• Tertiary student attitudes to invigilated, online summative examinations

      Rosalind James (Springer, 2016-03-01)
      Abstract The outcomes of a trial implementation of an invigilated, online examination at a regional university in Australia and their implications for online education providers are discussed. Students in a first year online psychology course were offered the opportunity to complete their final examination task online with invigilation conducted via webcam. About a quarter of the students (125) initially elected to complete the online examination; however, after they had undertaken a practice online examination, only 29 (6.3 %) students elected to continue in the trial and proceed to take the final exam online. The study concluded that many students have substantial challenges with the idea of major stakes examinations being online. While lower associated costs and time requirements were motivations, many were challenged by the process due to technical difficulties and insufficient support. ICT infrastructure and reliable connectivity remain significant barriers to successful completion of online examinations under secure, proctored conditions.
    • Integration of learning technologies into teaching within Fijian Polytechnic Institutions

      Shalendra Kumar; Ben Kei Daniel (SpringerOpen, 2016-11-01)
      Abstract In the 21st century, learning technologies have increasingly become pervasive within various forms of learning environments. Institutions of higher education are increasingly turning to these technologies to resource and support their teaching and learning environments under distributed circumstances, face-to-face or blended. Recently, the Fijian Ministry of Education systematically introduced learning technologies into Fiji’s technical colleges to support teaching and learning. However, prior to the widespread deployment of these technologies, little information was available on educators’ perception of the value of these technologies, and the extent to which this could influence adoption. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of lecturers’ perceptions of the value of learning technologies and factors likely to influence their decisions to adopt and integrate these technologies into teaching as well as challenges they are likely to face. A survey was administered to fifty five self-selected lecturers involved in teaching within three Polytechnics in Fiji. Although overall findings suggested that lecturers strongly valued the contribution of learning technologies in enhancing student learning, a number of factors likely to influence the rapid adoption of these technologies were identified. These included attitude towards technology and perceived usefulness of technology in teaching, the institutional cultural environment, as well as resources available to support uptake. This research contributes to the growing significance of individual, contextual and cultural influences in the adoption of learning technologies into teaching.
    • On-campus or online: examining self-regulation and cognitive transfer skills in different learning settings

      Miri Barak; Rania Hussein-Farraj; Yehudit Judy Dori (Springer, 2016-11-01)
      Abstract This study was set to identify self-regulation skills required for online learning and to characterize cognitive transfer of on-campus and online students. The study included two groups of undergraduate students who studied the same course, but in different settings: online and on-campus. Data collected via an online survey and semi-structured interviews indicated that cognitive strategies and regulation of cognition are significant for successful online learning. Findings also indicated that the online students were more aware of mastery learning and information processing strategies than the on-campus peers. The online students specified the importance of planning, controlling, and evaluation skills for meaningful learning; whereas the on-campus students asserted lack of self-discipline and limited communication skills as barriers for distance learning. Near- and far-transfer components were identified, showing a significant positive correlation with self-regulation skills for both groups of learners.
    • Gamifying education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review

      Christo Dichev; Darina Dicheva (Springer, 2017-02-01)
      Abstract Gamification of education is a developing approach for increasing learners’ motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements in educational environments. With the growing popularity of gamification and yet mixed success of its application in educational contexts, the current review is aiming to shed a more realistic light on the research in this field by focusing on empirical evidence rather than on potentialities, beliefs or preferences. Accordingly, it critically examines the advancement in gamifying education. The discussion is structured around the used gamification mechanisms, the gamified subjects, the type of gamified learning activities, and the study goals, with an emphasis on the reliability and validity of the reported outcomes. To improve our understanding and offer a more realistic picture of the progress of gamification in education, consistent with the presented evidence, we examine both the outcomes reported in the papers and how they have been obtained. While the gamification in education is still a growing phenomenon, the review reveals that (i) insufficient evidence exists to support the long-term benefits of gamification in educational contexts; (ii) the practice of gamifying learning has outpaced researchers’ understanding of its mechanisms and methods; (iii) the knowledge of how to gamify an activity in accordance with the specifics of the educational context is still limited. The review highlights the need for systematically designed studies and rigorously tested approaches confirming the educational benefits of gamification, if gamified learning is to become a recognized instructional approach.
    • Female university student’s ICT learning strategies and their influence on digital competence

