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Research for Effective Online Learning

Powerpoint show developed by Terry Anderson describing design-based research in the context of a wider presentation on distance education research generally and an introduction to CIDER.

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Research for Effective Online Learning

  1. 1. Research for Effective Online Learning Prof. Terry Anderson Canada Research Chair in Distance Education Lunch and Learn Athabasca University November 2004
  2. 2. Presentation Overview <ul><li>Traditional Opening Joke </li></ul><ul><li>Need for distance education research </li></ul><ul><li>Sorry state of current research </li></ul><ul><li>Methodologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantitative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design-based </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CIDER - building a research culture </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why is Distance Education Better than Sex? <ul><ul><li>If you get tired, you can stop, save your place and pick up where you left off. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can finish early without feeling guilty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can get rid of any viruses you catch with a $50 program from McAfee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With a little coffee you can do it all night. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t usually get divorced if your spouse interrupts you in the middle of it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And if you're not sure what you are doing, you can always ask your tutor. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Defining research <ul><li>“ . . . the systematic study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions . . .” Oxford Compact Dictionary, 1991. </li></ul><ul><li>adjectives describing research as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>disciplined </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scientific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>diligent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>organized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>problem orientated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>creative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>systematic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>laborious </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Qualities of Research <ul><li>Characterized by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>clear goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adequate preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>appropriate methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>significant results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>effective presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reflective critique </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glassick, Huber & Maeroff (1997). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are such descriptions exclusionary? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. What Makes Educational Research Effective? <ul><li>Can you think of one research result that has made a difference to your practice? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does this particular research result make a difference? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Question </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>context </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>methodology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>clarity of presentation? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. ‘ Just Don’t Get No Respect’ <ul><li>Why does educational research ‘just don’t get no respect?’ </li></ul><ul><li>Much research is not valued by either funders, other academics or worse, practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Not funded financially </li></ul>1.88% Overall (Canada, 2002) 10.0 - 15.0 % High tech companies 3.0 % Health 0.01 % of expenditures Education
  8. 8. Put in Perspective <ul><li>In 1999, International pharmacy giant Pfizer Inc. spent over $200 million U.S. in research related to treatments for animals </li></ul><ul><li>7X as much as the U.S. Government spends on educational research </li></ul>
  9. 9. Assessment of DE Research <ul><li>Many experimental research projects do not display rigour in their design </li></ul><ul><li>Many generalize inappropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural, linguistic and environmental factors often not taken into consideration </li></ul><ul><li>Few concerned with teacher and tutor support </li></ul><ul><li>Few studies based on current learning, pedagogical or psychological theories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Olugbemiro Jegede (1999). </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Barriers to Educational Research <ul><li>It’s nobody’s job </li></ul><ul><ul><li>QUESTION? How many here today spend 50% of their time on research? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negligible industry support </li></ul><ul><li>No large scale focus on particular problems </li></ul><ul><li>Nobody keeping score in meaningful terms </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive lack of trust in research efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>In sum, lack of an effective research culture </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Burkhardt and Schoenfeld, (2003). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How do we Build a Culture of Research?
  12. 12. Research Paradigms <ul><li>Quantitative ~ discovery of the laws that govern behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative ~ understandings from the inside </li></ul><ul><li>Critical ~ Investigate and expose the power relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Design-based ~ interventions, interactions and their effect </li></ul>
  13. 13. Do either Qualitative or Quantitative Methods meet REAL NEEDS of practicing distance educators? <ul><ul><li>“ The findings from this study cast doubt on virtually every argument for the superiority of any particular research genre, whether the criterion for superiority is persuasiveness, relevance, or ability to influence practitioners’ thinking.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Kennedy, 1999 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue ~ that is why academic politics are so bitter.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wallace S. Sayre, 1905-1972 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quoted in Issawi's Laws of Social Motion, (1973). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Design-Based Research <ul><li>Related to engineering and architectural research </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on the design, construction, implementation, and adoption of a learning initiative in a real context </li></ul><ul><li>Related to ‘Development Research’ </li></ul><ul><li>Closest educators have to a “homegrown” research methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Theme Issue: The Role of Design in Educational Research (2003). Educational Researcher 32 (1). Retrieved November 5, 2004 from: http://www.aera.net/pubs/er/toc/er3201.htm </li></ul>
