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Evaluating the Quality of the e-Learning Experience in Higher Education. Anne Jelfs and Keir Thorpe, Institute of Educational Technology (IET), The Open University. Introduction. Complexity of student experience Problems facing evaluators Different research methodologies

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Evaluating the quality of the e learning experience in higher education
Evaluating the Quality of the e-Learning Experience in Higher Education

Anne Jelfs and Keir Thorpe,

Institute of Educational Technology (IET),

The Open University


Introduction
Introduction Higher Education

  • Complexity of student experience

  • Problems facing evaluators

  • Different research methodologies

  • Audits promote evaluation

  • Holistic view – why? how? when? and what? of evaluation


Pressures
Pressures Higher Education

  • Develop transferable student abilities

  • Pressure within the UK and worldwide

  • Governmental and employer pressure

  • Requirement – learners to participate in a networked information society

  • Emphasis on student-centred learning


Evaluators
Evaluators Higher Education

  • Experienced evaluators needed in production, usability and effectiveness of online delivery

  • The Internet and ‘blended learning’ with ICT elements now widespread


Two sides of e learning

Promoted by government initiatives Higher Education

Cost effectiveness of e-Learning

Permits tailored education

Can develop in ways which impoverish education

Time & production costs of development

Students & tutors lacking skills to use

Two Sides of e-Learning


The impact of quality assurance
The Impact of Quality Assurance Higher Education

  • Parallel to increased use of ICT is rising interest in quality assurance strategies

  • Lighter QAA touch & emphasis on stakeholders – students, employers, funders, society

  • Emphasis on outcomes rather than processes

  • QAA looking for an institution’s strategy


Why evaluate the learner s experience
Why Higher Education Evaluate the Learner’s Experience?

  • Subject review & institutional audits

  • Act as: educational ‘connoisseurs’ with approaches and tools to use in order to act as experts informing policy

  • Require: awareness and understanding of what is experienced

  • Require: personal judgement

  • Require: ability to articulate subtleties to a wider audience


Questions to ask yourself

Is the student experience exceptional? Higher Education

Are there defects in the system or delivery?

Fit for purpose?

Value for money or adds costs?

Transformative/Value adding?

Students’ perceptions?

Effect on student numbers?

Questions to Ask yourself


Metrics for e learning evaluation
Metrics for e-Learning Evaluation Higher Education

  • Efficiency of the teaching and learning process

  • Readability & usability of materials

  • Communication

  • Social relationships

  • Costs


Quality of the e learning experience
Quality of the e-Learning Experience Higher Education

  • Efficiency of the teaching and learning process

  • Accurate student data

  • Drop out rates

  • Student assessment results

  • Student satisfaction ratings

  • Training of tutors


Quality of the e learning experience1
Quality of the e-Learning Experience Higher Education

  • Efficiency of the teaching and learning process

To best understand the potential for

e-Learning:

  • Start with 1-2 courses

  • Is this course needed by students?

  • Is the assessment electronic?

  • Collection of computer log data


Materials and Communication Higher Education

  • 3. Communication

  • Communication with tutors & other students

  • Skills in using technology

  • Access from home/campus/3rd party

  • Group work

2. Readability & usability of materials

  • Peer review of materials

  • Reuse as learning objects

  • Online exercises

  • Study skills

  • e-Library and e-journal access


Social Relationships and Costs Higher Education

  • 5. Costs

  • Costs per student of recruitment

  • Training of tutors

  • Costs of electronic access

  • Reuse of learning materials & learning objects

4.Social Relationships

  • Hours working online

  • Student motivation

  • Student support & interaction with other students


Robson s 3 approaches to human computer interaction
Robson’s 3 Approaches to Human-Computer Interaction Higher Education

  • Learning theory is dominant – how students and their interaction with computers fit together

  • How students learn when using computers

  • Using the technology to teach in ways that are novel and unique to the environment


How are we going to evaluate the e learning experience
How Higher Education are we going to Evaluate the e-Learning Experience?

  • Evaluation goals need to be clearly defined

  • Is this a formative or summative evaluation?

  • How should the data be gathered?

  • Should quantitative or qualitative methods be used?


How are we going to evaluate the e learning experience1
How Higher Education are we going to Evaluate the e-Learning Experience?

Methods include:

  • Surveys

  • Observations

  • Semi-structured interviews

  • Focus groups

  • Cognitive walk-throughs

  • Qualitative studies can provide examples of usability difficulties


How are we going to evaluate the e learning experience2
How Higher Education are we going to Evaluate the e-Learning Experience?

Surveying students’ views:

  • detects feelings of overload

  • informs necessary course adjustments

    Survey methods:

  • paper based with

  • telephone supplementary interviews

  • increased use of electronic surveys

  • focus groups


When to evaluate the e learning experience
When Higher Education to Evaluate the e-Learning Experience?

  • Dependent on whether the evaluation is formative or summative?

  • When is the student deemed to have completed the course?

  • Will formative evaluation during the course engage students more?

  • Harvesting evaluation information from student interaction with the course


What does the evaluation provide
What Higher Education does the Evaluation provide?

  • Audio/video record of the computer screen, the user’s comments and keystrokes

    Baseline data to:

  • make adjustments, possibly ‘instant’ feedback

  • for external audit

  • shape e-learning strategy

  • input into associated resources – library and information literacy provision


Data protection
Data Protection Higher Education

  • Students and tutors need to be kept informed about how the data they provide is being used

  • Students and tutors retain the right to remove what they have provided at any time

  • Evaluators have to ensure secure access to the data

  • Evaluators must get consent especially if using the data in a different context


Conclusion
Conclusion Higher Education

  • The Open University is interested in the quality of the student experience

  • To improve that experience needs understanding of student and staff needs

  • Here we have aimed to provide a framework in which to conduct evaluations

  • Current work on modelling courses will provide data on points of concern that arise in blended and e-learning


To praise & ask queries, contact Higher EducationAnne:

Contact

[email protected]

To complain, contact Keir:

[email protected]


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