Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mobile Technologies and Learning

Mobile Technologies and Learning: A Technology Update and M-Learning Project.

by Jill Attewell

Free publication of the Learning and Skills Network, UK, 2005

This is a report of one of the largest research projects undertaken on mobile learning and its use to engage young people who have become disengaged learners. It involved 250 young people (aged 16-24) in the UK, Italy and Sweden.

The "m-learning" project aimed to investigate "whether mobile technologies might engage 'hard to reach' young people (the NEETs' group) in learning and offer help to those with literacy and numeracy problems".

There is an excellent news report of this project that gives an overview of its goals, processes and successful outcomes at:

The full PDF report (176Kb) can be downloaded free by CLICKING HERE.

Converting Disengaged Learners to Active Participants

Transfiguring It Out: Converting Disengaged Learners to Active Participants

by Marcia L. Rock

TEACHING Exceptional Children, 2004, 36 (5), 64-72.

Marcia cites Arthur Coombs who suggests that "self-belief" is "perhaps the most important single cause of a person's success or failure educationally".

Marcia's approach can be encapsulated in one of her early comments:

"This article addresses the challenge of disengaged students and provides teachers with a "transfiguration" model that uses a practical and robust strategy to transform disengaged learners.

Let's examine the inclusive education environment and why we need to transform the way we work with all our students to set learning goals, create a workable plan, use motivating activities, and reflect and evaluate along the way." (bold emphasis added)

The full PDF text of the article can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Txt Me: supporting disengaged youth using mobile technologies

This is a New Practices in Flexible Learning 2004 project managed by Jill Jamieson.

I mentioned this project in January but the project site was updated in February and is well worth revisiting in the light of our current focus on disengaged learners.

The project site now provides video clips, pdf reports, case studies and guidelines for the use of mobile learning to engage learners.

The project is described as follows:

The project recognises that mobile phone use has become a pervasive communication tool among youth culture, and has aimed to develop recommendations and guidelines for VET providers on using this communication technology to support a sustainable learning culture with disengaged youth. Specifically, the project sought to find new ways to engage, motivate and sustain lifelong learning skills for these learners.

The project tested the hypothesis that m-learning strategies and mobile phone technology motivates and supports the retention of disengaged youth in learning programs and facilitates the development of lifelong learning skills through supporting collaborative, networked learning environments.

The overall goal of the project was to integrate readily accessible mobile technology into a vocational learning environment for the benefit of disengaged learners. (emphasis added)

You can access the project site here:


If you are interested in mobile learning, you might like to revisit earlier postings we provided on this topic:

Just visit this blog and use the search box at the top left hand corner of the blog to enter your search term and then click on "SEARCH THIS BLOG".

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Delivering What Students Say They Want On-Line

Delivering What Students Say They Want On-Line: Towards Academic Participation in the Enfranchisement of e-Learners?

by Richard Hall, 2006, Department of Academic Quality, De Montfort University, UK,
The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 4(1), 25-32.

Topics covered include:
  • notions of learner enfranchisement
  • enfranchising e-Learners: battery-farmed or free ranging?
  • the role of teamwork in franchising e-Learners
  • the impact of e-Learning on the student learning experience
  • managing expectations: towards cohesive rules of engagement
  • the value of currency and interactivity
  • towards academic engagement
The article in pdf format can be found at the following URL:

Research Reports : Learning Needs of Young People

Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership has commissioned reports that focus on the learning needs of those young people who either do not continue in to learning post-school, or who drop off learning with one or two years, or who do not find appropriate training once they are in employment.

Two particularly relevant reports are:

1. Engaging Reluctant Pre-16 Learners - Adrian Norton
  • factors contributing to under-performance of 14-16 learners
  • types of intervention to combat reluctance amongst young people
  • features of successful reengagement schemes
  • solutions in Surrey (case studies)
  • key ways to re-engage reluctant learners

2. Young People in Retail Employment - Rachel Papworth
  • attitudes to a retailing career and to learning and school
  • experienced negative elements of retail employment
  • experienced positive elements of retail employment
  • training and development needs
  • research findings
  • initiatives to address the issues
Both reports are available on the Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership site:

Engaging Tourism and Hospitality Management Students

Steve Parker has provided a slideshow presentation on covering an innovative project designed to actively engage Tourism and Hospitality students at the Illawarra Institute TAFE.

