• A blended learning framework for curriculum design and professional development

      Negin Mirriahi; Dennis Alonzo; Bob Fox (Co-Action Publishing, 2015-10-01)
      The need for flexibility in learning and the affordances of technology provided the impetus for the rise of blended learning (BL) globally across higher education institutions. However, the adoption of BL practices continues at a low pace due to academics’ low digital fluency, various views and BL definitions, and limited standards-based tools to guide academic practice. To address these issues, this paper introduces a BL framework, based on one definition and with criteria and standards of practice to support the evaluation and advancement of BL in higher education. The framework is theoretically underpinned by the extant literature and supported by focus group discussions. The evidence supporting the criteria and standards are discussed with suggestions for how they can be used to guide course design, academic practice, and professional development.
    • A case for examining pre-service teacher preparation for inquiry teaching science with technology

      Chris T. Shively; Randy Yerrick (Co-Action Publishing, 2014-10-01)
      Inquiry has been the framework for guiding reform-based science instruction. All too often, the role of technology is treated tacitly without contributions to this framework. This case study examines a collection of pre-service teachers enrolling in two educational technology courses and the role these experiences play in promoting inquiry teaching. Interviews, field notes, surveys, reflective digital narratives and student-generated exhibits served as the data informing the analysis of inquiry experiences which shaped the enacted lessons of science teachers. Implications for research and practices are discussed.
    • A case of a laptop learning campus: how do technology choices affect perceptions?

      Jennifer Percival; Nathan Percival (Association for Learning Technology, 2009-12-01)
      Laptop learning programs have been developed to create ubiquitous online learning environments. Given the infancy of many programs, there is little understanding of aspects of the program are perceived to provide value to faculty and students. This paper focuses on the value proposition (with respect to perceived benefits versus capital investment) for undergraduate students in a mandatory, campus-wide, comprehensive laptop learning program. Results indicate that the perceived value of the laptop for technical programs such as science, engineering, and information technology, and liberal arts programs such as business and criminology, justice, and policy studies are significantly different. This difference results in a clear need to use different laptop learning models for each type of program and that a single campus-wide model will likely prove unsatisfactory for most students. A need to better communicate the true value of industry-specific software and skills acquisition is also highlighted.
    • A case study of campus-based flexible learning using the World Wide Web and computer conferencing

      Brian Nicholson (Association for Learning Technology, 1998-12-01)
      In line with departments in many other universities, the IT Institute (ITI) has experienced an increase in student numbers which has not been matched by a commensurate increase in funding or staff numbers. Staff to student ratios have increased to the point where it has become impractical for small group tutorials to take place. This position has affected job satisfaction and caused increasing doubts over the effectiveness of large group lectures for student learning. Furthermore, it has been recognized that over the last ten years the makeup of the student population has radically changed, leading to a larger proportion of 'nontraditional' students such as mature students with family responsibilities. Related to this, many students are now in part-time or even full-time employment. It is recognized that both these groups require greater flexibility in the time and place of their learning.
    • A causal loop approach to uncover interrelationship of student online interaction and engagement and their contributing factors

      Afrooz Purarjomandlangrudi; David Chen (Association for Learning Technology, 2019-02-01)
      Advances in technology reinforce the imperative to obtain further insight into the factors that impact online interaction in online environments. Even though past researchers have extracted factors impacting student online interaction and engagement, there is a lack of research that uncovers the dynamics of these relationships and investigates the impact of a comprehensive set of factors on student online interaction at the same time. Thus, this paper seeks to fill this gap by employing a causal loop approach to uncover the interrelationships of these factors that contribute to a positive impact on students’ learning outcomes, and to evaluate satisfaction and engagement in online courses by focussing on students’ online interaction. To this end, a rich qualitative data set was obtained from an online focus group consisting of students from a large online course, and a thematic analysis was conducted resulting in identifying different factors that played a role in the topic under study. More importantly, causal loop modelling was used to model these factors and their causal interrelationships.
    • A chemistry laboratory platform enhanced with virtual reality for students’ adaptive learning

