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

Game Inspired Tool Support for e‑Learning Processes  pp101-110

Marie-Thérèse Charles, David Bustard, Michaela Black

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

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Abstract

Student engagement is crucial to the success of e‑learning but is often difficult to achieve in practice. One significant factor is the quality of the learning content; also important, however, is the suitability of the process through which that material is studied. In recent years much research has been devoted to improving e‑ learning content but considerably less attention given to enhancing the associated e‑learning process. This paper focuses on that process, considering in particular how student engagement might be improved using techniques common in digital games. The work is motivated by a belief that, with careful design, e‑learning systems may be able to achieve the levels of engagement expected of digital games. In general, such games succeed by entertaining players, building on their natural curiosity and competitiveness to encourage them to continue to play. This paper supports a belief that by adopting some of the engagement techniques used in games, e‑ learning can become equally successful. In particular, the paper considers how the learning process might become a form of game that helps sustain continued study. Factors affecting engagement and elements of digital games that make them engaging are identified. A proposal for improving engagement is then outlined. The approach is to encourage student involvement by rewarding desirable behaviour, including the completion of optional challenges, and giving regular feedback on performance, measured against others in the same class. Feedback is provided through a web‑based tool. The paper describes an exploratory assessment of both the tool and approach through action research. Results for two linked university modules teaching software development are presented. The results so far are very encouraging in that student engagement and performance have increased, especially at the weaker end of the class. Limitations of the approach are also outlined, together with an indication of future research plans.

 

Keywords: e-learning, digital games, engagement, feedback, action research

 

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Journal Article

Enhancing the Impact of Formative Feedback on Student Learning Through an Online Feedback System  pp111-122

Thanos Hatziapostolou, Iraklis Paraskakis

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

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Abstract

Formative feedback is instrumental in the learning experience of a student. It can be effective in promoting learning if it is timely, personal, manageable, motivational, and in direct relation with assessment criteria. Despite its importance, however, research suggests that students are discouraged from engaging in the feedback process primarily for reasons that relate to lack of motivation and difficulty in relating to and reflecting on the feedback comments. In this paper we present Online FEdback System (OFES), an e‑learning tool that effectively supports the provision of formative feedback. Our aims are to enhance feedback reception and to strengthen the quality of feedback through the way feedback is communicated to the students. We propose that an effective feedback communication mechanism should be integrated into a student's online learning space and it is anticipated that this provision will motivate students to engage with feedback. Empirical evidence suggests that the developed system successfully addressed the issues of student engagement and motivation and achieved its objectives. The results of using the system for two years indicate a positive perception of the students which, in turn, encourage us to further explore its effectiveness by extending its functionality and integrating it into a an open source learning management system.

 

Keywords: formative feedback, online feedback, student engagement, student motivation

 

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Journal Article

A Framework for Measuring Student Learning Gains and Engagement in an Introductory Computing Course: A Preliminary Report of Findings  pp428-440

Billy Lim, Bryan Hosack, Paul Vogt

© Oct 2012 Volume 10 Issue 4, ICEL 2012, Editor: Paul Lam, pp360 - 440

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Abstract

This paper describes a framework for measuring student learning gains and engagement in a Computer Science 1 (CS 1) / Information Systems 1 (IS 1) course. The framework is designed for a CS1/IS1 course as it has been traditionally taught over the years as well as when it is taught using a new pedagogical approach with Web services. It enables the new approach to be compared with the traditional way of teaching the courses in terms of student self‑assessment of learning gains, student assessment of their engagement with the subject matter, and researcher assessment of student learning gains as measured by performance on a researcher‑designed examination. The framework includes a comprehensive pre‑test and post‑test for students in the control and treatment sections to complete, a common assessment exam module for all students to take, and a faculty survey for the instructors to complete. This enables the researchers to answer many questions regarding the effectiveness of the Web service approach, including “Do students using the Web service approach perform better in the common assessment exam module?” and “Do students and faculty members find the Web service approach more engaging?” Results from the first semester of a 3‑year multi‑university study are discussed.

 

Keywords: learning gains, introductory computing course, web services, learning engagement, SALG

 

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Journal Article

Online formative assessment in higher education: Its pros and cons  pp228-236

Zwelijongile Gaylard Baleni

© Apr 2015 Volume 13 Issue 4, ECEL 2014, Editor: Kim Long, pp205 - 315

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Abstract

Abstract: Online and blended learning have become common educational strategy in higher education. Lecturers have to re‑theorise certain basic concerns of teaching, learning and assessment in non‑traditional environments. These concerns include perception s such as cogency and trustworthiness of assessment in online environments in relation to serving the intended purposes, as well as understanding how formative assessment operates within online learning environment. Of importance also is the issue of how formative assessment benefits both the student learning and teaching within pedagogical strategies in an online context. This papers concern is how online formative assessment provides teaching and learning as well as how lecturers and students benefit f rom it. A mixed method questionnaire on formative assessment with a main focus on how formative assessment within online contexts operates was used to collect data from courses using Blackboard. Lecturers and students at a comprehensive university were th e population. Various techniques for formative assessment linked with online tools such as discussion forums and objective tests were used. The benefits that were famous comprise improvement of student commitment, faster feedback, enhanced flexibility aro und time and place of taking the assessment task and importance in the procedure for students and lecturers also benefited with less marking time and saved on administrative costs. The crucial findings are that effective online formative assessment can nu rture a student and assessment centred focus through formative feedback and enrich student commitment with valued learning experiences. Ongoing trustworthy assessment tasks and interactive formative feedback were identified as significant features that wi ll deal with intimidations to rationality and trustworthiness within the milieu of online formative assessment.

 

Keywords: Keywords: online formative assessment, formative feedback, student engagement, learning

 

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Journal Article

Online Continuing Education for Health Professionals: Does Sticky Design Promote Practice‑relevance?  pp466-474

Roxanne Ward Zaghab, Carlos Maldonado, Dongsook Whitehead, Felicia Bartlett, Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner

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

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Abstract

Abstract: Online continuing education (CE) holds promise as an effective method for rapid dissemination of emerging evidence‑based practices in health care. Yet, the field of CE continues to develop and delivery is predominately face‑to‑face programs. P ractice‑oriented online educational methods and e‑learning platforms are not fully utilized. Educational theorists suggest an experiential approach to CE consistent with adult learning theory. A compelling question remains: Can online asynchronous CE prog ramming prepare health care providers in delivering higher‑level practice competencies?. To address this question, the authors have identified seven composite ⠜sticky⠀ factors that have been critical to the engagement of learners and the creation and delivery of practice‑oriented online educational programs (Zaghab et al, 2015). The sticky factors are based in knowledge management (Nonaka, 1994; Szulanski, 2002) and adult education or andragogy (Knowles, 1970; 1984). In this paper, sticky factor s are mapped to Moore and colleagues⠒ (2009) higher level learning outcomes in health care CE. Data are presented on learner reported practice‑related outcomes in a selection of online CE courses on the CIPS Knowledge Enterprise⌢ portal with the Uni versity of Maryland School of Pharmacy⠒s Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions (CIPS). A dynamic, adaptive e‑learning environment built by technology partner, Connect for Education, Inc., provides the innovative platform and the Acclaim! interactiv e learning technology. This technology‑instructional partnership is dedicated to an iterative continuous improvement process called the Learner Stewardship Cycle (Zaghab et al, 2015). The cycle improves stickiness and learner engagement in order to achi eve higher‑level learning outcomes in CE. Findings suggest that of the 769 learners successfully completing an online course with two or more sticky design segments, the majority report reaching level 4, 5 and 6 learning competencies. Learners from the pr ofessions of pharmacy, nursing, medicine, and other health

 

Keywords: Keywords: Health Care Practitioner, continuing education, situated online learning, learner engagement, continuous improvement, and practitioner-learner

 

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Journal Article

Active Learning: Engaging Students To Maximize Learning In An Online Course  pp107-115

Arshia Khan, Ona Egbue, Brooke Palkie, Janna Madden

© May 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp105 - 198

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Abstract

Student engagement is key to successful teaching and learning, irrespective of the content and format of the content delivery mechanism. However, engaging students presents a particular challenge in online learning environments. Unlike face‑to‑face courses, online courses present a unique challenge as the only social presence between the faculty and the student is via the Internet. In a recent poll conducted by the authors, 100% of the respondents considered student engagement a challenge regardless of the number of years they have been teaching online. This paper explores various strategies that can be incorporated into the design of online learning courses to foster a high level of student engagement based on multiple pedagogies. In addition, the role of collaborative student engagement tools for the design and delivery of online courses is discussed as well as the role these tools play in creating an atmosphere where students actively participate in learning activities and are contributors to lively discussions. Perspectives on various mechanisms of student engagement that are founded in classic active learning pedagogies and enhanced with new technologies are presented in this paper, including perspectives on the design of courses to facilitate student engagement as well as best practices of design and delivery of online courses. Finally, this paper emphasizes the importance of deliberate course design in the pursuit of actively engaging students in online course settings.

