How learners found using the virtual learning environment, and was it useful as a self-learning medium James Parameter May 201 3 Abstract Homework and self-study can be difficult for the facilitator to assess, in that the delivery material and the type of material is correct in its content and in its volume. The purpose of this study was to investigate the learner’s use of the virtual learning environment “Model”, is it being used and did the learners find it helpful in their self-study.
How was the use of the virtual learning environment and the academic progress and summarize achievement affected, in the use of the virtual learning environment in self- study? Results demonstrated that as the learner’s got used to using the “Model” online self-study files over the duration of the course, they began to see and gain the benefits of the of the online self-study environment. The findings have helped me to improve in my facilitating skills both in the classroom and in the “Model” online self-study environment. Eel confident now because of this study, that I have gained insight and experience that will help me go forward both in my professional development as a teacher, and in hat the future learners using the virtual learning environment in self-study will have a better experience because of this study. Contents Introduction 4 Literature Review 7 Methodology 9 Findings 11 Conclusions and Recommendations 18 Reflection -? 20 References 22 Bibliography . 4 Introduction The context Of this research came about due to my new role as course manager of a new City & Guilds level three full time plumbing qualifications 6035-03. The qualification criteria set out 444 guided learning hours for this course, and as the timetable for this one year course was only 320 hours of actual timetabled teaching delivery time, it was necessary to have a system in place, that the learners could have guidance and the material to self-study in their own time, to be able to pass the 6035-03 summarize qualification criteria set down by the awarding body City & Guilds.
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The challenge facing me of not having enough actual lesson hours in this now three day course, (was last year a four day course), resulted in that the learners now had a minimum of four hours of directed home study (paper based), or of giving them the opportunity to take on more responsibility for heir own learning, in that I made use of the virtual learning environment “Model”. This meant setting up a PPTP group “Model” page for the learners, with all of the self-learning material available on this online page, in topics relating to the modules in the course.
As the learners are at level 3 and have been at an FEE institute for the last three years, and are all over 18 years of age, I thought that the better option and experience for the learners would be the self-learning route using the online virtual learning environment “Model”. As this was a new way for me to deliver teaching material to my learners, ad to gain experience very quickly to give my learners the best possible experience, and for them to have the best possible chance of passing the course at the end of the year.
The reason for the difference in the guided learning hours, & the actual teaching delivery time, was due to the fact that the course was made into a three day course instead of as in the previous year a four day course, as was the case in the level three City & Guilds course run the previous year. This change in the days needed for the learners to attend college was to give the learners more time to do work experience and o earn money to support themselves, as there had been cut backs on financial help the learners could claim for.
I chose this research as I would like to ascertain with this study if my presumption, that the learners Of the PPTP course benefited from using the virtual learning environment (“Model”) as a self-study tool, and depending on the outcome of this action research project, make changes to my strategy to reflect the outcome, and in doing so hopefully improve my success rate, with my learners this year and in the following terms. Also I hope this will improve and enhance the experience of OTOH this years learners and in the following years. The full time level 3 diploma in plumbing studies 6035-03 course is a brand new course from City & Guilds.
It is a mixture of two previous qualifications the 6129 & the 6189, and with the addition of some of the new technologies in the plumbing industry, so it is for the learners as well as the plumbing staff a challenge, as we have little support from City & Guilds on their official website and have no old exam papers to base the depth of our delivery on for the summarize online exams and paper based assignments. There have been few surprises in the difference from the qualification handbook stated delivery materials, and the type of questions in the online exams.
This became apparent early on in the forums relating to this new 6035-03 qualification. Plus contact with colleagues in other training establishments, and sharing knowledge gathered from exam results and the questions in the exams, that these differences were not just from my own experience, but were also it seems widespread. It was a challenge trying to gauge the delivery material most suited for the self-study, and this is the reason for this search, to find out if the learners found the “Model” virtual learning environment self-study material helpful, if it was enough, or too much! Id not want to put too much self-study material on the virtual learning environment, as was sure this could hinder some of the learners in their learning, if they had too much material to look at. The significance of virtual learning environments is summarizes by the point made by Davidson and Elliot (2007) “The significance of virtual learning environments Colleges generally had well-established Vales, whereas only some schools had memorable access to Vales. Many case study participants mentioned the importance of a standard navigation bar at the user interface.
