What are the biggest design challenges you faced? #OutstandingMOOC

I’m enrolled in a MOOC where we are encouraged to reflect upon questions such as: “What’s the biggest design challenge that you have ever faced? Did you overcome it? How? “

I have experience with design projects on two educational levels: secondary education and higher education. My experience with both levels is more or less the same: a design challenge is usually not the problem, the barriers on the teacher and the school level are much harder to overcome.

Secondary education

My most ambitious design challenge was undoubtedly the research I conducted in order to obtain my PhD. We developed a teacher survey to investigate the instructional use of LMS (Learning Management Systems) in secondary education. Based on these results, we designed learning paths and examined in two quasi-experimental studies whether gender, group composition (collaborative learning) and the way learning paths are designed and implemented, have an impact on learning outcomes. To complete the circle, my last study reported on teacher perceptions of learning path usage within the LMS.

In short (my complete dissertation can be downloaded here), we faced some design challenges, but those were rather easy to overcome. However, we also identified clear barriers at both the school and the teacher level, and they were out of my league. More specifically, the lack of a reliable and accessible ICT infrastructure, the unavailability to the teacher of qualitative technical and pedagogical support and the underinvestment in professional development (resulting in low levels of teacher related ICT competencies), were frequently reported as essential factors hindering ICT-usage in the classroom.

Higher education: Continue reading “What are the biggest design challenges you faced? #OutstandingMOOC”

Are blogs the best reflecting tool within a MOOC? #OutstandingMOOC

Last week I enrolled as a participant in the following MOOC (Massive Online Open Course): How to create an outstanding MOOC (more information). I didn’t plan to get involved in another MOOC, basically cause I’m short on time (well, who isn’t?). However, I changed my mind because the organiser isn’t Coursera this time, but HT2, the company behind the Curatr platform. And, best of all, all participants receive the opportunity to create their own MOOC within the Curatr platform.

One of the questions we need to reflect upon is “are blogs a great reflection tool?”.

My answer is Yes and No. Continue reading “Are blogs the best reflecting tool within a MOOC? #OutstandingMOOC”

The design and implementation of learning paths in a learning management system

This article, ‘The design and implementation of learning paths in a learning management system’, investigates whether a particular design and implementation of learning paths has a beneficial impact on learning outcomes, and gender as a co-variables. It reports on the results of empirical research about using learning paths in a secondary education setting. The quasi-experimental study took place in the context of a biology course.  Twenty-nine different classes, involving 360 secondary school students, were selected at random to participate in particular research conditions of the study. All biology teachers (N = 8; 3 males, 5 females) teaching in the third grade of the six participating schools were willing to take part in the study. A 2 x 2 factorial research design was adopted. Learning activities (1) differed in design and (2) were either undertaken individually or collaboratively. Gender was considered as a critical co-variables given the focus on science learning. Multilevel analyses were applied to study the impact on learning outcomes according to the design of learning paths, the individual/collaborative setting, and the co-variables gender. The results were helpful to direct research about the design and implementation of learning paths in a secondary school setting.

If you use the article as published in Interactive Learning Environments (2014), please cite as:

De Smet, C., Schellens, T., De Wever, B., Brandt-Pomares, P., & Valcke, M. (2016). The design and implementation of learning paths in a learning management system. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(6), 1076-1096.

Researching instructional use and the technology acceptation of learning management systems

This paper researches the technology acceptation of LMS by secondary school teachers, based on a conceptual acceptance model including: perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and subjective norm (traditional TAM2 components), personal innovativeness towards IT (Agarwal & Prasad, 1998), internal ICT support (Tondeur, Van Keer, van Braak, & Valcke, 2008), and experience (Sun & Zhang, 2006). In addition, we examine how secondary school teachers use LMS. We scrutinized LMS functionalities available and used by our target group when adopting one of the three most often used LMS: Dokeos, Blackboard, and Smartschool (De Smet & Schellens, 2009). Continue reading “Researching instructional use and the technology acceptation of learning management systems”