It is a great pleasure that I announce my second book, “Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends,” that I co-edited with Professor Harrison Hao Yang at the State University of New York at Oswego is published by IGI Global this month. The book is now available online at IGI Global, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many online bookstores.
As education continues to integrate technological advancements into learning and instruction, a resource dedicated to the latest findings and implications becomes necessary. The Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends provides academicians, researchers, and practitioners with a comprehensive view of the historical, conceptual, theoretical, and practical perspectives of conventional e-learning and innovative e-learning 2.0. Presenting cutting-edge research, case studies, best practices, and pedagogical approaches and strategies, this defining reference source incorporates the latest and most discussed Web 2.0 technologies in educational learning and practice.
Learning has been dramatically influenced by information and communication technology (ICT). There is no doubt that ICT keeps bringing new excitement into learning and communication. Multimedia on the Internet, telecommunications, wireless applications, mobile devices, social network software, Web 2.0, etc. are all radically redefining the way people obtain information and the way to learn and communicate. Consequently, electronic learning (e-learning) has become one of the most exciting, dynamic, and yet challenging fields that we have been facing. What is the history of e-learning? Where are we now? What will the future bring? What are the key elements of e-learning we need to focus on? Where has progress been made? How will we face and rise to new opportunities and challenges? How do we analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate e-learning? In order to shed light on these questions, we have taken a comprehensive view and looked at e-learning and innovative e-learning 2.0 from historical, conceptual, empirical, practical, and vocational perspectives. The result is this book, entitled Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends.
Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends is written for broader audiences including educators, trainers, administrators, and researchers working in the area of e-learning or distance learning in various disciplines, e.g. education, corporate training, instructional technology, computer science, library information science, information technology, and workforce development. We hope readers will benefit from the work of authors who range from cutting edge researchers to experienced practitioners regarding the research and practices in e-learning. The book covers focal points of e-learning and is organized into five parts of e-learning: Chronical and Conceptual Perspectives (Chapters 1-4); E-Learners (Chapters 5-9); E-Learning Environments and Communities (Chapters 10-14); Professional and Disciplinary Implications (Chapters 15-19); and Pedagogical Design and Implementations (Chapters 20-29).
Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends provides not only the advanced and latest development of e-learning for experienced professionals, but also provides clear and inclusive information for novice readers. It is designed to be used in a flexible manner, and it can adapt easily to suit a variety of ICT related courses/workshops and needs by students, instructors, professionals, and administrators. The book can be used as a research reference, pedagogical and professional guide, or educational resource in the area of e-learning.
Organization of the Book
Section 1: Chronical and Conceptual Perspectives
Chapter 1: Computer-Mediated Learning: What Have We Experienced and Where Do We Go Next?
Chien Yu, Mississippi State University, USA
Wei-Chieh Wayne Yu, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Taiwan
Chun Fu Lin, Minghsin University of Science & Technology, Taiwan
Dramatic changes in information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a powerful force for the growth of e-learning. E-learning has become the undeniable trend for both secondary and higher education. This chapter provides an overview of e-learning computer technologies within the teaching and learning, an examination of current research studies in related areas, and a discussion of the paradigm shift as well as on the trends and issues pertinent to the development of computer-mediated instruction/learning and e-learning. Furthermore, this chapter explores how students perceived the effectiveness of computer-mediated instruction and learning and their perceptions and attitudes toward learning using computer technology.
Chapter 2: From Web to Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0
Clara Pereira Coutinho, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
João Batista Bottentuit Junior, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
In this chapter the authors analyze issues and ideas regarding the next generation of e-Learning, which is already known as e-Learning 2.0 or social e-Learning. The authors look at the new learning tools that have emerged from the evolution of the Web, to the Web 2.0 paradigm, discussing their potential for supporting modern and independent lifelong learners. Even more important, the authors justify the modeling of a new concept for the future of teaching and learning in the knowledge-based society in which we live. The conclusion of this chapter presents a scenario for the evolution of the Web, the Semantic Web or 3.0 generation Web, which is emerging as a higher environment that will advance the design and development of e-Learning systems in promising new directions: machine-understandable educational material will be the basis for machines that automatically use and interpret information for the benefit of authors and educators, making e-Learning platforms more adaptable and responsive to each individual learner.