Certainly numerous interviewees, both staff and students, commented that the navigation around the ‘Core Skills’ materials, both around the site’s home page and within the units themselves could be considerably simplified. It was emphasized that this aspect of the materials was quite problematic for less motivated students in colleges. Participating college lecturers explained that the VIE had allowed personal folders to be created and individually tailored o diverse students’ needs within a multilevel class. Equality and diversity needed some extra reflection, as this type of self-study delivery was a new area for me, and had to reflect and plan in detail to make sure I gave the learners the best possible experience. I tried to give the learners a mix Of different types of files such as video, power points and web links, to help them with their individual learning styles. So one of my problems was getting enough material online, to give the learners the best chance of passing the exams, without overloading them with too much information, and causing a detrimental effect.
To balance the fact that some learners my not find the material on the virtual learning environment enough, offered to give all the learners more material on a memory stick, explaining that did not want to put too much on the virtual learning environment, as this could for some learners have a negative consequence. This challenge of balancing the type and academic level of the material, and at the same time push the higher learners in the group, without potentially overloading the learners who are struggling with the course content. Research suggests that.
The importance of learning content & assessment is summarizes by the point made by Autumns (2007: 1 1 2) “Content and assessment need to draw on current industry practices and standards in order to ensure authenticity and relevance. ” In their introduction from their article “Web-Based Virtual Learning Environments” Piccolo et al. (2001 ) suggests: “That since the centralization of the Internet, Internet technologies have had such a profound impact on a vast number of industries and have allowed small businesses to compete with established dominant companies.
While in the learning industry, the pace of this transformation may not have been as dramatic, education has not been immune to Internet-driven change. Traditional institutions of higher education, universities and colleges, have been somewhat slow to area like the potential impact of these technologies, but many of them are now beginning to develop and deliver web-based courses and Vale’s (Model). Researchers as well as practitioners have suggested that “nothing will protect the business school from being swept into the current pathologically driven change”. Ink most teachers would agree that the objective Of using any new technology in learning should be to positively influence learning in one way or another; that is, the learner should either learn something that he/she would not have learned without the technology or learn it in a more efficient manner, not just to use the new technology just for the sake of it. Literature Review TO gather both quantitative and qualitative data and evidence for my research project, I have undertaken an extensive web-based and literature review, to help me clarify my way forwards in this endeavourer.
The favored teeth for my action research was web based as this research is about a web based theme and therefore there was far more on-line information available. Became apparent at an early stage in my research, that there were quite a few advantages and disadvantages to contend with. Mimic et al. (2013) suggests in their Web Based Learning article Advantages and disadvantages of web based learning.
Diva n takes Ability to link resources in many different formats Can be an efficient way of delivering course material Resources can be made available from any location and at any time Potential or widening access-?for example, to part time, mature, or work based students Can encourage more independent and active learning Can provide a useful source of supplementary materials to conventional programmer Disadvantages Access to appropriate computer equipment can be a problem for students Learners find it frustrating if they cannot access graphics, images, and video clips because of poor equipment The necessary infrastructure must be available and affordable Information can vary in quality and accuracy, so guidance and signposting is needed Students can feel isolated Research suggests that: Vale’s (virtual learning environments) are widespread in higher education today, typically used to deliver instructional materials and facilitate communication within a course. This study aimed to investigate the task-tech oenology fit of virtual learning environments for their two main groups of users: instructors and students, using the virtual learning environment “Model”.
User satisfaction, attitude towards use and anticipated consequences of use were I found to be significantly higher for students than for instructors. Instructors seem to have higher perceptions of social norms ND higher perceptions Of facilitating conditions than students. However, there was no difference between the instructors and students in level of utilization of the virtual learning environment. Students tend to perceived that the virtual learning environment have higher impacts on their learning compared with instructors’ perceptions regarding their teaching. These results suggest that despite high levels of support acknowledged by instructors, they may still be unsure about the contribution of virtual learning environments to their teaching. (T. J. McGill, V. J. Hobbs, 2007).
Academic rouses are becoming more complex and technologically advanced with the incorporation of computers and the Internet. For this reason teachers must seek ways to incorporate technology in the educational setting to foster and enhance the learning process of the learners. By adjusting the levels of dialogue and structure in the course, as well as promoting interaction, the instructor can directly affect how the students perceive and participate in the course, thus possibly increasing and improving their satisfaction and outcomes. (Stow, R. (2005). So after reviewing the literature and researching on this subject, realized the ere first thing was to find out how many of my learners did not have access at home to the internet.
