Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are among the latest e-learning initiative that have gained a wide popularity among many universities. Student dropout in MOOCs is a major concern in the higher education and policy-making communities. Most student dropout is caused by factors outside the institution’s control. In this study, a multiple-criteria decision-making method was used to identify the core factors and possible causal relationships responsible for the high dropout rate in MOOCs. Twelve factors, distributed across four dimensions, related to students’ dropout from online courses were identified from the literature. Then, a total of 17 experienced instructors in MOOCs from different higher education institutions were invited to assess the level of influence of these factors on each other. The results identified six core factors that directly influenced student dropout in MOOCs, these were: academic skills and abilities, prior experience, course design, feedback, social presence, and social support. Other factors such as interaction, course difficulty and time, commitment, motivation, and family/work circumstances were found to play a secondary role in relation to student dropout in MOOCs. The causal relationships between the primary and secondary factors were mapped and described. Outcomes from this study can offer the necessary insights for educators and decision makers to understand the cause–effect relationships between the factors influencing MOOC student dropout, thus providing relevant interventions in order to reduce the high dropout rate.
Internet and Higher Education
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Journal of Computing in Higher Education
Students’ goal-setting skills are highly related to their academic learning performance and level of motivation. A review of the literature demonstrated limited research on both applicable goal-setting strategies in higher education and the support of technology in facilitating goal-setting processes. Addressing these two gaps, this study explored the use of digital badges as an innovative approach to facilitate student goal-setting. The digital badge is a digital technology that serves as both a micro-credential and a micro-learning platform. A digital badge is a clickable badge image that represents an accomplished skill or knowledge and includes a variety of metadata such as learning requirements, instructional materials, endorsement information, issue data and institution, which allows the badges to be created, acquired and shared in an online space. In higher education, digital badges have the potential for assisting students by promoting strategic management of the learning process, encouraging persistence and devoted behavior to learning tasks, and improving learning performance. A qualitative multiple case study design (n = 4) was used to answer the research question: how did the undergraduate student participants in this study use digital badges to facilitate their goal-setting process throughout a 16-week hybrid course? Results from this study contribute to understanding how to effectively integrate digital badges to meaningfully improve self-regulated learning in higher education.
Learning management systems (LMS) offer quiz tools that help students prepare for examinations. The purpose of this study is to investigate quiz tracking variables typically reported by LMS in relation to student achievement, motivation and learning strategies. The data from 143 undergraduate students comprised quiz tracking variables (number of attempts, completion time, and score), exam scores and responses to the Need for Cognition Scale (NfC), and selected components from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire and the Achievement Goal Questionnaire. We hypothesized students retrieving information from memory while taking a quiz would complete the quiz in less time than students who searched for answers in the textbook, and consequently, quiz completion time would correlate with exam performance and key motivational and self-regulatory factors. We found quiz completion time correlated positively with performance-avoidance goal orientation. It correlated negatively with exam performance, NfC, self-efficacy, and effort regulation. The results indicated completion time of low stakes quizzes is associated with achievement-related motivations and reliably predicts achievement on summative exams. We attribute these links to the use of retrieval practice by students who successfully regulate their effort and learning strategies.
How lecturers neutralize resistance to the implementation of learning management systems in higher education
The aim of the study was to investigate neutralisation techniques used by lecturers to justify their resistance behaviours during the implementation of learning management systems (LMS) in higher educational institutions (HEIs). Moreover, we explored why lecturers employed such neutralisation techniques to justify their resistance behaviours. A number of studies identified resistance as a barrier to successful implementation of technology in HEIs. However, there is a dearth of literature on the choice of neutralisation techniques employed by lecturers to justify such resistance behaviours. Understanding the logic behind the choice of neutralisation techniques could ensure effective management strategies towards user resistance, which could further assist to improve technology uptake in HEIs. The study draws from Bourdieu’s theory of practice (ToP) as a lens to investigate the logic behind the use of certain neutralisation techniques to justify user resistance. The research used cross-sectional data from semi-structured interviews and participant observations of a single in-depth case setting. The most common neutralisation technique used by lecturers was condemn the condemners followed by denial of responsibility, denial of injury, and appeal to higher loyalties. Findings suggest that the habitus and capital of lecturers significantly influence the choice of techniques to justify resistance. Lecturers tended to neutralise before they resisted, such that they prepared themselves to justify any deviance well in advance in case they got caught. Integration of ToP and Neutralisation theory enriches theorisation of user resistance, enabling development of mechanisms that could effectively manage lecturer resistance behaviours to improve uptake of LMS in HEIs.
This study analyzes the relationship between the entry path to a degree and the prior statistical competence of students taking a Statistics and Probability course at an online university. We assessed students’ prior knowledge by administering a pretest of the information covered in the course analyzed. The sample includes 108 students from different schools of an online university. According to the statistical analysis, students have certain difficulty understanding some concepts related to Probability and Descriptive Statistics, and the entry path affects the students’ understanding of these concepts.
