Daniel Staemmler

Things about eLearning, Educational Technology, and more…

Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning

cover final reportThe U.S. Department of Education published in May 2009 a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Under evaluation were empirical studies published during the years 1996 till mid of 2008.

The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instructions.

Key findings have been nicely and straight to the point summarized by Donald Clark.

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Filed under: Education, eLearning, Evaluation,

European E-Communications household survey

The results of a special Eurobarometer survey conducted by TNS Opinion & Social between 17 November 2006 and 19 December 2006 to measure the attitude of European households and individuals towards fixed and mobile telephony, Internet access, TV broadcast services, bundled offers, 112 emergency call number, telephone directories, privacy and security. The survey covers the 27 EU Member States together with Candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey) and the Turkish Cypriot Community, with an average of 1.000 households interviewed per country.

Some of the key findings for the European Union are (taken from the E-Communications Household Survey):

  • On average, most European households have both fixed and mobile telephone access (EU27: 58%, EU25: 60%).
  • The level of use of mobile phones remains fairly stable (81% in EU27) while at the same time more and more households give up their fixed line.
  • For many households, the reason for keeping their fixed line is still the internet connection (22%).
  • The majority of European households (54% in EU27) have a computer, primarily a desktop computer (36%). 34% of EU27 households with internet access at home have a wifi router.
  • Most households access internet via an ADSL line (EU27: 53% of households with broadband access, EU25: 54%).
  • Over a quarter of households with internet access have suffered from significant problems caused by spam, viruses and spy ware. The main consequence appears to be a lowering in the functioning of the computer (40%) or even a breakdown (27%).
  • The use of service packages has increased slightly (EU27/EU25: 20%, +3 points), the most common combination being fixed telephony and internet access. Respondents are particularly satisfied with the fact that two services are invoiced at once and that the combined price is cheaper than that of two separate services.

Filed under: Evaluation, Technology, , , ,

A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievement, Challenges and New Opportunities

Dan Atkins, John Seely Brown and Allen Hammond compiled for the Hewlett Foundation a report about the Hewlett Foundation Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative. Open Educational Resources (OER) have been mentioned in this blog before and this report is a great and worth reading addition to it.

Filed under: eLearning, Evaluation, Open Access / Open Content, , , , , ,

Study about ICT impact on Education in Europe

The European Schoolnet in the framework of the European Commission’s ICT cluster has published a review of 17 studies of ICT impact on schools in Europe. The reviewed studies and surveys have been “… carried out at national, European and international level“. After the years of investment into ICT in schools this report tries to answer the question: “What does the research and evaluation tell us about the return on investment in ICT?” The review focuses on to major areas in regard of investments in schools: (1) learning outcomes and learners and (2) teaching methodologies and teachers. The findings are divided into more quantitative and qualitative based which I personally think is very useful since both of these research approaches deliver different results. For a condensed from of the research findings please refer to the pages 5 to 8 of the review.

Filed under: eLearning, Evaluation, , , , , ,

Emotional Intelligence and Age

The subject of emotional intelligence (definition) is a little bit of topic when it comes to learning and technology. But in some way I think it has something to do with learning since we as human beings learn and acquire knowledge in different areas that matter to us as an individual. Why do I bring this subject of emotional intelligence up at all? Well, I received an issue of the Chief Learning Officer referring to a study that challenges assumptions about age and emotional intelligence. The study they refer to has been conducted by the Lorenzo Farisell, Massimiliano Ghini and Joshua Freedman and the full text is available on the 6 seconds Emotional Intelligence Network. The white paper states significant findings that are in contrast to existing research, saying that the relationship between age and emotional intelligence is more of a slight nature.

There are many assumptions about emotional intelligence and age. Popular literature and “common sense” asset that older people are more aware, wise, and restrained. Is it true? Existing research indicates a slight relationship between emotional intelligence and age. How strong is this effect, and which areas of emotional intelligence are most affected by age? Are older people more self aware, better at self management, and/or do they make more principled decisions?

One thing in the conclusion paragraph grabbed my attention since they suggest to include different demographic categories and how those influence the combination of age and emotional intelligence. Their example question is that a “… high academic level is correlated with higher IQ, so does increased education likewise affect EQ?” From my own (subjective) experience at two different universities I can tell that some of the academic staff are petty smart but their emotional intelligence goes towards zero. So it should be pretty interesting to see what the result of another study will reveal.

Another interesting questions in regard to emotional intelligence would be for me, if individuals using social networks on the Internet differ from those who stay in touch with their circle of friends more so on a face to face base.

Filed under: Cognitive Psychology, Evaluation, , ,

Learning Styles and Interactive Learning Programs

Cognitive Components of Learning Outcome within Virtual Learning Environments – Abstract
thesis book coverThe objective of this study is to examine the influence of hypermedia systems with different levels of interactivity upon the learning outcome of users with different learning styles. For this purpose, the areas of educational media and differential cognitive psychology have been combined. On one hand, interactive learning objects within hypermedia systems were researched with regards to their learning efficacy. Two learning programs with different levels of interactivity were used. On the other hand, users’ individual learning preferences were surveyed in terms of their learning styles.

To determine the individual learning style, an inventory based on Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory and the Learning Style Questionnaire from Honey & Mumford was developed. Psychometric properties were examined using a sample size of 191 students. Internal consistency of the alpha coefficients ranged from satisfactory to good. Empirical evidence of the construct validity could not be reported.

In an experimental study with a sample size of 84 students enrolled in public health, nursing and nutrition, and home economics courses at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg was conducted. The influence of hypermedia systems with different levels of interactivity on the learning outcome of users with different learning styles was investigated. A general linear model with repeated measurement was chosen for the examination. Additionally, questionnaires were used to survey previous knowledge, learning outcome and learning styles.

The results demonstrate that learning took place regardless of the levels of interactivity and learning style. Users with a diverging learning style reached higher scores with a low level of interactivity. Subjects with an assimilating learning style achieved, though not significantly, a higher learning outcome in the learning program with higher interactivity. Users with a converging learning style tended to obtain a higher learning outcome with lower interactivity. Subjects with an accommodating learning style tended to achieve a higher learning outcome in the learning program with higher interactivity.

This abstract is the summary of my thesis, which is only available in German for now. If anybody wants to know more about this publication please feel free to contact me. I also welcome very much your opinion if I should translate and publish it. You can do so by using the comment function on this page or using the email address mentioned above.

Filed under: Cognitive Psychology, Evaluation, , , , , , , ,

Evaluating Online Learning Programs

I just ran across an article from Lisa Neal that gives some insights on how formative evaluation can provide guidance to verify design decisions in order to enhance the effectiveness. “Formative Evaluation: A Practical Guide” provides an easy to follow step-by-step guidance on how evaluation can contribute to the design of an online course up from a very early stage. The article gives a good point to start from or to check if this kind of evaluation is a fit for you purpose.

Effectively Evaluating Online Learning Programs” is another pretty comprehensive article that falls into this category. I especially like the bullet points and their emphasize on what to avoid and what an alternative approach could look like. For example “evaluation is a part of the bigger picture. avoid: evaluation as episode; evaluation as autopsy; alternative: integrate evaluation in into ongoing practice”. The latter one goes back to the point Lisa Neal makes in here before mentioned article.

Filed under: Evaluation, ,

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