The result was very favorable, as only one learner did not have an internet connection at home, but as this learner was not working on non-college days, it was not a problem for this learner to come into college to the LARCH and use the computers there to do self-study on these days. One of the other points that sprung out of my research was also that it was important to make sure there were resources in different formats, to cater for the different learning styles of the learners. Also it was quite obvious room the outset of the research that it must be a guided self-study, so I always made sure that the learners were fully aware of the material and information they needed to access/study on their college days to pre-load and inform them of exactly what it was I wanted them to do on their self-study time.
And to make sure that they were aware of the material available, and exactly what material they needed to read up on and revise for pending exams, I always set aside some time on the groups last college theory session before they needed to complete their self-study. On the first theory lesson back to college after the weekend/self-study time, I would set the group a test question paper, to check that learning had taken place in the self-study time. I have uploaded onto the PPTP “Model” group page, the scheme of work and the individual scheme of work for every section topic of the course, (at the top of the section topic). In which it was detailed specifically the exact criteria and material that needed to be covered, in order to pass the summarize exams.
I would also go over this with them, and get the relevant individual scheme of work for the module we are working on, up on the screen in the classroom on he last college theory session before they needed to complete their self- study, so that the learners where aware of the likely questions and areas they need to cover. Just in case some of the learners needed to review some of the material already covered in the classroom, allowing for differentiation within the group. The PPTP learners study days at college are Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, so this left them Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday to plan and execute their self-study. On Monday mornings before the first theory session I set aside time to check the “Model” stats to make sure all learners ad been active on “Model” and accessed the self-study area. Mound at the start of the academic year I had to remind at least fifty per cent of the group that they had not accessed the PPTP group “Model” page regularly, but as the year progressed they became accustomed to using their PPTP group “Model” page, and became more disciplined and focused, I found that the number of times I had to pick up the learners on their lack of use of their PPTP group “Model” page, was almost non-existent, and the learners I had to pick up on because of their lack of use of the PPTP group “Model” page, were costly the learners I had to chase because of lack of achievement and their lack of focus on the course. Of these learners that found the course difficult and where not engaging, most of these learners withdrew themselves from the course to follow other career paths.
I also made sure that the documents on the PPTP group “Model” page corresponded with the criteria in the scheme of work. As I have said in the introduction, this course being a brand new course from the awarding body City & Guilds, it was a challenge to interpret from the documentation available about the course, the academic PPTP and scope of the delivery material needed to help the learners achieve the course summarize exams and assignments. Researchers as well as practitioners have suggested that “Today, the rapid and ever increasing development and the advances in technology affect business lives, social environments and the modes of communication between individuals and changes their ways of life.
The increase in the amount of available knowledge and development and rapid progress of technological opportunities have orientated individuals to seek different learning strategies. Considering the transformation of the social Truckee into an information society, it is now possible for individuals to learn by obtaining information and constructing it in their own ways. Both the transformation of society into an information society and the emergence of different learning strategies created to the concept of “online learning”. ” (G¶khan & B;get, 2012, p. 1 22) Reading these reports made me aware that I should make sure that the learning styles of my learners were being met in the available materiel posted on the virtual learning environment. And I hoped that the questionnaires would help me evaluate this.
After carrying out web based quantitative and qualitative data search of the literature on-line and in the library, and reviewing the literature, I decided to see if I could from gathered data from questionnaires and statistics, and from my data tracking of my learner’s achievements, and on-line activities. Find evidence that the self-learning experience and the support of the material on the PPTP “Model” page was; A. Beneficial to the learners B. Enough material for self-study C. Self-learning and any relation to exam passes and retakes in relation to use of virtual learning environment D. Were learners using the online resources Questionnaire one. An online questionnaire survey using “Survey Monkey”. Based on the ‘Liker (1932) questionnaire. Questionnaire two. A paper based questionnaire to gain learners perceptions on both approaches and the benefits they perceived using (“Model”) based self- study.
If endings realized after seeing the feedback from the online survey, that the learners were not engaging with this online survey and that the first question ” Did you understand the lesson delivery”, to be too vague and not addressing the research of online learning I had set myself, although it was a relative question for me as a teacher. And so I decided that I would use paper based questionnaires in future, and improve the type of questions used. The following tables show the results of the first (online) questionnaire. 1 . Do you find understanding the lesson delivery – Hard/Just right/Easy?