This paper is in response to the article entitled “Identifying potential types of guidance for supporting student inquiry when using virtual and remote labs in science: a literature review” by Zacharia et al. (2015). In their review, Zacharia et al. (2015) adopted de Jong and Lazondo’s (2014) framework of five inquiry phases for online labs: orientation, conceptualization, investigation, conclusion, and discussion. Zacharia et al. reviewed the literature on Computer-supported Inquiry Learning (CoSIL), and identified best practices for each phase. They concluded, for example, that the orientation/conclusion/discussion phases received the least amount of guidance, while there were many more tools and strategies for providing guidance in the conceptualization/investigation phases. In this paper, we adopt the same inquiry framework as Zacharia et al. (2015) and report strategies that we learned from STEM faculty about how they supported and guided virtual student lab-based learning in these five phases during the recent COVID-19 shutdown. While Zacharia et al. identified tools and processes for enabling all five inquiry phases, add additional practical examples of faculty implementing these phases online as part of COVID-19 emergency remote teaching, and we provide insights for extending the 5-phase framework for future research.
Synthesizing a Japanese-language functional expression learning system with Chinese-speaking learners’ cultural interests and backgrounds
This piece is a short response to Liu, Shindo, and Matsumoto’s (2019) Development of a computer-assisted Japanese functional expression learning system for Chinese-speaking learners for the special issue: Shifting to Digital: Informing the rapid development, deployment, and future of teaching and learning. Key ideas, value, and future implications are culturally addressed in relation to a computer-assisted language learning system entitled Jastudy meant for Chinese learners of Japanese language.
This paper is in response to the manuscript entitled “Student perceptions of privacy principles for learning analytics” (Ifenthaler and Schumacher, Student perceptions of privacy principles for learning analytics. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(5), 923–938, 2016) from a practice perspective. Learning analytics (the use of data science methods to generate actionable educational insights) have great potential to impact learning practices during the shift to digital. In particular, they can help fill a critical information gap for students created by an absence of classroom-based cues and the need for increased self-regulation in the online environment, However the adoption of learning analytics in effective, ethical and responsible ways is non-trivial. Ifenthaler and Schumacher (2016) present important findings about students’ perceptions of learning analytics’ usefulness and privacy, signaling the need for a student-centered paradigm, but stop short of addressing its implications for the creation and adoption of learning analytics tools. In this paper we address this limitation by describing the three specific shifts needed in current learning analytics practice for analytics to be accepted by and effective for students: (1) involve students in the creation of analytic tools meant to serve them; (2) develop analytics that are contextualized, explainable and configurable; and (3) empower students’ agency in using analytic tools as part of their larger process of learning. These shifts are currently in different stages of maturity and adoption in mainstream learning analytics practice. The primary implication of this work is a call to action for researchers and practitioners to rethink and reshape how students participate in the creation, interpretation and impact of learning analytics.
This is a response to Bennett et al.’s (2016) “The Process of Designing for Learning: Understanding University Teachers’ Design Work.” We examine this study of faculty approaches to course design in order to connect the authors’ findings to implications for course design practices in the current context of shifting courses online. The design processes of experienced faculty are the primary subjects of the study, which may have implications for how institutions approach supporting faculty efforts to design courses under time constraints. However, research shows that less experienced faculty may be unprepared to effectively redesigning courses under time constraints. The primary approaches to course design are the individual approach, where a faculty designer follows his or her own design process and the centralized or team approach, where a subject matter expert joins an instructional designer and/or additional educational design or technology specialists to develop courses. Institutions need to consider how much of their faculty have 10 years or more of experience in order to determine which approach would work best.
Augmented reality enhanced cognitive engagement: designing classroom-based collaborative learning activities for young language learners
Augmented Reality (AR) has been applied to education in a variety of subjects, but in comparison to AR in STEM education, research on integrating pedagogical designs with AR in language learning is less mature. This study presents an AR-supported Chinese character learning game designed for young learners and investigates its effects on learners’ cognitive engagement in classroom learning. A total of 53 grade 2 students and two teachers from a Singapore government primary school participated in the study. The findings indicate an obvious improvement of students’ levels of cognitive engagement in the AR-supported activities. Furthermore, compared with acquiring expert-created content knowledge, students are more continuously engaged in the learning activities designed for enabling self-generated contexts. Suggestions for future system design and pedagogical strategies of leveraging AR to engage young learners in language learning are proposed from this study. The study also provides some insight into how to investigate cognitive outcomes of AR-enabled learning design through analysing learning process.
