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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

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

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

Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gamification Techniques to a Computer Programming Class  pp94-110

Panagiotis Fotaris, Theodoros Mastoras, Richard Leinfellner, Yasmine Rosunally

© Jan 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, ECGBL 2015, Editor: Robin Munkvold, pp81 - 149

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Abstract

Abstract: Conventional taught learning practices often experience difficulties in keeping students motivated and engaged. Video games, however, are very successful at sustaining high levels of motivation and engagement through a set of tasks for hours wit hout apparent loss of focus. In addition, gamers solve complex problems within a gaming environment without feeling fatigue or frustration, as they would typically do with a comparable learning task. Based on this notion, the academic community is keen on exploring methods that can deliver deep learner engagement and has shown increased interest in adopting gamification ⠍ the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non‑game situations and scenarios ⠍ as a means to increase stude nt engagement and improve information retention. Its effectiveness when applied to education has been debatable though, as attempts have generally been restricted to one‑dimensional approaches such as transposing a trivial reward system onto existing teac hing materials and/or assessments. Nevertheless, a gamified, multi‑dimensional, problem‑based learning approach can yield improved results even when applied to a very complex and traditionally dry task like the teaching of computer programming, as shown i n this paper. The presented quasi‑experimental study used a combination of instructor feedback, real time sequence of scored quizzes, and live coding to deliver a fully interactive learning experience. More specifically, the ⠜Kahoot!⠀ Classroom Respon se System (CRS), the classroom version of the TV game show ⠜Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?⠀, and Codecademy⠒s interactive platform formed the basis for a learning model which was applied to an entry‑level Python programming course. Students were t hus allowed to experience multiple interlocking methods similar to those commonly found in a top quality game experience. To assess gamification⠒s impact on learning, empirical data from the gamified group were compared to those from a control group who was taught through a traditional learning app

 

Keywords: Keywords: gamification, game-based learning, learning and teaching, technology enhanced learning, virtual learning environment, classroom response system, Kahoot, assessment, Higher Education

 

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Journal Article

Encouraging Student Participation in an On‑line Course Using 'Pull' Initiatives Paul  pp68-79

Peachey Paul

© Aug 2010 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

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Abstract

This paper presents an empirical study involving initiatives that encouraged students to log onto online courses in entrepreneurship delivered by the University of Glamorgan. The aim of the research was to explore items of interest to the online students that may increase participation in the forums and hence potentially enhanced engagement with the course module. The online tutor created additional forums within the discussion board of the virtual learning environment (VLE) that included a variety of online games and quizzes that were relative to the module topic. The rationale that underpinned this initiative was to reduce the possible blandness of the VLE as perceived by some students. The games and quizzes were carefully designed to enhance knowledge in the subject and thereby provided additional learning opportunities. The initiative was also thought to assist in the formation of an online learning community. The study involved experimentation by the online tutor with subsequent observation of the behavioural patterns of the students. In one module, the dedicated social and games forums attracted 54% of the total postings for the module. The findings suggest that including online quizzes and games that are relevant to the taught subject can increase the participation levels of the students and possibly enhance the learning process. The findings of this study may inform the design, development and delivery of online learning programmes. The findings also inform strategies of good practice in online moderation and may help to reduce withdrawal rates, which are typically high in the field of e‑ learning (Potashnik and Capper, 1998).

 

Keywords: Virtual learning environment, Fun, Discussion forum, Participation, Games

 

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Journal Article

The Purpose of Focus Groups in Ascertaining Learner Satisfaction with a Virtual Learning Environment  pp158-165

Yana I Tainsh

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

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Abstract

This paper examines the contribution of focus groups in evaluating learner satisfaction with a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It explores the views of a group of introductory level Post Compulsory Education learners that have a history of disaffection, impoverished learning and challenged written and communication skills. The outcome of this study will be used to inform future VLE material design for inclusion in a School policy document. Additionally, the findings will contribute to the development of both a broader range of discrete ICT programs delivered by a VLE and embedded ICT within a range of vocational qualifications across the Post Compulsory Education Vocational Curriculum.

 

Keywords: virtual learning environment, focus group, disaffection, impoverished learning, satisfaction, post

 

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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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