      Rocío Jiménez-Cortés; Alba Vico-Bosch; Angeles Rebollo-Catalán (Springer, 2017-04-01)
      Abstract Emerging technologies are leading to a rethink informal education and giving rise to new educational models, especially at university level. This paper looks into the strategies used by female university students to learn ICT and how this influences their level of digital competence. To do this, we surveyed 368 Spanish university women aged 20 to 34, using two scales measuring their learning strategies and digital skills. The findings showed that university students used a variety of strategies to learn about ICT, with strategies based on independent and collaborative learning prevailing. Results also showed that those women who used a wider variety of strategies to learn ICT attained more advanced digital skills. These results suggest the need to incorporate these forms of learning used by women with advanced digital skills into university teaching.
    • Democratizing digital learning: theorizing the fully online learning community model

      Todd J. B. Blayone; Roland vanOostveen; Wendy Barber; Maurice DiGiuseppe; Elizabeth Childs (Springer, 2017-04-01)
      Abstract The integration of digital technologies at institutions of higher education are profoundly influencing formal learning on a global scale. Social-constructivist models of fully online learning are well-positioned to address the demands of government, and economic and social-development organizations for civically-engaged individuals with strong problem-solving, critical-thinking and collaboration competencies. With an established record of performance at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Canada, the Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) is one such model. This paper theorizes FOLC as a response to several problematics, including (a) the aforementioned demand for greater educational focus on higher-order competency development, (b) the deficiencies of distance education and MOOCs as learning models, and (c) a quest for new learning models that strengthen deliberation skills and deepen democratic experience. As a divergent fork of the Community of Inquiry model, FOLC describes collaborative learning as a symbiosis of social and cognitive interactions amplified through effective use of synchronous and asynchronous digital affordances. Furthermore, it models democratized learning communities that reduce transactional distance between learners and educators, incorporates authentic assessment, and encourages negotiated technology affordances and cognitive outcomes while distributing responsibility for constructive criticality. Having positioned FOLC conceptually, and addressed current limitations, a research agenda for extending its empirical foundations, and leveraging UOIT’s EILAB affordances, is presented. The underlying argument is that self-regulating and transformative learning communities can be established and sustained in fully online environments, and that such communities (a) produce a diversity of beneficial learning outcomes, and (b) deepen the democratic functioning of learners and their social contexts.
    • Social media in undergraduate learning: categories and characteristics

      Erika E. Smith (Springer, 2017-04-01)
      Abstract This study investigates the core categories and characteristics of the social media technologies (SMTs) that undergraduate students choose to use in their own learning, outside of the formal curriculum. Within a mixed method research methodology, this inquiry employed 30 semi-structured interviews and an online survey (N = 679) to explore why and how undergraduates across disciplines view SMTs to be a meaningful part of their own university learning. Together, the qualitative and quantitative results demonstrate that several contextual relationships exist, including an important relationship between the particular ways of meaning making students identified and the specific social media technologies they use for their university learning. While no differences were found for general social media use, there is a significant relationship between particular ways of making meaning and use of specific SMTs, indicating the importance of learning context and social media affordances.
    • Undergraduate students’ conceptual interpretation and perceptions of haptic-enabled learning experiences

      Uzma A. S. Shaikh; Alejandra J. Magana; Luis Neri; David Escobar-Castillejos; Julieta Noguez; Bedrich Benes (Springer, 2017-05-01)
      Abstract Although visualization remains a primary mode of interaction in simulations, touch is the most common way people use to interact with the physical objects. A greater sense of immersion in a learning environment can be reached when the user is able to feel and manipulate objects as compared to only seeing or listening. Despite the affordances of haptic technologies, which could serve as scaffolds for deep conceptual learning, their true potential in education has not been fully harnessed and little research has been done to investigate its effectiveness for learning difficult concepts. This study explores the potential of haptic technologies in supporting conceptual understanding of difficult concepts in science, specifically concepts related to electricity and magnetism. A pretest-posttest study identified if students improved their conceptual understanding of electricity and magnetism concepts. Specifically, this study identified (a) how students, with different physics background, conceptually interpreted the tactile learning experience in the context of the visualization, and (b) students’ perceptions on the use of haptic technologies for their learning, as well as their perceived usefulness and ease of use. Our results suggest that overall students significantly improved their conceptual understanding about electric fields for distributed charges after being exposed to a visuohaptic simulation guided activity. Regarding students’ prior coursework, students with high school-only physics background outperformed students who have been previously exposed to college-level physics courses 8% higher in the posttest average score. Similarly, students overall agreed that they enjoyed using the haptic device for learning and found the technology as easy to interact with. Implications for teaching and learning are provided as well as venues for future work.
    • Scenarios in virtual learning environments for one-to-one communication skills training