      Oluwatoyin C. Agbonifo; Oluwafemi A. Sarumi; Yewande M. Akinola (Association for Learning Technology, 2020-09-01)
      In recent years, virtual reality system (VRS) has become more prominent among many researchers due to its capacity of providing as close as possible to real-life experience for users from diverse fields of life, such as tourism, academics, manufacturing and medicine. In this study, we present an VRS for the titration experiment in a chemistry laboratory to enable students to learn the titration experiment in a virtual laboratory environment before proceeding to the chemistry wet lab. The virtual chemistry laboratory environment was developed using the Unity Real-Time Development Platform, and the Microsoft SQL Server was used for the database to enable easy assessment of the student performance after the experiment. To evaluate our VRS, we tested it among 50 students (25 high school and 25 first-year undergraduate chemistry students). We collate their user’s experience through a structured questionnaire, and the responses from the students show that 60% agreed that it was helpful, 66% easy to interact with and 54% strongly agreed that it improved learning. Therefore, it is evidence that the proposed VR-enabled chemistry laboratory platform could be used to improve the understanding of chemistry titration practical process among students.
    • A collection of suggested electronic course templates for use in higher education

      Jill W. Fresen; Robin K. Hill; Fawei Geng (Association for Learning Technology, 2014-04-01)
      The collection of electronic course templates suggested in this article results from collaborative investigation between instructional support staff and academic staff users of the virtual learning environment (VLE) at two institutions, one in the United Kingdom and the other in the United States. The particular VLE in use at both institutions was Sakai, although the experience described here can be applied to the design process and workflow using any VLE that allows the selection and some configuration of standard tools.We applied the lattice model of Hill, Fresen and Geng (2012) to design and build a set of six course site templates, which are used as the basis on which site owners can easily build new sites in the VLE. As the ultimate goal of template provision is to underpin pedagogy, academics are free to use a template or build a site from scratch, based on their own teaching context, and they may adapt any template according to the pedagogical purpose and nature of the course. The underlying assumptions are that academic staff retain full control over the content, tools and permissions in their new site. The templates are not mutually exclusive – that is, aspects from any template may be incorporated, where applicable, into another one.We conclude that it is helpful for the VLE support team to take the lead in proposing a set of templates according to the predominant teaching and learning models in use at a particular institution, which may contribute to consistency across course sites and ultimately result in an improved student learning experience.
    • A comparative analysis of the effects of instructional design factors on student success in e-learning: multiple-regression versus neural networks

      Halil Ibrahim Cebeci; Harun Resit Yazgan; Abdulkadir Geyik (Association for Learning Technology, 2009-12-01)
      This study explores the relationship between the student performance and instructional design. The research was conducted at the E-Learning School at a university in Turkey. A list of design factors that had potential influence on student success was created through a review of the literature and interviews with relevant experts. From this, the five most import design factors were chosen. The experts scored 25 university courses on the extent to which they demonstrated the chosen design factors. Multiple-regression and supervised artificial neural network (ANN) models were used to examine the relationship between student grade point averages and the scores on the five design factors. The results indicated that there is no statistical difference between the two models. Both models identified the use of examples and applications as the most influential factor. The ANN model provided more information and was used to predict the course-specific factor values required for a desired level of success.
    • A comparative study on the traditional and intensive delivery of an online course: design and facilitation recommendations

