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Journal Article

Initial Evaluation and Analysis of Post Graduate Trainees' Use of a Virtual Learning Environment in Initial Teacher Training  pp103-112

Alison Hramiak

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

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Abstract

This paper describes the initial findings of a longitudinal case study that investigates the use of a virtual learning environment to enhance the placement experience for full time postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) students. Geographically separated trainees can feel very isolated on placement. The purpose of the VLE was to try to alleviate this by offering a way for trainees to maintain contact and offer mutual support while on placement. A preliminary analysis of the results is used to offer some insight into how this type of support might be improved for future students, by the construction of minimum pedagogical framework for initial teacher training.

 

Keywords: Teacher training, Virtual learning environment, pedagogical framework

 

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Journal Article

Learning Objects and Virtual Learning Environments Technical Evaluation Criteria  pp127-136

Eugenijus Kurilovas, Valentina Dagiene

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

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Abstract

The main scientific problems investigated in this article deal with technical evaluation of quality attributes of the main components of e‑Learning systems (referred here as DLEs — Digital Libraries of Educational Resources and Services), i.e., Learning Objects (LOs) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). The main research object of the work is the effectiveness of methods of DLE components quality evaluation. The aim of the article is to analyse popular existing LO and VLE technical evaluation tools, and to formulate new more complex tools for technical quality evaluation of LOs and VLEs based on requirements for flexible DLE, as well as to evaluate most popular open source VLEs against new more complex criteria. Complex tools have been created for the evaluation of DLE components, based on a flexible approach. The authors have analysed existing tools for technical evaluation of LOs, and it was investigated that these tools have a number of limitations. Some of these tools do not examine different LO life cycle stages, and other insufficiently examine technical evaluation criteria before LO inclusion in the repository. All these tools insufficiently examine LOs reusability criteria. Therefore more complex LO technical evaluation tool is needed. It was investigated that this new more complex LO technical evaluation tool should include LO technical evaluation criteria suitable for different LO life cycle stages, including criteria before, during and after LO inclusion in the repository as well as LO reusability criteria. The authors have also examined several VLE technical evaluation tools suitable for flexible DLE, and it was investigated that these tools have a number of limitations. Several tools practically do not examine VLE adaptation capabilities criteria, and the other insufficiently examines general technical criteria. More complex VLE technical evaluation tool is needed. Therefore the authors have proposed an original more complex set of VLE technical evaluation criteria combining (1) General (Overall architecture and implementation; Interoperability; Internationalisation and Localisation; Accessibility) and (2) Adaptation (Adaptability; Personalisation; Extensibility and Adaptivity) VLE technical evaluation criteria. The authors have also selected and proposed to use the universal, clear and convenient DLE components' evaluation rating tool, and have evaluated three most popular open source VLEs against technical (both general and adaptation) criteria in conformity with this rating tool.

 

Keywords: managing quality in e-learning, technical evaluation, virtual learning environments, learning objects, repositories

 

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Journal Article

GEARS a 3D Virtual Learning Environment and Virtual Social and Educational World Used in Online Secondary Schools  pp215-224

