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Blended e-learning and the VLE

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  1. Blended e-learning and the VLE Steve Humphries & Dave Budden 24th February 2006 Abridged from an original presentation and paper by Davies and Humphries (2005) National IT in FE Conference; ISBN 1-904133-30-4

  2. Background Comment: “I look forward to the day when e-learning will not be seen as a ‘bolt-on’ to learning but simply as a seamless extension of learning as learning must be seen as an extension of people’s lives.” Howells, K.(2004)Speech to Post 16 E-learning Practitioners [Online]. [Accessed 10th June 2005]. http://www.dfes.gov.uk/speeches/media/documents/becta2.doc Blended e-learning and the VLE

  3. Teaching/training Approaches: From ‘content-centred’ to ‘learner-centred’. ‘Content-centred’ learning is mainly concerned with the presentation of information; whereas ‘learner-centred’ training environments focus upon communicating the information to the learner. ‘Learner-centred’ approach does more than simply present information. It is designed to make sure that learners understand as well as receive the information communicated to them. Propst, B. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of e-learning [Online] [Accessed 10th June 2005].http://www.sseinc.com/assets/pdfs/WhitePaperGoodBadUgly.pdf Blended e-learning and the VLE

  4. Comment: “Ideal online learning material should extend beyond being a virtual course book, to being a virtual classroom.” Milligan, C. (1999) Delivering Staff and Professional Development Using Virtual Learning Environments [Online]. [Accessed 10th June 2005]. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/jtap-044.doc Blended e-learning and the VLE

  5. Introduction 1 • Course development was based on the approach that for lecturers to move successfully to on-line teaching, learning and moderating, more is required than simply the development of new technical skills. • The aims of the course were to: • develop pedagogical approaches challenging previous • practices • review course content and design including activity/enquiry • based learning • promote lecturer/student dialogue, group interaction and • student assessment on-line. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  6. Introduction 2 • A longer term aim was to: • develop a self supporting community that would assist new users entering into e-learning • promote the principles and practices of e-moderating. • engender a culture that recognises how e-learning can be harnessed more effectively throughout the learning environment. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  7. Purpose of the Course • ‘Introduction to e-learning and the Virtual Learning Environment’ • Its purpose was to introduce participants to: • the basic principles of e-learning • communicating in an asynchronous on-line forum • converse with their peers and e-moderators. • Additionally it would provide: • familiarity with the VLE, and its use, • accessibility of materials outside class-time, both on or off • campus. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  8. Sample Activity Blended e-learning and the VLE

  9. Learning Objectives • By the end of the course it was expected that participants had: • appreciated the basic concepts and pedagogy of e-learning • became familiar and comfortable with asynchronous • conferencing • appreciated the essential qualities required of an e- • moderator • developed skills in the design and use of selected e-learning • tools • created learning objects and ‘e-tivities’ • accessed and populated the VLE with learning materials • and provided peer review of the work of others. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  10. Length of the Course • Course duration was one academic term comprising 14 weeks, • including: • two ‘f2f’ practical workshops of 3 hours duration for accessing and populating the learning space • 9 weeks of learning modules each with its own ‘e-tivity’ • 3 weeks to complete the assignment and course assessment (including a ‘f2f’ presentation). • Participants are expected to spend at least 5 hours on • each weekly activity. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  11. Course Participants • 13 participants joined the initial course which began in February 2005. • The participants included: • 3 ILT Advanced Practitioners, • ILT manager, • VLE project leader, • 4 heads of school and 4 lecturers with a particular interest in ILT. • The group was split into 2 groups with an e-moderator assigned to each group. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  12. UNIT 1 • Introduction to e-learning and the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) • The first fully on-line weekly module. • Outcome • The participants would be able to: • appreciate the basic concepts of e-learning • communicate with their e-moderator and fellow participants in • an asynchronous forum • search for recourses and correctly reference on-line materials Blended e-learning and the VLE

  13. UNIT 2 Basic Concepts and Pedagogy This module provided information on a number of key aspects of e-learning starting with a description of the differences between IT, ICT, ILT and e-learning. References were available and participants could use the e-mail facility to contact either of the e-moderators. The weekly e- tivity could readily be accessed and responses posted in the asynchronous forum. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  14. Blended e-learning and the VLE Salmon, G. (2004) e-moderating, the key to teaching and learning online: second edition: London: RoutledgeFalmer.

  15. UNIT 3 • ‘e-tivities’ and e-moderating • Module concentrated on the essential qualities required of • an e-moderator, namely: • the characteristics contained within these qualities • the need to create and sustain a useful, relevant online learning community. • Additionally: • the purpose and procedure for creating an ‘e-tivity’ • an analysis of such examples • the creation of each participant’s first ‘e-tivity’ based on content within the module utilising an ‘e-tivity’ template. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  16. Example ‘e-tivity’ template Blended e-learning and the VLE

  17. Example ‘e-tivity’ Blended e-learning and the VLE

  18. UNIT 4 • On-line teaching materials & Accessibility • Module considered the skills required to search for information effectively including: • the Internet e.g. Google™ Scholar etc • defining terms such as ‘learning objects’ • finding reusable materials that were freely available for use within their own course. • NLN materials that are readily available, and their suitability for use within an e-learning event. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  19. UNIT 5 • Assessment Methodology • The participants were expected to be able to: • investigate the use of formative assessment within • e-learning • analyse summative assessment and consider these • approaches within an e-learning context. • consider peer based interaction for assessment Blended e-learning and the VLE

