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

An e‑Class in Action: Experiences with ICT‑intensive Teaching and Learning of Discrete Dynamical Models at Secondary School  pp41-53

André Heck, Harm Houwing, Cor de Beurs

© May 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 85

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Abstract

In 2007, a small team of university and secondary school teachers jointly developed and piloted an e‑class for 4 and 5 grade students (age: 16‑17yrs) at both pre‑university and general vocational level. The goal was to develop and try out innovative ways of teaching mathematics that would enable schools to offer optional courses for small numbers of students. The e‑class can be summarized as web‑supported instruction in a blended learning approach. The instructional material consisted of the chapter on discrete dynamical models from a brand‑new mathematics textbook, supplemented by investigative activities. Students could build and simulate dynamical models with the computer learning environment Coach. Instructions for learning to work with software were given through screen casts created by the teacher to gear with students' needs and made available in the Sakai‑based virtual learning environment. Students got weekly on‑line assignments, which they submitted digi‑ tally. At home they could get assistance from peers and the teacher in a chat room. We discuss some of the e‑ ingredients of the e‑class and their potential for teaching and learning mathematics and science in terms of principled design approaches to multimedia learning and pedagogical arrangements. We report the experiences of the participants of the project and present the future plans based on this work.

 

Keywords: e-learning, blended learning, multimedia learning, e-learning implementation, screen casts, secondary mathematics education, discrete dynamic models

 

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Journal Article

e‑Learning Success Model: an Information Systems Perspective  pp54-63

Anita Lee-Post

© May 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 85

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Abstract

This paper reports the observations made and experience gained from developing and delivering an online quantitative methods course for Business undergraduates. Inspired by issues and challenges experienced in developing the online course, a model is advanced to address the question of how to guide the design, development, and delivery of successful e‑learning initiatives based on theories of a user‑centered information systems development paradigm. The benefits of using the proposed model for e‑learning success assessment is demonstrated through four cycles of action research after two action research cycles of pilot study. Findings from our empirical study confirm the value of an action research methodology for promoting e‑learning success. The paper concludes with a discussion on the merits of the proposed model in furthering our understanding of how to define, assess, and promote e‑learning success.

 

Keywords: e-learning success, e-learning assessment, action research, information systems success model

 

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Journal Article

Impact of Communication Patterns, Network Positions and Social Dynamics Factors on Learning among Students in a CSCL Environment  pp64-77

Binod Sundararajan

© May 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 85

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Abstract

At present, it is difficult to assess the quality of learning in Computer‑Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) environments, because standard pretest and posttest measures do not capture the differences in the learner's ability to engage in the material, pose interesting new questions, engage others in learning and work collaboratively. This research investigates the impact of communication patterns, network positions and social dynamics factors on students' self‑perception of learning in a CSCL environment. The study involved a combination of methodologies combining questionnaires, and archiving of communication logs for data collection. Social network analysis tools were used to analyze relational data, map emergent student communication patterns and calculate centrality scores based on the electronic and face‑to‑face communication patterns among class members in the CSCL environment. Structural equation modeling was then performed on the hypotheses model to determine the impact of these centrality measures and the social factors on students' perceptions of knowledge gained and their satisfaction with their performance in the course.

 

Keywords: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL, distance learning, social network analysis, social dynamics, respect, influence, structural equation modelling, path analysis, interaction, participation, motivation to participate and learn, satisfaction with performance, gaining new and conceptual knowledge

 