Jonathan Barkand, Joseph Kush

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

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Abstract

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming increasingly popular in online education environments and have multiple pedagogical advantages over more traditional approaches to education. VLEs include 3D worlds where students can engage in simulated learning activities such as Second Life. According to Claudia L'Amoreaux at Linden Lab, "at least 300 universities around the world teach courses and conduct research in Second Life." However, to date, VLEs have been very limited in use for K‑12 education. One option for secondary schools was developed by Game Environment Applying Real Skills (GEARS) and can be used in online or traditional schools. The 3D VLE is named ARC: The Impending Gale. This program has been used successfully for over a year as part of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum. ARC allows students to create their own custom avatar and enter the educational environment. The actual content of the game differs depending on the subject the student is taking. Current courses include earth science, geography, pre‑algebra, and spanish. The 3D VLE experience is designed to serve as a reinforcement of the concepts learned in the traditional lessons. The game environment itself has been very well received by students primarily because many of the continued development features were derived from student suggestions. One unique feature that was most requested was the inclusion of voice chat. Voice chat was only added as part of the ARC headquarters where students were able to meet before going out into the game world for their own specific content. The students are also highly motivated to progress through the content. ARC has been a great success for Lincoln Interactive and its parent company the National Network of Digital Schools. The social aspect of ARC was limited, and the ARC Headquarters prompted a plan to create a 3D Virtual Social and Educational World (VSEW) for the 15,000 students that had access to the Lincoln Interactive curriculum in 2009. With the inclusion of a social component, the concept of an online community was evaluated. Garrison's et al. (2000) Community of Inquiry framework is used to explore the Lincoln Interactive Community. The VSEW contains a 3D social space with custom avatars, chat, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communication, social objects in the form of community musical instruments, and a tutor zone for teachers. In 2009 four educational games are included in the VSEW. These educational games focus on basic concepts in the three disciplines of math, social studies, and language arts. Garrison et al, (2000) Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence are each explained in regards to the VSEW. Both ARC and the VSEW are implemented, and as of November 2009 they are currently being used by students. While there is still much to learn and explore in regards to 3D VLEs and Social Worlds, practical application by GEARS in an online secondary school has been positively accepted by faculty and students. National Network of Digital Schools: http:nndsonline.org Lincoln Interactive Curriculum: http:www.lincolninteractive.com Game Environment Applying Real Skills: http:gears.nndsonline.org 3D Virtual Social and Educational World: http:www.learnwithfriends.com.

 

Keywords: VLE, game environment, virtual learning environment, online, GEARS, virtual world, online community, social environment

 

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Journal Article

Multiple Criteria Evaluation of Quality and Optimisation of e‑Learning System Components  pp141-150

Eugenijus Kurilovas, Valentina Dagiene

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

The main research object of the paper is investigation and proposal of the comprehensive Learning Object Repositories (LORs) quality evaluation tool suitable for their multiple criteria decision analysis, evaluation and optimisation. Both LORs 'internal quality' and 'quality in use' evaluation (decision making) criteria are analysed in the paper. The authors have analysed several well‑known LORs quality evaluation tools. In their opinion, the comprehensive multiple criteria LOR quality evaluation tool should include both general software 'internal quality' evaluation criteria and 'quality in use' evaluation criteria suitable for the particular project or user. In the authors' opinion, the proposed LOR 'Architecture' group criteria are general 'internal quality' evaluation criteria, and 'Metadata', 'Storage', 'Graphical user interface' and 'Other' are 'customisable' 'quality in use' evaluation criteria. The authors have also presented their comprehensive Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) quality evaluation tool combining both 'internal quality' (i.e., 'General Architecture') and 'quality in use' (i.e., 'Adaptation') technological evaluation criteria. The authors have proposed to use the quality evaluation rating tool while evaluating LORs and VLEs. The authors have analysed that if we want to optimise LORs and VLEs (or the other learning software packages) for the individual learner needs, i.e., to personalise hisher learning process in the best way according to their prerequisites, preferred learning speed and methods etc., we should use the experts' additive utility function including the proposed LORs and VLEs expert evaluation criteria ratings together with the experts preferred weights of evaluation criteria. In this case we have the multiple criteria optimisation task using criteria ratings, and their weights. Quality evaluation criteria of the main e‑Learning system components, i.e., LORs and VLEs are further investigated as the possible learning software packages optimisation parameters. Scalarization method is explored in the paper to be applied to optimise the learning software packages according to the individualised learners needs. Several open source VLEs evaluation results are also presented in the paper.

