Developing e-learning courses for work-based learning Claire Bradley Learning Technology Research Institute, University of North London Martin Oliver Higher.

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  • Developing e-learning courses for work-based learningClaire BradleyLearning Technology Research Institute, University of North London Martin Oliver Higher Education Research and Development Unit, University College London

  • The aims of the projectMasters-level modules in supply chain management for employees in SMEs (who have small training budget and limited release time; must be vocationally relevant)Use multimedia, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the Internet in the course (e-learning)Develop and implement an award scheme; deliver the programmes to learners in the UK and EuropePart of a broader project to create a virtual university; large partnership created to achieve this

  • Educational contexteconomic and social change - needs of the new or knowledge economy - impact of ICTincreasing policy emphasis on lifelong learning and flexible learning (distance education, modular learning, e-learning)changes in higher education - new characteristics (Collis and Moonen, 2001)being wired, new models for flexible delivery, new collaborations and competitionDevelopment can be seen within the context of:

  • The course development model

  • The process of drafting learning materialsAuthors produce an outline of each unit, using a pre-designed templateAuthors submit draft unit for review and approvalDraft reviewed by pedagogic and academic reviewersUnit approved or not approved with feedback and suggestions for improvementTechnical team take approved material and transform it for online delivery - produce graphics and animations, add interactivity and functionalityRegular team and cross-team meetings held and materials exchanged via email

  • Materials for work-based learningActivities and assessments should draw on work-based experience, and enable work-based applicationStructure should enable short periods of learning, to enable learning to take place as required (J-I-T); but should also allow coherent pathwaysMaterials should be capable of delivery over the Internet - utilise but not driven by technologyMainly independent study, but opportunities for communication and shared experiences encouragedSuitable support for learners is vital for success

  • Evolution of pedagogic models1Flexible learning (combining elements of flexible, computer-based and work-based learning)2Socio-constructivism (based on Laurillards conversational framework)3Experiential learning (based on Kolbs learning cycle)4A pragmatic synthesis - combined some elements of each of the previous 3 modelsA series of pedagogic models were developed and subsequently rejected as development progressed

  • Courses were masters-level and modular - 100 learning hours per moduleOnline peer group discussions and exchanges built-inAssessment combined self-assessment activities with computer-generated feedback or model answers, tutor-marked assessments, with credits for completed modulesLearner support structure combined an online tutor, an in-company mentor, regional centre facilitator Delivery system gave structure to learning, but permitted flexible pathwaysThe resulting framework

  • Specifying the pedagogic frameworkAuthors, support network (tutors, in-company mentors, regional facilitators), learners, regional delivery centresExample guidelines for authors:Context, pedagogic framework, learner support systems, how to prepare units, use multimedia, incorporate peer group discussion, design activities/assessment, etc.Templates for specifying aims, objectives, methods etc., plus description of submission processThe framework was translated into a series of guidelines covering the key areas:

  • Ensuring qualityAlso developed criteria for quality assessment (e.g. pedagogic and academic effectiveness)AuthorAcademic editingPedagogic reviewTechnical reviewPeer reviewTechnical implementation

  • Utilisation of Internet technologiesDevelopment of a bespoke delivery system:web interface, public information area, secure area for registered learnersdelivers learning materials, admin, communication, back-end database for content managementMaterials incorporate multimedia, e.g. video talking heads, flash-based animations of processes, etc. but balance between richness and users machine specsInteractive activities and assessments via submission to server-based applications (e.g. software models) providing immediate feedback to learners

  • Learning materials12 modules developed initiallyModule consists of 100 study hours - 10 units of 10 hours eachNotional study time includes:working through the learning contentcarrying out activities and assessmentsreading case studies and related reading materialsbuilding up a learning portfolioparticipating in online discussion groups Units were sub-divided into sections, ideally 4 - 6 per unit

  • Use of multimedia and ICTAudio and video resources were not fully developedAnimated graphicsActivities (client-server)Activities stored in learner portfolioThe materials make use of widely available web technologies to enhance and facilitate the learning process