This paper is in response to Nacu et al.’s (Educ Technol Res Dev 66(4):1029–1049, 2018) guidelines to enable educators to fulfill learner support roles in online education from a contextual perspective and how their heuristic method can be utilized in today’s current pandemic. It also explores how learner support roles can be leveraged to balance affordances offered by the learning environment and the learners themselves. Additionally, this paper discusses the implications for addressing social inequities in digital environments and education policy reform.
The study conducted by Hilton (2016) focused on open educational resources (OER) by analyzing the findings of 16 studies that investigated (a) the influence of OER on academic learning outcomes at the tertiary context, and (b) students’ and instructors’ perceptions of OER in their teaching and learning contexts. Hilton’s analysis of the findings of these studies indicated two major findings: (1) when students use OER, they obtain the same learning outcomes as with traditional textbooks while saving money; and (2) both students and teachers find OER comparable to traditional learning resources in terms of quality. Several advantages of OER were also revealed. These included low or no cost of OER, perceived ease of reading and access, their ability to provide the same learning outcomes as traditional materials, and students’ and instructors’ positive perceptions. By indicating the role of OER in obtaining the same or similar learning, the study has also suggested that OER be considered useful sources for classes and also a valid replacement for commercial textbooks. However, we also need to consider the context where OER will be used and how OER are designed and used in this context since these two determine whether OER will work and suffice. This article considers the contextual factors and design of OER, and the limitations of Hilton’s work in addition to several ideas and suggestions for further research regarding OER in online and face-to-face instruction.
This article examines the work by Hilton (Educ Technol Res Dev 64: 573–590. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9, 2016) entitled, “Open educational resources and college textbook choices: A review of research on efficacy and perceptions” from international perspectives. Hilton (Educ Technol Res Dev 64: 573–590. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9, 2016) synthesized findings of 16 studies that investigated the academic outcomes of open educational resources (OER) and perceptions of college students and instructors. The academic outcomes were comparable to using traditional textbooks, and perceptions were positive. His work highlights effectiveness of OER in online courses resulting from their technological affordances. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many institutions around the globe to abruptly shift their instructions digital and make learning more flexible and affordable for those who face medical, financial, and daily life challenges. Hilton’s findings (Educ Technol Res Dev 64: 573–590. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9, 2016) provide collective evidence to support the adoption of OER and shed light on how it can be used and what future work is needed internationally. This article examines the international value, implications, and limitations of his work and suggests future directions.
Schools across the world have been shifting to remote learning options as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. As educators continue to facilitate remote learning, how can they practically think about adapting their instructional practice? Drawing on the work of Nacu et al. (Designing for 21st century learning online: A heuristic method to enable educator learning support roles. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(4), 1029–1049, 2018), this paper introduces pedagogical roles educators could consider in remote environments and a heuristic evaluation method to focus on how those moves might relate to the technologies they are using. In short, this paper is a response to Nacu et al. (2018) from a practice perspective.
Design considerations in emergency remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic: a human-centered approach
This paper is in response to the article entitled “The process of designing for learning: understanding university teachers’ design work” (Bennett et al., Educ Tech Res Dev 65:125–145, 2017). Bennett et al. (Educ Tech Res Dev 65:125–145) present a descriptive model of the design process that reports findings from a qualitative study investigating the design processes of 30 instructors from 16 Australian universities through semi-structured interviews. This exploratory study provides rich, contextualized descriptions about university teachers’ design process and pinpoints key design characteristics as top-down, breadth-first, iterative, responsive, and reflective. These key design characteristics revealed by the rich contextual descriptions could provide applicable insights into the design process especially for new instructors. The findings of the study could inform how learning design could be adapted during an emergency remote teaching (ERT) as it is dynamic and open to revision. A noteworthy limitation of the study is that complementary data such as design artifacts could be utilized to ensure data triangulation in addition to self-reported data obtained via interviews. The study found that university instructors’ design process did not appear to draw on instructional design models. Therefore, future studies could focus on to what extent and how such models could be used by university instructors. Lastly, future studies may explore how technology is used in ERT design to support their needs. In this article, I share how design can be informed by humanizing pedagogy and pedagogy of care during ERT.
