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E-Learning Research in Action


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Presentation to the CADE conference, Winnipegl, May 2007

Published in: Technology, Education
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E-Learning Research in Action

  1. 1. E-Learning Research in Action Mark Bullen, Nargis Abraham, Glenn Pellegrin
  2. 2. TEK Initiative <ul><li>Technology-enabled Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>$25 million project to enhance teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Use e-learning to change and improve teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Includes an applied educational research program </li></ul><ul><li>Supports institutional strategy to stimulate applied research </li></ul>
  3. 3. Applied Educational Research <ul><li>Goals of the program: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To encourage faculty to reflect on their teaching and thus engage in continuous improvement by researching their own practice and the implementation of e-learning technologies and innovative teaching approaches. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To sow the seeds of an e-learning research culture in an institution that does not have a tradition of educational research. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Challenges <ul><li>Getting buy-in and institutional support for applied educational research </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a research culture </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing and maintaining support systems to enable research </li></ul>
  5. 5. Action Research Examples <ul><li>Community of Practice Action Research Project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nargis Abraham </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Clickers” Action Research Project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Glenn Pellegrin </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Community of Practice (CoP) Action Research Project <ul><li>CoP website to provide collaboration opportunities for English teachers in BCIT's pipeline programs in China and English teachers in Chile </li></ul><ul><li>Action research objective: to explore Wenger's &quot;communities of practice&quot; concept using e-technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Technology used - Quickplace </li></ul>
  7. 7. Developing the Materials <ul><li>Building the website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciding on content – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>subjects of interest to participants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>where find materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating Video materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video to enable participants to observe a ‘typical’ BCIT class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Created and posted on the CoP site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial problems with access. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Inviting Participants <ul><li>English teachers from China </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email addresses were entered in the CoP members’ list </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invitations to participate were sent via the CoP; no response was received </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow up via regular e-mail prompted some teachers to access the CoP </li></ul></ul><ul><li>English teachers from Chile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20 English teachers from Chile were included, to expand the membership and widen the discussion on English teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two teachers responded </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BCIT PELD instructors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BCIT instructors were invited to serve as ‘experts’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two instructors posted their introductions on the CoP. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Individual Needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivation to participate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directed discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technological challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>creating user names and passwords for the CoP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identifying e-mail alerts from junk mail </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigating the CoP – need for familiarity and expertise. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. “Clicker” Action Research Project <ul><li>Peer Instruction … what and why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interactive instructional strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>large class sizes </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. “Clicker” Action Research Project <ul><li>Clickers … what and why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology supports instructional strategy </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. “Clicker” Action Research Project <ul><li>“Concept Questions” … what and why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions that challenge student understanding </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Challenges to Constructivist Method <ul><ul><li>paradigm shift in learning / teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>encourage engagement / participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>quality and effectiveness of questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem – quality of concept questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigation methodology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple sessions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Variations / Reflection </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Item Response Theory </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. What’s to learn… <ul><li>study quality / effectiveness of questions </li></ul><ul><li>identify student weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>identify question weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>reflect on minor variations of implementations </li></ul><ul><li>identify most useful “engagement” questions based on IRT </li></ul><ul><li>characteristic(s) of challenging questions  what makes a discussion question “good”? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Initial Findings <ul><li>Participation / engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback to student / instructor </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology should be transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize load on student re: learning the technology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Instructional reflection </li></ul>
  16. 16. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Engagement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivation to participate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value of anonymity – back of class </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Difficulty of questions  ordering </li></ul><ul><li>Repeating questions </li></ul><ul><li>Ready to adapt </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback provides valuable information on when students need additional guidance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IRT provides view of question quality in terms of discrimination, difficulty and guessing </li></ul>