Chapter 3: E-Learning 2.0: Web 2.0, the Semantic Web and the Power of Collective Intelligence
Chaka Chaka, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
This chapter contends that both Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web (the SW) serve as critical enablers for e-learning 2.0. It also maintains that the SW has the potential to take e-learning 2.0 to new frontiers of advancement. Most significantly, the chapter argues that Web 2.0 and the SW provide an ideal platform for harnessing collective intelligence, collective knowledge, the power of the groundswell, the network effect, and the power of collective simulation for higher education institutions (HEIs) in the area of e-learning 2.0. Against this backdrop, the chapter provides, first, a short overview of e-learning 2.0, Web 2.0 and the SW. Second, it characterizes the way in which Web 2.0 social software technologies (e.g., blogs, wikis, social networks and virtual worlds) can be deployed in HEIs for delivering e-learning 2.0 for educational purposes. In addition, it outlines the manner in which the SW (in the form of semantic blogs, semantic wikis, semantic social networks and semantic virtual worlds) can enhance each of these Web 2.0 technologies for deploying e-learning 2.0 in HEIs.
Chapter 4: The Key Elements of Online Learning Communities
Jianxia Du, Mississippi State University, USA
Yunyan Liu, Southwest University, China
Robert L. Brown, Mississippi State University, USA
An online learning community can be a place for vibrant discussions and the sharing of new ideas in a medium where content constantly changes. This chapter examines the different definitions that researchers have provided for online learning communities. It then illuminates several key elements that are integral to online learning communities: interactivity, in both its task-driven and socio-emotional forms; collaboration, which both builds and nurtures online communities; trusting relationships, which are developed primarily through social interaction and consist of shared goals and a sense of belonging or connectedness; and communication media choices, which impact the other three elements. This chapter also provides suggestions for the practical application of these elements in the online classroom.
Section 2: E-Learners
Chapter 5: Generational Learners & E-Learning Technologies
Ke Zhang, Wayne State University, USA
Curtis J. Bonk, Indiana University, USA
This chapter reviews the characteristics of learners of different generations. In particular, it compares their differences in terms of learning preferences as well as their typical skills and attitudes towards technology in e-learning. In addition, it discusses the impacts of these shared and varied learner characteristics on e-learning and provides suggestions and recommendations on how to address generational learning diversity in e-learning design and delivery. In responding to the emerging learning technologies, this chapter specifically analyzes generational learners’ preferences and characteristics regarding learning technologies, and the practical implications for designers and educators working on e-learning for highly diversified audiences representing various generations.
Chapter 6: The Digital Generation and Web 2.0: E-Learning Concern or Media Myth?
Robin M. Roberts, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
The relationship between the Digital or Millennium Generation and Web 2.0 is investigated focusing on how post-secondary students just entering American colleges and universities use the interactive or read-write web popularly known as “Web 2.0” and what implications their use of those web sites has for E-learning. Central to the investigation is addressing the question of whether the Digital Generation and Web 2.0 concepts describe actual realities or exist merely as popular media constructions. The basic thrust of the chapter is the position that the Digital Generation does not function as a monolithic group, but that the use of Web 2.0 technologies is related to developmental stages and life situation.
Chapter 7: Adult Learners, E-Learning, and Success: Critical Issues and Challenges in an Adult Hybrid Distance Learning Program
Jeffrey Hsu, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA
Karin Hamilton, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA
Adult learners have a set of specific and unique needs, and are different from traditional college students. Possessing greater maturity, interest in learning, and also career and life-oriented objectives, they have different expectations for their education, as well as different backgrounds and goals. This chapter examines what adult learners are, theories of adult learning, and the applicability of online learning to adult learners. Specific teaching methods and techniques are discussed for online and hybrid distance learning courses, as well as hybrid arrangements; encompassing teaching methods, types of exercises and activities, intensive course structures, block scheduling, and the use of modular course segments. Examples from an adult learner hybrid distance learning undergraduate program, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Global Business Management, are also provided. Future trends and areas for further research conclude the chapter.