  16. 16. Design Studies <ul><li>Iterative </li></ul><ul><li>Process focused </li></ul><ul><li>Interventionist </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-leveled </li></ul><ul><li>Utility oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Theory driven and generative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shavelson et al., (2003). </li></ul></ul>Design studies are . . .
  17. 17. Integrative Learning Design Bannan-Ritland (2003).
  18. 18. Call Centres Innovation Design-Based Research Case Study <ul><li>Building Airplanes in the Air – EDS TV ad </li></ul>
  19. 19. √ Formal FAQ and data collection X Personal knowledge base √ Refers to academics for subject matter expertise X Subject matter expertise √ Customer relationship X Personal relationship √ All business curriculum X Knowledge of a single course √ Full time, steeped in university environment X Part time, problem with knowledge of institution √ Advisor on call 40 hours/ week X On call 2 hours per week Call Centre Model Tutor Model
  20. 20. Call Centres √ Saves over $100,000 per year √ Answers 80% of student inquiries No significant difference in Student satisfaction
  21. 21. Stage 1: Informed Exploration <ul><li>Conceives of the application as an instantiation of an ideal </li></ul><ul><li>An incomplete motivator that generates working hypotheses to be tested in real contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal provides a vision, guide, and component of the measuring stick by which the ideal, as instantiated in actions within a real context, is measured </li></ul><ul><li>Dewey wrote “. . . the leading idea must direct and clarify the work; the work must serve to criticize, to modify and to build up the theory.” Dewey, 1971a, 288a, EW 5:288 </li></ul>
  22. 22. Stage 1: Informed Exploration <ul><li>Review of call centre literature </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews with current tutors and managers </li></ul><ul><li>Data collection on current processes and costs </li></ul><ul><li>Visit to other call centres, especially those in related but non-competitive contexts </li></ul>
  23. 23. Stage 2: Making it happen! <ul><li>Coding using Lotus Notes </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking ALL costs </li></ul><ul><li>Documenting disruptive effects </li></ul>
  24. 24. Stage 3 Local Evaluation <ul><li>Interviews, focus groups with call centre staff </li></ul><ul><li>Student satisfaction surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Student interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of transaction logs and FAQ </li></ul><ul><li>Cost analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews with tutors, union </li></ul>
  25. 25. Stage 4 Broader Impact Evaluation <ul><li>Publishing of results </li></ul><ul><li>Trials in different contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>√ AU General information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>√ Computer help desk </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Synthesis of application in different contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption of Innovation framework </li></ul>
  26. 26. Building the Research Culture <ul><li>Better dissemination within combined research/ practitioner communities </li></ul><ul><li>Better tools </li></ul><ul><li>More funding! Less fighting! </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>A space to foster synergy for Athabasca and other Canadian DE researchers </li></ul><ul><li>A website portal for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>√ Resources/ knowledge repository </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>√ Sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>√ Finding collaborators, research assistants, and coordinating distributed projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A community of support </li></ul><ul><li>CIDER Press , an Open Access Publisher </li></ul><ul><li>A capacity building organization </li></ul>
  29. 29. Online Journals <ul><li>International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning www.irrodl.org </li></ul>
  30. 30. “ The net changes everything ” Including research practice . . . Is Athabasca a Native to the Net or a Recent Immigrant??
  32. 32. <ul><li>Mission Critical Research </li></ul><ul><li>A research contractor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alberta SuperNet Trials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interaction in Student paced learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IP Videoconferencing in secondary schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commonwealth of Learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A consulting organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research and evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online learning theory and practice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CIDER Press , an Open Access Publisher </li></ul><ul><li>A capacity building organization </li></ul>
  33. 33. Conclusion <ul><li>√ E-Learning research is grossly under-resourced to meet the magnitude of opportunity and demand </li></ul><ul><li>√ Paradigm wars are unproductive </li></ul><ul><li>√ Design-based research offers a promising new research design model </li></ul><ul><li>√ CIDER creates an environment to grow Athabasca’s core businesses – teaching and research </li></ul>
  34. 34. A New Design-Based Research Project for AU <ul><li>Focuses on our core unpaced, undergraduate programs </li></ul><ul><li>Adds social software solutions to unpaced study </li></ul><ul><li>Phase one completed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigated current interventions at AU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with AU faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with external experts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey of students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anderson, Annand, & Wark (2004) – available on CIDER site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phase 2-3 proposed in next budget cycle </li></ul>
  35. 35. Tutors and other Learner Supports Learner-content Interaction Learner-learner Interaction Learner-teacher Interaction Learning support system Community Of Learners Independent Learners Highly Interactive Learning Objects /Content Highly Interactive Learning Objects /Content Highly Interactive Learning Objects /Content Highly Interactive Learning Objects /Content
  36. 36. Online Journals <ul><li>International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning www.irrodl.org – most widely distributed peer reviewed Journal in DE in the world </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>√ Open Source Solution </li></ul><ul><li>√ Dissemination of research results </li></ul><ul><li>√ 4,200 PDF print document downloads in the first 2 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>√ Peak of 12,464 PDF print document downloads in April, ‘04 </li></ul><ul><li>√ Averaging over 4,000 combined HTML/PDF downloads per month </li></ul>CIDER Shares Knowledge
  38. 38. Comments? Questions? <ul><li>Terry Anderson, Ph.D. terrya@athabascau.ca </li></ul>When’s lunch? May I go to the restroom? Gee whiz, when does the REAL FUN start?

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Powerpoint show developed by Terry Anderson describing design-based research in the context of a wider presentation on distance education research generally and an introduction to CIDER.


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