This paper offers a response to the article entitled, “Empathic design: imagining the cognitive and emotional learner experience” (Tracey and Hutchinson, Educational Technology Research and Development 67(5):1259–1272, 2019). This review examines the recent published study on empathic design in consideration of practical applications for K-16 settings. The case study explores the alignment of the designers’ sensitivities with the learner perceptions of a web-based collaborative tool, the Virtual Hospital, developed for health professionals. Aspects of the study and empathic design can be useful in the development and evaluation of similar tools across all educational levels. The noted flexibility in the design discussions and the continued focus towards student affect are two facets which could support the development of educational technology tools. One noted limitation when applying the findings to K-16 students is that the collaborative program in the study was designed for health professionals with advanced degrees. Two suggestions are offered to make a comparable project more suitable for the K-16 environment. First, build an evaluative piece that contains an objective assessment to measure collaboration and second, include the teacher perspective in the design and evaluative process. The reviewed study offers an excellent blueprint for further work with empathic design.
This paper is in response to the article entitled “A design framework for enhancing engagement in student-centered learning: own it, learn it, and share it” (Lee and Hannafin 2016). The authors propose a framework that could assist teachers in their transition from face to face classroom settings to a completely digital, student-centered, learning format. The article provides an outline and questions that can be applied to current teaching methodologies but will require ongoing teacher training. The difficulty in applying this outline is a possible lack of understanding of student-centered learning techniques, lack of time to train teachers and, possibly, teacher apathy towards online education. This article provides an adaptable framework schools can use immediately, and the effectiveness of its application should be studied.
This paper is in response to the article entitled “The process of designing for learning: understanding university teachers’ design work” (Bennett et al. in Educ Technol Res Dev 65(1):125–145, 2017). Design constitutes a fundamental part of what teachers do (Goodyear in HERDSA Rev Higher Educ 2:27–50, 2015). However, it has received negligible attention in the research literature. Bennett et al. make a significant contribution to knowledge by identifying and illustrating how university teachers engage in educational design. In particular, the paper identifies key areas for further support and the professional development of university teachers, including in the use of systematic design models and tools. This will help university teachers significantly, especially during the current pandemic has increased the design workload of university teachers as they endeavour to migrate and transtion their teaching online. Our response discusses Bennett et al. (2017) in the context of emergency remote teaching and the wholesale shift to new modalities of blended and online education. We also offer future suggestions arising from our review, including the importance of further international research on the topic.
To suggest sound practices in obtaining the faculty design talent needed to rapidly deploy or scale up digital learning, this paper adopts a systems view of the findings and implications of “The Process of Designing for Learning: Understanding University Teachers’ Design Work” by Bennett et al. (Educational Technology Research and Development 65(1), 125–145, 2017). Bennett et al.’s article makes an important contribution to our growing understanding of faculty capacity for and approaches to course design. Their work establishes faculty roles as designers, which is an essential consideration as institutions seek digital design talent. Nevertheless, important limitations of their research are limited detail about faculty design skills and an emphasis on how faculty design resembles others’ design approaches. This paper suggests specific ways that institutions can apply and extend insights from Bennett et al.’s research to cultivate faculty design talents in nimble responses to large-scale or rapid shifts to digital learning through practices of professional development and strategic faculty hiring.
Machine learning systems are infiltrating our lives and are beginning to become important in our education systems. This article, developed from a synthesis and analysis of previous research, examines the implications of recent developments in machine learning for human learners and learning. In this article we first compare deep learning in computers and humans to examine their similarities and differences. Deep learning is identified as a sub-set of machine learning, which is itself a component of artificial intelligence. Deep learning often depends on backwards propagation in weighted neural networks, so is non-deterministic—the system adapts and changes through practical experience or training. This adaptive behaviour predicates the need for explainability and accountability in such systems. Accountability is the reverse of explainability. Explainability flows through the system from inputs to output (decision) whereas accountability flows backwards, from a decision to the person taking responsibility for it. Both explainability and accountability should be incorporated in machine learning system design from the outset to meet social, ethical and legislative requirements. For students to be able to understand the nature of the systems that may be supporting their own learning as well as to act as responsible citizens in contemplating the ethical issues that machine learning raises, they need to understand key aspects of machine learning systems and have opportunities to adapt and create such systems. Therefore, some changes are needed to school curricula. The article concludes with recommendations about machine learning for teachers, students, policymakers, developers and researchers.
The outbreak of COVID-19 leads to an increasing demand for online educational resources to continue teaching and learning. Open educational resources (OER), with the benefits of cost-saving and open licenses, have great potential in facilitating the rapid transition to digital education, but concerns about whether OER decrease the effectiveness of student learning remains unsolved. Hilton’s review article (2016) provides synthesized evidence stating that OER can help decrease college students’ textbook spending without undermining student learning effectiveness. It is also noteworthy that implementing OER in digital education needs additional considerations beyond the efficacy of OER. Therefore, this special issue article extends Hilton’s (2016) synthesized findings by presenting four additional perspectives in research, design, culture, practice about implementing OER in digital education.
Revisiting Kuo and Belland’s exploratory study of undergraduate students’ perceptions of online learning: minority students in continuing education
COVID-19 has forced educators to make rapid changes to their pedagogy in order to shift from face-to-face instruction to online delivery. In this time of rapid change, Kuo and Belland’s (Educ Technol Res Dev 64:661–680, 2016) exploratory study that highlights the types of interactions that correlated with African American students’ success in an undergraduate course could provide instructors with ideas about how to create more equitable online courses. Thus, this article describes how instructors might consider the cultural and racialized experiences of their students through an asset lens as they design online coursework. Specifically, instructors should attend to students’ experiences and determine how students will interact with the content, with the instructor, and with other learners. Implications are described.
Expanding interaction in online courses: integrating critical humanizing pedagogy for learner success
Millions of college students in the U.S. are enrolled in online courses, with the global pandemic resulting in a “pivot to online” for educational and health reasons. African-American college students continue to face barriers to academic success, and this response to Kuo and Belland (in Educ Technol Res Dev 64(4):661–680, 2016) investigates how the concept of “learner interaction” supports success. Finally, this response includes examples from online courses informed by “critical humanizing pedagogy,” in which social interaction is a key driver of learning.
Addressing students’ emotional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic: a perspective on text versus video feedback in online environments
This paper reflects on the findings of Borup et al. (Educ Technol Res Dev 63:161–184, 2015) regarding the efficiency and affect of text and video feedback in the context of the rapid shift to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on reports of diminished mental wellness, increased depression, and anxiety among learners and instructors, this paper offers ideas on how to apply the findings from Borup et al. (Educ Technol Res Dev 63:161–184, 2015) from a combination of practice, research, design, and inclusion perspectives to ensure emotional support, mental wellness, and social presence during times of crisis, even at the expense of efficiency of instruction.
This paper is in response to the manuscript entitled, “Success, failure and emotions: Examining the relationship between performance feedback and emotions in diagnostic reasoning,” (Jarrell et al. in Educ Technol Res Dev 65:1263–1284, 2017) from a K-12 student perspective. Jarrell et al.’s (2017) noted a strong relationship between outcome emotions and performance tasks where high performing medical students resulted in the most positive emotions. Researchers indicated that medical students who experienced negative emotions led to negative outcomes such as loss of confidence or dropping out of school. In turn, these results can be translated to students in grades K-12 who find themselves more regularly in an online learning environment. This perspective suggests ways Jarrell et al.’s (2017) conclusions can inform educators as they consider the important role emotions play in digital learning. Special consideration should be given to the importance of connection between student and teacher, as well as the unique challenges faced by students identified with learning disabilities.