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Online Learning: What have we learned? Professor Robin Mason Institute of Educational Technology The Online Learning: What have we learned? Professor Robin Mason Institute of Educational Technology The Open University Milton Keynes Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 1

What is Online Learning? P course content on the web — — glorified CBT What is Online Learning? P course content on the web — — glorified CBT designed and written specifically for the web P course resources on the web — — overheads and hand-outs links to articles and websites P course communication online — — Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 2 email and discussion areas collaborative activities and assessments

Evidence from Researchers and Practitioners of Online Teaching Pauthored book Pedited book with international Evidence from Researchers and Practitioners of Online Teaching Pauthored book Pedited book with international group of authors PJisc-funded research study PPractitioner created e-book Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 3

Collis and Moonen (2001) Flexible Learning in a Digital World Stirling oct 97 dp/rm Collis and Moonen (2001) Flexible Learning in a Digital World Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 4

Teaching and Learning Online (2001) ed. J. Stephenson, Kogan Page Stirling oct 97 dp/rm Teaching and Learning Online (2001) ed. J. Stephenson, Kogan Page Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 5

JISC Study: Networked Learning — http: //domino. lancs. ac. uk/edres/csaltdocs. nsf Stirling oct 97 JISC Study: Networked Learning — http: //domino. lancs. ac. uk/edres/csaltdocs. nsf Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 6

Practitioner created e-book P http: //otis. scotcit. ac. uk/onlinebook/ Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. Practitioner created e-book P http: //otis. scotcit. ac. uk/onlinebook/ Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 7

Contradictory Findings Pdue to different educational contexts — campus/ remote learners; young/mature students; curriculum Contradictory Findings Pdue to different educational contexts — campus/ remote learners; young/mature students; curriculum areas Pdue to different uses of the term ‘online learning’ — content/communication; wholly/partially online Pdue to different research methodologies — broad-brush large-scale surveys or small, contextualised interviews Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 8

1 Course Design Pneed for clear, unequivocal instructions Pneed for comprehensive guidelines Pre-thinking lectures 1 Course Design Pneed for clear, unequivocal instructions Pneed for comprehensive guidelines Pre-thinking lectures as activities Pteam approach to course design Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 9

Course Design for the Web Pcapitalizing on unique features of the web — hyperlinking Course Design for the Web Pcapitalizing on unique features of the web — hyperlinking rather than linear conception of content — links to additional, external resources — must be kept up-to-date, can be changed on the fly — webcasting, simulations, video/audio clips for specialist purposes Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 10

2 Assessment P individualisation continuum (learning contract - essays MCQ) P course design continuum 2 Assessment P individualisation continuum (learning contract - essays MCQ) P course design continuum (aims and objectives = course content = assessment) P the art of assessment design (challenging assignment v/s marking reliability v/s feasibility) P balancing student centred approach with responsibility of certifying achievement P more innovative assignments are more open to cheating and plagarism Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 11

Good Practice in Assessment P use a variety of assessment methods P relate the Good Practice in Assessment P use a variety of assessment methods P relate the assessment to the pedagogy P make the aims, criteria and standards explicit P use authentic and holistic tasks P opportunities to complete the feedback Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 12 loop

Online Assessment P web pages: projects, literature review, collaborative pages P conferencing: debates, simulations, Online Assessment P web pages: projects, literature review, collaborative pages P conferencing: debates, simulations, discussions P MCQ: matching, assertion/ reason, ranking and sequencing, multiple right answers Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 13

3 Mixed Mode P combinations of face-to-face meetings with online delivery has become standard 3 Mixed Mode P combinations of face-to-face meetings with online delivery has become standard P purely face-to-face and purely online courses will increasingly be reserved for specialist uses P e-learning has already evolved to mean enhanced learning (that is, learning enhanced by electronic technologies) Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 14

4 Teaching Online P over-emphasised as a new paradigm P training is needed as 4 Teaching Online P over-emphasised as a new paradigm P training is needed as much because of lack of emphasis on teaching in HE generally as because online teaching is different P online teaching has upset the apple-cart: what is the role of the teacher in HE? P online education is more revolutionary for campus education than for distance education Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 15

Online Education: The Time. Consuming Factor P One of the few issues about which Online Education: The Time. Consuming Factor P One of the few issues about which there is little disagreement in the literature P Is it a short-term phenomenon? P Need to acknowledge that good teaching, whatever the medium, never happens on the cheap Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 16