The virtual interactive consulting agent system is an online virtual career center that supports freshman students in transition to higher education. This virtual counseling system, based on accumulative empirical knowledge for working students and knowledge about effective career intervention, aims to guide first-year university students in combining study and work effectively. Three main aspects of career interventions are supplied by this virtual interactive consulting agent system: personal assessment, information, and personal encouragement and relatedness. The virtual interactive consulting agent is based on the SimCoach system. The current research includes two studies that examine acceptability and satisfaction from two perspectives: that of the counselors (the experts) and of the consultees (the target consumers). Both studies included 87 participants divided into two research groups: 45 counselors and 42 counseled freshman students. The data were collected through four data collection tools: acceptability and satisfaction questionnaire, an open-ended question, Google Docs, and screen recording applications. The participants’ answers were analyzed using quantitative software. The results show that the majority of the counselors were satisfied with the usability of the system but not with the process of counseling through the virtual agent, with some expressing concern about the impact on the profession. In contrast, most of the consultees were satisfied with the counseling process and some stated that the virtual agent helped them to determine how to integrate work and study more effectively.
In this full review paper, the recent emerging trends in E-learning Assessment have been reviewed and explored to address the recent topics and contributions in the era of Distance Education. This includes a set of rigorously reviewed world-class manuscripts addressing and detailing state-of-the-art, frameworks and techniques research projects in the area of E-learning Assessment, using different approaches such as Blockchain, Gamification, Process Mining, among others. Based on this systematic review, we have put some recommendations and suggestions for researchers, practitioners and scholars to improve their research quality in this area.
What do participants think of today’s MOOCs: an updated look at the benefits and challenges of MOOCs designed for working professionals
Literature on MOOCs has shown that understanding learners’ perspectives in taking MOOCs is critical if a MOOC needs to be successful. Now that MOOCs have been in wide use, in this study we took an updated look at learners’ perspective of taking MOOCs designed for working professionals and course aspects that these MOOC participants found beneficial. General interest in the topic, personal growth and enrichment, relevance to job, and career change were the top reasons for working professionals to enroll in MOOCs. First-time MOOC takers were more likely to seek a certificate, while MOOC veterans may complete most assignments but did not seek for a certificate. Quality materials from a reputable provider remains an important reason for working professionals to enroll in a MOOC. Offering meaningful ways for MOOC participants to interact with instructors and with each other calls for innovative designs than the current discussion forums in a learning management system can offer. This remains to be a big challenge for MOOC designers.
Student-to-student connectedness is promoted by active, student-centered learning processes. It is a socio-psychological result of interpersonal communication and behavior in the classroom, which emulates belonging, cohesiveness, and supportiveness among peers. Currently, two survey instruments exist—Dwyer et al.’s (Commun Res Rep 21(3):264–272, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824090409359988) Connected Classroom Climate Inventory and Johnson’s (Commun Res Rep 26(2):146–157, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824090902861622) amendment thereof, which have been used for nearly two decades to gain insight into instructional processes in face-to-face environments. However, research on student-to-student connectedness is relatively limited in the context of modern, technology-mediated learning environments. Arguably, where student-to-student connectedness is most urgently needed because of the decrease in face-to-face contact time between students and their instructors within online and hybrid learning environments. This study is a systematic literature review that presents a synthesis of twenty-four peer-reviewed journal articles, which empirically investigate student-to-student connectedness within face-to-face, hybrid, and online environments. The documentation of data is organized in accordance to the six aspects of activity theory (subjects, objects, mediating artifacts, rules, community, division of labor) to provide a basis for understanding the dynamics of each research report, as well as to assist identifying the trends and gaps in the literature, thereby expediting future research on this topic.
In educational psychology, the theories of interest and self-determination have been well studied to find the relationships between learning attitudes and learning outcomes. However, the instructional design and the learning behaviors are the two missing elements which have not been fully investigated in the learning process. Therefore, we conducted two studies longitudinally with 2 years data from a 13-week engineering course at the City University of Hong Kong in a blended learning environment to verify the criticalness of these elements in these studies. With engagement records being collected from the learning management system in the second year, we further correlated the relationship from situational interest to engaged learning and finally the academic performance. Our findings make theoretical contributions by combining these two theories and link the model with behavior and achievement of students. It also demonstrates the importance of these theories on the instructional design.
