a selection of such innovations, rigorously accounted and carefully researched.

Most of the papers selected for this journal address specific micro level aspects of learning. Two, for example, confront the basics of reading and writing at the primary level. South Africans Freda van Wyk and Arno Louw report on the use of electronic reading programmes in a context where primary learners perform worse than their peers internationally. They report that while all learners were below expectations for their grades at the outset, after the programme, all had improved. At the other end of the spectrum is a Danish example where researcher Karin Levinsen reports on a primary school context where ICTs have become ubiquitous. Her paper explains how technology which was developed to assist pupils with learning problems proved so successful that they were found valuable for all learners, including those without writing and speaking problems.

Still in the primary school, Philip Balcaen describes a robust process of conceptualising and developing media rich science resources in a Canadian project. The principles and framework he reports on which enable the development of thinking skills in young learners are transferable beyond that specific context and prove useful to educators across the sector.

While the specific teaching strategies change higher up the system, learning challenges do not and students need to be helped to engage with complex learning resources in potentially impersonal environments.

Stefanie Hain and Andrea Back from Switzerland report on the use of blogs to support learning, describing a robust method to design environments which integrate blogs to enforce learning. Fran Greyling from South Africa reports on the potential of technology to assist with the well known difficulties of large impersonal undergraduate classes. This paper shows how assessment and community building can be amplified in quite specific ways.

The blurring of formal and informal learning spaces was also acknowledged in the Conference. Sylvia Jones and Mary Lea use an ethnographic‑style approach to show how amongst students in higher education there is an inter‑mingling of institutional and academic requirements with issues of student identity and personal affiliations, shaping students’ digital literacy practices.

It is not however, only the students whose identities are being reshaped and who need collaborative spaces and supportive communities. Educators and learning designers do too, and indeed supporting a community of learning designers itself is a matter of concern as the field grows. Jill Jameson from the UK shows through empirical case studies how to intentionally grow a community of practice, and she highlights in particular the value of the role of a ""critical friend"". Also bearing in mind the complexity of the terrain to be navigated by learning designers, Mandia Mentis offers a valuable navigational tool, e‑Learning alignment guide which offers a way of aligning the three key zones of pedagogy, technology and context.

At a macro level, the proliferation of recorded data made possible by the online learning environment itself is an opportunity for data mining in the service of macro level decision making in higher education. South African Liezl van Dyk shows how indicators can be generated from such data and correlated with student performance and learning style, offering many insights into students’ learning behaviour.

And finally a bird’s eye view is provided by Laura Czerniewicz who uses researcher and professional views to distinguish the field itself, and who suggests ways in which the field may be developing an identity distinct in its own right. The Conference, and these selected papers provide a taste of that rich and zesty field.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1 / May 2009  pp1‑85

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 2 / Jun 2009  pp85‑190

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

The 7th European Conference on e‑Learning (ECEL) took place in Cyprus in November 2008. ECEL always attracts a range of exciting and topical papers in the field of e‑Learning. From a wide field the conference committee selected over 150 papers for presentation. This edition of the EJEL was planned to take the best of the papers and invite the authors to update their work with a wider audience, and to a large extent that is what we have achieved. However with such a large conference it is not possible for a selection panel to listen to all papers, so we have taken a pragmatic approach of asking Session Chairs to recommend papers from their own sessions, and from these recommendations the papers here were selected. Inevitably there is some very high quality work that we are not able to include, however the reader will find a good representation of current work from around Europe and beyond, reflecting developments from lone researchers to multi‑national teams.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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