Developing an Interactive Online Learning Environment for Post-Graduate Learning

Project Number
DEV 05/14 WQY

Project Duration
January 2015 - December 2017

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
Online learning has many reported advantages and has also shown to be as good as if not better than learning from face-to-face instruction. However, the advantages do not occur automatically. They must come from sound instructional design and careful implementation of the learning experience. Research shows that various challenges are commonly faced by teachers and the like. Some of the challenges include the difficulty in developing interactive resources and providing proper learner control, lack of classroom climate, difficulty in monitoring students' participation, and the limited understanding of students' technological self-efficacy. This development project aims to design an interactive online learning environment to address the abovementioned challenges faced by the teachers. This learning environment will be developed by focusing on its pedagogical, social and technical designs informed by the PST model (Wang, 2008) for a post graduate course at NIE. This environment would provide a highly interactive and social space where students can interact with course content, and they and their teacher are able to see, discuss and communicate with each other in synchronous and asynchronous ways. This development project will follow the Educational Design Research approach (Plomp, 2013), progressing through three main phases: preliminary research, prototyping and assessment. In the preliminary research phase, needs and context analyses and the design of a conceptual framework will be carried out. In the prototyping phase, three rounds of iteration will be involved with each round focusing on the pedagogical, social and technical designs as informed by the PST model. During each round of iteration, a formative evaluation will be conducted to investigate the validity and practicality of the online learning environment. Students from a post-graduate course which has the online learning environment built into its curriculum will take part as participants. Experts' comments, students' and teachers' feedback will be analysed and used to improve the quality of the environment before moving on to the next round. Each round of iteration is estimated to take about 6 months. In the final assessment phase, a summative evaluation will be carried out with the students who are taking the course. The effectiveness of the online learning environment will be judged based on their experiences and perceptions. By following the Educational Design Research approach, this development project will produce a usable interactive online learning environment. Meanwhile, design principles for guiding teachers who are interested in developing future online learning environments in other contexts will be generated.

Funding Source
NIE

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