NDLR Symposium 2012 Engaging Students in Technical Modules:The Quest to Promote Student Identification of Problematic Knowledge. Dr William Lyons, School of Engineering, Dr Bernadette Brereton, School of Business and Humanities, Dundalk Institute of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation Outline: • Background / Motivation • Reusable Learning Objects • M-Learning • Methodology • Results / Discussion • Questionnaire • Focus group • Key Learning Points • Conclusion / Future work • Acknowledgements
Background / Motivation: Engineering – traditional approaches rely heavily on lectures and standard reading. Use of digital reusable learning objects (RLOs) in parallel with traditional approaches • tutorial questions / key topics • 1st year students, BEng EESE, Analog. • M-learning approach
Background / Motivation: 1st year Electronics - diverse mix of student ability. Standard delivery methods – limited success. Large amount of additional independent student effort required away from formal learning environment. Develop RLO’s to electronically review material prior to tutorials: • improve reflection • increased engagement • foster peer learning • improved integration of new ideas
Sample Questions / Solutions Material Module Delivery Methods Lecturing Solutions Discussions Questions Tutorial Students have limited input into pace and direction of syllabus coverage Lack of student ownership / engagement
“an independent and self-standing unit of learning content that is predisposed to reuse in multiple instructional contexts” Reusable Learning Objects: Pithamber and Polsani, 2003 Design of RLO not embedded within a particular type of delivery. Relationship between visual and audio content – reduce potential cognitive loading
M-Learning: Mobile learning – not bounded by traditional standard learning environments, e.g. classroom • Accessibility – on demand solution • Blended – extension of e-learning, complementing other modes of content delivery In this study: Provide students with the ability to view selected video based RLOs prior to scheduled tutorial sessions
Methodology: Quantitative and Qualitative methodologies for data collection Mixed methods approach • Numerical and verbal data from a questionnaire • Focus group • Formative assessments before and after RLOs intervention.
Methodology: Quantitative and Qualitative methodologies for data collection Mixed methods approach • Numerical and verbal data from a questionnaire • 12 questions covering 3 main areas (mobile, digital footprint, Module content accessed digitally) • 40 participants – 34 responses (85%) • Focus group • 12 students – one sitting lasting 1 hour • Formative assessments before and after RLOs intervention.
Results: Questionnaire (34 respondents): 32 have access to a mobile phone 26 capable of viewing multimedia Important RLOs accessible on devices available to all participants 31 view streaming video over web Moodle access mainly through PC RLOs uploaded to YouTube and embedded within Moodle
Results: Access of Module Material: • 66% view course material or email on cell phones • Screen size main factor for avoiding access via cell phones • 32 respondents interested in having video related course material available • 68% indicating 3 to 5 min duration would be ideal Strong emphasis on face to face communication and timetabled contact hours
Results: Focus Group: Towards the end of the semester After 4 weeks access to video tutorial based RLOs Topics discussed: • Relevance of RLOs to material within lectures • Access and ease of use of the RLOs • RLOs replacing elements of formal lecturing/tutorials • Mobility and size of viewing device • Duration of RLOs
Key Learning Points: Timing and content: Duration – proved not a concern Key Learning point clearly illustrated within video Clear signpost to subject area within video RLOs regularly signposted within lecture or tutorial Dissemination of RLO material: Users expectations are met with respect to Accessibility and Usability Equal access of the resources within the target group
Key Learning Points: Attitudes to technology and material: • Excellent supplement to established delivery material • Accessible on various platforms and downloadable • Screen size – reduced preference for cell phones
Conclusion / Future work: Approach encouraged greater engagement with material, and identification of individual problematic knowledge. Excellent tool to facilitate identification of problem areas requiring further assistance or explanation. Expansion of this approach within modules consisting of large amounts of student effort away from traditional learning environments.
Acknowledgements: National Digital Learning Resources (NDLR) • Learning Innovation Projects (LIPS) Fund Centre for Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Dundalk Institute of Technology