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Journal Article

Weblogs in Higher Education — why do Students (not) Blog?  pp203-214

Monika Andergassen, Reinhold Behringer, Janet Finlay, Andrea Gorra, David Moore

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

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Abstract

Positive impacts on learning through blogging, such as active knowledge construction and reflective writing, have been reported. However, not many students use weblogs in informal contexts, even when appropriate facilities are offered by their universities. While motivations for blogging have been subject to empirical studies, little research has addressed the issue of why students choose not to blog. This paper presents an empirical study undertaken to gain insights into the decision making process of students when deciding whether to keep a blog or not. A better understanding of students' motivations for (not) blogging may help decision makers at universities in the process of selecting, introducing, and maintaining similar services. As informal learning gains increased recognition, results of this study can help to advance appropriate designs of informal learning contexts in Higher Education. The method of ethnographic decision tree modelling was applied in an empirical study conducted at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Since 2004, the university has been offering free weblog accounts for all students and staff members upon entering school, not bound to any course or exam. Qualitative, open interviews were held with 3 active bloggers, 3 former bloggers, and 3 non‑ bloggers to elicit their decision criteria. Decision tree models were developed out of the interviews. It turned out that the modelling worked best when splitting the decision process into two parts: one model representing decisions on whether to start a weblog at all, and a second model representing criteria on whether to continue with a weblog once it was set up. The models were tested for their validity through questionnaires developed out of the decision tree models. 30 questionnaires have been distributed to bloggers, former bloggers and non‑ bloggers. Results show that the main reasons for students not to keep a weblog include a preference for direct (online) communication, and concerns about the loss of privacy through blogging. Furthermore, the results indicate that intrinsic motivation factors keep students blogging, whereas stopping a weblog is mostly attributable to external factors.

 

Keywords: weblog, blog, higher education, informal learning, ethnographic decision tree modelling, motivation research

 

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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

Implications of the Social Web Environment for User Story Education  pp44-59

Terrill Fancott, Pankaj Kamthan, Nazlie Shahmir

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

In recent years, user stories have emerged in academia, as well as industry, as a notable approach for expressing user requirements of interactive software systems that are developed using agile methodologies. There are social aspects inherent to software development, in general, and user stories, in particular. This paper presents directions and means for incorporating the Social Web environment in user story education. In doing so, it proposes a methodology, SW4USE, for such integration. SW4USE consists of a user story process model, USPM, and Social Web technologies/applications that can contribute to the execution of the steps of USPM. A collection of scenarios of use, for both teachers in their classroom lectures and students in their team‑based course projects, are presented, and potential learning outcomes are given. The ephemeral and essential challenges in the realization of SW4USE, particularly those related to quality, are highlighted.

 

Keywords: agile methodology, collaboration, dissemination, process model, user requirement, Web 2.0

 

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Journal Article

Students Constructionist Game Modelling Activities as Part of Inquiry Learning Processes  pp235-248

Zacharoula Smyrnaiou, Moustaki Foteini, Chronis Kynigos

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

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Abstract

Learning science requires the understanding of concepts and formal relationships, processes that ‑in themselves‑ have been proved to be difficult for students as they seem to encounter substantial problems with most of the inquiry‑learning processes in wh ich they engage. Models in inquiry‑based learning have been considered as powerful tools that may help students in enhancing their reasoning activity and improving their understanding of scientific concepts. Modelling, however, in the form of exploring, designing and building computer models of complex scientific phenomena has also been embedded in the constructionist learning approach. Working collaboratively with constructionist game microworlds that by design invite students to explore the fallible m odel underpinning the game and change it so as to create a new game, may provide students opportunities to bring into the foreground their conceptual understandings related to motion in a Newtonian space and put them into test making them at the same time objects of discussion and reflection among the members of the group. Apart from the meaning generation, we also study in this paper, the students' group learning processes i.e. the construction of emergent activity maps to either plan their actions as th ey engage in game modelling activities or to report on the outcomes generated when these actions are implemented. The connections between the students activities as they work with a constructionist medium and the inquiry‑based learning activities from wh ich the students are considered to pass when engaging in scientific inquiry also constitute one of the main issues this paper attempts to study.

 

Keywords: modelling, games, half-baked microworlds, constructionist and inquiry-based learning.

 

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Journal Article

A Platform Independent Game Technology Model for Model Driven Serious Games Development  pp61-79

Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Christopher Carter

© Feb 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECGBL, Editor: Patrick Felicia, pp1 - 79

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Abstract

Game‑based learning (GBL) combines pedagogy and interactive entertainment to create a virtual learning environment in an effort to motivate and regain the interest of a new generation of ‘digital native’ learners. However, this approach is impeded by the limited availability of suitable ‘serious’ games and high‑level design tools to enable domain experts to develop or customise serious games. Model Driven Engineering (MDE) goes some way to provide the techniques required to generate a wide variety of interoperable serious games software solutions whilst encapsulating and shielding the technicality of the full software development process. In this paper, we present our Game Technology Model (GTM) which models serious game software in a manner independent of any hardware or operating platform specifications for use in our Model Driven Serious Game Development Framework.

 

Keywords: game technology model, platform independent game technology model, serious games engineering, model driven engineering, games based learning, model driven serious games development

 

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