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Article

Peter Littig

The purpose of this paper is to describe the results of a research study on eLearning across Europe. The aims are to identify the main focus of eLearning projects

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the results of a research study on eLearning across Europe. The aims are to identify the main focus of eLearning projects supported by the European Leonardo da Vinci programme and to give recommendations for the future.

Design/methodology/approach

The objectives were achieved in two different steps: First, the projects were categorized by the researchers according to an agreed set of criteria. This in turn led through the so‐called funnel methodology to a representative selection of eLearning projects which were evaluated more deeply by means of expert interviews.

Findings

The study showed that technical matters and narrowly‐defined subject areas still receive the most emphasis by eLearning developers. What is needed, however, is a stronger focus on the learners and their needs. The need for innovation in eLearning is not in the area of technological innovation, rather pedagogical innovation and increased value, for the learners need to play a more important role in eLearning projects.

Research limitations/implications

This thematic monitoring should be seen as only a first step and needs to be continued to help steer the development of eLearning projects financed by the European Commission.

Practical implications

The main focus of the outcomes is the necessity of the enforcement of learner‐oriented approaches instead of technology‐driven approaches in order to create added value for the eLearners.

Originality/value

This project was the first overall European monitoring in the field of eLearning, analysing the actual changes in thinking on eLearning and defining clear recommendations for the future.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article

Joel S. Mtebe

This study aims to investigate the factors that influence user experience (UX) of eLearning systems implemented in two institutions in Tanzania.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the factors that influence user experience (UX) of eLearning systems implemented in two institutions in Tanzania.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted questionnaire consisting of Nielsen’s heuristics and didactic metrics as pragmatic metrics and hedonic metrics followed by focus group discussions with students.

Findings

The study found that the eLearning system of University of Dar es Salaam had 43 UX problems related to Nielsen’s heuristics and 54 UX problems related to didactic heuristics. The eLearning system of the Open University of Tanzania had 50 UX problems related to Nielsen’s heuristics and 59 UX problems related to didactic heuristics. Moreover, the two systems provided positive UX hedonic quality on identification and evocation dimensions while stimulation was perceived to be neutral.

Research limitations/implications

The study has used learners as evaluators rather than expert evaluators. Learners are not particularly experienced in the learning domain, and therefore, it is difficult for them to identify many didactic violations of the eLearning systems.

Originality/value

The study contributes toward finding the underlying factors for non-use or underuse of the installed eLearning systems in various universities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Details

Interactive Technology and Smart Education, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-5659

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Article

Cheddi Kiravu, Kamen M. Yanev, Moses O. Tunde, Anna M. Jeffrey, Dirk Schoenian and Ansel Renner

Integrating laboratory work into interactive engineering eLearning contents augments theory with practice while simultaneously ameliorating the apparent theory-practice…

Abstract

Purpose

Integrating laboratory work into interactive engineering eLearning contents augments theory with practice while simultaneously ameliorating the apparent theory-practice gap in traditional eLearning. The purpose of this paper is to assess and recommend media that currently fulfil this desirable dual pedagogical goal.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative approach compares the eLearner-content interactivity deriving from Mathematica’s Computable Document File (CDF) application, Pearson’s myLab and Lucas-Nuelle’s UniTrain-I. Illustrative interactive examples written in JavaScript and Java are thereby drawn from an engineering eLearning course developed at the University of Botswana (UB).

Findings

Based on its scientific rigour, wide application scope, engineering analytical depth, minimal programming requirements and cross-subject-cum-faculty application and deployment potential, the authors found the CDF to be a versatile environment for generating dynamically interactive eLearning contents. The UniTrain-I, blending a multimedia information and communication technology (ICT)-based interactive eLearner-content philosophy with practical laboratory experimentation, is recommended for meeting the paper’s dual eLearning goal as the most adept framework to-date, blending dynamic interactive eLearning content with laboratory hands-on engineering experimentation.

Research limitations/implications

The lack of other competing frameworks limited the considerations to only the three mentioned above. Consequently, the results are subject to review as the ongoing research advances new insights.

Originality/value

The conclusions help eLearning designers plan ICT-based resources for integration into practical electrical engineering eLearning pedagogy and both CDF and UniTrain-I help dispel the prevailing apparent disquiet regarding the effectiveness of the eLearning-mediated electrical engineering pedagogy. In addition, the cited examples document an original electrical engineering eLearning course developed at the UB.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article

Abdullah Alhabeeb and Jennifer Rowley

The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into the development of eLearning systems and the perceptions of key players in the management of eLearning systems in three…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into the development of eLearning systems and the perceptions of key players in the management of eLearning systems in three large universities in Saudi Arabia. It establishes the relative importance of different factors and compares these findings with studies conducted elsewhere in the world.