Chapter 8: Online Interaction Styles: Adapting to Active Interaction Styles
Dazhi Yang, Purdue University, USA
Jennifer C. Richardson, Purdue University, USA
Past studies indicate that students demonstrate different online interaction styles, which consist of the ways or habits students acquire knowledge from computer-mediated discussions (Sutton, 2001). Such interaction styles include the active interaction style (Beaudion, 2002), the vicarious interaction style (Sutton, 2001), and the mixed or balanced-interaction style. The purposes of this chapter are to: (a) examine relative studies on students’ online interaction styles; (b) propose a hypothesis that students’ online interaction styles can change during the course of computer-mediated discussion; (c) conduct a case study on students’ online interaction styles to test the hypothesis. This chapter reviews current issues related to students’ online interaction styles. It offers practical suggestions on the design of online learning environments, instructor’s role in online courses, and educational tools to facilitate students in adapting to more active interaction styles in computer-mediated learning environments.
Chapter 9: Strategies for Providing Formative Feedback to Maximize Learner Satisfaction and Online Learning
Yuliang Liu, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA
Learner satisfaction and learning is currently a very important topic in online instruction and learning. Blignaut and Trollip (2003) proposed six types of response for providing formative feedback in online courses. These six response types include: Administrative, Affective, Other, Corrective, Informative, and Socratic. The first three types involve no academic content while the last three types are related to academic content. Each type serves a different purpose for online learners. This study is designed to validate how the appropriate use of six response types for providing formative feedback affected learner satisfaction and online learning in an online graduate class at a mid-western university in the summer semester of 2008. Results indicated that all six response types are necessary to ensure maximum online learner satisfaction and effective online learning although each has its different focus. Findings have implications for all other online courses in the future.
Section 3: E-Learning Environments and Communities
Chapter 10: Exploring Ideas and Possibilities of Second Life as an Advanced E-learning Environment
Bo Kyeong Kim, Jeonju University, Republic of Korea
Youngkyun Baek, Korea National University of Education, Republic of Korea
Web 2.0 is changing the paradigm of using the Internet which is affecting the e-learning paradigm. In this chapter, e-learning 2.0 and its strategies are described for net generation. E-learning 2.0 is followed by introduction of Second Life as an advanced e-learning environment. Flexibility, strong social networking, and residents’ creative activities of Second Life allow unlimited potential to educators when they apply various educational principles to designing a learning environment. The authors assert that Second Life is a classroom built-in 3D cyber space. This chapter presents some cases on how Second Life is used in a new e-learning environment. Also, it explores ideas and possibilities of Second Life that can provide to make up for the limits in the current e-learning environment.
Chapter 11: When Virtual Communities Click: Transforming Teacher Practice, Transforming Teachers
Jeannine Hirtle, The University of Hawaii at Hilo, USA
Samuel Smith, University of Texas at Arlington, USA
Communities of practice (CoP’s)—much touted and studied as a mechanism for teacher education and professional development—may offer environments for deeper learning and transformation of their participants. This chapter examines more meaningful outcomes possible in community-centered learning—deep learning, changes in professional culture and identity, and participants “finding voice”—outcomes of value not often seen in formal educational and traditional professional development settings. Drawing on qualitative data from participants in a three-year community of writers and literacy educators, the authors suggests that CoP’s can be linked not only to development of knowledge and skills, but also to changes in participant beliefs, attitudes, voices, visions, and the identities of practicing educators.
Chapter 12: Could Web 2.0 Technologies Support Knowledge Management in Organizations?
Luiz Fernando de Barros Campos, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
This chapter investigates whether information technology tools typical of Web 2.0 can support Knowledge Management (KM) practices in organizations. An investigation on the Web is conducted and the appropriate literature examined. The information technology tools employed in organizations nowadays are discussed with the help of three guidelines which each present two opposing ideas: knowledge creation versus knowledge sharing, tacit knowledge versus explicit knowledge, and hierarchical KM versus organic KM. It is argued that these tools reveal an innate contradiction: they are based on a centralized conception and production but aim to deal with informal, fluid processes, which resist structuring. The term Enterprise 2.0 is defined and examined, since it brings out a critical view of traditional KM technology. Also, the challenges and opportunities in the organizational use of Web 2.0 technologies are remarked. Finally, the managerial interventions appropriate to enable the success of KM projects based on Web 2.0 technologies are discussed.
Chapter 13: E-Learning Design for the Information Workplace
Colleen Carmean, Arizona State University, USA
Anytime and all-the-time access to electronic resources, artifacts and community have changed learning practices in the workplace as surely as it has changed the workplace itself. Learning today is measured not by what we know, but by how successfully we tap into our network to find the information we need in the moment we need it. The business environment now demands anytime and just-in-time answers at all levels of the organization. In response to new expectations within the information-rich workplace, the organization must look to a new practice of comprehensive design for a shared knowledge architecture that can leverage the digital tools, methods and effective practices now available. To understand not simply technology but the affordance (Norman, 1988; Carmean & McGee, 2008) and effective use of each technology now available, a new design practice is needed. Current digital learners seek practices, resources and help in navigating the shared knowledge flow and have little training or support in understanding the network of information available. If anytime, anywhere, and from any source is a new e-learning paradigm in the digital workplace (Cross, 2006), then the challenge for a new breed of designers will be to understand, create and support the digital learner in their access and use of the shared knowledge embedded within local and global networked resources.
Chapter 14: The Impact of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the Greek Educational Community
Paraskevi Mentzelou, Alexander Technological Educational Institute (A.T.E.I.) of Thessaloniki, Greece
Dimitrios Drogidis, School Consultant of Primary Education, Greece
The aims of Greek education system is to give to students the ability to develop the required skills, character and values that will enable them to contribute to the prosperity of Greek Society, Greek Nation and humanity. The fulfillments of these aims require a dynamic educational system with the potential of incessant adjustment emanated from the interaction between national education and societal needs and demands. Living in an information and knowledge society where quality is its goal, Greek education system has to be enriched with all the characteristics and means that specify educational quality. In a framework, where educational changes are unavoidable due to the entrance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and especially the use of World Wide Web in Greek education system, an effort to present the current impact to Greek Educational community is attempted. This chapter describes ways, efforts, stages and methods that have been set for the application of ICT to Greek education system and presents effects, issues, trends and utilization of World Wide Web by the Greek educational community.
Section 4: Professional and Disciplinary Implications
Chapter 15: Faculty Use and Perceptions of Web 2.0 in Higher Education
Richard Hartshorne, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA
Haya Ajjan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA
Richard E. Ferdig, University of Florida, USA
In this chapter, the authors provide evidence for the potential of various Web 2.0 applications in higher education through a review of relevant literature on both emerging educational technologies and social networking. Additionally, the authors report the results and implications of a study exploring faculty awareness of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, social bookmarks, social networks, instant messaging, internet telephony, and audio/video conferencing) to support and supplement classroom instruction in higher education. Also, using the Decomposed Theory of Planned Behavior as the theoretical foundation, the authors discuss factors that influence faculty decisions to adopt specific Web 2.0 technologies. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of the study and recommendations for future research.