 

Keywords: managing quality in e-learning, multiple criteria evaluation, learning object repositories, virtual learning environments, optimisation

 

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Journal Article

Collaborative e‑Learning: e‑Portfolios for Assessment, Teaching and Learning  pp21-30

Dharmadeo Luchoomun, Joe McLuckie, Maarten van Wesel

© Jan 2010 Volume 8 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 50

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Abstract

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Keywords: e-Portfolio, Virtual Learning Environment, VLE, online assessment, blended learning, collaborative learning, learning objects

 

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Journal Article

The social shaping of a Virtual Learning Environment: The case of a university wide course management system  pp70-81

William H Dutton, Pauline Hope Cheong, Namkee Park

© Jan 2004 Volume 2 Issue 1, Special Issue for ECEL 2003, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 239

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Abstract

 

Keywords: courseware, course management system, virtual learning environment, VLE, e-Learning, information and communication technologies, institutional change, social shaping of technology, online learning

 

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Journal Article

Differences in Intention to Use Educational RSS Feeds Between Lebanese and British Students: A Multi‑Group Analysis Based on the Technology Acceptance Model  pp14-29

Dr. Ali Tarhini, Dr. Michael James Scott, Dr. Sujeet Kumar Sharma, Dr. Muhammad Sharif Abbasi

© Jan 2015 Volume 13 Issue 1, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp1 - 56

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Abstract

Abstract: Really Simple Syndication (RSS) offers a means for university students to receive timely updates from virtual learning environments. However, despite its utility, only 21% of home students surveyed at a university in Lebanon claim to have ever used the technology. To investigate whether national culture could be an influence on intention to use RSS, the survey was extended to British students in the UK. Using the Technology Adoption Model (TAM) as a research framework, 437 students responded to a questionnaire containing four constructs: behavioural intention to use; attitude towards benefit; perceived usefulness; and perceived ease of use. Principle components analysis and structural equation modelling were used to explore the psychometric qualities and utility of TAM in both contexts. The results show that adoption was significantly higher, but also modest, in the British context at 36%. Configural and metric invariance were fully supported, while scalar and factorial invariance were parti ally supported. Further analysis shows significant differences between perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use across the two contexts studied. Therefore, it is recommended that faculty demonstrate to students how educational RSS feeds can be used effectively to increase awareness and emphasise usefulness in both contexts.

 

Keywords: Keywords: cross-cultural, technology adoption model, developing countries, RSS, virtual learning environments, engagement

 

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Journal Article

Visualisation and Gamification of e‑Learning and Programming Education  pp452-465

Marie Olsson, Peter Mozelius, Jonas Collin

© Dec 2015 Volume 13 Issue 6, ICEL 2015, Editor: Pandora Johnson, pp429 - 474

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Abstract

Abstract: Courses in virtual learning environments can leave recently enrolled participants in a state of loneliness, confusion and boredom. . What course content is essential in the course, where can more information be found and which assignments are ma ndatory? Research has stated that learner control and motivation are crucial issues for successful online education. This paper presents and discusses visualisation as a channel to improve learners control and understanding of programming concepts and ga mification as a way to increase study motivation in virtual learning environments. Data has been collected by evaluation questionnaires and group discussions in two courses partly given in the Moodle virtual learning environment. One course is on Game bas ed learning for Bachelors programmes, the other is a course on e‑learning for university teachers. Both the courses have used progress bars to visualise students study paths and digital badges for gamification. Results have also been discussed with teac hers and pedagogues at a department for computer and systems sciences. Furthermore, two visualisation prototypes have been designed, developed and evaluated in programming lectures. Findings indicate that visualisation by progress bars is a good way to im prove course participants overview in online environments with rich and multifaceted content. To what degree the visualisation facilitates the course completion is hard to estimate, and like students have different learning styles, they also seem to have different visualisation needs. Gamification by digital badges seems to have various motivational impacts in different study groups and in traditional university programmes the traditional grades seem to be the main carrots. Finally, it seems that softwar e visualisation might be a promising path to enhance programming education in the 21st century.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Visualisation, Gamification, Programming education, Virtual learning environments, E-learning

 

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