Design/methodology/approach

Desk research was conducted to gather a profile of the eLearning initiatives in the participating universities. Structured interviews were conducted with senior managers with responsibility for implementing and promoting eLearning in their universities. The interview protocol prompted discussion of the importance of the following sets of factors in the success and acceptance of eLearning: student characteristics, instructor characteristics, learning environment, instructional design, and support. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

Supported by the Saudi Government, the three universities in this study have been developing their eLearning services. The two most important groups of critical success factors in this process were regarded as those related to student and instructor characteristics. Further analysis within each group of factors suggested that participants regarded instructor knowledge with learning technologies and student knowledge of computer systems, and technical infrastructure as important facilitators of success. Amongst instructional design factors, clarity of learning objectives and content quality were regarded as important. Insights are offered as to the reasons for these selections.

Originality/value

This study furthers earlier research on eLearning managers’ views and contributes to understanding of eLearning and its management in the Middle East.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article

Yiye Han and Steven Yates

Monash University Library (MUL) has embraced eLearning as a strategy in its contribution to information research and learning skills development within the university. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Monash University Library (MUL) has embraced eLearning as a strategy in its contribution to information research and learning skills development within the university. The purpose of this paper is to describe an evaluation of the implementation of the strategy with recommendations for sustaining and improving practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The evaluation is divided into four categories using a mixed methods methodology for evidence gathering. Quantitative and qualitative data are obtained from both primary and secondary sources for an enriched understanding of practices.

Findings

Findings suggest that library staff have gained knowledge and skills indicating a sustainable strategy. However, further work is required to sustain staff development and support staff requirements in the long term.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited by its wide focus. Although this is mostly resolved through the use of multiple data collection methods, the thoroughness of the evaluation may have suffered while attempting to be comprehensive.

Practical implications

The conclusions of this evaluation as well as methods of its execution can be shared with other institutions wishing to produce eLearning resources in a sustainable and effective manner.

Originality/value

MUL develops its eLearning resources in-house, whereas many other institutions outsource. The findings of this case study could be viewed as a positive indication of this in-house practice, which in turn might inform other organisations who are looking for a financially beneficial eLearning alternative.

Details

Library Management, vol. 37 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

Keywords

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the unique d

i

mensions associated with knowledge quality (KQ) based on students’ perception in an educational institution.

Design/methodology/approach

Purposive sampling was used to select students who were active users of the electronic-Learning (eLearning) system at two faculties in a single university. The qualitative data gathering employed an unstructured open-ended questionnaire distributed to the 52 selected participants.

Findings

The qualitative findings unearth the students’ perspective about quality of knowledge gained from content used in online courses. In total, 34 underlying sub-dimensions of KQ emerged, which were categorized into five KQ dimensions: intrinsic KQ, contextual KQ, representational KQ, accessible KQ, and actionable KQ.

Research limitations/implications

The findings provide an insight to educators to consider KQ dimensions in providing quality knowledge to students in an eLearning environment.

Originality/value

Previous studies have used information quality dimensions to measure KQ because of a lack of conceptualization of KQ that leads to difficulties in operationalizing this construct. In this study, a conceptual and operational definition of KQ, in the context of eLearning, is proposed based on grounded data from students participating in an online learning environment.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article

Gurmak Singh and Glenn Hardaker

The purpose of this paper is to identify and examine the antecedents that enable or constrain the adoption and diffusion of eLearning in higher education (HE). The key…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and examine the antecedents that enable or constrain the adoption and diffusion of eLearning in higher education (HE). The key focus of the study is on the examination of how the organisation's diffusion structures, systems or processes influence the individual adoption of eLearning. The findings from this literature review contribute to practice through providing a better understanding of the issues associated with institutional diffusion mechanisms that aid the adoption of learning technologies.

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive search of the literature was conducted. The selected references were analysed into a number of categories; macro-level studies examining HE context of eLearning, micro-level studies focusing on individual and social factors and articles focusing on management issues of adoption and diffusion of technological innovations. Finally, over 300 articles were used to compile the findings of this paper.

Findings

The paper argues that future research studies should not model the adoption and diffusion of eLearning based primarily on either an individualist (Micro) or structuralist (Macro) perspective, but by using a more interactive approach to examine the complexity and multiple levels and dimensions of social reality.

Research limitations/implications

A significant exclusion and one which clearly calls for further research, is the aspect of institutional structures such as library systems, virtual learning environments, administrative support systems and other technical systems such as enrolment, registration, assessment and students, with respect to the adoption of eLearning. Future studies may want to explore the interplay between these structures and agency.

Practical implications

The study findings contribute to practice through providing a better understanding of the issues associated with institutional diffusion mechanisms that aid the adoption of learning technologies. Considering the slow and often disappointing adoption of eLearning within higher education institutions (HEIs), the study reveals the nature of adoption that may inform the development of institutional eLearning diffusion structures.