T&H students organising a Car Wash event management task at Wollongong campus used technology to record the event:
  • a mp3 recorder (ipod) to interview each other
  • a digital camera to take pictures and video.
You can click on each photo in the slideshow for comment and corresponding audio.

The project outcomes:
  • photos and audio can be used as part of assessment portfolio.
  • students themselves created a resource about event managment.
  • students loved using technology
  • students were comfortable with recording and interviewing each other
  • students helped each other clarify and discuss their own learning outcomes during the recording process

Click here to access the slideshow.

Inclusive E-learning Project: Australian Flexible Learning Framework

The Inclusive e-Learning Project aims to increase the uptake of e-learning in target areas. Research conducted by the 2005 Project found engagement, participation, completion and employment outcomes to be major issues for learners with disabilities and young learners.

The 2005 case studies identified e-learning as pivotal in providing access and inclusion for this diverse group. In 2006 the Project will again focus on e-learning for two target groups:
- learners with disabilities
- young people in the 15 - 19 age group (including VET in Schools, disengaged youth and school-based apprenticeships).

The project site provides links to :

The Youth Policy and Program Research Report is well worth a read. The findings of the report cover:

  • Features of young learners
  • Pedagogy, andragogy, heutagogy and constructiveism
  • Issues relating to the delivery of e-learning
  • Rural and remote issues
  • Indigenous
  • New technologies - M-learning, multi-authoring via the web, MP3 and audio devices

The report also has 29 pages providing descriptions and hotlinks to papers, case studies and reports that formed the resource material for the report.

Learners in a Changing Learning Landscape: New Roles and Expectations

There is much written about the use of online and mobile technologies to enage youth learners.

However, these new technologies themselves can lead to disengaged learners if the participants do not have the requisite skill set and/or the learning environment is defective. Here's a group that tried to explore some of the issues in October 2005.

On October 21, 2005 ten people gathered together at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, to hold a six-hour workshop, asking themselves and each other questions about what should be expected of today's learners as regards their competencies, attitudes and general disposition. The results of the workshop session informed a two-hour Presidential Panel Session the following day. The panel session was open to all attendees of the 2005 International Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. The initiative to organize this event came in the wake of an ongoing research project of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (ibstpi) to identify and validate online learner competencies.

Here are links to some of their reflections:

Preparing learners for creative global collaboration - Deb LaPointe, University of New Mexico

What makes a good online course? - Michael Spector, Florida State University

The impact of design and facilitation on learners' expectations in an online learning environment - Diana Stirling

Reflections on Learning and Learners: Four levels of learning - Jan Visser, Learning Development Institute

How do we create online learning environments that support the conditions necessary for learner success and that enhance lifelong learning development? - Christina Rogoza, Nova Southeastern University

Reflections on Seeking the 'Invisible' Online Learner - Michael F. Beaudoin, University of New England

Five Thoughts on Online Learning and Preparation for the Twenty First Century - John Bransford, University of Washington

Reflections on the online learner competencies - Ileana de la Teja, Laboratory of Cognitive Engineering and Learning Environments (LICEF)Tele-universite/UQAM, Montreal

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blended Learning and Online Tutoring: A Good Practical Guide

New Book Release : April 2006

About the Author:

Dr Janet Macdonald is Learning and Teaching
Coordinator for the Open University in Scotland,
with particular responsibility for blended
e-learning and tutor-mediated support. She has
first hand experience of being both a distance
student and tutor, and now provides both online
and face-to-face staff development for others,
including a course for online moderators.

Her doctorate was on online course design and assessment, and she has directed a variety of studies in this area, most recently in the area of appropriate blended strategies for supporting students.

