Thursday, 21 March 2013

Effectiveness of Personalised Learning Paths on Students Learning Experiences in an e-Learning Environment

Personalisation of e-learning environments is an interesting research area in which the learning experience of learners is generally believed to be improved when his or her personal learning preferences are taken into account. One such learning preference is the V-A-K instrument that classifies learners as visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. In this research, the outcomes of an experiment are described after students in the second year of university were exposed to a unit that was redesigned to fit in the V-A-K learning styles. It was found that the was no performance improvement when the students were exposed to that specific personalised learning environment and it was surprisingly noted from the statistical evidence that they underperformed in general both with respect to their previous performances and their performances in the same course but for a different unit that served as a control. The personalisation framework used an adaptive method to generate learning paths for each student and it was found that the method performed satisfactorily in its selection process. The findings of this research adds to the existing body of discourse and consolidates the belief that learning styles as determined by self-assessment instruments do not necessarily improve performances. On the other hand, it brings an interesting observation with respect to e-learning environments and the use of multimedia. A pedagogical method of instructional design that brings a sound balance in the use of different elements can indeed be of universal application and each and every learner will find his or her space in it. Indeed working towards more flexibility and adaptability of the environment might be a better approach rather than to work on the adaptivity of the environment.
Keywords: Personalisation, Learning Objects, Learning Styles, Online Learning, Adaptation, Multimedia Learning, VAK Instrument

European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Learning Design Implementation for Distance e-Learning: Blending Rapid e-Learning Techniques with Activity-based Pedagogies to Design and Implement a Socio-constructivist Environment

This paper discusses how modern technologies are changing the teacher-student-content relationships from the conception to the delivery of so-called ‘distance’ education courses. The concept of Distance Education has greatly evolved in the digital era of 21st Century. With the widespread use and access to the Internet, exponential growth has been experienced in the field of multimedia and web technologies. These developments have greatly reduced the significance of the term ‘distance’ in Distance Education.
Consequently, the term distance stands as a paradox in the globalised networked environments. As a result with new communication and collaboration tools, and possibilities to disseminate high quality audio, video and interactive materials over the information superhighway, the educational design process of distance education materials has new perspectives to explore in order to improve and even re-engineer the overall ‘distance’ teaching and learning concept.
This paper looks at how the educational design process changes with technology and provides a few examples of how modern tools and techniques are being used and implemented to design high quality (socio)-constructivist learning environments. It proposes an integrated model for learning design supported by implemented case-studies in the context of learning transformation processes that are ongoing at the University of Mauritius. The aim is to demonstrate how the blending of innovative technologies and pedagogies can result in high quality constructive learning experiences that eliminate the ‘distance’ paradox in so-called distance learning environments.

European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning