The Effectiveness of E-learning

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Our focus is on the effectiveness of e-learning, reflecting on our experiences both as tutees and tutors. The paper considers these two strands, culminating in an overview of the enablers and inhibitors of this learning medium. In the first strand, an ethnographic study is discussed, involving 36 students on a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) programme. The major assessment of this course involved the use of an e-learning environment known as Moodle. An e-conference by means of Moodle was used to facilitate group discussions and to inform assignment writing. On reflection, the approach proved effective for both communication and comprehension. It circumvented the potential problems of group meetings and helped overcome other common communication difficulties. However, conversely, it also suggested that a drawback of e-conferencing might be the absence of nuances in speech and body language. In the second strand, the paper considers the delivery of e-learning at UCE Birmingham and in particular the built environment subject area. This is based on the authors' participation as tutors. The role of Moodle as a tool in delivering effective teaching is addressed specifically, outlining some of the successes and glitches encountered so far. Using a student satisfaction survey and interviews with staff members who have used Moodle, the authors reflect on some of the inhibitors that slow the uptake of e-learning as a broader pedagogical approach. Workshops, one-to-one discussions and induction programmes are seen as methods of facilitating the broader uptake of e-learning.

Keywords: E-learning; Moodle; communication; conference; higher education; reflection

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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