      Panos Vlachopoulos; Shazia K. Jan; Lori Lockyer (Association for Learning Technology, 2019-03-01)
      In this paper, we present findings from a comparative study on a fully online postgraduate course offered in traditional (i.e. 13-week academic session) and intensive (i.e. 6-week academic session) delivery formats. Keeping the course curriculum, structure and quality consistent in both delivery modes, the study investigated student participation and academic performance given different facilitation techniques applied to the discussion forums. Using data from the learning management system and students’ final marks, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis and found no difference in the academic performance of students in both courses; however, there was a statistically significant relationship between student participation and academic performance in the intensive delivery format but not in the traditional delivery format. We also found differences in the type of interactions in the different delivery formats. Two key takeaways emerge from our study. Firstly, intensive online courses can be as effective as traditional courses in terms of achievement of learning outcomes with variations in learning design, in this case, the facilitation approach used. Secondly, considering the level and nature of interactions, student-centred discussion forums that allow students to assume different roles work well in the intensive delivery format especially in open discussions. These are important findings for academics and practitioners who wish to offer intensive courses without compromising on course quality and student success.
    • A computer-aided continuous assessment system

      B. C.H. Turton (Association for Learning Technology, 1996-12-01)
      Universities within the United Kingdom have had to cope with a massive expansion in undergraduate student numbers over the last five years (Committee of Scottish University Principals, 1993; CVCP Briefing Note, 1994). In addition, there has been a move towards modularization and a closer monitoring of a student's progress throughout the year. Since the price/performance ratio of computer systems has continued to improve, Computer- Assisted Learning (CAL) has become an attractive option. (Fry, 1990; Benford et al, 1994; Laurillard et al, 1994). To this end, the Universities Funding Council (UFQ has funded the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP). However universities also have a duty to assess as well as to teach. This paper describes a Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA) system capable of assisting in grading students and providing feedback. In this particular case, a continuously assessed course (Low-Level Languages) of over 100 students is considered. Typically, three man-days are required to mark one assessed piece of coursework from the students in this class. Any feedback on how the questions were dealt with by the student are of necessity brief. Most of the feedback is provided in a tutorial session that covers the pitfalls encountered by the majority of the students.
    • A critical appraisal of WinEcon and its use in a first-year undergraduate Economics programme

      D. J. Brooksbank; A. Clark; R. Hamilton; D. G. Pickernell (Association for Learning Technology, 1998-12-01)
      WinEcon is a Windows-based introductory Economics CAL package designed for use in higher education. It is the product of the Economics Consortium of the TLTP (Teaching and Learning Technology Programme) consisting of eight university Economics departments. Each of these has been responsible for producing some of the 25 chapters (tutorials) of the finished product. Content is based on covering the common core of introductory Economics as revealed by a survey of higher-education Economics departments. WinEcon is provided, with an accompanying workbook, for a nominal registration fee in the UK. The package is important insofar as it is aimed at all first-year undergraduates studying Economics, which encompasses not only those taking straight Economics degrees but large numbers of students following introductory Economics as part of a Business Studies or Combined Studies course. With no competition to speak of, WinEcon is likely to become a significant feature of the learning experience of a large tranche of the undergraduate population, across a number of degree schemes. Indeed, for many of these students WinEcon will constitute their first major experience of CAL.
    • A critique of the drive towards the globalization of higher education

      David Bird; Brian Nicholson (Association for Learning Technology, 1998-12-01)
      There has been an increase in the level of commerce that transcends national boundaries. Businesses no longer rely on local markets as acceptable, safe areas to do business. The emphasis is on globalization. Failing to globalize will result in the decline of a commercial activity, and a 1990 survey among businesses found that 40 per cent of them considered the expansion of the global market required increased production capacity and speed (Peppard, 1993).
    • A cross-sectional study of video game play habits and graduate skills attainment

      Matthew Barr (Association for Learning Technology, 2020-02-01)
      Using a survey of higher education students (N = 2145), correlations between game play habits and the attainment of certain graduate skills or attributes (communication skill, adaptability and resourcefulness) are presented. Correlations between graduate attribute attainment and a range of demographic and educational factors, including age, gender, level of study and year of study, are also calculated. While it is shown that there is no significant relationship between existing game play habits and graduate attribute attainment, several broad observations are made. Students who do not play video games tended to score best, while those students who play games in a variety of modes (online and local cooperative play, team-based and other cooperative play) also scored better on measures of graduate attribute attainment. Assumptions about the development of graduate attributes over time are also challenged by the data presented here, which suggest there is little correlation between attribute attainment and years spent at university. The work suggests that, while video games may be used to develop graduate skills on campus, there is no strong correlation between existing game play habits and the attainment of certain transferable skills.
    • A Disruptive Innovation perspective on students’ opinions of online assessment

