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Designing Online Courses for Individual and Collaborative Learning: A study of a virtual learning environment based in Sri Lanka
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. University of Colombo.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Online courses of distance learning programmes at universities are designed considering the characteristics and needs of their adult learners. Basically, there are two types of learners in an online course: individual learners and collaborative learners. Designing for learner satisfaction and learning effectiveness for both types of learners is challenging. In fact, previous research has noted that many online courses fail due to poor design. As a solution, researchers have identified instructional design principles that can guide the design of successful online courses. However, these principles lack detailed information to apply them in contexts different from where they had been identified. This consideration raises a question: how does one adapt the existing design principles to design online courses that promote both individual and collaborative learning, particularly in contexts where online courses are supposed to be conducted with minimal teacher support? In the present research, this question is addressed via two sub-research questions: (1) which course components and their design features can promote learners’ satisfaction, perceived learning, and learning effectiveness, and (2) which course components and their design features can stimulate inquiry-based learning and peer-teaching? The research was carried out in the field of educational design research with sets of students and instructional designers of a virtual learning environment prepared for a university-level degree programme in Sri Lanka. Referring to the findings of this research, the thesis discusses how to design online courses that promote both individual and collaborative learning. Further, based on the findings, the thesis presents a set of design principles and guidelines to promote both individual and collaborative learning in online courses that are on information technology related subjects and prepared for distance learning programmes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm Univeristy , 2015. , 214 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 15-008
Keyword [en]
Design-Based Research, Design Experiments, Online Learning, Instructional Design, Design Principles, Design Guidelines, Individual Learning, Collaborative Learning, Inquiry-Based Learning, Peer-Teaching
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-114806ISBN: 978-91-7649-110-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-114806DiVA: diva2:794277
Public defence
2015-04-27, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
SIDA Funded National e-Learning Centre Project at the University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka
Available from: 2015-04-01 Created: 2015-03-10 Last updated: 2015-04-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Gap between theory and practice: Human factors in designing and developing effective e-learning materials for a structured syllabus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gap between theory and practice: Human factors in designing and developing effective e-learning materials for a structured syllabus
2007 (English)In: The International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, ISSN 0858-7027, Vol. 15, no SP3, 19.1-19.6 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-114089 (URN)
Conference
Fourth International Conference on eLearning for Knowledge-Based Society, November 18-19, 2007, Bangkok, Thailand
Projects
NeLC at UCSC, Sri Lanka
Note

Special issue

Available from: 2015-02-19 Created: 2015-02-19 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Learners' satisfaction, learning style preferences and effective use of an OLE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learners' satisfaction, learning style preferences and effective use of an OLE
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, ISSN 1863-0383, Vol. 3, 77-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results of an empirical study conducted with a set of students using an online learning environment (OLE) to follow a distance education program. The aim of the study was to find whether students could perform well in examinations using only the Learning Management System (LMS), whether they could use it in an efficient way and whether there was a relationship between students? learning styles, number of LMS hits and learning achievements. The students were given access to a specially designed course section. The students? learning achievements were evaluated in two tests at different intervals. The study data were gathered using questionnaires and LMS statistics. We found that once the students got acquainted with the environment they could use the LMS more efficiently and managed to get high scores by only using the LMS. Results associated with the learning style preferences imply that we have designed the learning content and the environment to satisfy and support the learners with different learning style preferences.

Keyword
Distance Education, Online Learning Environment (OLE), Learning Management System (LMS), Learning Styles
National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-114088 (URN)
Projects
NeLC at UCSC, Sri Lanka
Available from: 2015-02-19 Created: 2015-02-19 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved
3. Designing Online Learning Environments for Distance Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing Online Learning Environments for Distance Learning
2009 (English)In: International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, ISSN 1550-6908, Vol. 6, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The design of an Online Learning Environment (OLE) and presentation of content in a distance educational programme is a major factor in success or failure of the learning programme. The role of instructional designers who design online learning environments for distance learning programmes has become demanding. In order to support instructional designers to do their work effectively, they are provided with instructional design guidelines. However, most of these guidelines are not specific nor easily applicable. Therefore, we were motivated to create sets of easy applicable instructional design guidelines. We selected an OLE which was already reported as successful in achieving learning effectiveness and student satisfaction. We gathered students’ experiences on using the OLE for their studies and analysed the data to find what design components of the OLE has led to the learner satisfaction, what design strategies used to design the learning content and design features of it led to the learning effectiveness and whether there was a relationship between students’ learning style preferences and students’ learning design preferences. The findings of the data analysis were presented as guidelines for instructional designers of online learning materials for novice online learners in distance learning programmes. on computer applications and information technology.

