Dobre, I. (2012). E-TEACHING & E-LEARNING, A MODEL OF E-COURSE DESIGN TROUGH A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH AND OUTCOMES-BASED PLANNING. In Conference proceedings of” eLearning and Software for Education”(eLSE) (No. 01, pp. 481-487).
This article acknowledges the influence technology has instilled in higher education with the role of the lecturer interchanging from mentor, coach and facilitator. Referred to as E-teacher, being immersed in the design process is also another additional responsibility for many lecturers. Furthermore, the author indicates that students should be involved in the design phase together with the E-teachers and designers. I agree with the author as students are deemed as stakeholders and being involved in the process at the beginning may ensue motivation and relevance to the course. However, I believe a diverse range of learners should be included to encompass all learning styles. From my own experience, a class of 20 learners can consist of many different styles and preferences. Although we only have four group members we have implemented this in the project where each member is both a learner and an educator. Designing from both perspectives may enhance the design process.
Moreover, communication is key in the success of e-courses. As noted by Dobre two key factors in a successful e-course are ‘communication and interaction at both, teacher-student level and student-student level’ (Dobre, 2012, p.482). It recognises outcome based learning as being learner centred. Consequently, in designing our project it is imperative that interaction and collaboration have a strong presence. For example, the lecturer may post questions or comments to instigate a collaborative dialogue to promote motivation. Creating a forum to stimulate student to student communication would be beneficial as peer to peer learning is very effective.
The author discussed instructional design models related to eLearning. It suggests that ADDIE (Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate) is currently the most popular model. This particular model is applied to our group project due its familiarity, structure and simplicity. Furthermore, the author proposes a model which is based on the Dick and Carey Model with the consideration of the ADDIE model. Whilst it does involve the learner in the process the model is very complex and I feel lacks clarity in its explanation and structure. However, it does promote the importance of the learning outcomes which I believe is imperative as depicted in Bigg’s Constructive Alignment where the outcomes, activities and assessment need to be aligned (Biggs, 2003). This has been applied to our project.
Biggs, J. B. (2003). Teaching for quality learning university (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press/Society for Research into Higher Education.
Littlejohn, A., Falconer, I., & Mcgill, L. (2008). Characterising effective eLearning resources. Computers & Education, 50(3), 757-771.
This paper recognises the vast array of technologies that can contribute positively to the education sector. It studies the characteristics of effective eLearning resources examining the relationship between the users, their use and the purpose. It modifies Mayes and Fowlers framework to be implemented for practitioners as oppose to the intended learners. The stages include Conceptualisation where the practitioner discovers new resources; Construction where the practitioner learns how to use these resources and Integration where the practitioner develops the resources for use. It suggests that the resource needs to support each of the aforementioned stages. However, whilst this is good in theory, I feel that being afforded time as an educator to implement all three stages may be challenging. Moreover, some educators may not acquire the necessary technical skills. This has been suggested in empirical research where a tutor who implemented serious games in a classroom took 5 weeks to master the resource resulting in lack of human instruction in the classroom (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2004).
This article also suggests the implementation of Laurillards Conversational Model for conceptualisation. It suggests that this model also defines the interaction that the learner and educator have with the resource. In our project I have suggested this model as it promotes interactions between learner and lecturer where software can sometimes fail (NUI Galway, 2010). Thus, in our project we must include narrative, communicative and interactive elements. Factors that influence positively on the use of a resource have been clearly depicted in this article which may provide valuable in researching the widespread resources currently available. Furthermore, the identification of the characteristics outlined in this article (pure, combined, adapted, dynamic) may provide beneficial for an educator notwithstanding that the paper dates back to 2006.
Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2004). Practical barriers in using educational computer games. On the Horizon
NUI Galway. (2010). The Virtual Learning Environment: NUI Galway.
May, G. L., & Short, D. (2003). Gardening in cyberspace: A metaphor to enhance online teaching and learning. Journal of Management Education,27(6), 673-693.
This paper proposes the implementation of the term gardening in cyberspace as a new metaphor for effective online practice and teaching. It draws on the similarities between basic gardening and effective online teaching. For example, soil conditioning relates to different learning styles and testing; watering relates to feedback and controlling weeds can relate to information overload. These serve as analogues for good online teaching. This was of particular interest to me as the subject for our project is winter vegetable gardening in an online context. However, these specific analogues may not be motivational for all educators. Nonetheless, it does depict growth and creating an environment to foster this growth/learning. This paper also focuses on the attitudes of faculty towards technology outlining the work of Abraugh indicating the fundamentals of interaction in learning and student satisfaction.
A valuable concept I have extracted from this paper is the attitudes of the teacher and how comfortable they are with sharing control of the process. I resonate with this as a result of the strong behaviourist approach applied in my own work environment and sharing control can therefore be a challenge. However, a learner centred approach with scaffolding enhances online learning and will be adopted in our group project where interaction and feedback is essential.
The paper also suggests that teachers using virtual classroom ‘need better instructional skills related to communication, organization, and motivation’ (May and Short, 2003, p.676). However, it can be argued that these are attributes also required in a traditional environment. Moreover, I believe that it is more an adaptation of these existing attributes as oppose to just a need. For example, face to face communication is different in an online communication environment. To promote intrinsic motivation in students the author suggests the use of real-life problems. This is relevant in both an online and traditional classroom environment and resonates with Malcolm’s Knowles view of the adult learner having a preference to real life problems (Knowles, 1984). Consequently, a case study will be instigated in our group project.
Overall, I don’t fully concur with the fact that ‘the gardening metaphor helps address the issue of subject matter by focusing instructors on the learning process’ (May and Short, 2003, p.688). It is not a metaphor that I will be implementing in my future work. However, from reading this paper I will reflect on my own attitudes and will be aware of this throughout the group project.
Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in Action. San Fransicso: Jossey-Bass.
Novak, E. (2015). A critical review of digital storyline-enhanced learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(3), 431-453.
This paper identifies existing literature indicating that storylines enhance learning by creating a real world environment which stimulates interest and promotes memorable experiences for the student. Defining storyline would be more beneficial at the beginning of the paper rather than on the fourth page. The effect of storyline game design on human performance has been examined using existing empirical studies. It questions the types of storylines used focusing on learning outcomes and documents its values. It acknowledges the military as being one of the first to successfully implement storyline enhanced learning in its training and how advancements in technology give educators today many more tools to achieve this.
I agree that game design elements can enhance learning. However, I also believe that the technology and game itself can sometimes take precedence over the educational intentions. Moreover, ample research focuses on efficacy as oppose to how and why games are effective (Van Eck, 2006). I agree with the view that the interactivity element of storyline can be beneficial and if time permitted it would be advantageous in our project. However, we have used a co-learner and character to create a journey which can be related to storylines and I will implement storylines in future projects. An example from my own experience is Diane Halpern’s Operation ARA which promotes critical thinking where students have to discriminate aliens from agents. It promotes interactivity, engagement, fun with deep understanding which resonates with the findings of this paper.
I agree with the article in that storylines promote fantasy and visualisation which can aid memorisation. However, I believe this is dependent on the design and aligning it with the learning outcomes. The findings of the paper suggest that using story design elements can either improve or have non-significant effects on learning. For example, the topic of the story may affect motivation and the performance of a learner. A study revealed that familiar topics in problem solving indicated more successful than abstract topics.
Whilst the paper is quite extensive in its research of only 11 papers the findings overall indicate less favourable results. I agree that many factors influence this, for example, the medium, topic, design etc. It suggests that more research is required to provide more accurate findings including variables such as motivation, gender and ethnicity. Furthermore, I agree with the authors conclusion that despite the lack of research storylines have the potential to greatly enhance learning and that theoretical constructs should be explored further.
Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE review, 41(2), 16.
Tirrell, T., & Quick, D. (2012). Chickering’s seven principles of good practice: Student attrition in community college online courses. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 36(8), 580-590.
This paper acknowledges the copious amounts of existing literature on the application of constructivist learning theories in eLearning to promote engagement. As a consequence, quantitative research in the form of online questionnaires was used to study student attrition rates in three community colleges in Virginia. This was prompted by the high attrition rates and increasing enrolments in online courses. The focus of this research was on the constructivist-based Seven Principles of Good Instructional Practice by Chickering and Gamson. This was of particular interest as I am influenced by the constructivist theory where the learner builds on existing knowledge. Furthermore, Chickering and Gamson’s principles was a theory I proposed to be applied to our current project prior to reading this paper. The reason I proposed this theory is due to its flexibility in that it can be applied to all learning contexts (NUI Galway, 2010). Moreover, Chickering and Gamson’s principles are an acceptable ‘rubric for evaluating online course design and online instruction’ (Tirrell and Quick, 2012, p.588).
Fifty faculty teachers participated in the research, which could be deemed as quite small and the findings indicated that the application of the principles was high. However, the research indicates that ‘faculty largely remain unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with constructivist learning principles that promote student engagement’ (Tirrell and Quick, 2012, p.589). There was also correlation between the principle Encourage Active Learning and reduction in attrition rates. Moreover, I would suggest that qualitative research, for example, focus groups or individual interviews would have added value to this research with the advantage of further exploration. On reflection, in the group project we need to ensure that we use approaches that are engaging in an online context, for example, practical (learner demonstrations) along with synchronous (forums) and asynchronous activities (chats).
NUI Galway. (2010). The Virtual Learning Environment: NUI Galway.
VanDerZanden, A. M., Rost, B., & Eckle, R. (2002). Basic botany on-line: a training tool for the Master Gardener Program. Evaluation, 1, 1-94. Retrieved 28/11/2015, from http://www.joe.org/joe/2002october/rb3.php
This article discusses an online horticulture project that was introduced in Oregon State University with the goal of increasing accessibility to the existing Master Gardener program. Despite the article dating back to 2002 it was of particular interest to me due to the limited research that exists on online gardening design. The characteristics of adult learners by Malcolm Knowles was taken into consideration, for example, adults are self-directed and are motivated by real-life tasks. I concur with Knowles work in my own practice and feel that it is important to take these characteristics into consideration in our own group project. For instance, implementing a case study based on real-life tasks may prove beneficial in our own project. Therefore, online learning may ‘create a learning environment compatible with some adult learners’ (VanDerZanden, Rost, & Eckle, 2002).
The paper discusses the design stage of the course where text was adapted from the existing basic botany chapter and was implemented with online quizzes in each section. Furthermore, a welcome video, discussion group, links to resources, multimedia including video, animation and photos were incorporated. This resonates with the structure and content that we will be applying to our group project so this article may prove invaluable in its application. Initially, this course was tested with a group of learners which I feel is invaluable in instructional design. Consequently, pilot testing our resource with a small group prior to deadline may prove beneficial to identity possible issues and add value to our learning.
Whilst the overall feedback from this online course was beneficial as learners valued its flexibility, learners did not find the interactive features in this course particularly useful. However, this may have been due to many factors such as lack of technology skills, instructions etc. As noted by the authors the pilot testing and amendments ‘were key components to making this project successful’ (VanDerZanden, Rost, & Eckle, 2002). Moreover, this article furnishes us with practical and useful information which may be beneficial as a benchmark for our own project.