E-Learning and Digital Media
ISSN 2042-7530

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Volume 6 Number 2 2009


CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]


Judy Lambert, Slava Kalyuga & Lisa A. Capan. Student Perceptions and Cognitive Load: what can they tell us about e-learning Web 2.0 course design? pages 150‑163
Olivia Adwoa Tiwaah Frimpong Kwapong. A Comparison of ICT Knowledge and Usage among Female Distance Learners in Endowed and Deprived Communities of a Developing Country, pages 164‑174
Abel Usoro & Bridget Abiagam. Providing Operational Definitions to Quality Constructs for E-learning in Higher Education, pages 175‑186
Nicola F. Johnson. Cyber-relations in the Field of Home Computer Use for Leisure: Bourdieu and teenage technological experts, pages 187‑197
Hamed Fazlollahtabar & Narges Yousefpoor. Cost Optimization in E-learning-Based Education Systems: implementation and learning sequence, pages 198‑205
Kerstin Grundén. E-learning at Work: towards a participative approach, pages 206‑220
Salah al-Fadhli. Instructor Perceptions of E-learning in an Arab Country: Kuwait University as a case study, pages 221‑229
Bertram (Chip) Bruce & Ching-Chiu Lin. Voices of Youth: podcasting as a means for inquiry-based community engagement, pages 230‑241

BOOK REVIEWS doi:10.2304/elea.2009.6.2.242 VIEW FULL TEXT
Partners in Literacy: schools and libraries building communities through technology (Sondra Cuban & Larry Cuban), reviewed by Tracy Taraisuk, pages 242‑244
Technology and English Studies: innovative professional paths (James A. Inman & Beth L. Hewett, Eds), reviewed by Dana E. Salter & Andrea Sterzuk, pages 244‑245
Laptops and Literacy: learning in the wireless classroom (Mark Warschauer), reviewed by Melinda Theresa Starc, pages 245‑250
Adolescents and Online Fan Fiction (Rebecca W. Black), reviewed by Jen Scott Curwood, pages 250‑253

E-REVIEW LINKS doi:10.2304/elea.2009.6.2.254 VIEW FULL TEXT
Michele Knobel, pages 254‑255

Student Perceptions and Cognitive Load: what can they tell us about e-learning Web 2.0 course design?

JUDY LAMBERT University of Toledo, USA
SLAVA KALYUGA University of New South Wales, Sydney,Australia
LISA A. CAPAN Bowling Green State University, Firelands, USA



The described study investigated the effectiveness of an e-learning Web 2.0 course redesigned from the perspective of cognitive load theory. The analyzed variables were course wiki design features, levels of instructor support, levels of cognitive load and engagement, and values students placed on particular pedagogical approaches used during instruction. Descriptive statistics were used to examine potential relationships between students’ prior experience in distance learning and using technology, anxiety, and engagement. Results suggest that prior experience in distance education and technology is associated with lower anxiety and higher engagement. Web 2.0 technologies may not impose excessive levels of mental load when intrinsic and extraneous cognitive loads are reduced sufficiently by providing an organized and clear course design and selecting engaging materials and activities suitable for different levels of learner expertise. While experienced learners tend to be more engaged in cognitively challenging activities that require higher level cognitive processes, novices usually need more scaffolds.


A Comparison of ICT Knowledge and Usage among Female Distance Learners in Endowed and Deprived Communities of a Developing Country



Working with the premise that information and communications technology (ICT) has the capacity to make or unmake so far as women’s empowerment is concerned, this article looks at the ICT situation among female distance learners in both endowed and under-served parts of Ghana, to check the user differentials among the two contrasting groups through a survey that covered 174 respondents. From the results one could not strongly say that there were vast ICT knowledge and usage gaps among the two groups considering the extent of the developmental gap that the regional differences presents. Factors like time or convenience, space, and income have to be considered in using ICT for education and development among women. Exposing the women to multiple usages of ICT is also critical. Another core observation from this study is that women who are generally categorized as not being technology friendly are overcoming at least that. This applies not only to women in relatively well-endowed areas but also to those in under-served areas. This is a good starting point for undertaking gender-specific projects that will promote e-learning, e-government, e-medicine, e-commerce and all other applications among women in both urban and rural communities.


Providing Operational Definitions to Quality Constructs for E-learning in Higher Education

ABEL USORO & BRIDGET ABIAGAM University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom



New developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) to support learning have brought about increasing interest by both academic and non-academic institutions in e-learning. These developments in ICT are principally multimedia and the Internet with its World Wide Web. Interest in ICT supported learning is also fuelled by the associated (expected) cost reduction and easy expansion of education to the increasing and flexible market that is difficult to reach by traditional delivery. Expansion of e-learning, especially in higher education, raises the issue of quality, resulting in both anecdotal and empirical evidence of how to achieve high quality while at the same time benefiting from e-learning. After examining key current research, the authors developed a conceptual framework of nine factors of quality in e-learning in higher education. These factors include content, delivery, technical provision (referred to as tangibles) and globalisation. This article takes the research further by attempting to operationalise the nine factors and develop a questionnaire such that future work can undertake a primary study to validate the framework.


