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

e‑Modeling — Helping Learners to Develop Sound e‑Learning Behaviours  pp265-272

Susan Greener

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

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Abstract

The learning and teaching relationship, whether online or in the classroom, is changing. Mentis (2008) offers a typology of teacher roles gathered from current literature on e‑learning including instructor, designer, guide, mediator, curator and mentor, which offer the university teacher a striking range of ways in which to develop relationships with students in the mutual development of knowledge and understanding. A study of Higher Education teachers in the UK proposed a shift in their role and behaviour concomitant with the explosion of VLE usage in universities (Greener 2008). As online and blended learning become familiar features in the university landscape, pedagogical discussions are being given more priority and ideas about how students can be enabled to learn appropriate skills for employability and lifelong learning, as well as higher order thinking, claim attention. Online, the teacher's status can easily be eroded, as learners can compare teacher‑designed resources with video lectures from across the world on similar topics and chat directly with experts in the field through their blogs. Teachers who are open to new ways of thinking about their subject, and welcome such self‑ directed behaviour from learners, are most likely to integrate new technology into their teaching (Baylor and Ritchie 2002), and their own competence with technology will be a factor in how such integration works. But it is vital in these discussions not to lose sight of classroom behaviour in the rush to develop e‑moderating and blogging skills for teachers. What teachers say and do in their face‑to‑face classes has always had a major impact on not only what is learned but also how it is learned. Bandura suggests that most human learning is done by observing and imitating others' behaviour (1977) provided the potential learner attends, can retain, reproduce and wants to do these things. So if we aim to integrate at least the affordances of VLEs into teaching design for blended learning, one of our considerations must be how the teacher uses the VLE in front of the learner. There is no doubt that teachers are increasingly uploading materials and weblinks etc into VLEs to support learners (or are made to by institutional policy). However there is less evidence that teachers are role‑modelling effective e‑ learning to their learners. Some of this is about competence, but it is rare for a teacher to lack the ability to learn basic technology use. More of this reluctance is about fear and anxiety, to be shown up as incompetent in class to what are considered the net generation. This paper will explore the concepts and behaviours implied in the role‑modelling of effective e‑learning in the classroom, drawing on data from teachers and learners involved in using VLEs and other Web resources in face‑to‑face sessions.

 

Keywords: role modeling, social learning theory, teaching methods, conceptions of teaching

 

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Journal Article

Using the Artistic Pedagogical Technology of Photovoice to Promote Interaction in the Online Post‑Secondary Classroom: The Students’ Perspective  pp32-43

Margaret Edwards, Beth Perry, Katherine Janzen, Cynthia Menzies

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

This study explores the effect of the artistic pedagogical technology (APT) called photovoice (PV) on interaction in the online post‑secondary classroom. More specifically, this paper focuses on students’ perspectives regarding the effect of PV on student to student and student to instructor interactions in online courses. Artistic pedagogical technologies are teaching strategies based on the arts (Perry & Edwards. 2010). APTs use music, poetry, drama, photography, crafts or other visual media as the basis of teaching activities. Photovoice is the purposeful use of selected visual images and affiliated refection questions as an online teaching strategy. Social Development Theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and Janzen’s Quantum Perspective of Learning (Janzen, Perry & Edwards, 2011) provide the theoretical basis of the study. The convenience sample included 15 graduate students from the Faculty of Health Disciplines at an online university. Participants completed a 4 month master’s course in which PV was used. Data were collected after final course grades were official. Data were gathered using an online questionnaire based on an adaptation (with permission) of Rovai’s (2002) Classroom Cohesion Scale (CSS) and Richardson and Swan’s (2003) Social Presence Scale (SPS). A follow‑up focus group with 6 of the original 15 participants was held. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. This paper focuses on findings from the quantitative data with supportive qualitative comments. Data analysis of the quantitative data takes the form of descriptive statistics. Data analysis of the qualitative data used NVivo software. In sum, the majority of respondents did find that PV had a positive influence on course interactions, but also on their sense of community, comfort in the educational milieu, and on how well they got to know themselves, other learners, and the instructor. Questions for further research are posed.

 

Keywords: online education, eLearning, artistic pedagogical technologies, photovoice, social development theory, quantum perspective of learning

 

