Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quality Issues of Elearning

Quality Issues of Elearning

Hi guys, hope everyone’s final report is going great. I am still working on it and hopefully should complete it by this week. Very interesting report by Kay Lewis , I will be posting some comments in your blogs shortly. As per Bronwyn’s email – I guess I had also left out some of the requirements of part one of the assignment, so I thought I will just share a few thoughts of quality issues for eLearning and evaluation processes in my context and the wider tertiary sector.

My overall perspective for eLearning in our society today is not so positive. Elearning is used to enhance, not to substitute, traditional classroom teaching, and there so many people thinking it is trying replace the traditional face to face teaching. As Huffaker suggest – through active engagement by using interactive and entertaining media, collaborative and cooperative activities, real world context, continuous feedback and monitoring progress. All these ways enhance the learning rather than as people think it is replacing the traditional way of teaching (Huffaker D, 2003).

From the readings from Huffaker D (2003), many critics of Elearning envision it as an isolated learning environment –In the environment I am teaching there are majority Pacifika learners and the Pasifika people visions Elearning from the same perspective - being isolated from the peers and the teacher. I think it is not being isolated – but a different way of interacting and communication that people need to adopt to.

Looking at the tertiary sectors, it seems like the Budget to implement and maintain Elearning environment seems bit costly and that leads to a negative opinion. Elearning depends quite heavily on the tools and technology being used to enhance the eLearning. If the tertiary sectors are unable to accommodate these tools and technologies than it makes it really hard to introduce eLearning into the education environment.

My personal opinions – Elearning benefits a lot of people who are not able to study fulltime, or more of adult learners who only can manage to study part time due to many reasons, and these can be the only option available for them and by providing an option for courses being online – makes it so easier for this target group.

In the teaching environment I have experienced that a lot of time, when it comes to evaluation – for elearning courses – the needs analysis and formative evaluation are skipped or overlooked, whereas I personally think it is very important to conduct formative evaluation before moving to summative and integrative evaluation. These sorts of evaluations would not only provide a better option for learners, but as well as a quality eLearning course.

These are just my thoughts and ideas - comments are welcome :)

Hope you guys have a good week :)

Huffaker, D. (2003). Reconnecting the classroom: E-learning pedagogy in US public high schools Australian Journal of Educational Technology. 19 (3), 356-370.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Evaluation Feedback From Students

7 Students participated in the evaluation.

Overall the seven students were quite positive with the overall course and the way it was presented. Majority learners indicated that they were not well informed regarding the course before hand, in the interviews I asked what sort of information they preferred knowing:
· Knowing that there will be no text books, since all the units prior to these had a text book, they expected a text book for unit 2780-81
· Everything will be online,
· Internet connection would be an advantage. – Specially if working from Home
· People who does not have internet had no option but to attend classes to get access to materials

100 % from the sample agreed to use a combination of both online and text book. When asked why did they prefer text book, they said: since this unit has got a lot of theory – hence plenty to read, they prefer doing all the reading at home in their spare time rather being in class in front of the computer. Some preferred text books in order to make notes and highlight things etc for later reference.
It seems there were a few who were not clear about the Course Objectives as per the graph below, but majority were ok.

How to improve the course
71% - Provide better information before the Course
42% - Clarify the course objectives
0% - Reduce amount of content covered in the course.
57 % - Increase amount of content covered in the course.
0 % - Update content covered in the course.
14% - Improve the instructional methods.
0% - Make course activities more stimulating.
86% - Improve course organization.
0% - Make the course less difficult.
14% - Make the course more difficult.
0% - Slow down the pace of the course.
0% - Speed up the pace of the course.
14% - Improve the tests used in the course.

From the interview it was discovered that a lot of students wanted more work, they have completed 8 units before doing these unit and they were full on work where they had to work on Microsoft Office programs learning Word, Publisher, Excel, Access, and these keep them very busy doing exercises and experimenting with the programs. Whereas the unit 2780-81 is Theory based teaching the operation of a PC and how to manage and protect Data. They found the theory part to be easier and faster to complete – since they just had to do is a lot of reading and assessments.

They preferred printing out a lot of materials and taking it home for reading. Nearly all of them have a file in which they have compiled all the printed notes for future reference.
Generally for 90% of the sample this was the first time they had experience online learning, and they overall had a good experience and has learnt a lot.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Report Summary

Sample: 14 Facilitators took part in the survey and below are the results:

Unit 2780-81 has recently been converted from text books to a totally online course with facilitation available. 78% of Facilitators think the majority of students are coping well with the change.
What is your opinion towards the online materials of 2780-81? Around 50 % likes the idea of it being online, and around 28% disagrees with it being online.

50% of facilitators think students are able to follow through the student guide and complete the learning objectives of unit 2780-81 without much guidance and 20% disagrees or are neutral.
Majority facilitators think it is easy to navigate through the course contents and assessments of unit 2780-81 a few thinks there is need for improvement.

The majority students fall under what ethnic group:
NZ European, Maori, Chinese, Indians, Pacific Island – this shows that the survey had looked into a wide spread of ethnic group over the different locations.

More than 50% think the age factor affects the learner’s ability in dealing with online resources, so digital divide is an issue with elearning.

Below is some common difficulties student’s face while doing the unit 2780-81:
Navigating the Course contents 23.1%
Trying out the interactive activities 38.5%
Quizzes 23.1%
Assessments 30.8%
Overcoming information overload 76.9%
Understanding the layout of the contents 30.8%
Completing the Learning Objectives 23.1%

From the above results, it can be said that majority facilitators think – overcoming information overload as a common difficulty students find.

The above results are just views of what the facilitators think. I am still in the middle of gathering information from students.