In this paper from Grainne Conole she says (writing in 2003, published 2004) that wireless, smart and wifi will have a huge impact … prescient. Can you remember how little of what we now take for granted was around in 2004? I was probably using a Psion and a bog-standard phone.
‘Technologies do have great potential to offer education, however this is a complex multifaceted area; we need rigorous research if we are going to unpick the hype and gain a genuine understanding of how technologies can be used effectively’. (Conole. p.2 2004)
‘Academics working in this area need to demonstrate that the research is methodologically rigorous, building appropriately on existing knowledge and theories from feeder disciplines and feeding into policy and practice’. (Conole, 2004)
- effective models for implementation
- mechanism for embedding the understanding gained from learning theory into design
- guidelines and good practice
- literacy needs of tutors and students
- the nature and development of online communities
- different forms of communications and collaboration
- the impact of gaming
- cultural differences in the use of online courses
‘much of the current research is criticised for being too anecdotal, lacking theoretical underpinning’ (Mitchell, 2000)
This is what you find in the press, newspapers and magazine always go for the anecdotal and sensationalist view of what technology may do. Has technology yet brought the world to an end? I guess the atomic bomb has always, legitimately, been more scary than other technologies although I dare so there are those who say Google will bring about the end of the world.
‘A more detailed critique of the methodological issues of e-learning research and its epistemological underpinnings are discussed elsewhere’. (Olive and Conle, 2004)
- A better understanding of the benefits and limitations of different methods.
- More triangulation of results.
What people are looking for:
- potential efficiency gains and cost effectiveness
- evidence-based practice with comparison of the benefits of new technologies over existing teaching and learning methods
- How technologies can be used to improve the student learning experience.
No surprises that in business use of e-learning is benchmarked with cost and outcomes closely followed – are we improving and saving at the same time? Typically travel and accommodation costs are saved where people don’t have to be away from work and learning times can be cut without loss of information retention on the compliance like stuff – health and safety, data protection, equity in the workplace and basic induction (or as American companies call it ‘on boarding’ which sounds to me like something you do with guests on a cruise liner – or is them embarking)
How do we capture experience in a way that we build it back into design and implementation. (Point 8 of 12 p.8 Conole 2004)
What are the inherent affordances of different technologies? (Conole. p. 8 2004)
‘Only time will tell’. (Conole. p. 17, 2004)
Or as I would say, ‘on verra’.
I am doing the classic ‘expand and contract’ of problem solving – the problem is finding an area of research I can believe in and sustain for four years. Though for H809 all I need is a title of a research paper. I still would prefer to be narrowing down the areas that interest me:
- virtual worlds
- spaced education (see memory)
- lifelogging / sensecam (see memory)
- Artificial Intelligence (learning companion … see memory?)
Whilst the research question ought to come first, I hope that Activity Theory will have a role to play too.
Conole, G (2004) E-learning the hype and the reality
Oliver, M. and Conole, G. (2004) Methodology and e-learning. ELRC research paper. No. 4
- The Gutenberg Galaxy – first thoughts, from the first pages (mymindbursts.com)
- Supporting educators to rethink their learning design practice with the 7 Cs of Learning Design (mymindbursts.com)