      Michael Flavin (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-05-01)
      This article analyses students’ thoughts and feelings about online assessment. This article uses Disruptive Innovation theory as a lens through which to analyse students’ responses to online assessment, in a case study of a Leadership course. The sources of data for this article comprise annual course evaluation surveys, a one-off assessment survey and a focus group. Qualitative content analysis with a directed approach is used to analyse the data. The results show students are capable of undertaking a range of online assessments but are, in general, reluctant to utilise the innovative possibilities of different forms of online assessment. This article adds to our understanding of online assessment by placing it within a distinct theoretical framework, offering explanations for why students may not be seeking-out innovative forms of assessment.
    • A flipped classroom model for inquiry-based learning in primary education context

      Maria Loizou; Kyungmee Lee (Association for Learning Technology, 2020-07-01)
      A multi-case study will be presented in this publication which aimed to address an important gap in the current literature concerning the effective implementation of a flipped classroom (FC) model in a particular educational setting. There has been limited research focusing on utilising a FC model within the primary education context despite its potential benefits for young students, such as facilitating student-centred inquiry-based learning (IBL) and developing their higher order cognitive skills. This multi-case study has been drawn from authors’ collaborative action research project with other teacher participants, during which the authors explored the effective ways in which a FC model can be utilised to promote students’ IBL in primary school settings. The authors first develop an inquiry-based flipped classroom (IB-FC) model and applied the model into five primary schools in Cyprus for a school year (2017–2018). A total number of five teachers, 77 students and 48 of their parents were invited to participate in the project. A large volume of qualitative data was collected mainly through classroom observations and interviews. Data analysis of teachers’, students’ and parents’ experiences and perceptions led to the development of seven universal design principles. These principles can be used to support primary school teachers’ attempts to design effective instructions using the IB-FC model.
    • A Framework for Mixed Reality Free-Choice, Self-Determined Learning

      Claudio Aguayo; Chris Eames; Thomas Cochrane (Association for Learning Technology, 2020-03-01)
      In this article, we present a theoretical framework for mixed reality (MR/XR) self-determined learning to enhance ecological literacy in free-choice educational settings. The framework emerged from a research study in New Zealand which aimed to explore how learning experiences which incorporate mobile technologies within free-choice learning settings can be designed to enhance learner development of marine ecological literacy. An understanding of how mobile technology can be integrated into the teaching and learning of sustainability education that incorporates free-choice learning contexts, such as visitor centres, is of strategic importance to both education outside the classroom and adult learning. Following a design-based research methodology, the framework is presented in the form of a set of design principles and guidelines, informed by key theories in ecological literacy and free-choice learning, heutagogy, bring your own device and self-determined learning. We briefly describe how the framework provided the foundation for an educational intervention. This paper aims to assist researchers and developers of MR/XR immersive learning environments to consider design principles and processes that can enhance learning outcomes within free-choice settings, such as museums and visitor centres.
    • A literature synthesis of personalised technology-enhanced learning: what works and why

      Elizabeth FitzGerald; Ann Jones; Natalia Kucirkova; Eileen Scanlon (Association for Learning Technology, 2018-11-01)
      Personalised learning, having seen both surges and declines in popularity over the past few decades, is once again enjoying a resurgence. Examples include digital resources tailored to a particular learner’s needs, or individual feedback on a student’s assessed work. In addition, personalised technology-enhanced learning (TEL) now seems to be attracting interest from philanthropists and venture capitalists indicating a new level of enthusiasm for the area and a potential growth industry. However, these industries may be driven by profit rather than pedagogy, and hence it is vital these new developments are informed by relevant, evidence-based research. For many people, personalised learning is an ambiguous and even loaded term that promises much but does not always deliver. This paper provides an in-depth and critical review and synthesis of how personalisation has been represented in the literature since 2000, with a particular focus on TEL. We examine the reasons why personalised learning can be beneficial and examine how TEL can contribute to this. We also unpack how personalisation can contribute to more effective learning. Lastly, we examine the limitations of personalised learning and discuss the potential impacts on wider stakeholders.
    • A Mathematica-based CAL matrix-theory tutor for scientists and engineers