Cyber-relations in the Field of Home Computer Use for Leisure: Bourdieu and teenage technological experts



This article highlights the practice of a group of New Zealand teenagers who are considered by their family and themselves to be technological experts. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s key concepts of habitus, field and capital, this text identifies and discusses the cyber-relations that constitute the practice in the field of home computer use for leisure. The purpose of this article is to claim that though this field is predominantly a field of leisure, these are valid sites of informal learning. As almost all of the experts in the study gained their expertise through independent means, with minimal input from their schooling, discussion focuses on what these informal trajectories to technological expertise might mean for pedagogy and formal learning within schools.


Cost Optimization in E-learning-Based Education Systems: implementation and learning sequence



Increasing the effectiveness of e-learning has become one of the most practically and theoretically important issues within both educational engineering and information system fields. The development of information technologies has contributed to growth in online training as an important education method. The online training environment enables learners to undertake ‘any time, any place’ customized training. Moreover, information technology allows both trainers and learners to be decoupled in terms of time, place, and space. There is a competence set consisting of ideas, knowledge, information, and skills for making a decision. In order to effectively acquire the needed skills in the competence set to solve the problem, finding appropriate learning sequences for decision makers should be taken into account. However, the means for determining the learning cost of learning one skill in relation to another skill plays a critical role for generating learning sequences. This article addresses the identification of varied cost elements as well as cost optimization in e-learning educational systems using mathematical programming. An effective method for estimating the learning cost between any two skills by using grey relational analysis and a radial basis function network is then proposed. An integer programming method is employed to demonstrate that it is possible to facilitate the acquisition of single skills by considering a set of useful compound skills.


E-learning at Work: towards a participative approach

KERSTIN GRUNDÉN University West, Trollhättan, Sweden



A case study focusing on learning outcomes from a web-based course and integration of new knowledge into work practices at the County Administration of Sweden is analysed. The study has a process-orientated longitudinal character combining different methodological approaches. The current work situation of the workers was studied using interviews. A questionnaire was distributed to the first hundred learners after they had passed the course. Telephone interviews were then made a month after the course. The respondents were more positive with respect to the usefulness of the course for their work immediately after completing the course, compared with their interview responses a month later. When they answered the questionnaire they also thought it was easier to get time for the course, than they indicated later in the telephone interviews. Likely reasons for this discrepancy are considered. The study shows the risk of obtaining inflated positive judgements of a course when the evaluation is made immediately following course completion. Instead, a process-oriented evaluation is recommended, evaluating both the work situation before the course, the comprehension of the course immediately after the course has been passed, and evaluation a month after the course has been passed. Although a majority of the learners had an overall positive judgement of the course, about half of them had not applied the new knowledge to their work, a month after the course. A participative approach with discussions in local work groups before and after the course, supported by local management, is proposed in order to facilitate integration of knowledge from the course into the work practices.


Instructor Perceptions of E-learning in an Arab Country: Kuwait University as a case study

SALAH AL-FADHLI Kuwait University, Kuwait



The rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICT), especially the recent explosive growth of Internet capacities, offers tremendous educational opportunities. The future growth and development of e-learning technologies is, perhaps, the most important of these trends in the realm of education. In fact, e-learning in particular is slowly being accepted as one of the criteria of a progressive, innovative, and leading higher educational institution. The Internet has created a new paradigm of learning which can allow teachers and students to teach and learn collaboratively via web-designed courses. While the quantitative impact of e-learning, such as cost effectiveness, can be easily measured, articulating the qualitative effectiveness of e-learning is more challenging. While the bulk of the studies related to e-learning focus on the quantitative impact of e-learning, the purpose of this research is to study the pedagogical impact of e-learning on higher education, specifically the university-level educational institution within an Arab university setting. Despite the existence of the varied number of significant challenges associated with teaching staff attitudes toward the e-learning model and with the institutional support for staff engaged on working with the e-learning environment, this study shows that e-learning has an important role in the enhancement and development of students’ critical thinking. As a result, if academic institutions wish to develop e-learning initiatives, they must be receptive to implementing effective strategies to support such a beneficial and innovative initiative for the benefit of student learning.


Voices of Youth: podcasting as a means for inquiry-based community engagement

BERTRAM (CHIP) BRUCE University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA CHING-CHIU LIN University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada



A youth community informatics (YCI) research project intersected an inquiry learning model with the making of audiovisual podcasts to foster personal growth and community engagement in a group of Mexican American youth enrolled in an afterschool program. Specifically, the article describes the cycle of inquiry together with the development of a project that embraced community inquiry as the core value for community building. Based on the project outcomes, it then recommends ways that community leaders could adopt a collaborative approach to creating spaces in which youth have fun learning new media, enjoy creative expression, take action for community needs, and develop potential for civic engagement by serving their family, friends, and communities.


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