Social implications

The paper identifies that the importance of individual factors influencing the adoption of eLearning has been acknowledged by the above studies, and the underlying message has emerged that levels of eLearning adoption would be higher if strategic managers recognised the social dimensions of eLearning innovation and diffusion, such as: academic and professional goals, interests and needs; technology interests; patterns of work; sources of support; and social networks. The argument is that currently eLearning is geared towards technically “literate” and innovative staff, and this strategy reduces the likelihood of mainstream faculty actually adopting instructional technology for their own teaching.

Originality/value

A review of the eLearning literature shows that there only a few substantive theoretical accounts which adequately integrate multiple levels of analysis and explain adoption and diffusion of eLearning in terms of the interplay between structural influences and individual action. The paper argues for future research to be integrated in a general analytical framework.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article

Robert A. Ellis, Nerida Jarkey, Mary Jane Mahony, Mary Peat and Stephen Sheely

This paper seeks to discuss the characteristics that shape a model to manage eLearning in a large, predominantly campus‐based university. It focuses on how such a model…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to discuss the characteristics that shape a model to manage eLearning in a large, predominantly campus‐based university. It focuses on how such a model can provide a sustainable approach to supporting eLearning for more than 40,000 students while still managing basic quality assurance for the University executive and the individual disciplinary needs of faculties.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior research and theoretical issues related to a generalised course development and teaching process are discussed followed by an analysis of a case‐study from a large metropolitan Australian university. The case‐study illustrates key aspects of the management model providing insights into how staff are empowered and supported to develop meaningful eLearning resources for students, how quality improvement is managed, and how organizational learning takes place.

Findings

Following the analysis of how key aspects of the model relate to the university discussed in the case study, several challenges for quality improvement at the level of both course and university are identified. The case‐study reveals the complexity of quality improvement strategies, which (mainly due to the fact that eLearning complements the face‐to‐face learning experience) require a relational and embedded approach. Key principles for managing eLearning development and evaluation for campus‐based universities are abstracted from the case‐study and offered as a guide to universities who face similar challenges

Research limitations/implications

Although not all aspects of the case‐study can be applied to other contexts, the key principles of the proposed management model are likely to apply to other campus‐based universities which share the same focus on integrating eLearning in sustainable ways but also wish to foreground quality assurance issues.

Originality/value

The paper integrates the discussion of theoretical approaches and models for eLearning management in higher education with the description of a case‐study from a large, diverse, campus‐based university, while highlighting the complexity and practical challenges of implementing such a model.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Keywords

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Article

Jay Cross

eLearning: snake oil or salvation? Changes in the world are forcing corporations to rethink how people adapt to their environment. How do people learn? Why? What's…

Abstract

eLearning: snake oil or salvation? Changes in the world are forcing corporations to rethink how people adapt to their environment. How do people learn? Why? What's eLearning? Does it work? This paper addresses these questions and recounts the history and pitfalls of computer‐based training and first‐generation eLearning. It traces the roots of CBT Systems, SmartForce, Internet Time Group, and the University of Phoenix. It takes a person to five years of TechLearn, the premier eLearning conference, from dot‐com euphoria to today's real‐time realities. The subject‐matter here is corporate learning, in particular mastering technical and social skills, and product knowledge. The focus is on learning what is required to meet the promise made to the customer. While there are parallels to collegiate education, the author lacks the experience to draw them.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article

Glenn Hardaker and Gurmak Singh

This exploratory study seeks to identifythe factors that influence the adoption and diffusion of instructional technology at five prominent universities in the UK. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory study seeks to identifythe factors that influence the adoption and diffusion of instructional technology at five prominent universities in the UK. The study aims to examine the organisational factors that enable and inhibit organisational adoption and diffusion of innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative exploratory case approach has been adopted to address the research question. In total, 36 semi‐structured interviews were conducted at five universities in the UK. The five diverse approaches to adoption and diffusion of instructional technology were examined; top‐down, integrated top‐down, bottom‐up, research‐driven and project‐driven approach.

Findings

For this research eLearning is conceptualised as innovation situated in the interplay between structure and individual and how this leads to adoption and diffusion. The paper argues that senior management need to acknowledge the need to bridge the gap between “local context” and top‐down strategic change. The findings suggest that there are tensions between “signification of meaning”, “power and dominance” and cultural norms in adoption and diffusion of eLearning.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of the research are significant in understanding the diversity of approaches to the adoption and diffusion of elearning. This provides insight for other universities in successfully managing the application of e‐learning.

Originality/value

Giddens's structuration theory provided a sensitising framework for understanding the dialectical nature of adoption of eLearning within five universities in the UK. The tensions between institutional structures, such as strategies, training, access to technology, technical support and time resources, and levels of adoption can be captured by dialectic of control in Giddens's Theory of Structuration.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

Keywords

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