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Journal Article

Leadership in MMOGs: A Field of Research on Virtual Teams  pp223-234

Sofia Mysirlaki, Fotini Paraskeva

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

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Abstract

As our need for collaboration constantly grows, new tools have emerged to connect us in social networks, supporting the development of online communities, such as online games and virtual worlds. MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and MMORPGs ( Massively Multiplayer Online Role‑Playing Games) are complex systems, in which players are self‑organized and collaborate in guilds; constantly improve to remain competitive, visioning the enemys and guilds reaction. Nevertheless, these are considered to be important leadership skills for the real world, revealing multiple similarities that link the gaming world and the real world. However, despite the significant amount of educational research and the growing interest of the scientific community in MM OGs, there is a lack of empirical research considering the cognitive and social aspects of these games. This paper outlines the theoretical rationale behind a doctoral research project which is currently in progress and examines the leadership skills that can be developed in a self‑organized community of MMOGs. The main questions that this project attempts to address are: What characteristics related to the social nature of MMOGs activate leadership skills? What MMOGs can teach us about the design of succ essful online social spaces and activities for teaching leadership skills in virtual teams? In order to address these issues, this paper presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the social interactions in multiplayer games, within the context of com munity of practice, connectivism, self‑organization and activity theory. This framework aims at examining the creation of communities and the development of leadership skills in MMOGs, in order to explore the role of leadership in these virtual teams. The study of the social structures of a group and the leadership skills that can be developed in a MMOG should result to specific design principles that could be used as design methods for developing effective collaborative environments for virtual teams.

 

Keywords: MMOGs, MMORPGs, leadership, virtual teams, activity theory, connectivism, self-organization, communities of practice

 

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Journal Article

Use of Adaptive Study Material in Education in E‑learning Environment  pp172-182

Kateřina Kostolányová, Jana Šarmanová

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

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Abstract

Abstract: Personalised education is a topical matter today and the impact of ICT on education has been covered extensively. The adaptation of education to various types of student is an issue of a vast number of papers presented at diverse conferences. Th e topic incorporates the fields of information technologies and eLearning, but in no small part also the field of pedagogy. By interconnecting eLearning with the requirement for personalized education, we obtain a new term … automatic adaptive learning. W e asked ourselves a question if the process of automatic adaptive learning (i.e. going through the electronic study course which suits students preferences and learning style) can be modeled. The optimal adaptive process will respect students differen ces based on determined learning styles and with regard to their knowledge and skills as changed during the course. On the basis of identification of their personal characteristics and qualities, students will be presented with a study material which suit s them the most. One of the basic building blocks of adaptive education is the storage of study materials. In order to be able to prepare tailored education for every type of student, study material must be prepared in many different variants, in differen t form. This form should be different from the classic form of text‑books. This article presents the issues connected with the creation of study materials suitable for adaptive education in more detail; the basis for this is the pedagogical analysis of th e starting prerequisites applicable in eLearning. In conclusion, a particular way of use of such created study material in electronic adaptive education will be outlined.

 

Keywords: Keywords: study material, adaptation, learning style, creation of methodology, e-learning, personalization of education, theory of adaptive e-learning

 

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Journal Article

Moving Outside the Box: Researching e‑Learning in Disruptive Times  pp59-69

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy

© Apr 2017 Volume 15 Issue 1, Editor: Robert Ramberg, pp1 - 103

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Abstract

The rise of technology’s influence in a cross‑section of fields within formal education, not to mention in the broader social world, has given rise to new forms in the way we view learning, i.e. what constitutes valid knowledge and how we arrive at that knowledge. Some scholars have claimed that technology is but a tool to support the meaning‑making that lies at the root of knowledge production while others argue that technology is increasingly and inextricably intertwined not just with knowledge construction but with changes to knowledge makers themselves. Regardless which side one stands in this growing debate, it is difficult to deny that the processes we use to research learning supported by technology in order to understand these growing intricacies, have profound implications. In this paper, my aim is to argue and defend a call in the research on ICT for a critical reflective approach to researching technology use. Using examples from qualitative research in e‑learning I have conducted on three continents over 15 years, and in diverse educational contexts, I seek to unravel the means and justification for research approaches that can lead to closing the gap between research and practice. These studies combined with those from a cross‑disciplinary array of fields support the promotion of a research paradigm that examines the socio‑cultural contexts of learning with ICT, at a time that coincides with technology becoming a social networking facilitator. Beyond the examples and justification of the merits and power of qualitative research to uncover the stories that matter in these socially embodied e‑learning contexts, I discuss the methodologically and ethically charged decisions using emerging affordances of technology for analyzing and representing results, including visual ethnography. The implications both for the consumers and producers of research of moving outside the box of established research practices are yet unfathomable but exciting.