  • Animated graphic (created in Flash)The flow of goods through the procurement, materials management and distribution stages

  • Activity - with text inputActivities incorporate text input or allow files to be uploaded to the system

    Responses are stored in the learners portfolio within the system

  • Activity responses stored in portfolio

  • Online discussion and collaborationImportant vehicle for learner debate, involvement and collaborationCommunication services were built into the delivery system - discussion groups and chat roomsA problem - we didnt expect cohorts of learners to begin modules or units at the same time Our solution design some structured learning experiences that would use the discussion group ensure that completion of these activities and assessments were not dependent on contributions from other learners

  • Supporting work-based learningLearner support framework was designed to support the needs of online work-based learners

    regional facilitators

    online tutors - in most cases performed by the author

    in-company mentors

  • Assessmentmarked and graded by the tutorpositioning of assessments throughout the modules was decided by author (but not all at the end)marking schemes provided by authorsaccreditation - from University of registration - the wider issues of credit transfer and central awarding of qualifications was outside the limits of the projectThe assessments are incorporated within the unit materials, and placed within the activity tab

  • Key learning pointsDevelopment and production process took far longer than anticipatedlarge number of teams and individual contributorsengaged in parallel strands of developmental activityIndustrialised development process was unfamiliar to authorsAuthors were inexperienced either didnt grasp opportunities of online medium or over-used themresulted in much re-drafting

  • ConclusionsThe approach was well suited to researching the problems of developing such courses, but not necessarily for producing themThe industrial approach was not possible until all involved had reached shared understandings; required educative pilot phaseDeveloping learning materials for any new course is a learning experience in itself, requiring iterative, evolutionary development this must be planned for

  • Contact detailsClaire BradleyLearning Technology Research Institute, University of North Martin Oliver Higher Education Research and Development Unit, University College

    This presentation outlines the development of online courses in supply chain management

    It is based on experiences from the Training for Innovation in Supply Chain Management project - TISCAM

    The project began in 1998 with ESF / ADAPT fundingCLAIRE NEXT AFTER THIS SLIDE

    The resulting course, key learning points arising from the project, conclusionsModule examples:

    on a range of specialist and generic subjects e.g. Logistics, E-Commerce and Managing ChangeThis is a screen shot from the completed system.Click 1Structure - materials are presented section by section- within each section components are separated and accessible through a series of tabsContent Related material Case studies ActivitiesCommunity - includes the communication facilitiesStudent services - contains the learners portfolio, a study guide and support materialsThis structure does 2 things- imposes a consistent structure and functionality across modules- supports flexible learning pathways through the materials- authors suggest a route through the content - learners can construct their own pathways through the materials in the sectionClick 2 - Other sections can be accessed via the Quick Jump areaClick 3 - Orientation barAudio and video resources were not fully developed within the learning materials- mainly because drafting and development process took longer than was planned and ate into the development schedule- they were not considered to be essential components for effective learning- could be developed and integrated into the learning materials easily at a later date

    This is a screen shot of an animation which illustrates the stages and flow within the logistics processThe start button activates the animation sequence and allows it to be replayedOne of the key design aims had been to provide computer mediated communication within the system and to integrate opportunities for communication within the learning materials

    This meant

    Regional facilitators - were based in the delivery centrestheir role was to provide advice at the registration stage and help the learner to complete the Training Needs Analysis and select modules to studyprovide administrative functions and support during the coursegive initial help to learners experiencing problems logging into the systemOnline tutorswere the subject specialists and responsible for assessmentwere usually the module authorscould be contacted via emailIn-company mentorsusually a more experienced work colleague, selected by learnerwould provide support on workplace practice and applicationact as a friendly guide and provide general feedback and supportThere was a lot of discussion about whether assessments should appear in standardised positions throughout the modules, e.g. in units 2, 6 and 10, or even in a unit dedicated to assessment

    The result was to give authors the freedom to place assessments where they were required, largely determined by the demands of the module subject

    The only stipulation was that they should be dispersed throughout the module rather than placed all at the end, so that the learners would have some feedback and sense of progression as they worked through a module


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