Evaluation of mobile learning for the clinical practicum in nursing education: application of the FRAME model
This paper presents an evaluation of mobile learning practice for the clinical practicum in nursing education. Nursing students need to practise nursing skills and follow specific clinical procedures in wards. In this study, they were provided with a mobile device for learning purposes, with mobile apps preinstalled for watching nursing videos and conducting clinical assessments. The evaluation was conducted following the Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME). It included a questionnaire survey involving 265 nursing students and focus group interviews with 20 nursing students, the course coordinator of the clinical practicum and the instructional designer of the mobile apps. The participants shared their views, perceptions and experiences of mobile learning for studying nursing skills and conducting clinical assessment in the practicum context. The results showed the participants’ overall satisfaction with the mobile learning practice. They gave positive feedback on the use of the mobile apps in terms of enabling ubiquitous access to materials for situated learning in wards, and offering effective support for teachers to keep track of students’ learning progress. They also suggested areas for improvements, which emphasised the hardware capacity of devices, training on the use of apps and institutional support for the maintenance of devices. The results of factor analysis showed a composition of underlying factors different from that of the original FRAME model, which suggests contextual variation in the application of the model.
The application of online authentic language data has played an increasingly important role in language teaching. These include freely available online corpora such as the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English. However, students are easily overwhelmed by the enormous amount of incomplete sentences (concordance lines) contained therein and therefore may fail to consult keywords and expressions as a resource tool. As an alternative resource a new web-based platform for English language learning, called Sketch Engine for Language Learning (SkELL), has been developed. Unlike the aforementioned corpora, SkELL generates sufficient amount of complete sentences which help students learn multiple examples of lexical and grammatical items in context. However, little research has been conducted as to how Japanese students with lower English proficiency assess the efficacy of SkELL. This study aims to examine the potential and limitation of SkELL in the language classroom for Japanese students who have almost no online experience in educational settings. The findings indicate that there is a close relationship between students’ view of the utilisation and efficacy of the resource and their attitudes toward English education. The study concludes with a discussion of pedagogical implications of the use of SkELL as a valuable educational tool for students who are accustomed to traditional English language learning.
It is widely acknowledged that the acquisition of vocabulary is the foundation of learning English. With the rapid development of information technologies in recent years, e-learning systems have been widely adopted for English as a Second Language (ESL) Learning. However, a limitation of conventional word learning systems is that the prior vocabulary knowledge of learners is not well captured. Understanding the prior knowledge of learners plays a key role in providing personalized learning, which many studies suggest is a successful learning paradigm for vocabulary acquisition, one that aims to optimize instructional approaches and paces by catering to individual learning needs. A powerful learner profile model which can represent learner’s prior knowledge is therefore important for word learning systems to better facilitate personalized learning. In this article, we investigated various methods to establish learner profiles and attempted to determine the optimal method. To verify the effectiveness of personalized word learning supported by the proposed model, ESL students from several universities participated in this study. The empirical results showed that the proposed learner profile model can better facilitate vocabulary acquisition compared with other baseline methods.
Flipped Classroom (FC) is a blended learning approach being promoted in higher education in recent years. It flips the conventional pedagogic arrangement so that students use the out-of-class time to conduct lower-order learning and the in-class time to conduct higher-order learning. Nevertheless, unlike the adoption phenomena in other academic disciplines such as Science, Engineering, Medicine and Education in university teaching, the adoption of FC in Social Science has been rare. This paper reports on a quantitative study (n = 152) in which the Stages of Concern model was employed to probe into the concerns of Social Science faculty members (SSFMs) about introducing FC into their teaching practice. The study reveals that the participants were having strong categorical concerns of “Information” and “Management.” The findings shed light on designing more precise interventions for addressing SSFMs’ actual needs when flipping their classrooms, providing a useful reference for researchers and practitioners who are pursuing work on promoting FC in higher education.
Blended approach to learning and practising English grammar with technical and foreign language university students: comparative study
Blended design of teaching/learning foreign languages, in this case English grammar, has become widely spread within the higher education. The main objective of the article is to discover whether blended approach enhances the process of acquiring new knowledge in the field. The research was conducted at two institutions: faculty of informatics and management, University of Hradec Kralove (technical students) and faculty of education, University of Jan Evangelista Purkyne, Usti nad Labem (foreign language students), Czech Republic. Totally, the research sample included 123 bachelor students. Data were collected in three phases: (1) face-to-face pre-testing to monitor entrance knowledge before the process of blended learning starts, (2) post-testing 1 applied after the blended learning approach and (3) final face-to-face post-testing 2 administered at the end of semester. Phase 1 was followed by autonomous learning from the online course; teacher´s feedback was provided to the students after phase 2 so that they could correct their mistakes, and improve the knowledge in phase 3. Eight hypotheses were tested to discover whether there exist statistically significant differences in test scores between the technical and foreign language students. The results differ according to the students´ level of English knowledge. However, they entitle the described blended learning approach to be applied for acquiring English grammar for B2 and C1 levels of CEFR.