      Raja Lala; Johan Jeuring; Jordy van Dortmont; Marcell van Geest (Springer, 2017-05-01)
      Abstract A scenario is a description of a series of interactions between a player and a virtual character for one-to-one communication skills training, where at each step the player is faced with a choice between statements. In this paper, we analyse the characteristics of scenarios and provide a classification to represent such scenarios. The analysis is performed through a literature review and by comparing virtual learning environments for scenario based training. Using this analysis we specify requirements for describing communication scenarios related to their: structure (linear, branching, interleaving), properties (static information stored per scenario like situation, background, which virtual character to show), and parameters (characteristics of a scenario that can be modified per statement like a score on a learning goal and an emotional effect in a virtual character). We define a schema for representing such communication scenarios and present an authoring tool to create a scenario.
    • A quantitative approach to pre-service primary school teachers’ attitudes towards collaborative learning with video games: previous experience with video games can make the difference

      Marta Martín del Pozo; Verónica Basilotta Gómez-Pablos; Ana García-Valcárcel Muñoz-Repiso (Springer, 2017-05-01)
      Abstract Increasing interest has been shown in using video games as an educational resource due to their pedagogical possibilities and their current expansion as an entertainment activity. However, their use in schools is still far from mainstream practice, which could be because of the barriers such as the price of video games, schools’ technological infrastructures and teachers’ attitudes. This article focuses on pre-service primary school teachers’ attitudes (future primary school teachers currently studying at university) towards collaborative learning with video games, which employs video games in collaborative learning activities. Because playing video games is a common form of entertainment for higher education students, we investigate whether pre-service teachers’ attitudes are influenced by their experience of playing video games (taking into account the number of years they have played video games), the frequency at which they play video games and their gender. This study takes a quantitative approach, using a questionnaire with a 5-point Likert attitude scale. The results indicate that pre-service primary teachers have a positive attitude towards collaborative learning with video games. Furthermore, students who have played video games for more years, who play more frequently and the male students have more positive attitudes to using video games in collaborative learning activities. Overall, pre-service teachers have positive attitudes towards collaborative learning with video games, which could affect the use of these resources in educational practices. As the main characters in the educational process, both teachers and children need to be comfortable with new practices to achieve the objective of the educational system, which is the complete formation of children.
    • Representational model on Moodle’s activity: learning styles and navigation strategies

      Sandra Meza-Fernández; Agustín Sepúlveda-Sariego (Springer, 2017-06-01)
      Abstract This paper attempts to describe the conditions related to the representation of 63 navigational paths carried out on Moodle’s platform. The hypothesis that we advance is that learning styles determine the mode in which users browse through websites. The post-observational notes and the analysis of logs (register of users’ activity) indicate two main facts: on the one hand, the elaboration of a tool that is able to convert log files into graphs that could be visualized as courses of educational browsing. On the other hand, the confirmation of the relation between ways of learning and styles of browsing, giving rise to a method that anticipates choices made by users on the digital platform. There has been stated that assimilative and convergent learning students solve the assigned task consulting, preferably, the content modules on communicative interaction. For their part, accommodating learning students follow precise instructions and rely on his peers’ activity. Finally, divergent learning students tend to prefer collaborative activities and they also help each other. The practical application of the results aims at the usefulness of the findings in university education context, which can be used in the elaboration of quality assessments and the identification of the needs of educational mediation.
    • Content in context: analyzing interactions in a graduate-level academic Facebook group