Keyword
instructional design guidelines, online learning, distance learning programme
National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33410 (URN)ISSN 1550-6908 (ISBN)
Projects
at UCSC, Sri Lanka
Available from: 2009-12-23 Created: 2009-12-23 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved
4. Re-evaluation of community of inquiry model with its metacognitive presence construct
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Re-evaluation of community of inquiry model with its metacognitive presence construct
2012 (English)In: The International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions, ISSN 1800-4156, Vol. 5, no 4, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Among the discussion-content analytical tools in the field of e-learning research, the community of inquiry (CoI) model is extensively applied and continuously improved by its users. This model investigates the types of elements that are manifested through inquiry-based learning processes in online discussions. They are social, cognitive, teaching and metacognitive presences. These elements are essential for meaningful student interactions to take place in online learning environments. In particular, the metacognitive presence construct of the CoI model discovers the students’ ability of self and co-regulation of learning in an online learning environment. However, the metacognitive presence construct of the CoI model has not been evaluated along with the other components of the model. Therefore, in this paper the CoI model was re-evaluated to determine its reliability in analysing discussions in online courses on information technology related subjects. The evaluation is conducted with four online courses designed and developed for a distance learning programme in Sri Lanka. The paper discusses the modifications that were needed to make the model more applicable for conducting discussion-content analysis in similar types of online learning environments, and reports on the results of the final evaluation. Furthermore, the findings of the study imply that the theoretical framework of the CoI model needs to be improved to properly enclose the metacognitive presence component. In spite of this, the study adds points to the CoI model supporting for its well applicability and reliability in analysing online discussion content in information technology related courses.

Keyword
inquiry-based learning, reliability, social presence, cognitive presence, teaching presence, metacognitive presence
National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86343 (URN)10.4038/icter.v5i4.6095 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-12 Created: 2013-01-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
5. Inquiry-Based Learning With or Without Facilitator Interactions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inquiry-Based Learning With or Without Facilitator Interactions
2012 (English)In: Journal of Distance Education, ISSN 0830-0445, Vol. 26, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses findings of a study investigating how students, on four online courses, engaged in inquiry-based learning with and without support from a facilitator. The investigation was conducted by analysing discussions of the online courses using the community of inquiry model. The results of the study imply that students in online discussions can engage in deep and meaningful learning, even when there is no facilitator interaction. Further the findings of the analysis suggest that successful inquiries are possible without teacher or facilitator interactions, if learning environments are designed to support students to be interactive and the students have motivation, regulatory skills and a willingness to collaborate with peers.

Abstract [fr]

Dans le cadre de cet article, nous discutons les résultats obtenus dans une étude visant à déterminer comment des élèves, participant à quatre cours en ligne, se sont engagés dans un processus d’apprentissage par enquête, soit avec ou sans l’aide d’un facilitateur. L’étude a été réalisée en analysant les discussions relatives aux cours en ligne au moyen du modèle du Community of Inquiry (CoI). Les résultats de l’étude laissent entendre que les élèves participant aux discussions en ligne peuvent réaliser des apprentissages approfondis et significatifs, même en l’absence d’interaction avec un facilitateur. De plus, les résultats de l’analyse suggèrent que des enquêtes peuvent être réussies sans intervention de la part d’un enseignant ou d’un facilitateur si, d’une part, les environnements d’apprentissage sont conçus de manière à favoriser l’interactivité des élèves et, d’autre part, les étudiants ont la motivation, les compétences requises et la volonté de collaborer avec leurs pairs.

Keyword
distance education, inquiry-based learning, peer teaching, cognitive presence, teaching presence, social presence, metacognitive presence
National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82246 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-12 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
6. Student led inquiry-based learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Student led inquiry-based learning
2014 (English)In: International journal of education and information technologies, ISSN 2074-1316, Vol. 8, 265-275 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Inquiry-based learning and peer-teaching are two teaching and learning approaches best applicable in higher educational contexts. Considering benefits of each approach in learning, a study was conducted to determine how to design peer-teaching activities to promote inquiry-based learning. Data were collected from a group of instructional designers, a sample group of students in an online learning environment prepared for a distance learning programme and from the learning management system of the online learning environment. The findings of the study were used to improve sets of design principles that were followed to design the peer-teaching activity. In addition, sets of design guidelines were also prepared for easy application of the design principles.

National Category
Information Systems Educational Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108648 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-31 Created: 2014-10-31 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved

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