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

Moving From Analogue to High Definition e‑Tools to Support Empowering Social Learning Approaches  pp225-238

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdyand, Ivana Cechova

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

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Abstract

Traditional educational and training settings have dictated that the act of learning is an activity that is motivated by learners, directed by a teacher expert and based on information transfer and data manipulation. In this scenario, it has been assumed that learners more or less acquire knowledge or develop sets of skills as a result of such activity. With this model in place, learning ends when the training activities cease — and implies that repeated doses of similar training are required over time. Various computer technologies, as they have been generally integrated into educational settings, have taken on the role as tools to support such a model. In some cases they are used to replace the teacher in these contexts although not without serious implications for learners and their learning it has been argued. During the last three decades, a growing movement in educational research, based on the theoretical support of Leon Vygtosky and Mikhail Bakhtin, is advocating that the traditional conceptualization of the learning process is misconceived. From the perspective of this movement, learning is understood as a life‑long, social act of constructing knowledge in a dialogic activity with others. Within this model, social interaction is the precursor to higher order thinking rather than the reverse. The challenging question emerging for many educators is how new technologies can support knowledge and skill building in social constructivist‑based learning settings. And a corollary to this question arises: Depending on the particular technology chosen, what are the implications for learning and identity construction? In this paper, we describe the Language Learning Through Conferencing project (LLTC) in which an affordable video‑based web conferencing technology and desktop computers were used to conduct language learning sessions via the Internet. The project description, project content, and the experiences that took place over a sustained period, as well as the potential future for this approach to distance learning in a variety of fields are presented. The aim of the Language Learning Through Conferencing project (LLTC) has been to exploit a particular Web 2.0 technology to connect language learners internationally between Canada and new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and more recently in the public sector in Canada. More specifically, the project was a means to respond to learners who faced challenges in finding opportunities for language learning both in Europe and in Canada. Outcomes from ongoing qualitative and quantitative findings gathered by the respective authors are indicating that these dialogic opportunities are also having a powerful influence on learners' professional, linguistic and personal identities as well as their views of technology and learning.

 

Keywords: Video-based web conferencing, guided social learning, learner agency, identity and knowledge construction

 

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Journal Article

e‑Modeling — Helping Learners to Develop Sound e‑Learning Behaviours  pp265-272

Susan Greener

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

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Abstract

The learning and teaching relationship, whether online or in the classroom, is changing. Mentis (2008) offers a typology of teacher roles gathered from current literature on e‑learning including instructor, designer, guide, mediator, curator and mentor, which offer the university teacher a striking range of ways in which to develop relationships with students in the mutual development of knowledge and understanding. A study of Higher Education teachers in the UK proposed a shift in their role and behaviour concomitant with the explosion of VLE usage in universities (Greener 2008). As online and blended learning become familiar features in the university landscape, pedagogical discussions are being given more priority and ideas about how students can be enabled to learn appropriate skills for employability and lifelong learning, as well as higher order thinking, claim attention. Online, the teacher's status can easily be eroded, as learners can compare teacher‑designed resources with video lectures from across the world on similar topics and chat directly with experts in the field through their blogs. Teachers who are open to new ways of thinking about their subject, and welcome such self‑ directed behaviour from learners, are most likely to integrate new technology into their teaching (Baylor and Ritchie 2002), and their own competence with technology will be a factor in how such integration works. But it is vital in these discussions not to lose sight of classroom behaviour in the rush to develop e‑moderating and blogging skills for teachers. What teachers say and do in their face‑to‑face classes has always had a major impact on not only what is learned but also how it is learned. Bandura suggests that most human learning is done by observing and imitating others' behaviour (1977) provided the potential learner attends, can retain, reproduce and wants to do these things. So if we aim to integrate at least the affordances of VLEs into teaching design for blended learning, one of our considerations must be how the teacher uses the VLE in front of the learner. There is no doubt that teachers are increasingly uploading materials and weblinks etc into VLEs to support learners (or are made to by institutional policy). However there is less evidence that teachers are role‑modelling effective e‑ learning to their learners. Some of this is about competence, but it is rare for a teacher to lack the ability to learn basic technology use. More of this reluctance is about fear and anxiety, to be shown up as incompetent in class to what are considered the net generation. This paper will explore the concepts and behaviours implied in the role‑modelling of effective e‑learning in the classroom, drawing on data from teachers and learners involved in using VLEs and other Web resources in face‑to‑face sessions.

 

Keywords: role modeling, social learning theory, teaching methods, conceptions of teaching

 

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Journal Article

Exploring a ‘middle ground’: engagement with students in a social learning environment.  pp342-350

Anne MJ Smith, Sonya Campbell

© Aug 2012 Volume 10 Issue 3, Special ECEL issue, Editor: Sue Greener and Asher Rospigliosi, pp257 - 379

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Abstract

Abstract: The twenty first century student demands more from universities in terms of engagement that is flexible, accessible and immediate. This means universities revisiting their engagement agenda at a time when financial constraints can least afford expensive technologies and resource dependent engagement solutions. Solutions are likely to be varied however they must fundamentally deliver what students expect in terms of engagement. Engagement requires a partnership between academe and student body, but often this relationship is a tension between what universities want to deliver, and what students expect to receive. This complex environment of constraint, tension and expectation means that solutions will be tested by both parties on those variables. In pursuit of solutions it is presumed that there could be a ‘middle ground’ that would be acceptable to both parties. The aim of this paper is to present the concept of ‘middle ground’ engagement, where parties engage in learning using a simple, cost effective and easily accessible communication tool. ‘Middle ground’ is an emerging concept informed by results from a study of student communication, interaction and social learning. It enables freedom of movement for the user to communicate, engage and participate with others. The tool tested in the study is not a formal learning space such as a VLE, or a branded social space such as facebook, but rather a flexible, social learning environment allowing simultaneous access to social networking sites and formal academic space. The subsequent challenge is to shape and roll out a communication tool that is ‘middle ground’.

 

Keywords: engagement, participation, formal/informal learning, social learning, collaborative learning, social interaction

 

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Journal Article

Social media, Collaboration and Social Learning … a Case‑study of Foreign Language Learning  pp339-352

Margrethe Mondahl, Liana Razmerita

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, Editor: Dr Rikke Ørngreen and Dr Karin Tweddell Levinsen, pp313 - 410

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Abstract

Abstract. Social media has created new possibilities for digitally native students to engage, interact and collaborate in learning tasks that foster learning processes and the overall learning experience. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, this article discusses experiences and challenges of using a social media‑enhanced collaborative learning environment in case‑based teaching of foreign languages. Based on social constructivismwe argue that foreign language learning is an individual as well a s collaborative process and cognitive processes underlying learning and in particular foreign language learning are facilitated by means of social media and especially for new generation of students. This article contributes to understanding of how best t o make use of social media in an educational setting and how learning may be fostered in social, collaborative knowledge construction, sharing and building. The case‑study findings indicate that collaborative learning processes that are embedded in a soci al media enhanced learning platform are supportive and conducive to successful problem‑solving which leads to successful adult foreign language learning. Furthermore, the study reports on some of the challenges in using social media and collaborative grou p work for teaching and learning at university level.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Web 2.0, collaborative learning, foreign language learning, learning, case-based teaching, social learning, cognitive processes

 

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