Hello and welcome Lawyer with 10 years post admission experience. Mature aged student. Senior lecturer at the College of Law Victoria and currently Academic Leader. Deliver practical legal training to Melbourne’s top tier law firms PLT mentor to Freehills graduates in Melbourne Master research student in Professional Education and Training at Deakin Today: aspects of using online discussion forums in Practical Legal Training.
17 years ago at a crossroads. Wife died from a year-long illness. I had a three year old son. Had worked in Sydney as an actor for over 20 years - no longer seemed feasible as a sole parent. Went back to school and started an Arts / Law degree by distance education – study from home as a sole parent Lived in the Blue Mountains in NSW - very little f2f connection with lecturers or fellow law students Started using online discussion forums Mid-90s - forums consisted of white text scrolling up a black TV screen Very basic but effective - became part of a community - a crowded conversation over a distance Online conferences motivated my learning – encouraged persistence Side benefit – I am severely deaf – in online forums would not miss anything said Equity and access
ICT improving all the time Include links, graphics, pictures, video and audio Given own experience, personally surprised to learn many PLT graduates were less satisfied with the online forums than other teaching media What’s going on? Decided to find out by undertaking research as a part of MPET Data collection for research complete next month This presentation based on lit review of the literature Details - see my paper
Framework for research Community of Inquiry Marzano & Kendall’s new taxonomy of education objectives COI: intersecting elements of cognitive presence, teaching presence and social presence. Marzano: 6 levels of cognitive processing within 3 domains of knowledge 3 domains are Information, Mental Procedures and Psychomotor Procedures 6 levels starting from the most basic are Recall, Comprehension, Analysis, Utilisation, Metacognition and Self-System Details in the paper
Based on review and stated assumptions 10 big things you need to know to improve learner engagement, motivation, persistence and satisfaction with online discussion forums as a teaching medium.
Students’ beliefs regarding personal relevance of learning tasks and the relationship between the tasks and expected learning outcomes, are predictive of satisfaction Perceived usefulness of the learning influences students’ decision to engage with discussions Explain why the task is important and relevant to the students. Marzano’s self-system This can be at different levels. Extrinsically vocational orientation Intrinsically vocational orientation Competency standards Grades Complete PLT Experiential Constructively confront assumptions, ideas and beliefs as part of lawyers’ skills
Show or explain resources the student has or will have to complete the learning task Self-efficacy as a factor in satisfaction Positive perceptions of ICT and of autonomy in learning is influential Personal resources Learning resources IT resources Metacognition Part of the Self-system
Students, especially working law graduates, demand flexibility. The desire for flexibility ‘outweighs the need for instructor and peer interaction when choosing to enrol in an online course Studies show that flexibility of learning can be #1 in deciding students whether to choose your course Asynchronous discussions offer flexibility – geographically and temporally
A pretty interface is okay, so long as it works Satisfaction with the learner interface may be ‘the most important dimension of the decision to engage’ with the task Consistent course design Technical support availability Robustness and usability of the learning platform Type of interface (web-based, text-based, graphical, and metaphorical) - no significant difference to learning performance; However a metaphorical interface may correlate with an increase in learner attention
Greater levels of student-student interactions engender greater satisfaction Stronger sense of community produces greater satisfaction & increased persistence Students with a strong sense of community will feel their education goals are being met Sense of community is related to student-student interactions rather than instructor-student interactions Learning group size affects the proportion of student-student interactions In smaller group sizes instructor-learner interactions are higher than learner-learner interactions Larger group sizes learner-learner interactions increased above instructor-learner interactions Small group = up to 10 students, medium group = 11-51 students, large group = 51 students Discussions per student may increase where discussions are graded
Be explicit about what is required and what is valued (COI factors) Studies found a relationship between student satisfaction and the teacher role Techniques that students use to encourage other students to participate include ‘giving own opinions or experiences’, ‘questioning’, ‘showing appreciation’, ‘establishing ground rules’, ‘suggesting new direction’, ‘personally inviting contributions from other people’, and ‘ summarising’
Sense of availability and connectedness of teacher Quality and timeliness of instruction Instructor’s expertise and counselling Teaching presence combined with social presence produces more high quality cognitive responses from students
Students’ satisfaction is affected by the ‘perception that they are treated as individuals and that their interpersonal communication needs are met Teaching presence affects student-perceived learning achievement
Amount of instructor’s interventions may impinge on students’ ‘free expression of thoughts and opinions’ No significant difference regarding satisfaction regardless of the number of personal emails sent to students Start with ratio of 1:4 then 1:10 over time – tell students you will do this
Studies split in findings re relationship between student learning styles and satisfaction with CMC Studies split in findings re relationship between personality types and satisfaction Research not specific to CMC has cast doubt on the validity and utility of testing for learning styles see, for example, Coffield et al and Pashler et al
Paper provides more detail – 26 pages – more information about the studies reviewed - several pages of references
Paper available with conference materials Paper and a narrated version of this presentation and other material available from PleagleTrainer Blog Google will link you to the blog or…
QR codes for blog site and my contact details
A Good Chat Are Online Discussion Forums fit for PLT?