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Conceptions of teaching and learning: Findings from a Phenomenohraphic inquiry

Conceptions of teaching and learning: Findings from a Phenomenohraphic inquiry



Presented in Networked Learning Conference, 5-6 May, 2008 Halkidiki, Greece

Presented in Networked Learning Conference, 5-6 May, 2008 Halkidiki, Greece



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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • I could identify with many of these conceptions. My research shows that teacher educators conceptions are historically, socially and politically located. These are located on a continuum from teacher centred to learner centred with a mixture of both in different contexts.
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  • My name is Petros Lameras, I am a phd candidate from the South East European Research Centre and I am exploring, with the help of my supervisors Professor Levy and Dr.Paraskakis, Greek university teachers perceptions, understandings or experiences in teaching and learning using Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)

Conceptions of teaching and learning: Findings from a Phenomenohraphic inquiry Conceptions of teaching and learning: Findings from a Phenomenohraphic inquiry Presentation Transcript

  • Conceptions of Teaching using Virtual Learning Environments: Preliminary Findings From a Phenomenographic Inquiry Petros Lameras, Philippa Levy, Iraklis Paraskakis Networked Learning Conference 2008
  • Presentation Outline
    • Introduction
    • Theoretical Background
    • Research approach
    • Findings
    • Conclusions
  • Introduction
    • The project is investigating the relationship between Greek computer science teachers’ conceptions of, and approaches to, the use of Virtual Learning Environments (i.e. WebCT, Blackboard, or Moodle) in teaching.
    • Theoretical perspectives which are associated with the principles and practices of networked learning as a distinctive form of e-learning (Goodyear, 2003, Levy, 2006)
  • Theoretical Background
      • Previous phenomenographic studies that have explored university teachers’ conceptions of, and approaches to, teaching in different disciplines (e.g Prosser and Trigwell, 1999).
        • In a review of thirteen such studies, there is a high level of agreement on five conceptions of teaching.
        • These conceptions can be located on a continuum from a teacher-centered, content oriented conception to a student-centered and learning oriented conception of teaching.
  • Theoretical Background (1)
    • These are:
      • Teaching as imparting information
      • Teaching as transmitting structured knowledge
      • Teaching as an interaction between the student and the teacher
      • Teaching as facilitating understanding on the part of the student
      • Teaching as bringing about conceptual change and intellectual development.
        • (Kember, 1997)
  • Theoretical Background (2)
    • Previous qualitative research into university teachers’ use of ICTs includes investigations of academics’ educational beliefs and intentions as related to learning technology.
    • There has been some, but relatively little, phenomenographic work (e.g. Roberts, 2003)
    • Roberts (2003) study suggested that networked learning approaches would be more likely to be adopted by teachers whose conceptions are oriented towards learning facilitation than resource efficiency
  • Theoretical Background (3)
    • Research indicates that teachers often hold more than one conception of (and approach to) teaching.
    • These are influenced by factors such as the cultural and educational environment, technical expertise and staff development opportunities.
    • The ways in which teachers conceive of teaching are likely to be reflected in the way they use ICTs (e.g. as an information bank, or for collaborative knowledge building).
    • The relationship between conceptions of teaching and how VLE tools are used is being explored in this research, in the specific cultural context of Greek HE
  • Research Approach
    • Phenomenography seeks to identify the range of variation in ways of experiencing a phenomenon of interest.
    • In this case the way in which Greek university teachers perceive the educational use of VLEs.
    • To achieve this aim the question was asked ‘How do Greek teachers experience the use of VLEs for teaching?’
    • The inquiry was based on the following overarching aims:
      • Understand variation in ways of using VLEs for teaching
      • Explore the meaning underlying the variation
      • Investigate the teachers’ experience of using VLEs for teaching.
  • Research Approach (1)
    • Variation in experiencing the use of VLEs is identified through mapping ways of experiencing into a limited number of categories of description.
    • Categories of description are also used to develop an outcome space.
    • The outcome space is the structure that describes the relationship between the categories of description.
    • The collection of categories of description in the outcome space form a complete way of experiencing the phenomenon.