About the Book:

This book adopts a pragmatic and commonsense approach to blended learning, by situating the use of online media within a well-grounded teaching and learning strategy. It provides practical ideas for the successful implementation of blended strategies, including good practice in both asynchronous and synchronous tutoring, appropriate assessment design for developing successful blended learners, and innovative approaches to professional development for distance tutors. It is illustrated with a wide variety of examples and comments from students and practitioners in both distance and campus based environments in thirteen different countries.

The book is available from Gower Publishing by clicking HERE.

Assessment and Collaboration in Online Learning

by Karen Swan (Kent State University), Jia Shen (New York Institute of Technology) and Starr Roxanne Hiltz (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

Journal of Asyncrhronous Learning Networks (JALN), Volume10 (1), February 2006.


"The theme of this paper is the importance of assessment to learning; that what is assessed is what is valued, and if you value collaboration as an instructor, you need to find ways to motivate students and to assess collaborative activity.

However, in most online courses, traditional instructor-centred examination remains the primary means for assessing student performance, and collaborative learning is undervalued and so marginalized. This paper addresses that issue.

The paper begins with an overview of the changing nature of assessment in education and addresses assessing collaboration online - why it is important and why it is difficult. It then explores in greater depth two common and quite different kinds of online collaboration, collaborative online discussion, and collaborative small group projects.

Finally, findings from a recent dissertation which introduced and measured the effectiveness of innovative collaborative examination procedures are summarized. In each of these areas we lay out the issues, theoretical and practical, involved in assessing online collaboration, as well as give examples of how to assess (and so encourage) individual and group work for differing sorts of activities." [emphasis added]

The research paper can be found HERE.

Issues in on-line delivery: Quizzes and discussion groups

This resource looks at uses for quizzes, short answer questions and discussion groups and is produced by the University of South Australia.

It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, provides tips for success and traps to avoid, and identifies the necessary skills for each approach.

You can access the resource HERE

FLAG Research - Assessing Online

This is a link to a summary of the report, Creative, quality online assessment produced by R Booth, B Clayton, P Hyde, R Hartcher & S Hungar. The research investigates issues in quality online assessment in VET both in Australia and internationally.

The report discusses challenges for effective online assessment, benefits and forms of online assessment.

Literature Review of E-Assessment

Literature Review of E-Assessment by Jim Ridgway, Sean McCusker and Daniel Pead

Stephen Downes take on this review is given below:

"Funny how things work in the blogosphere. This report has been out for more than a year (I hadn't seen it, though; I don't really follow assessment issues). It's quite well written, and packs some zingers (like: "In the worst case, to be able to invent and create something of value is taken to be a sure sign of feeble-mindedness; where as to opine on the work of others shows towering intellectual power"). Anyhow, this item was reviewed today in e-learning reviewa, covered in the Authentic Assessment Website, and finally, mentioned in Michelle's Online Learning Freakout Party Zone, which is where I saw it. Go figure. More literature reviews from Nesta (which needs an RSS feed). [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]"

[Stephen's lack of interest in assessment issues explains why I could find little on this topic on his blog]

Cheating in Online Assessment: Beyond Plagiarism

Article by Neil Rowe


Online student assessment features in many distance-learning programs. The prevention of plagiarism has been the subject of much attention, but insufficient attention has been given to other problems of dishonesty in online assessment. We survey the types of problems that can occur and what can be done about them. We believe many educators are unaware of these problems, and most countermeasures proposed are insufficient.

Click HERE to access this article.

Assessing Online: The Manual

These resources were developed by the following project team:

* Helen Bayne (South West TAFE
* Clinton Smith (Tafe Frontiers)
* Terry Taylor (AMES)
* Lilian Austin (Swinburne Uni, TAFE Division)

The Resources included in this website are:
  • The Guide - how to plan, analyse, design, develop, deliver and evaluate online assessment
  • Case Studies of online assessment
  • Research 0n online assessment
Check out the site here: