A Look at eLearning


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A Look at eLearning

  1. 1. By Jennifer Hidy
  2. 2. How May I eDirect You? Articles:  The Overall Effect of Online Audio Conferencing in Communication Course: What do Students Really  Title Screen Think  Engineering Cultures:  Putting it All Together Online Versus In-class  The Role of Community  References in Online Learning Success
  3. 3. Online Audio Conferencing in Communication Courses This study was completed by assistant professor Lynn M. Disbrow at Wright State University with a goal of illustrating that a technology used in eLearning enhances both online and traditional communication classes is valued by students as well as instructors. Elluminate Live!, a conferencing web-based system, was used for the study. Elluminate includes video, audio, messaging, whiteboard, slide presentation, chat, and other tools. It was intended to feel similar to a real classroom, especially with the “raise hand” button. The study consisted of actual classroom implementation (Disbrow, 2008).
  4. 4. Positive Aspects of Elluminate Live! Negative Aspects of Elluminate Live! Interactivity Technical dificulties Not having to leave home or office/ Audio problems Participate from anywhere Using interface tools (whiteboard, chat, Waiting to talk emoticons) Ease of use Missed personal interaction Group meetings were easier than face to Sessions were a “little long” face Helped create understanding of information No complete open forum for participation Learning how to use technology Accessing PowerPoint and applications for presentations Immediate response from professor Saving travel time to campus Change of pace from ordinary classroom Felt like you were in a classroom Source: Disbrow, 2008, pp. 229-30
  5. 5. Reflection of Online Audio Conferencing Disbrow (2008) had good point in the article, “Creating an engaging atmosphere is more challenging in an online delivery modality” (p.227). From personal experience of online classes, I know this to be true, especially since most of my online classes have been text-based. Personally, however, I do not mind text-based classes. I do not always need face-to-face or otherwise interactive communication to stimulate and engage my learning. Sometimes, I just like to learn on my own at my own pace, making sure to meet assignment deadlines.
  6. 6. Engineering Cultures: Online versus In-class This study was authored by a high school teacher and five college instructors. The study used a class Engineering Cultures to find evidence of whether students learn more in the online or in-class rendering of the class through a multiple choice evaluation before and after the completion of the class. The treatment group was the online class and the control was the physical class. Both classes covered the exact same material, and material was covered in the same order in both types of class (Parkhurst et al., 2008).
  7. 7. Engineering Cultures: Online versus In-class cont. To the author’s surprise, the study results of the multiple choice assessment indicated that the online students had a higher knowledge increase than the in class students (Parkhurst et al., 2008). Sample Pre-test Post-test Difference Size In-class 149 14.32 18.63 4.31 Online 84 13.33 19.00 5.67 Table Source: Parkhurst et al., 2008, p. 441
  8. 8. Reflection of Engineering Cultures While I think this study was mostly well-done, I think it is very important that the method be repeated in different classes and across various campuses. Also, there could be lurking variables to the results of the assessment. The authors did point out one of my concerns, “For example, students that are more motivated and that are confident in their abilities may be more likely to select to complete online course. These same students may be more likely than the typical student to acquire greater learning gains regardless of course structure” (Parkhurst et al., 2008, p. 442).
  9. 9. The Role of Community in Online Learning Success This study approached the following questions (Sadera, Robertson, Song, & Midon, 2009, p. 279):  Is perceived learning affected by participation in the online community?  How does the sense of community affect perceived learning?  Does the amount and type of online interaction affect the feeling of membership in the learning community?
  10. 10. The Role of Community in Online Learning Success cont. The study found the following positive correlations (Sadera et al., 2009):  between students’ knowledge gain and students’ amount of time and energy spent on the class  between students’ knowledge gain and students’ active class contribution  between students’ knowledge gain and the level of connectedness to the class So, the study found that an overall positive relationship is found between students’ sense of community and learning achievements (Sadera et al., 2009).
  11. 11. Reflection of the Role of the Community The role of community is important in all aspects of our lives. We all want to feel as if we belong somewhere and be able to effectively relate to others. In eLearning, it can be hard to achieve this personal level of community, though it is not impossible. The authors agree, further research needs to be done in order to find out the best ways to provide a sense of community to online learners (Sadera et al., 2009). The major drawback of the study was that it was performed on adult learners. I think the study needs to be repeated through all levels of education, K-12 as well as the traditional college student.
  12. 12. Putting it All Together In conclusion, eLearning is an ever-growing, necessary component to our education system. It is important for eLearning to implement convenient user-friendly, cost effective technologies in classrooms ranging from elementary to higher education levels. More research needs to be done to come to more conclusive results as to what works in eLearning. Students should also be provided with a sense of community within Internet based learning experiences, whether implemented as an entire class or just a classroom component. eLearning is not going away, so it is important that we adjust to it and try to make it as effective as possible.
  13. 13. References  Disbrow, L. M. (2008, June). The overall effect of online audio conferencing in communication courses: what do students really think? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(2). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol4no2/disbrow0608.pdf  Parkhurst, R., Moskal, B. M., Downey, G. L., Lucena, J., Bigley, T., & Elberb S. (2008, December). Engineering cultures: online versus in-class. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 4(4). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol4no4/moskal_1208.pdf  Sadera, W. A., Robertson, J., Song, L., & Midon, M. N. (2009, June). The role of community in online learning success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 5(2). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol5no2/sadera_0609.pdf