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					                          An analysis of the SRL potential of a

                   Technology Enhanced Learning Environment

                               consisting in the online master

              “E-Learning for School, University and Enterprise”




                                     G.V., student of the course




The evaluation tool used for this analysis was developed within the European project “Self-regulated Learning in
Technology Enhanced Learning Environments at University Level: a Peer Review” (TELEPEERS)”, The project is
being carried out with the support of the European Commission (Grant agreement 2003-4710-/001-001 EDU-
ELEARN). The content of this project does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Commission, nor
does it involve any responsibility on the part of the European Commission.
The evaluation tool is freely downloadable from the web site http://www.lmi.ub.es/taconet/.


Project’s partners:
Universität zu Köln / Germany
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / The Netherlands
Universidade Católica Portuguesa / Portugal,
Aalborg Universitet / Denmark
CNR Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche / Italy
Nottingham Trent University / U.K.
Universitat de Barcelona / Spain
Université de Technologie de Compiegne / France
Universitetet i Bergen / Norway
Introduction


           The concept of Self Regulated Learning refers to a set of abilities and competencies for
organizing and managing the learning process. The existing literature on the topic points out the
importance of some basic variables for developing SRL, such as awareness and control of the
elements involved in the learning process. Moreover, context, motivational elements and emotions
seem to be crucial.

           The analysis of the relation between ICT and SRL is an interesting field of research,
considering also that ICT requires some degree of self-regulation.

           The project TELEPEERS, aiming to analyse the support to SRL provided by TELEs -
Technology Enhanced Learning Environments – gives us useful suggestions and tools for
evaluation. A TELE is defined as every learning environment supported by the use of ICT, such as
an educational software tool, a multimedia program, a whole course.

           The present document is an analysis of a TELE consisting in an online master for
graduated students run by University of Genoa, carried out by applying the Telestudents-SRL, an
evaluation tool developed within the TELEPEERS project.

           The Telestudents-SRL is an evaluation tool for TELE, developed for being filled in by
students using the TELE for their learning. This tool is freely downloadable from the web site
http://www.lmi.ub.es/telepeers.

           The considered TELE is a master for graduated students titled “’E-Learning in school,
University and Industry"1. The course has been organized and run by the Learning Science
Department of the University of Genoa, the Educational Technology Institute of CNR (Genoa) and
by the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence. The master has been developed almost
completely online (there were only three face-to-face meetings within the course) and its total
length was 800 hours (including 180 hours for internship activity).

           The platform used was EifFE-L (Environment for Freedom in E-Learning – see figure 1 -)
developed in CampusOne-CRUI. It is an e-learning environment consistent with the ADL-SCORM
model and with the current availability policies. It is an open source platform published - with
General Public License - on the site SourceForge.net.




1
    The web site of the course is: http://masterelearning.unige.it/

                                                                                                 2
                                  Figure 1 The home-page of the online course


        Objectives of the course were the acquisition of scientific, technological, methodological
and cultural competencies for the construction and management of online learning tools and
environments. The various subjects and topics addressed during the course can be subdivided into
five macro-areas: 1) projecting e-learning activities 2) constructing and delivering learning material
3) groups management 4) assessment 5) cross-curricular subjects (English language, law for the
net, economics for the web).

        Several educational activities were proposed by the teachers: both individual group
activities of study and research, construction of learning objects, simulations, production of papers,
practical stages. Several application programs were used to carry out these activities: software for
office automation, graphical editors, html editors, communication platforms. All activities were
carried out trying to exploit the potential of communication and collaboration among the
participants, following a constructivist educational methodology.

        All interaction among all subjects were carried out mostrly through the the tools put at
disposal by the (in-house built) communication environment: forums, chat, posting board, mailbox;
sometimes, these were integrated by direct communications, telephon calls or private mail.

        The tutors played a fundamental role. They always helped the teachers in their educational
activity, facilitated learning and kept alive the interaction with the students.

        The master was followed by ten students, all adults with a varied socio-cultural background.