      Deborah Moore-Russo; Michael Radosta; Kristi Martin; Sara Hamilton (Springer, 2017-06-01)
      Abstract This case study investigated a Facebook group created and managed by a faculty administrator for students and alumni in a graduate-level education program. While most research to date has considered course-based applications, this research reports on how an academic Facebook group functioned as a way to interact with students, alumni, and faculty outside of a formal academic context. Borrowing methods from studies in market research, the researchers analyzed posts and user interactions on the group’s page over the course of 1 year. Posts were inductively coded into thematic categories, such as humor, student photos, and academic readings, and coded again by their mode of consumption, such as text, image, and hyperlinks. Using regression analysis, the categories and modality of posts were tested for their relationship to user interactions, which included likes, comments, and shares. Additionally, users were tallied on their frequency of interactions, and how that related to the categories of posts. Despite a large proportion of academic readings via hyperlinks, results found significantly more interactions for text and image-based posts pertaining to locally situated interests and entertaining content. This behavior was moderated by how frequently a user participated, with frequent users interacting more than expected with university notices. The results support previous research citing Facebook as primarily a means of entertainment and socialization, but with a clear advantage for student-centered content. The implication is that Facebook groups have potential in higher education contexts beyond entertainment when it’s used to support and recognize social connections among students.
    • Students’ feedback beliefs and anxiety in online foreign language oral tasks

      Sidney Martin; Ibis M. Alvarez Valdivia (Springer, 2017-06-01)
      Abstract Research about the interrelation between anxiety and corrective feedback has mostly been conducted in face-to-face environments. The present study examines the relationship between students showing anxiety when speaking a FL and feedback as a potential anxiety inhibitor in an online oral synchronous communication task. Two questionnaires, the Foreign Language Anxiety Scale (FLAS) and the Corrective Feedback Belief Scale (CFBS), were administered to 50 students from the School of Languages in an online learning environment. T-test analysis showed a significant difference between the learners’ preferences in two methods of CF. Recast and Metalinguistic feedback were better rated by the students who reported higher levels of anxiety in oral communication classes. Additionally, the High-level anxiety group rated teacher feedback as more effective than the other sources of feedback when compared to the Low-level anxiety group. These results indicate the need to take into account individual differences in terms of anxiety foreign language learning and students’ beliefs about CF in order to help them achieve their learning goals in an interactive online environment.
    • Situated learning through intergenerational play between older adults and undergraduates

      Fan Zhang; David Kaufman; Robyn Schell; Glaucia Salgado; Erik Tiong Wee Seah; Julija Jeremic (Springer, 2017-07-01)
      Abstract This study is grounded in a social-cultural framework that embeds learning in social activities, mediated by cultural tools and occurring through guided participation in the social practice of a particular community. It uses conversation analysis as a tool to examine the structures of the talk-in-interaction of naturally occurring conversations between 11 pairs of older adult (aged between 65 and 92) and undergraduates (aged between 18 and 25) during a 6-week social practice of intergenerational digital gameplay. The purpose is to demonstrate how older adults adapt to and make sense of collaborative gaming activities through guided participation. The features of minimum gap and overlap, even conversational inputs, and orientation to one another’s turns indicate interactional connection between older adults and younger people. Adjacency pairs in the form of question-answer and self-initiated other-repairs are the situated use of social resources afforded by the intergenerational interaction. It is through these two main means of interaction that younger players offer immediate feedback and explanation to guide older adults to engage in the collaborative play and develop understanding of unfolding concepts and phenomena.
    • Developing eLearning champions: a design thinking approach

      Daniela Gachago; Jolanda Morkel; Liza Hitge; Izak van Zyl; Eunice Ivala (Springer, 2017-07-01)
      Abstract Against the backdrop of a complex Higher Education (HE) landscape, particularly in a developing country context where the relevance of current HE structures is questioned through student protests, and decolonisation of education practices is called for, traditional thinking is losing ground. This study focuses on lecturers identified as eLearning champions, who display shared dispositions that mirror what the literature terms a ‘design thinking mindset’, such as collaboration, empathy for the learner and problem orientation. We argue that promoting this mindset in academic staff development interventions around the use of technology in teaching and learning could support more academics to innovate their practices. Recommendations for how findings of this study may inform the design of such learning interventions conclude the paper.
    • The effect of games and simulations on higher education: a systematic literature review

