· Have you seen examples from your own experience where e-learning both lived up to it’s promise of delivering effective and engaging content/learning and where it failed to deliver what it promised?
In the rapid ‘pivot’ online last year I moved the module I convene online without enough time to think about how, and lacking the expertise required to do it in a properly informed way. I think this is true for many other modules at my institution and perhaps at others. In my view it’s essential that my institution invests in training and development for staff so that we are able to proceed in an informed way from now on, but am concerned that this will not happen for a variety of reasons unrelated to pedagogy (which is not fore-fronted in the way one might expect). I worry that the fact we have managed fairly successfully this year will be taken as a sign that ‘moving online’ is possible, desirable for all modules, and straightforward. As Clark and Mayer point out it is (unsurprisingly) the quality of instruction in the online environment that most affects student learning. If we are unprepared for teaching in the new medium we cannot optimise learning in the way we have learned how to in the f2f environment.
Various elements of the module did work online – particularly a web-based resource that students use for asynchronous study and which is picked up in the online seminars and discussed/scaffolded/extended. Students reported finding the resource easy to navigate and use autonomously; they responded well to the multimedia content (multimedia/UDL); were able to tailor the information to their own research project (customise). The assessed work of the majority of students showed high levels of psychological engagement and the ability (with scaffolding) to engage in far transfer between the exemplars and their own research project.
· Also, think of one question you have about the article, maybe something that didn’t make sense or something you’d like to know more about and add it here.
The authors make the point that delivery and accessibility can be impeded by technology problems. Although online study can make access easier for many groups of people for whom attendance at the physical campus is challenging I am mindful of the fact that for many of my students from a widening participation background access to a private space to study as well as to the required technology and/or a secure internet connection is problematic.