E-learning has become of the buzz words in education particularly in Northern Ireland. The region’s
primary and secondary sectors have witnessed huge leap forwards in terms of ICT provision within
schools through the C2K initiative. Improved access to ICT is not just the domain of schools but also
across society at large. Students have greater access to ICT than ever before. Falling computing costs
coupled with rapid advances in communication technology have enabled almost 52%1 of households
in Northern Ireland to gain high speed Internet Access. Furthermore many of these households have
Wi-Fi (wireless) providing even greater flexibility.
These technological improvements in technology have paved the way for on-demand teaching. The
vast majority of teachers however, have not grasped this opportunity to reach out to their students in
ways never thought possible a couple of decades ago. The technology exists to provide lessons in a
format which allows students to access learning regardless of geographical location, physical mobility
or indeed capabilities. Furthermore students are encouraged to be independent learners as this as seen
as method of improving attainment levels especially if this skill is acquired at a younger age. There is
a definite need for greater utilization of ICT as a method of delivering teaching and learning to the
student at a time and place convenient to them. It is only through bridging school and home that the
student can fully utilize their potential.
This development activity is a vehicle for developing a set of multi-media rich resources, which are
portable and most importantly accessible over the Internet. Given the nature of the course, GCSE ICT
was selected to provide the necessary breadth and depth required to provide a course electronically
over the Internet.
Improved Practise Outcomes
This development activity impacted profoundly upon the delivery of the course. These are
This activity required the course to be carefully analysed and broken down into a
series of lessons which would cover all the course learning requirements. This would
enable lessons to be carefully planned so that there was continuity between lessons
and that lessons cross-referenced each other to provide a framework for understanding
Several different types of application programs were used in developing the lessons.
While learning to use these programs, the benefits of delivering lessons using a
combination of these programs were realised. These programs included:
o Microsoft Producer:
o *Camtasia Studio
(Both programs provide facilities for creating multimedia-rich, web-ready or
o *Macromedia Dreamweaver: Website development software.
o *NCH Recordpad: Voice recording software.
o *NCH SnagIt: Screen-capture software.
o Microsoft PowerPoint: Presentation software.
o *Adobe Reader Professional PDF creation software.
* Indicates software that required training.
The course was developed with an appreciation of the different ways in which
students learn and was developed to utilize education technology that would cater
for different types of learner:
While it was accepted that different styles of learner could be catered for across
the course, individual lessons could never cater for all the different learning styles.
Each lesson has an accompanying presentation outlining both learning intentions
and successful learning indicators. The presentation also provides students with
links to other useful resources such as websites, book references. A presentation
provides the lesson with a formalised structure that includes key components to
improve student learning and attainment levels.
Course progress was more transparent given the course structure.
Benefits to Pupils Learning Experiences
Several methods were used to measure the overall benefit to pupils learning experiences.
Feedback from students was gauged in several ways:
Students were asked for feedback on the provision of a ‘digital’ course.
Both formative and summative testing was undertaken on this group and compared to
last year’s equivalent class i.e. control group. This allowed comparison between one
class who didn’t have access to E-learning material and the test class which had full
The following section attempts to summarise the main findings found during this analysis:
Students have easy access to electronic lesson resources (presentations, videos and
task sheets), both over the Internet and on CD-ROM, after the lesson is over. This
facilitates a review of the topic covered in class using ICT i.e E-Learning.
Research has shown that students prefer to use ICT in helping them to learn and
does have a positive effect upon their attainment levels.
Students found the range of electronic resources very stimulating. Students were
o Varied worksheets styles.
o Links to online ICT games.
o PowerPoint presentations.
o Hands-on practical classes using ICT equipment.
o Flash lessons.
Students found the structure of CD-ROM easy-to-understand and were able to
find lessons and task sheets with little or no problem.
Free ‘reader’ software (PowerPoint, Acrobat, Word) was provided to students to
allow them to view the documents on the CD-ROM if they didn’t have the full
versions on their computer. This ensured that all students were able to view the
documents contained on the CD-ROM without having to buy additional software.
Students liked the flexibility provided through E-Learning. Students are able to
review lesson presentations and access the other useful links provided to help
them with their homework.