        In analysing this master with the telestudents-SRL, the point of view adopted was my own,
that is that of a student who has followed the master and looks at it as a complex environment
where different fundamental elements take part: the educational strategy, teachers and tutors, the
knowledge learned, the educational activities, ICT. Because of the articulation of the environment,


                                                                                                       3
the analysis with the questionnaire has not been easy. I inserted some comments in sections c)
and d) in order to clarify my answer to the questions.




                                                                                            4
       PART A: Description of TELE

To be filled in by the teacher/coach.
The description of the TELE should rather be inserted by the teacher who administers the
questionnaire, in order to avoid misunderstandings on the extent of the TELE, and to avoid
obtaining not homogeneous results.

•   Please describe the learning environment which you are evaluating. The learning
    environment might be a face-to-face course (with a tutor, computers and Internet
    access) or just a CD with which you worked on your own.
•   Describe the subject, study year, and the purpose of the course.
•   Describe the type of learning activities that students undertake and whether they work
    on their own or with peers (or both).
•   Describe the role of the tutor in the course.
•   Finally, shortly describe the computer programs and/or Internet applications that were
    used.

Learning environment:
First level University Master “E-learning for the school, the university and the enterprise”.
Distance course with three presence meetings, organized by the Faculty of Educational
sciences of Genova University, the ITD CNR and the Italian Association for Artificial
Intelligence.
Subject, study year and purpose of the course:
Object of study was ICT-supported distance education.
Time: January-November 2005.
The master aims to prepapre educational technologists competent in designing and
manage web-based distance courses.
Type of learning activities:
The master promoted:
    • Individual and group activities in presence
    • Study and research activities at a distance
    • Stages at some enterprise and preparation of a final paper.
The role of the tutor:
The tutors helped the teachers in keeping alway open the virtual classes. They conducted
part of the didactical activities, facilitated learning and supported the students in difficult
points.
Computer programs and/or Internet applications:
The master was conducted almost completely on the portal EifFE-L (Environment for
Freedom in E-Learning) developed within the CampusOne-CRUI project. .
Several software tools were used during the activities: Skype, NetMeeting, MS Word, MS
Excel, MS Access, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia
Fireworks.




                                                                                             5
Part B: Personal information

Please fill in or check where appropriate.

•   Country of residence: Italy

•   Name of university or institution: Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche – CNR - Genova

•   Subject of study: E-Learning

•   Age: 29 years

•   Sex:     O female     O male

•   Present status:
    O high school student
    O vocational training student
    O undergraduate student
    O graduate student
    O doctoral student
    O teacher or trainee teacher
    O other (please explain)     __________________

•   It is the first time that I have been working in this kind of learning environment.
    O yes
    O no

•   How long have you been working in this environment? 10 months




                                                                                          6
Part C:        Evaluation of self-regulation aspects of the TELE

I found the possibility to personalize the user interface of the TELE useful
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The platform does not allow the students to personalize the interface. Not applicable.

I found the possibility to structure the learning contents useful
              Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The platform does not allow the students to structure the learning contents. Not applicable

I found the possibility to choose amongst available contents (e.g. skip a section, choose among
               different options) useful
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
There is a wide choice of different learning contents and it is easy, and allowed, to chose among
them.

I found the possibility to choose from different levels of difficulty in the TELE useful.
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
There is no differentiation among difficulty levels. Not applicable.

I found the possibility to select between different presentations of the same content materials
useful
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
This possibility was given very rarely, hence Not applicable.