      M. A. Kelmanson; S. B. Maunders; S. Y. Cheng (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Under the TLTP initiative, the Mathematics Departments at Imperial College and Leeds University are jointly developing a CAL method directed at supplementing the level of mathematics of students entering science and engineering courses from diverse A-level (or equivalent) backgrounds. The aim of the joint project is to maintain – even increase - the number of students enrolling on such first-year courses without lowering the courses' existing mathematical standards. A CAL tutor for matrix theory is presented in this paper, in the form of Mathematica Notebooks. This constitutes one of a list of specific A-level mathematics core options required by science and engineering departments. The module has been written so as to recognize students' errors and advise accordingly. Questions are generated randomly, at run time, in order to preclude copying between users. The module incorporates automated performance indicators so as to impinge minimally on existing staff resources. As an aid to other CAL authors considering the use of Mathematica Notebooks, idiosyncratic difficulties encountered within Mathematica Notebooks are catalogued and discussed in detail.
    • A mixed-methods exploration of an environment for learning computer programming

      Richard Mather (Association for Learning Technology, 2015-08-01)
      A mixed-methods approach is evaluated for exploring collaborative behaviour, acceptance and progress surrounding an interactive technology for learning computer programming. A review of literature reveals a compelling case for using mixed-methods approaches when evaluating technology-enhanced-learning environments. Here, ethnographic approaches used for the requirements engineering of computing systems are combined with questionnaire-based feedback and skill tests. These are applied to the ‘Ceebot’ animated 3D learning environment. Video analysis with workplace observation allowed detailed inspection of problem solving and tacit behaviours. Questionnaires and knowledge tests provided broad sample coverage with insights into subject understanding and overall response to the learning environment. Although relatively low scores in programming tests seemingly contradicted the perception that Ceebot had enhanced understanding of programming, this perception was nevertheless found to be correlated with greater test performance. Video analysis corroborated findings that the learning environment and Ceebot animations were engaging and encouraged constructive collaborative behaviours. Ethnographic observations clearly captured Ceebot's value in providing visual cues for problem-solving discussions and for progress through sharing discoveries. Notably, performance in tests was most highly correlated with greater programming practice (p≤0.01). It was apparent that although students had appropriated technology for collaborative working and benefitted from visual and tacit cues provided by Ceebot, they had not necessarily deeply learned the lessons intended. The key value of the ‘mixed-methods’ approach was that ethnographic observations captured the authenticity of learning behaviours, and thereby strengthened confidence in the interpretation of questionnaire and test findings.
    • A mobile app for public legal education: a case study of co-designing with students

      Hugh McFaul; Elizabeth FitzGerald; David Byrne; Francine Ryan (Association for Learning Technology, 2020-09-01)
      The sharp decline in levels of state-funded legal support has highlighted the importance of publicly available sources of legal information for facilitating access to justice. Mobile apps present an opportunity to provide legal information that can be targeted at particular audiences. University law schools, sometimes in partnership with civil society organisations, are beginning to engage their students in cross-disciplinary projects to create mobile apps, which can provide free legal information and guidance to the public.The aim of this case study was to evaluate one such project which involved the co-design of a mobile app for the purpose of disseminating information on employment law. Law, education and computing academics worked with undergraduate law students over a period of 3 months and the prototype app was reviewed by legal advice charities. The findings have implications for how universities can work across disciplines and in partnership with civil society to provide opportunities for their students to use technology to apply their disciplinary knowledge to enhance the public good.