Exploring the difficulty on students’ preparation and the effective instruction in the flipped classroom
This study aims to find out how students prepared for a flipped classroom and to examine what type of instruction could effectively guide students to do pre-class preparation. We conducted case studies for over two years in a physiology class at a Japanese university. In a survey performed in 2017, students were asked to participate in a questionnaire and an interview. Their responses in the questionnaire indicated that there was a clear and positive correlation between their class preparation time and individual grades, while class preparation of some students was proven not so productive or efficient. By the same token, the student interview made clear that students were not well informed of what to focus on or how to prepare appropriately for the flipped classes. Based on the 2017 findings, we started to share learning objectives with students for their pre-class preparation in the 2018 course. Amid and after the 2018 spring semester, questionnaires were administered to examine the effectiveness of instructions for preparation, and of sharing learning objectives to measure the level of students’ metacognition. As a result, the students who continuously review the learning objectives achieved significantly higher grades than the students who did not. We also found that the level of students’ metacognition exerted a stronger influence on their grades than the amount of effort invested in reviewing the learning objectives for pre-class preparation. In conclusion, our study suggests that instructors should design a comprehensive flipped class model which maximizes the benefit of pre-class preparation time by envisioning that students’ preparation would be more sustainable and effective with proper guidance.
The use of an extended flipped classroom model in improving students’ learning in an undergraduate course
One of the biggest barriers preventing teachers from utilizing the flipped classroom approach in their teaching practices is the lack of a general and practical framework for guiding the design and implementation of flipped classrooms. This leads to the fact that the effectiveness of the flipped classroom approach is unconfirmed. Building on research findings from the field of learning and instruction, this study proposed a step-by-step general model named the “O-PIRTAS” (Objective, Preparation, Instructional video, Review, Test, Activity, Summary) flipped classroom model and examined its effectiveness in promoting student learning in an undergraduate psychology course. Two classes of 101 first-year undergraduates were taught by the flipped classroom model or the traditional lecture-based approach for 16 weeks. The results supported the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model; the flipped model not only improved the students’ perceptions of the teaching quality and peer interaction engagement but also promoted their generic skills development and examination performance. Instructional implications for implementing flipped instruction are provided, and directions for future research are discussed.
The paper proposes an interactive student response portfolio (ISREP) system with iBeacon and web-socket technology, which supports flipped-classroom learning activities in traditional classrooms. The design of the ISREP system aims at promote interactions in classroom learning (CL). It offers APPs and web-interface functions for students and teachers, respectively. Students’ APP can scan iBeacon devices in classrooms and then automatically upload their identification information to the cloud space. Consequently, students’ presence in classroom can be recorded automatically. Moreover, teachers employ another function the system provides to promote high interaction in classroom via displaying questions on the front screen in classroom. Meanwhile, it simultaneously pushes (multicasts) these questions to students’ smartphones via web-socket technology. Subsequently, students send their responses for questions to the cloud space by the APP. During answering questions, the system presents temporary histograms of students’ responses and counting-down statuses of a timer on the screen in classroom. A timer can be synchronized with students’ APP by the web-socket technology. This way can promote students’ interaction and interest and then students enjoy in quiz-like activities. Teachers can quickly get results of students’ responses. A quasi-experiment was conducted in flipped-CL activities of a university class utilizing the system. Observing experimental results, it was found that students, who receive the instruction with the system, improved their interaction, learning interest, learning attitude, and learning satisfaction. Moreover, the proposed system helps teachers quickly obtain students’ learning situation in classroom and then may adjust their instructional approaches or contents.
Journal of Educational Computing Research
Primary Grade Children’s Capacity to Understand Microevolution: The Power of Leveraging Their Fruitful Intuitions and Engagement in Scientific Practices
Examining Spontaneous Perspective Taking and Fluid Self-to-Data Relationships in Informal Open-Ended Data Exploration
Learning, Media and Technology
Supporting children’s outdoor science learning with mobile computers: integrating learning on-the-move strategies with context-sensitive computing
Refugees and online education: student perspectives on need and support in the context of (online) higher education
From digital native to digital apprentice. A case study of the transmedia skills and informal learning strategies of adolescents in Spain
Digital neocolonialism and massive open online courses (MOOCs): colonial pasts and neoliberal futures
Young black women curate visual arts e-portfolios: negotiating digital disciplined identities, infrastructural inequality and public visibility
Technology, Pedagogy and Education
The impact of computer-mediated contexts on interaction pattern of ESL learners in collaborative writing
Internet of toys across home and early childhood education: understanding the ecology of the child’s social world
Engaging with Bourdieu’s theory of practice: an empirical tool for exploring school students’ technology practice
Breaking out, finding and using information: theorising learner identities in assemblages of teaching and learning with technology
The influence of paired grouping on teacher candidates’ attitude towards technology use and integration
Evaluation of an e-Learning platform for educators to improve education around infection prevention and antibiotics