  20. UNIT 6 • Developing accessible e-content • Participants were required to: • prepare one learning event/learning object in their own area of expertise (of 6 to 8 screens) • include an ‘e-tivity’ in their learning object • populate their own dedicated course area on the VLE with this material. • This exercise formed part of their assignment and required • completion within an allotted three week assignment period. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  21. Assignment 1 • Printout of the participants compulsory contributions to the • weekly online forum for peer discussion and review. • Written assignment (1,000 words) comprising: • reflection on the e-learning experience • what influenced the choice of the participants 'developed' on-line teaching materials • how their future teaching practice could/would be affected • (the ‘reflective practitioner’) Blended e-learning and the VLE

  22. Assignment 2 • This involved: • completion and demonstration of the participants’ • teaching materials/learning objects • demonstrating the ‘e-tivities’ at a presentation to others • participating in peer review and discussion • Overall pass mark - 50% Blended e-learning and the VLE

  23. Presenting the e-learning object • All participants were required to: • give a presentation describing the development of their teaching materials/learning objects • demonstrate links within the e-tivitiy to their dedicated area on the VLE • demonstrate their learning activities. • This session included peer review of e-learning materials • Successful participants were awarded a North West Kent College • Certificate in e-learning and the VLE. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  24. Outcomes • 11 of the 13 participants completed this course successfully • 2 participants withdrew from the course at an early stage. • Both were Heads of School and found themselves with • insufficient time to commit to this demanding course. • The learning activities/e-tivities were cross assessed by both • e-moderators indicating areas of strength/weakness and • these comments were fed back to participants individually. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  25. Evaluation • The development of online materials by all participants was • impressive. • Instructional design skills varied within the group. • 2 participants used the HTML and JavaScript template • provided. For both this meant acquiring basic skills in HTML • Other participants used the design tool ‘Course Genie’ or • Microsoft® PowerPoint. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  26. Evaluation contd • All participants included internal links within the learning • activities to a greater or lesser extent providing access to • additional learning materials • But, disappointingly only the highest scoring participants • included frequent external links to Internet learning • resources • The inclusion of useful and carefully developed ‘e-tivities’ • withopen questions was only achieved by less than half the • participants (an area for review). Blended e-learning and the VLE

  27. The Way Forward • Participants must appreciate the input of time required to • successfully complete and contribute to a course of this • nature • More course time needs to be committed to developing the • skills of e-learning, in particular the need to include • activity/enquiry-based learning involving the inclusion of • links toInternet resources and searches • Staff development days have now been committed to • ‘Learning to e-learn’ incorporating the above. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  28. The Way Forward • Include more time for the satisfactory development of peer-to-peer interaction in the conference area, hence further developments • A major shift towards synchronous and asynchronous • electronic communication between college staff in conference • areas is needed. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  29. The Way Forward • The cost/benefit of participation on the course has to be real • and tangible to the individual staff participant • The course itself is currently being accredited by Edexcel as aLevel 4 Professional Award in e-Learning and the VLE • The benefits of accreditation are: • providing value over and above what would be expected from standard staff development • allowing external candidates to take part in the course rather than just internal to the college. Blended e-learning and the VLE

  30. Development • EdexcelLevel 4 Professional Award in e-Learning and the VLE • Course content has been revised • Assessment criteria referenced • Increased course hours have been included (credit • values derived) • Participating staff are granted exemption to the • formal staff development activities that are required • as a mandatory part of receiving the Teachers Pay • Initiative Blended e-learning and the VLE

  31. Further Development • EdexcelLevel 4 Professional Award in e-Learning and the VLE • Moved to alternative VLE (Moodle) • Teams within Schools to be set up to encourage added content development and inclusion • Collaboration with HE institutions to ensure standardisation of content • Inclusion of VLE learning objects into Foundation Degree Course content Blended e-learning and the VLE

  32. Issues: Time • How much time is made available for e-moderators to e-moderate their courses and make contact with their participants? • e-learning does not cut contact time for the learning process. • Contact time is different from the traditional ‘f2f’ but it still exists • It is a different form of contact! • e-moderators allotted approx 88.5 hours to create and run the course for 13 candidates dividing into • 30 minutesper week per student for the 14 weeks duration of the course Blended e-learning and the VLE

  33. Issues: Course Creation • Estimated time span too short, in real terms, when compared to the actual time required • These factors can be learned from to assist in providing evidence for future time allocations for e-learning courses within the institution. • How do these situations compare with other centres? • Do institutions allot additional time for creation of e-learning objects? Blended e-learning and the VLE

  34. Collaboration Progression to University Certificate of Credit in eLearnng, Teaching and Training (celtt) The full celtt certificate is worth 60 credit points consisting of 3 core and 1 option course and can be taken over two semesters or longer according to need. Each course is free standing and worth 15 credit points and any student undertaking one or more courses will receive an appropriate award. There are also opportunities to use the credit gained towards a Foundation Degree leading to a BSc in Education & Training (eLearning) or an MA in Education (eLearning). http://www.gre.ac.uk/celtt Blended e-learning and the VLE

  35. Thank you for listening Any questions? Dave Budden http://davebudden@nwkcollege.ac.uk Steve Humphries http://stevenhumphries@nwkcollege.ac.uk Blended e-learning and the VLE Abridged from an original presentation and paper by Davies and Humphries (2005) National IT in FE Conference; ISBN 1-904133-30-4