 

Keywords: active learning, higher education, student learning, student engagement, online course design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, frustrations

 

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Journal Article

Driving High Inclination to Complete Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Motivation and Engagement Factors for Learners  pp118-130

Lee Yen Chaw, Chun Meng Tang

© Jun 2019 Volume 17 Issue 2, Editor: Antonios Andreatos, Cleo Sgouropoulou and Klimis Ntalianis, pp66 - 172

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Abstract

Today, online learning is prospering from the widely available and easily accessible connection to the Web. Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy have made available several thousands of short courses at several difficulty levels in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from business, computer science to literature, for learners to select from. Learners who are looking to earn credentials for career advancement or personal interest would find MOOCs attractive not only because of the time and place flexibility these courses offer, but also because of the free enrollment or the very small certificate fee upon completion, as well as the emergent recognition these courses are receiving for their high quality learning delivery from leading educational institutions. Learners who enroll in a MOOC would typically need to participate in various learning activities and complete a few assessment tasks to complete the course. However, it has been commonly reported that the completion rates of MOOCs are low. Based on the common notion that when learners are more motivated to learn, they are likely to better engage in learning and have a higher likelihood to complete a MOOC, this study adopted the Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES) by Martin (2007, 2009) to collect responses from university students to examine whether positive motivation resulted in positive engagement; whether negative motivation resulted in negative engagement; and how positive or negative engagement swayed learners’ inclination to complete a MOOC if they were to enroll in one. Findings show that there was a statistically significant positive relationship between positive motivation and positive engagement, between negative motivation and negative engagement, and between positive engagement and inclination to complete a MOOC. However, the relationship between negative engagement and inclination to complete a MOOC was statistically not significant. Findings of this study can be useful to MOOC providers and learners in their effort to develop strategies to increase completion rates of MOOCs.

 

Keywords: inclination to complete, learning engagement, learning motivation, massive open online course, online learning

 

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Journal Article

3‑M Model for Uncovering the Impact of Multi‑level Identity Issues on Learners’ Social Interactive Engagement Online  pp131-143

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy, Jessica Chavez

© Jun 2019 Volume 17 Issue 2, Editor: Antonios Andreatos, Cleo Sgouropoulou and Klimis Ntalianis, pp66 - 172

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Abstract

Abstract: A growing trend in higher education institutions (HE) to move course offerings to Blended Learning (BL) modes is challenging many of our traditional views and practices of teaching and learning. Part of the problem is that many of those working within these institutions at the macro, meso and micro levels have stubbornly resisted abandoning the view that knowledge is imparted by the institution and that knowledge is consumed by students. Advances in technology have upturned this positionality as learners and institutions alike realize that roles are evolving in the process of education. Tracking the scholarship on BL, for example, reveals a major issue preventing successful learning outcomes is reticence on the part of learners to be socially interactive and engaged online. Through the lens of socialcultural and identity theories and a conceptualization of engagement being composed of behavioural, emotional and cognitive components, this paper aims to respond to a call for greater insight into this pressing issue. With findings from a recent qualitative longitudinal study of a BL program in a large private‑for‑profit university in Chile we unravel the complex social psychological aspects that contribute to learners’ willingness, or unwillingness, to engage in interacting with others and with content online – an essential determinant of successful learning and quality BL programs. A critical discussion of the findings from multiple qualitative data sources reveals that the general lack of undergraduate students’ incentive to develop agency and adopt empowered learner identities characteristic of active participators online, is strongly influenced by the assumed or imposed identities of teachers, academic leaders and institutional decision makers that create a climate that fails to nurture community building in these contexts. Abundant evidence suggests a model for BL in HE that could lead to decisive, strategic and coordinated action at each level and measurable improvement in student online learning engagement and outcomes.

 

Keywords: Blended Learning, higher education, learner engagement, macro-meso-micro level inquiry, identity theory

 

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