Tuesday 22 February 2011

Three wonderful resources for eLearning

The last couple of weeks I have encountered some very useful resources, so I wanted to share it. The text accompanying the resources is taken out of the documents themselves. I found all of the documents relevant: the first for practical eLearning development, the second for getting a more in-depth understanding of lifelong learning options, and the 3rd one to get a better understanding of the effect (or non-effect) discussion still accompanying blended learning.

Choosing authoring tools by ADL (29 April 2010): the purpose of this paper is to help those involved in the process of choosing authoring tools to make an informed decision. The paper presents a range of considerations for choosing tools, whether as an enterprise-wide acquisition or a single user purchase, and includes a sampling of current tools categorized according to the kind of product they are intended to produce.

Good practices and methodologies for HEI (Higher Educational Institutes) using ICT in the different fields of LifeLong Learning (30 October 2010).
The report is summarizing the outcome of a long research work that we made with the partners during the project based on a detailed research plan. We collected with different techniques possible Good practices of ICT use in the European Higher Educational arena, and categorised them in 9 territories and 8 areas. (See more details in the research plan.) Upon agreed definition we selected (shortlisted) those where at least two criteria of excellence could be observed. The partnership then gathered detailed data about the selected practices with different techniques, most commonly by updating or making interviews with them.
Finally 35 detailed cases were quantitatively analyzed by a common grid of 30 questions in 8 areas from management to communication. The analysis show the most frequently cited common elements in respective areas that lead to good practice, as well as territory specific outcomes where some aspects were cited only in one or two territory cases.
(Yes, this is really a report with formal language).

Evaluation of evidence based practices in online learnin
g: a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies (September 2010).
A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 50 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se.