Saturday, March 14, 2009

Carol Twigg's research on effective learning through e-learning


Carol Twigg points towards the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education developed by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson (1987)

1.     Encourage contact between students and faculty

2.     Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students

3.     Encourage active learning

4.     Give prompt feedback

5.     Emphasizes time on task

6.     Communicates high expectations

7.     Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

The trick is to recognise these and other pedagogic virtues and then apply them to large numbers of students. Good pedagogy is easy to apply with small numbers of students where one-on-one tutorials and close attention to student progress is possible.

Other projects demonstrate statistically significant improvements in student understanding of course content by comparing the performance of students enrolled in traditional and redesigned courses on commonly administered examinations. Redesign-course students in statistics at Penn State, for example, outperformed traditional students on a content-knowledge test, with 60 percent correct answers in the traditional format and 68 percent correct in the redesigned classes. At Carnegie Mellon University, the performance of redesign-course students in statistics increased by 22.8 percent on tests of skills and concepts, and redesign-course students also demonstrated an enhanced ability to identify the appropriate statistical analysis to employ in a given real-world problem situation. At Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), the average score achieved on a commonly administered standardized test by students enrolled in the traditional fine arts course was 70 percent; in the redesigned course it was a significantly higher 85 percent.

Continuous Assessment and Feedback

E-assessment increases quality of learning by students as well as reducing workload on instructors:

·         numerous computer-based assessments give students instant feedback on performance

·        automatic assessment and feedback enables repeated practice with frequent feedback

·         students complete quizzes before class and are better prepared once they get there

·         quizzes provide powerful feedback to both students and faculty 

Increased Interaction among Students

Collaborative software can result in a more learner-focused system promoting active participation while giving the instructor an opportunity to ‘see’ their students in action:

·         simple technology to support opportunities for discussion among students

·         small discussion groups promote active participation by students

·         informal discussions are non-threatening to students

·         instructors monitor student contributions to discussions

Continuous Support

Support at all times, for internet savvy students, has become an expectation. It gives their learning journey coherence, sustaining interest, participation and learning. The research showed that small group work was beneficial, sometimes triggering peer pressure which led to meeting assignment deadlines.

Online Tutorials

One of the more obvious applications of the technology is to provide online learning resources:

·         interactive tutorials and exercises that give students needed practice

·         computer delivered presentations

·         computer delivered demonstrations

·         web-based reading materials developed by instructors or in assigned textbooks

·         examples and exercises in the student’s field of interest

·         links to other relevant online materials

·         individual and group laboratory assignments

Wisconsin had developed 37 Web-based instructional modules in chemistry by July 2001. Each module leads a student through a particular topic in six to 10 interactive pages. When the student has completed the tutorial, a debriefing section presents a series of questions that test whether the student has mastered the module’s content. Students especially like the ability to link from a problem they have difficulty with directly to a tutorial that helps them learn the concepts needed to solve the problem. 

Virginia Tech uses a variety of Web-based course-delivery techniques like tutorials, streaming video lectures, and lecture notes as tools for presenting materials in a linear algebra course. Consisting of concrete exercises with solutions that are explained through built-in video clips, such tutorials can be accessed at home or at a campus lab. In redesigned courses, tutorials have taken over the main instructional task with respect to transmitting content: 84 percent of the students enrolled in Virginia Tech’s linear algebra course reported that the computer presentations explain the concepts effectively.

Learning Assistants (LAs)

The use of Learning Assistants is often treated with suspicion by trainers, yet this research showed that LAs can actually be better than fully fledged trainers in some circumstances. They have several advantages:

·         close to course content

·         good communication skills with their peers

·         awareness of misunderstandings that occur in the course

The University of Colorado-Boulder (UC) and SUNY at Buffalo (UB) found that LAs were better than in lieu of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). In Colorado’s redesigned introductory astronomy course, the LAs act as a vital go-between in that they pass on knowledge of where the 200 students are and what problems they’re facing. This solution may also be good for the self-esteem of the LAs.


Anonymous said...

Is there any sense in getting educated, yesterday I was brutally assaulted by my mother-in-law for not making two rotis. Today, I question the whole idea of being empowered. Does this even matter? Could all my education protect me from being beaten, abused and injured? I think it is survival that should be taught. If this is the state of educated women, what can one say of the illiterate and the downtrodden.

Anonymous said...

Rina, I don't know if you will return to this post again, but I feel for you. I'm glad you know that this is more about your mother-in-law having a very bad problem. She is a terrible mother-in-law. There is mental learning which is great & perhaps you have excelled at that so far. But there is also emotional learning, which she has perhaps learned the wrong lessons at the hands of some very bad people herself. You also must attend to learning how to deal with bullies & abusive, mean-spirits & it is certainly not be giving in to abuser. Then there is physical learning, teaching your muscles and bones to be strong & to defend you & to keep you safe. I hope you can find a way legally to keep her away. Perhaps there is a police who will charge her? Or psychiatrist who will give her medication or counseling? You do not want to become her or to have your children be around such a bad person. You deserve better.