5 Learning Online P Evidence hasn’t changed over nearly 15 years: the more ‘adult’, 5 Learning Online P Evidence hasn’t changed over nearly 15 years: the more ‘adult’, the more ‘learning mature’, the more motivated, the more self-confident, the better they enjoy and benefit from online learning Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 17

Campus-based studies P sometimes conclude that students feel they are being ‘fobbed off’ with Campus-based studies P sometimes conclude that students feel they are being ‘fobbed off’ with online education P sometimes report greater interactivity with online courses than ftf courses P harder to generate online discussion because of co-location of students Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 18

Studies of Distance Education P Studies based on distance students usually show very positive Studies of Distance Education P Studies based on distance students usually show very positive results — more interaction online and greater feeling of community P Still a hard core who resist online interaction or who want to retain ftf tutorials Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 19

6 Collaborative Learning P requires organisation, good design and strong leadership by the online 6 Collaborative Learning P requires organisation, good design and strong leadership by the online tutor especially at the beginning P related to a whole course approach e. g. scaffolding for group work P it can work but not for everyone - significant learning gains for some students Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 20

7 Resource-based Learning P when asked, students claim they don’t like RBL because — 7 Resource-based Learning P when asked, students claim they don’t like RBL because — it is more work — it is more difficult to study for exams — it is often poorly supported — it can appear that the teacher has abrogated the instructor role Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 21

8 Prior Learning or Experience P motivation and open-ness to learning matters more than 8 Prior Learning or Experience P motivation and open-ness to learning matters more than any experience or prior learning P the effect of prior experience with the Internet and mobile phones will lead to greater demand for good course design P good course design engages the whole learner, not just their cognitive centre Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 22

9 Context, Context P It is still very difficult to ‘get it right’ the 9 Context, Context P It is still very difficult to ‘get it right’ the first time — need for pilots, ‘toe in the water’ experiments P Aiming at a moving target — technology, students, curriculum, staff P So many variables — access modes, prior experience, group sizes Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 23

10 The Technology P “The technology is the least important part of the learning 10 The Technology P “The technology is the least important part of the learning experience for students” (Yoni Ryan in ‘Changing Faces of Virtual Education’, www. col. org) P Serious technical problems will certainly lead to failure, but ‘good technology’ contributes very little to the success of a course. Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 24

New Demands Demand for timely, accurate and personalised learning and performance support — ‘New’ New Demands Demand for timely, accurate and personalised learning and performance support — ‘New’ learners want bite-sized chunks of learning, not whole courses — ‘New’ learners want learning tailored to their context — ‘New’ learners want just-in-tine learning — Perishability of knowledge means that there isn’t time to develop long courses Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 25

Scenarios for the use of Learning Objects P content aggregation P re-using existing course Scenarios for the use of Learning Objects P content aggregation P re-using existing course content P creating your ‘own’ course P designing templates for re-use P creating modular courses Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 26

Re-versioning existing content The Open University’s perspective on re-use: — re-shaping — re-sizing — Re-versioning existing content The Open University’s perspective on re-use: — re-shaping — re-sizing — re-purposing — cross media redesign — pre-versioning Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 27

Multi-use graphical templates Royal Roads University (www. royalroads. ca) — assemble screens of web Multi-use graphical templates Royal Roads University (www. royalroads. ca) — assemble screens of web course content through graphs, text etc in the learning object library — using templates to develop interactive learning objects http: //207. 194. 130. 32/ELO/default. asp? newversi on_name=Original Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 28

Modular Courses P Learning Objects according to R. Mason (: > — the essence Modular Courses P Learning Objects according to R. Mason (: > — the essence of a topic — presented in a structured but condensed format e. g. 6 -8 web pages P consisting of 3 elements: — text, quotes, short examples — exercises, self tests, interactive games or simulations Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 29 — further reading, web links and case studies

Arguments against Learning Objects P dumbing down P lack of coherent narrative P “design Arguments against Learning Objects P dumbing down P lack of coherent narrative P “design by committee” P misplaced resource P abrogating role of the expert P learning as lego bricks Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 30

What We Know P considerable consensus — around student-centred learning (less in the sciences) What We Know P considerable consensus — around student-centred learning (less in the sciences) — around the need for structuring the online environment — around the value of interactivity — around the need for support, scaffolding to help students adjust to the online environment Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 31

What We Know P we know little about — how to engage students affectively What We Know P we know little about — how to engage students affectively — how to design relevant, appropriate assessment — whether to enforce participation in collaborative activities — how to create exciting, relevant online activities in many curriculum areas — how to teach more students in less resource with higher quality! Stirling oct 97 dp/rm p. 32