Chapter 16: Librarian as Collaborator: Bringing E-Learning 2.0 into the Classroom by Way of the Library
Susanne Markgren, State University of New York Purchase College, USA
Carrie Eastman, State University of New York Purchase College, USA
Leah Massar Bloom, State University of New York Purchase College, USA
In this chapter, the authors explore the role of academic librarians in the e-learning 2.0 environment. Librarians are excellent partners in developing e-learning 2.0 spaces with faculty, because they are already familiar with many Web 2.0 technologies being used in these environments. The authors explore how libraries and librarians have traditionally served their patrons, and how the library is currently becoming a collaborative technology center serving increasingly tech-savvy students. With this in mind, the authors define e-learning 2.0 and examine the history behind the development of the concept. They also address the librarian’s role as it pertains to information literacy on campus and collaboration with faculty in order to facilitate the e-learning process. The chapter concludes with a focus on how librarians can help bring e-learning 2.0 in to the classroom through faculty workshops, consultations, and embedding of librarians within classes.
Chapter 17: Implementing E-Learning in University 2.0: Are Universities Ready for the Digital Age?
Betül C. Özkan, University of Arizona South, USA
Because of the ways students learn and make sense of world change, higher education institutions try to re-conceptualize this change process and search for better approaches to respond to the demands of the information age. This chapter addresses current transformation specifically occurring in e-Learning environments through emerging technologies and discusses new approaches to teaching and learning so the future of education can be better grasped. The chapter also provides a list of suggestions so adoption of new technologies as well as e-Learning strategies are more effective in Universities 2.0.
Chapter 18: New Literacies in New Times: A Multimodal Approach to Literacy Learning
Hsiu-Ting Hung, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
The focus of the chapter is two-fold: on one hand, it seeks theoretical understanding of literacy as social practice; on the other hand, it explores how emerging technologies afford and transcend the practice of literacy in social interaction. The chapter begins with a re-conceptualization of literacy from the perspective of New Literacies Studies and outlines key principles pertaining to the plural notion of literacy to provide a theoretical context for the discussion of a multimodal approach to literacy learning. The chapter then links the development of the emerging literacy approach with the advent of technology to explore new possibilities in language and literacy classrooms. Vignettes of emerging technologies, more specifically, social networking services are also presented to demonstrate possible pedagogic uses of multimodal resources in education. The chapter concludes with directions for future literacy research, promoting a multimodal approach to learning that attends to teaching and learning with emerging technologies.
Chapter 19: Transforming Continuing Healthcare Education with E-Learning 2.0
Rajani S. Sadasivam, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
Katie M. Crenshaw, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
Michael J. Schoen, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
Raju V. Datla, Massachusetts Medical Society, USA
The e-learning 2.0 transformation of continuing education of healthcare professionals (CE/CME) will be characterized by a fundamental shift from the delivery of static information online to a seamless, digital operation in which all users have the ability to access, create, and share knowledge in a multidimensional, instantaneous, collaborative, and interactive manner. This transformation will be disruptive, blurring existing boundaries between CE/CME professionals, content experts, and student learners, and modifying the traditional structured learning process to a more informal one. While the opportunities are unlimited, the transformation will present not only technology challenges but also social and educational challenges. Recent experiences with similar disruptive technologies show that a meaningful transformation can be achieved only if the application of technology is accompanied by strategic operational changes. This chapter offers a conceptual framework to guide CE/CME professionals interested in transforming their operations with new e-learning 2.0 technologies. Employing several usage scenarios, a new e-learning 2.0-based model of CE/CME operation is introduced. The authors also present several examples of approaches adopted by their academic group to address the various challenges discussed in this chapter.
Section 5: Pedagogical Design and Implementations
Chapter 20: Mode Neutral: The Pedagogy that Bridges Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0
Brian Smith, Edge Hill University, UK
Peter Reed, Edge Hill University, UK
In this chapter, the authors share their excitement about the 2.0 era with some notes of caution. From an educational perspective, the authors believe there is a void between Web 2.0 and E-learning 2.0 – in the shape of pedagogy. What academics have traditionally delivered in a classroom setting has been framed around a sound set of principles – the pedagogy. As for e-learning, many educators have adopted classroom pedagogies within the ever-evolving online world and have noted their incompatibilities. Nevertheless, the common aim of using technology in education is intended to support the learner in their studies. Integrating any (new or old) technologies into education requires a pedagogy that is effective in information exchange, yet flexible enough to respond to the various demands placed upon learning and teaching by both the learner, and the technology. This chapter details the authors’ evidence-based pedagogical model – Mode Neutral – showing how contemporary education can promote the use of Web 2.0 tools to harness collective intelligence. The authors outline their case study of using (arguably) a Web 1.0 technology, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as the single learning space, with Web 2.0 tools integrated to encourage collaborative learning.