The underlying purpose of this activity is to raise students attainment levels and in particular
the boys in the class. Any evaluation therefore would not be complete with proper and due
consideration being given to student attainment levels. Although time did not permit a full
investigation into the results of the activity, the real measure of success will be when the
students sit their final exam for GCSE ICT in June 2008. It is hoped that having access to E-
Learning resources coming up to exam time will also motivate and stimulate their revision for
the subject and thus improve attainment levels.
Sharing of Experiences, Skills and Knowledge
The CD-Rom created was given to all students and teachers involved in teaching and learning
of GCSE ICT. Both groups were given full training on how to install the software provided
and an overview of the content and structure of the CD-ROM. It is hoped that over the net
few months, training will be provided on the software used to create PDF files, flash files and
voice recordings/screen captures. This should facilitate other teachers in the department with
the software they need to create similar resources for their other exam classes.
Unfortunately due to time constraints, there has been no knowledge/skill/experience transfer
between departments as of yet. A training program will be drawn up for staff within the
school to provide them with the opportunities to learn some of ICT skills needed to facilitate
E-learning within their subject.
Upon completion of the school website, ICT departments in other schools will be invited to
encourage their student to use these resources to support teaching and learning within ICT.
The school website will be the main vehicle used to deliver these resources to not only
students within the school but also between schools also.
Project Value and Effectiveness
This section will examine the level of success the project enjoyed in light of its original
objectives. The extent to which these objectives were met is discussed in the table below.
To create an E-Learning portal whereby Due to time constraints the website was not
students were able to access school-based completed in time for inclusion in the report.
resources from home. It was agreed to develop a full school website
rather than a ‘vertically-sliced’ department
based micro-site. The development of this
website is still ongoing.
Provision of multi-media rich lesson Lessons for each topic in the course were
resources which are both stimulating and developed using a range of software
varied in their approach to teaching and applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint
learning and thus cater for different styles (Visual), Camsoft Studio (Visual, aural),
of learning. Adobe Acrobat (Visual), Snag-it Screen
Capture (Visual, aural). Other practical,
hands-on lessons were developed to cater for
kinaesthetic learners but are outside the scope
of this activity.
Provision of resources in formats that Although the lessons included Microsoft
were easily downloaded and portable PowerPoint presentations and Microsoft
between computers. Word task sheets, students were given free
‘PowerPoint Viewer’ and ‘Word Viewer’
software on their CD-ROM to allow them to
access these teaching and learning resources.
Students were also provided with Adobe
Acrobat task sheets. The software to view
these documents is free and was also
provided on the CD-ROM to allow students
to view these documents.
To provide both formative and Each lesson had accompanying task sheets
summative assessment resources to allow complete with mark schemes in PDF format
students to self-assess their learning to allow self-assessment.
thereby promoting independent learning.
To provide standalone lessons in a format Given the time constraints, one lesson was
which can be downloaded and watched developed as a stand-alone lesson which
outside class. could be downloaded and played in a
Browser window. The lesson was developed
in Camsoft studio and contained video,
narrative, images and PowerPoint slides. This
lesson was converted into Flash format for
In summary the project enjoyed high levels of success in light of its original objectives, even
though clearly all the objectives were not met. Both students alike found the resources to be
very accessible and varied in their content and structure. Students appeared to be stimulated
by the resources and enjoyed the range of software applications used to develop the lesson
components. The true measure of the success of this activity however will be illustrated in the
results for the class in June next year. It is only then that the effectiveness of E-learning as a
teaching tool be properly gauged.
There are several potential areas within to develop this activity still further. These include:
o The development of a complete set of standalone lessons teaching students how to
develop Microsoft Access database applications.
o The development of an E-learning resource for A-Level Applied ICT.
o The development of online ICT quizzes which provide instantaneous feedback for
both GCSE and A-Level ICT.
o The development of the school website which encourages other departments to
post E-learning material within their department homepage.
o The development of more screen capture clips to aid teaching and learning in A
Level Applied ICT.
Student name: Principals name:
Mr Errol Martin Mr Brian McCluskey
Student signature: Principals name:
Screenshots of Lesson Material:
GCSE ICT E-Learning Folder Structure
Lesson Folder Structure
Sample PowerPoint Presentation Screenshots:
Standalone Lesson Screenshots