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

Delivering What Students say They Want On‑Line: Towards Academic Participation in the Enfranchisement of e‑Learners?  pp27-34

Richard Hall

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

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Abstract

Sustainable e‑Learning holds the promise of enabling higher education to meet the needs of a large and diverse market. Central to this is the response of academic staff teams in meeting the needs of individual learners, in order to enfranchise them within an evolving, enabling learning context. Enfranchisement is underpinned by the management of learner‑expectations in the value‑added nature of the on‑line learning experience. However, learner‑ enfranchisement demands that on‑line interaction is both accepted by academic teams and educationally liberating. Liberation requires meaningful existence, and hence active participation, within a 'supercomplex' world, in which both individual identities and the ability to manage information are tested. This paper assesses ways in which learner‑enfranchisement can be encouraged by academic teams. It pivots around the outcomes from student evaluations of a strategic e‑Learning implementation in one UK higher education institution. The conclusions that it draws focus upon strategies for adding pedagogic value, increasing academic participation and developing e‑Learning sustainability in order to enfranchise e‑learners. The argument highlights ways in which academic teams can move from a battery‑intensive approach to e‑Learning towards one that is more free‑ranging. It highlights how academic staff can increase the sustainable, inclusive value of the learning experience at a minimised cost. From this basis, it is argued that any extant disenfranchisement in the delivery of e‑Learning can begin to be addressed by increased team‑work. A by‑product for those teams is that in the very process of engaging their students, there is more hope that they will in‑turn become empowered within their own use of e‑Learning.

 

Keywords: Academic participation Learner-enfranchisement Teamwork Sustainability

 

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Journal Article

The Identification of Key Issues in the Development of Sustainable e‑Learning and Virtual Campus Initiatives  pp155-164

Mark Stansfield, Thomas Connolly, Antonio Cartelli, Athanassios Jimoyiannis, Hugo Magalhães, Katherine Maillet

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

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Abstract

This paper explores a number of key issues that have been identified as being important in the identification and evaluation of best practice within the context of e‑learning and virtual campuses. The 'Promoting Best Practice in Virtual Campuses' (PBP‑VC) project is a two year European Commission Education Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) co‑financed project that is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of the key issues and success factors underlying the implementation and sustainability of virtual campuses. The PBP‑VC project team have been working with stakeholders from a number of large virtual campus projects across Europe in identifying and exploring key issues relating to best practice and sustainability. The importance of developing a practical framework for identifying, evaluating and promoting best practice in virtual campuses and e‑learning can be demonstrated by the significant number of high profile e‑learning and virtual campus failures both within Europe and globally. In many cases their failure has been quite spectacular with millions of dollars being wasted as a result some quite basic errors in overlooking key best practice issues that have occurred across several large‑scale projects. This paper will provide a description of the different issues relating to models for best practice and sustainability that has been developed by the PBP‑VC project.

 

Keywords: virtual campuses, e-learning, best practices, sustainability

 

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Journal Article

Sustainability Learning through Gaming: An Exploratory Study  pp209-222

Carlo Fabricatore, Ximena López

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

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Abstract

This study explored the potential of digital games as learning environments to develop mindsets capable of dealing with complexity in the domain of sustainability. Building sustainable futures requires the ability to deal with the complex dynamics that ch aracterize the world in which we live. As central elements in this system, we must develop the ability of constantly assessing the environment that surrounds us, operating in it and adapting to it through a continuous and iterative individual and interper sonal process of revision of our frames of reference. We must focus on our world as a whole, considering both immediate problems and long‑term consequences that decision making processes could generate. Educating for sustainability demands learning approa ches and environments that require the development of systems thinking and problem‑solving, rather than solely the acquisition of factual knowledge. When designed with complexity in mind, digital games present a high potential to facilitate sustainability learning. Digital games can be modelled as complexified systems, engaging players in cognitively demanding tasks requiring problem‑solving and decision‑making skills to deal with ill‑structured problems, unpredictable circumstances, emerging system pro perties and behaviours, and non‑linear development of events. Furthermore, games can require players to collectively engage in the pursuit of common goals, promoting remote interactions across large numbers of players. To understand how games are currentl y used for learning for sustainabilityŽ, we analysed twenty games. In spite of the potential offered by digital games and concrete examples of good practice, we found that sustainability thematic contextualisation and complex system dynamics are not leve raged as much as could be expected. Hence, there seems to be space for improvements oriented at creating game systems requiring players to address sustainability issues from multiple perspectives through: contextualisation integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability; gameplay dynamics integrating non‑linearity, emergence, uncertainty, ill‑defined problems and social interactions.Ž

 

Keywords: sustainability, complex systems, game-based learning, digital games

 

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Journal Article

Integrating eLearning to Support Medical Education at the New University of Botswana School of Medicine  pp43-51

Masego B. Kebaetse, Oathokwa Nkomazana, Cecil Haverkamp

© Feb 2014 Volume 12 Issue 1, ICEL2013, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 125

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Abstract

Abstract: Since the enrolment of its first cohort of students in 2009, the University of Botswana School of Medicine (UB SoM) has employed elearning as a key element to support and strengthen its model of decentralised medical education. Significant inv estments have been made in setting up the physical infrastructure, and in acquiring relevant expertise to develop and implement an elearning agenda in a context with practical challenges associated with medical education in decentralised setup. Following the enrolment of its first cohorts of medical students, and residents in Paediatrics and Internal Medicine between 2009 and 2010, the School also launched a Family Medicine training programme in 2011 at two rural sites. With the expectation of contributin g to a positive teaching and learning environment for faculty, residents, and medical students in these remote areas, elearning is also seen as important for their retention, and thus for improved access to quality health care in rural Botswana. In this p aper, the authors critically reflect on the strategies used to implement elearning at UB SoM over the past 18 months, and highlight challenges experienced while implementing elearning in a new medical school situated within an older university context. St rong relationships with partners were identified as a critical foundation for the long‑term sustainability beyond the initial procurement and installation infrastructure. While confirming the obvious technical challenges in a setting like Botswana, the au thors emphasise the need not to underestimate associated broader challenges in engaging a diverse range of users, partners and stakeholders; not to lose sight of the pedagogical goals that are meant to drive the choice and use of technology (rather than vice versa); and to ensure that the expected benefits of the technology can and will be shared and sustained by a range of partners in the long run.

 

Keywords: Keywords: elearning, medical education, technology integration, mlearning, mhealth, tablets, ICT, sustainability

 

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Journal Article

The art of Gamification; Teaching Sustainability and System Thinking by Pervasive Game Development  pp152-168

Anders Nordby, Kristine Øygardslia, Ulrik Sverdrup, Harald Sverdrup

© Jul 2016 Volume 14 Issue 3, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp150 - 232

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Abstract

Abstract: In 2013 Hedmark University College conducted a research project where students from a game development project/study program developed and tested a Pervasive Game for learning as part of a class in System Thinking. The overall game goal was to t each Sustainability through System Thinking, and to give the students a real world experience with their game;. It was tested on 5th and 7th graders in elementary school, spending one school day in each of the classes. This article focuses on the design o f the project: how the game was developed, how the children played it and how research was designed and data collected.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Gamification, game development, pervasive games, games and learning, pedagogy, system thinking, sustainability

 

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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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