Chapter 21: Dispatches from the Graduate Classroom: Bringing Theory and Practice to E-learning
F.R. “Fritz” Nordengren, Des Moines University, USA
Ann M. York, Des Moines University, USA
This chapter is a practical overview of both the theoretical, evidence-based research in pedagogy and the anecdotal, experience-based practices of faculty who work daily in online and blended learning communities. This approach combines best practices with theoretical aspects of delivering and facilitating education with diverse adult learners. Issues and trends in E-learning are presented with specific examples for implementation and suggestions for future research. Using an evidence-based approach, the authors explore and summarize recent research with a concurrent analysis of the anecdotal popular literature. This chapter explores the concept of information literacy and other skills necessary to succeed in the Web 2.0 world. The discussion takes readers away from the traditional “sage on stage” versus “guide on side” dichotomy towards both a new understanding of Web 2.0′s role in education as well as a preface to what may become Web 3.0 and beyond.
Chapter 22: Student-centered Teaching with Constructionist Technology Tools: Preparing 21st Century Teachers
Kathryn Kennedy, University of Florida, USA
Jeff Boyer, University of Florida, USA
Catherine Cavanaugh, University of Florida, USA
Kara Dawson, University of Florida, USA
Using the theoretical framework of “craft” highlighted by Richard Sennett (2008) in The Craftsman, this chapter focuses on constructionism and the implications of project-based learning in an undergraduate-level pre-service teachers’ technology integration course. The chapter evaluates an approach to teaching undergraduate pre-service teachers to teach children to use constructionist technology tools, including Web 2.0 technologies – wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc. Data were collected and analyzed to document pre-service teachers’ experiences with these tools as well as to gauge their level of confidence in teaching with the technology in their future classrooms. Data collected included pre-post concept maps, pre-post preinternship interviews, and learning artifacts. Analyses show an increase in pre-service teachers’ complexity of knowledge and awareness of Web 2.0 tools and skills, and a moderate impact on their beliefs about student constructionism in their future classrooms.
Chapter 23: Challenges for Teacher Education in the Learning Society: Case Studies of Promising Practice
Clara Pereira Coutinho, University of Minho, Portugal
In this chapter, the author presents the results of a project developed in pre-service and in-service teacher education programs at the University of Minho, Portugal. The main goal of the research was to test the importance of providing technological-rich experiences in education programs as a strategy to promote the integration of technologies in the classroom. The author assumes that the failure of ICT integration in Portuguese schools is due to a lack of teacher training in technology-supported pedagogy. This chapter presents and discusses a set of principles that are essential to understand and sustain the importance of the learning experiences in teacher education programs both for pre-service and in-service teacher education. Different Web 2.0 tools are explored in different contexts and with different pedagogical goals: to build e-portfolios, to enhance cooperation and collaboration among peers, to develop skills in searching, organizing and sharing Web resources and to facilitate interaction and communication competencies. Results are presented and discussed in order to infer a set of guidelines for the design of teacher education and training programs regarding the use of ICT in teaching and learning.
Chapter 24: From Memorable to Transformative E-Learning Experiences: Theory and Practice of Experience Design
Pearl Chen, California State University, Los Angeles, USA
This chapter reviews the current state of theory and practice of experience design and suggests that the notion of experience should be regarded as an essential and unifying theme in guiding a broader perspective of design and study of e-learning. Underlying this chapter is a view that suggests a shift from designing learning environments to “staging” learning experiences. By looking at learning through the prism of experience design, we may begin to discover ways to create compelling, memorable, and transformative e-learning experiences. Some existing models and effective practices in education are considered as viable models for adapting experience design to e-learning contexts. Furthermore, this chapter identifies some converging areas of research from the fields of experience design and education, so as not to reinvent the wheel but to expand our knowledge on designing quality e-learning experiences that are engaging and valued by people.