  • Research Approach (2)
    • Preliminary results have been identified from a pilot study.
    • the sample included five computer science academics from three Greek Universities.
    • All had been using VLEs in their courses from one to five years
    • The interviews concentrated on seeking variations in pedagogical purposes in using VLEs and in approaches to their use.
  • Research Approach (3)
    • The aim of data analysis is to uncover and identify variation in ways of experiencing
    • An iterative process is used for searching meaning (how the phenomenon is experienced) and structure (the relationship between different ways of experiencing)
    • To identify this relation, a four phase analysis procedure was used:
      • Becoming familiar with the transcripts
      • Identifying meaning
      • Structuring experience
      • Establishing the outcome space
  • Findings
    • Three primary categories were identified along with a number of subcategories.
    • All three categories describe the use of VLEs for teaching as it is experienced by teachers of computer science.
    • Dimensions of variation for each category have been identified and described.
  • Findings (1)
    • Category 1: Information transfer
      • Providing information
      • Extending information
      • Clarifying information
  • Findings (2)
    • Category 1: Dimensions of Variation
      • Focus on teaching: Using technology for imparting info
      • Focus on learning: Accessing clearer and richer info
      • Role of the teacher: Directing students to learning resources and clarifying info
      • Role of the student: Receiving information for acquiring and memorising concepts
      • Focus on use: technology as a means of providing access to, or clarification of, content.
      • Focus on context: Provision of information, through the use of the VLE for passing the course
  • Findings (2)
    • Category 2: Understanding concepts
      • Understanding the topic
      • Rethinking the topic
  • Findings (3)
    • Category 2: Dimensions of Variation
      • Focus on teaching: creating interactions for understanding concepts and for provision of feedback.
      • Focus on learning: Providing a medium for reflection on concepts and access to feedback
      • Role of the teacher: helping the students to understand concepts and ensuring that students have the opportunity to access online questions and feedback
      • Role of the student: using the VLE to individually construct meaning for understanding the topic
      • Focus on use: Using the VLE for creating interactions that would provide feedback to students.
      • Focus on context: using the VLE for promoting greater, more holistic understanding of the topic.
  • Findings (4)
    • Category 3: Developing concepts
      • Developing the topic
  • Findings (5)
    • Category 3: Dimensions of Variation
      • Focus on teaching: Facilitating further the development of students’ conceptions they already hold
      • Focus on learning: developing concepts by sharing opinions and ideas
      • Role of the teacher: participant in the environment as well as organiser, motivator and provider of information
      • Focus on use: Using the VLE as a medium for reflection and criticism and for discussing issues in more socially focused subjects felt it was important for developing the course and the topic.
      • Focus on context: Promoting critical engagement with the topic and development of professional expertise for the workplace
  • Conclusions
    • The first category reflects a content-oriented approach to using the VLE that is related with an ‘imparting information’ conception.
    • In the second category the focus is on creating teacher-student interactions for provision of feedback for understanding and reflecting
    • In the third category sharing between students is the focus for personal meaning making through expressing and comparing views online which may be consistent with bringing ‘conceptual change’ conception of teaching.
  • Conclusions (1)
    • Broad consistency with previous research
      • ‘ Subject information’ as content focused (Roberts, 2003 study)
      • ‘ Information transferring’ as provision of, and engagement with subject information (this study)
      • ‘ self-paced learning’ and ‘dialogue’ focused on learning processes (Roberts, 2003 study)
      • ‘ Understanding concepts’ and ‘developing concepts’ focused on activity-based pedagogy
  • Conclusions (2)
    • In the pilot study the ‘the transferring information’ was more prevalent in the context of the teaching of more computational courses.
    • The ‘developing concepts’ conception in the context of the teaching of more open-ended, socially-focused subjects.
    • Subject area may impact in the way in which the use of VLEs for teaching and learning is conceptualised within the discipline of computer science.
    • Based on a small sample, the pilot study suggests that pedagogical conceptions and approaches associated with networked learning may not be widely prevalent in computer science teaching in Greece.