 

Keywords: qualitative research, socio-cultural contexts, ethical issues, critical theory, visual ethnography

 

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Journal Article

The E‑Learning Setting Circle: First Steps Toward Theory Development in E‑Learning Research  pp94-104

Marco Rüth, Kai Kaspar

© Apr 2017 Volume 15 Issue 1, Editor: Robert Ramberg, pp1 - 103

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Abstract

E‑learning projects and related research generate an increasing amount of evidence within and across various disciplines and contexts. The field is very heterogeneous as e‑learning approaches are often characterized by rather unique combinations of situational factors that guide the design and realization of e‑learning in a bottom‑up fashion. Comprehensive theories of e‑learning that allow deductive reasoning and hence a more top‑down strategy are missing so far, but they are highly desirable. In view of the current situation, inductive reasoning is the prevalent way of scientific progress in e‑learning research and the first step toward theory development: individual projects provide the insights necessary to gradually build up comprehensive theories and models. In this context, comparability and generalizability of project results are the keys to success. Here we propose a new model – the E‑Learning Setting Circle – that will promote comparability and generalizability of project results by structuring, standardizing, and guiding e‑learning approaches at the level of a general research methodology. The model comprises three clusters – context setting, structure setting, and content setting – each of which comprises three individual issues that are not necessarily sequential but frequently encountered in e‑learning projects. Two further elements are incorporated: on the one hand, we delineate the central role of objective setting and the assessment of the goal attainment level (guiding element); on the other hand, we highlight the importance of multi‑criteria decision‑making (universal element). Overall, the proposed circular model is a strategic framework intended to foster theory development in the area of e‑learning projects and research.

 

Keywords: e-learning research, e-learning projects, research methodology, theory development, major project issues, decision-making, new model

 

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Journal Article

Behind the Scenes with OpenLearn: the Challenges of Researching the Provision of Open Educational Resources  pp139-148

Stephen Godwin, Patrick McAndrew, Andreia Santos

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

Web‑enabled technology is now being applied on a large scale. In this paper we look at open access provision of teaching and learning leading to many users with varying patterns and motivations for use. This has provided us with a research challenge to find methods that help us understand and explain such initiatives. We describe ways to model the research and identify where pressures and contradictions can be found, drawing on a reflective view of our own practice in performing the research. Open educational resources are defined as technology‑enabled educational resources that are openly available for consultation, use and adaptation by users for non‑commercial purposes (UNESCO, 2002). OpenLearn is one of the largest of such initiatives and is committed to the provision of open educational resources for all. It is being developed by The Open University and is primarily sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It provides users with over 4 200 hours of higher educational material drawn from Open University courses. Other learning tools such as discussion forums, video conferencing, and knowledge mapping software are also available to the user. In this paper we aim to introduce OpenLearn and outline some of the main research issues surrounding such an initiative. We seek to explore theoretical and practical approaches that can provide suitable tools for analysis. Activity theory is seen as a suitable approach for macro analysis and its use is illustrated in terms of the complexity of large scale research. Activity theory, besides informing research perspectives, can be turned in upon the research process itself allowing us to consider the challenges and context of the research. By using activity theory in this way and illustrating from a range of practical approaches we demonstrate and illustrate a useful research approach.

 

Keywords: e-Learning, open content, tools, action research, activity theory

 

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Journal Article

Personal Learning Journal — Course Design for Using Weblogs in Higher Education  pp189-196

Stefanie Hain, Andrea Back

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

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Abstract

This paper examines the impact of weblogs on individual learning processes in a university environment. It outlines experiences with weblogs as an instrument of learning reflection or a learning journal. This paper presents an innovative didactical concept based on the Web 2.0 paradigm and evolving technologies. Weblogs have emerged with the paradigm of Web 2.0 and user‑generated content and have gained in importance through the various evolving application contexts, for example, the transfer of knowledge within enterprises, the communication and exchange of experiences with customers, and even the acquisition of projects by power bloggers. In this paper, weblogs are considered in the specificity of learning journals that focus on two objectives: first, supporting individual learning by means of reflection as the most effective method of individual learning; and, second, multiplying these efforts through interaction and discussion within a group of individuals with common interests. The latter is based on contribution‑based pedagogies that maintain that collaboratively creating learning resources and sharing them with others are promising practices through which students can learn. Additionally, it is argued that this style of teaching relates to a growing trend in higher education in which the focus of learning is moving away from building a basic knowledge store and toward emphasizing a wider range of skills. We successfully applied the weblog approach to several academic courses during which qualitative and quantitative data were collected in an empirical study. This paper reflects our experiences with weblogs as a support for university lectures and is based on four semesters of exploration and adaptation. Within the scope of the research approach of design research (Hevner et al. 2004), it provides a structured method to support individual learning processes within a learning community realized by a weblog in the specificity of a learning journal. Verification with students and experts has led to a holistic method through which lecturers and coaches can successfully integrate weblogs into academic courses or even professional trainings. This paper addresses both academic learning and professional education management initiatives. Essentially, it aims at in‑house trainings in enterprises, vocational schools, and universities. Interviews with experts will also reveal how to successfully align this method with professional trainings. In conclusion, this paper suggests a method with which to design a learning environment by means of learning journals to enforce increased individual learning. More specifically, it reveals that learning journals enable the achievement of level three (transfer to and application in the working environment) of Kirkpatrick's (1994) four‑level model, which was generated to evaluate learning programs.

 

Keywords: Web 2.0, weblog, learning log, learning journal, learning reflection, contribution-based theory

 

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