Chapter 25: A Constructivist Model in Course Design
Carl Scott, University of Houston, USA
Youmei Liu, University of Houston, USA
Madhuri Kumar, University of Houston, USA
This chapter examines the relationship between a constructivist teaching approach and online learning experiences in the Virtual Worlds of Second Life, using a specifically constructed MBA-level course teaching Systems Analysis and Design. A research study was incorporated in the course design to test the Constructivist Learning Design (CLD) model (Gagnon & Collay, 2006) and social (use of individual- vs. group-oriented activities) domains. This chapter covers: (a) fundamentals of Systems Analysis and Design course; (b) current research of Second Life in education; (c) course design based on CLD models; and (d) research data analysis of course delivery through constructivist learning in Second Life and student learning experiences in the Virtual Worlds.
Chapter 26: Student Perceptions and Pedagogical Applications of E-Learning Tools in Online Course
C. Candace Chou, University of St. Thomas, USA
This study explores student views of various E-Learning tools as teaching and learning media in an online course for pre-service and in-service teachers. This chapter also examines the pedagogical applications of E-Learning tools in an online course. The capabilities of a system that allows meaningful interaction, reflection, personal identification, and a sense of community play a key role in the degree of social presence. This study highlights some key findings regarding the efficacy of E-Learning tools from student perspectives and make recommendations for future pedagogical practice.
Chapter 27: Using Blogfolios to Enhance Interaction in E-Learning Courses
Steve Chi-Yin Yuen, The University of Southern Mississippi, USA
Harrison Hao Yang, State University of New York at Oswego, USA
Enhancing the substantial interaction in e-learning courses can be a challenge to instructors. The chapter gave an overview of online interaction, portfolios development, and blogs use in education. It then discussed the potential uses of Weblog-based portfolio for e-learning courses in supporting interactions among students and instructors, and presented a case study on how a blogfolio approach was implemented into three hybrid courses and one fully online course at two universities in the United States. The effectiveness of the blogfolio approach on interactions in both fully online and hybrid courses has been assessed and confirmed in this study.
Chapter 28: Multi-Tier Knowledge Based System Accessing Learning Object Repository using Fuzzy XML
Priti Srinivas Sajja, Sardar Patel University, India
Quality of an e-Learning solution depends on its content, services offered by it and technology used. To increase reusability of common learning material which is accessed by multiple applications, there is a need for user-friendly and cost-effective knowledge based approach. This chapter discusses basic concepts of learning object repositories; presents work done so far and establishes the need of knowledge based access of the learning repositories to improve cost-benefit ratio of an e-Learning solution. For this purpose, a multi-tier knowledge based system accessing a fuzzy XML learning object repository is described with architectural framework and detailed methodology. The working of course tier, reusable LO tier, presentation tier, fuzzy interface tier and application tier is discussed in detail with an example to identify learners’ level and determine presentation sequence accordingly. The chapter concludes by discussing the advantages and questions related to further enhancement.
Chapter 29: Finding Information: Factors that Improve Online Experiences
Ivan Angelov, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sathish Menon, Analytic Dimension, USA
Michael Douma, Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA), USA
This chapter outlines central findings from surveys that considered factors that drive online experience as expressed by the three different groups of subjects – nonprofit organizations and cities, web designers and firms, and the general public. The survey’s significant findings are: designers underestimate the thresholds for an effective site; easy access to complete information is the key to visitor enjoyment; good visual design and up-to-date information are critical; visitors want information fast; visitors want a broad range of topics; designers are overly optimistic about visitors’ ability to maintain orientation; visitors still need handholding; and visitors cite the lack of breadth and depth of content as causing an “information gap.”