The TELE allowed me to establish personalised learning goals.
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Good possibility to establish personal objectives

The TELE helped me to plan my learning activities.
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
This support given by tutors and teachers

The TELE allowed me to switch to a new learning strategy if necessary
(i.e. a way of planning the actions to carry out in order to learn).
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The TELE resulted rather flexible from this point of view

The TELE encouraged me to actively participate in learning or problem solving
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Tutors and teachers always encouraged students’ participation

The TELE helped me to reflect on my own problem solving activities.
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Mostly relying on individual initiative of some teachers, this kind of support was in my opinion
insufficient

The TELE helped me to reflect on my learning progress.
                Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Not enough support in this sense


                                                                                                    7
The TELE helped me to find out to what extent I am achieving my learning goals.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

The TELE provided me with appropriate feedback on my work and achievements.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Such feedback were not enough

The TELE gave me feedback reminding me of knowledge and skills relevant to solve tasks
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

The TELE suggested to me how problems might be solved.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Though with some exceptions, this support was not enough

The TELE helped me to increase my confidence in my own abilities.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Overall, the TELE positively contributed to develop more awareness of my abilities and
possibilities

The TELE helped me to keep up a positive working attitude.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The TELE did not contribute much to the development of such attitude.

The TELE helped me to restore a positive working attitude at points where I was experiencing
particular difficulties in the learning process
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The TELE did not contribute much to the development of such attitude.

The online help facilities of the TELE encouraged me to continue working after a failure.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
This was partially missing

The TELE helped me to work out strategies to keep up my motivation.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

I found the possibility to contact and receive help from my tutor/instructor useful.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Certainly, thanks to the abundance of communication means at disposal

I found the possibility to discuss my work with my tutor/instructor useful
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
The portal structure and the attitude of the human resources involved allowed a continous
comparison with teachers and tutors on the work carried out.

I found the possibility to compare my results with that of my tutor/instructor useful.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

I found the possibility to work together with my peers useful.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

I found the possibility to compare my results with those of my peers useful.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
This possibility was not given much, hence Not applicable.

                                                                                               8
I found the possibility to communicate with my peers useful.
                  Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree

I found the possibility to do self-assessment exercises useful
                  Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
With rare exception, this item is Not applicable. .

I found the possibility to choose which skills to self-assess useful
                  Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Not applicable.




                                                                       9
PART D:        General evaluation of the TELE
Globally, working in this learning environment helped me to organise my learning
               Very little 0 1 2 3 4 5 Very much
This aspect could be improved.

I have the feeling that working in this learning environment, I achieved
               Very little 0 1 2 3 4 5 Very much
I feel sufficiently sure to have realized my objectives.

The TELE was organised in such a way that I enjoyed working in it.
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
Also this aspects could be improved

I found the TELE to be stimulating
               Disagree 0 1 2 3 4 5 agree
From this point of view, the TELE was not sufficiently stimulating



We would also like to know to which extent different aspects of the learning environment
were important for your learning outcome. If you did well was it because you had a good
tutor or because the software you used was very good ? Or were you successful because
you invested a lot of effort or because you simply are a bright student? If you did not do
well, why was that? Who was primarily responsible for your learning outcome in that case?


For achieving the goals of the course….
        my tutor/instructor was               not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important

            my peers were                     not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important

   technology (computer program,              not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important
      Internet application) was
            my ability was                    not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important

             my effort was                    not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important

 the knowledge that I had before was          not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important

     other aspects (which ones?)              not important 0 1 2 3 4 5 very important
                were




                                                                                         10
What are good aspects of this TELE ?

The human component was the most positive aspect of this TELE. Part of the good
results obtained in this master depend on the committment and professionality of the
tutors and teachers involved.
The platform used for the educational activities was very clear and simple to use; this
is very important in order to allow those who are not habitual users of ICT to start
using the environemnt weel after a short time.



What are weak or negative aspects of this TELE ?

Time organization was imperfect. This is emphasized by a dishomogeneous
distribution of the activities over the course. This is negative since it determined
negative attitudes.
The portal resulted scarcely flexible and does not allow to personalize the learning
path (this problem was partially solved by the constructive attitute of teachers and
peers).
.


What suggestions do you have for improving this TELE ?

The structure of the course does not need to be radically changed. The master has
already a good starting basis, but attention to some aspects would be useful:
• A ri-organization of the time tables;
• Attention to the different committment of the teachers;
• A revision of the platform by making it more stimulating and pleasant and by
    adding some functions.




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