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Journal Article

Listening to the Learners' Voices in HE: how do Students Reflect on their use of Technology for Learning?  pp119-126

Amanda Jefferies, Ruth Hyde

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

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Abstract

The importance of the Learner's Voice and thus of listening to students' views has been evidenced in various high profile initiatives in the UK. The work presented here is from the JISC Learners' Experiences of E‑ Learning Phase 2 Learners' Journeys STROLL project. The seven JISC funded projects were set up in 2007 to investigate inter alia the changing views of students in their use of technology to support their learning. The STROLL (STudent Reflections on Lifelong e‑Learning) project has recruited a diverse range of students from both Higher and Further Education backgrounds with the aim of researching the students' experiences of learning in a technology rich environment and their progression in their use of learning technologies over the two years of the project's timescale. STROLL is a largely qualitative study with students participating from across the University of Hertfordshire (UH) and Hertford Regional College (HRC) by recording their own video and audio diaries of their learning experiences. Using the students' choice of camcorder, web camera, or digital voice recorder they recorded their daily learning experiences of using technology, including a range of e‑learning tools and the University's own MLE (Study Net). The project started in March 2007 and completed in March 2009 with the final round of student diaries collected in October 2008. The project's aim was to research and document the students' answers to the following questions: How do learners experience change through their learning journey? How do students use and make choices about their time? How do students use e‑learning tools to support their learning? How do students use their personal technologies? The qualitative data from the students' reflective diaries collected was first transcribed, then the transcripts were analysed and colour coded according to the research themes. Concept maps were created for each student's diary detailing their reflections on learning. Further concept maps of quotations relating to the research questions above were developed to identify comments which were particularly relevant to the themes. Finally NvivoÂ’ was used to support and track the large quantities of data. This paper presents some of the early findings in terms of the ease with which students interact with technology and the choices they make about what they use and when and where. The discussion includes consideration of the research methodologies, since the use of personal video diaries to record reflections on learning, is to date a rarely used method of capturing data on students' reflections.

 

Keywords: student experience, e-learning, social uses of technology

 

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