      Dimitrios Vlachopoulos; Agoritsa Makri (Springer, 2017-07-01)
      Abstract The focus of higher education institutions is the preparation of future professionals. To achieve this aim, innovative teaching methods are often deployed, including games and simulations, which form the subject of this paper. As the field of digital games and simulations is ever maturing, this paper attempts to systematically review the literature relevant to games and simulation pedagogy in higher education. Two researchers collaborate to apply a qualitative method, coding and synthesizing the results using multiple criteria. The main objective is to study the impact of games and simulations with regard to achieving specific learning objectives. On balance, results indicate that games and/or simulations have a positive impact on learning goals. The researchers identify three learning outcomes when integrating games into the learning process: cognitive, behavioural, and affective. As a final step, the authors consolidate evidence for the benefit of academics and practitioners in higher education interested in the efficient use of games and simulations for pedagogical purposes. Such evidence also provides potential options and pathways for future research.
    • Teacher professional development in the contexts of teaching English pronunciation

      Frans Hermans; Peter Sloep; Karel Kreijns (Springer, 2017-08-01)
      Abstract In this study we focus on the effects of an intervention aiming to improve the English pronunciation skills of secondary school students in the Netherlands. In order to implement a new pedagogy successfully it is of the essence to take into account how teachers learn and what motivates them to adapt and change their way of teaching. Teachers need time to test and adapt a teaching design to fit the needs of their classroom practice and the students’ needs. In this paper the main focus is on finding evidence of teacher professional development in teaching English pronunciation. Results show that teachers are extrinsically motivated to change their teaching behaviour and classroom practice after using a computer assisted teaching tool to teach English pronunciation.
    • Factual open cloze question generation for assessment of learner’s knowledge

      Bidyut Das; Mukta Majumder (Springer, 2017-08-01)
      Abstract Factual objective type questions are effectively used in active learning, information and communication technology based education and intelligent tutoring system for the assessment of learner’s content knowledge. In this paper, we have presented an automatic factual open cloze question generation system which can generate fill-in-the-blank questions without alternatives. In order to generate the questions, the system first extracts a set of informative sentences from the given input corpus. The sentences are considered as informative based on part-of-speech tags and certain rules. After the identification of the informative sentences the questions are generated by omitting the answer-keys which are selected by identifying domain specific words in the sentences. The unbound option set of an open cloze question often confuses the examinees. However, open cloze questions require more productive knowledge from learners than cloze questions. Finally, we have also suggested answer hints for the examinees to reduce the number of possible answers that make assessment easier.
    • Exploring the (missed) connections between digital scholarship and faculty development: a conceptual analysis

      Juliana Elisa Raffaghelli (Springer, 2017-08-01)
      Abstract The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between two research topics: digital scholarship and faculty development. The former topic drives attention on academics’ new practices in digital, open and networked contexts; the second is focused on the requirements and strategies to promote academics’ professional learning and career advancement. The research question addressing this study is: are faculty development strategies hindered by the lack of a cohesive view in the research on digital scholarship? The main assumption guiding this research question is that clear conceptual frameworks and models of professional practice lead to effective faculty development strategies. Through a wide overview of the evolution of both digital scholarship and faculty development, followed by a conceptual analysis of the intersections between fields, the paper attempts to show the extent on which the situation in one area (digital scholarship) might encompass criticalities for the other (faculty development) in terms of research and practices. Furthermore, three scenarios based on the several perspectives of digital scholarship are built in order to explore the research question in depth. We conclude that at the current state of art the relationship between these two topics is weak. Moreover, the dialogue between digital scholarship and faculty development could put the basis to forge effective professional learning contexts and instruments, with the ultimate goal of supporting academics to become digital scholars towards a more open and democratic vision of scholarship.
    • Using a gamified mobile app to increase student engagement, retention and academic achievement

      Ekaterina Pechenkina; Daniel Laurence; Grainne Oates; Daniel Eldridge; Dan Hunter (Springer, 2017-08-01)
      Abstract This study investigated whether the use of a gamified mobile learning app influenced students’ academic performance and boosted their engagement in the subject. Created to better engage students in lecture content, the app was used to deliver multiple-choice content-based quizzes directly to students’ personal mobile devices post-lecture and pre-tutorial. After measuring the relationships between students’ app usage and their engagement, retention and academic achievement in the subject, it is suggested that following the app’s introduction, student retention rates and academic performance increased, and there was a positive correlation between students’ scoring highly on the app and achieving higher academic grades. While the app’s affordances for learning are promising, the causal relationship between the app usage and improved student outcomes requires further investigation. Conclusions made in the context of the wider scholarship of mobile app enhanced learning and applied game principles in HE.