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FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
By: Dr. Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Börje Holmberg was born in 1924 in Malmö, Sweden. He studied English, German, Romance Languages and Education at the University of Lund, where he earned his doctorate in 1956. It was also at this time when he became educational director of Hermods in Sweden, then the largest distance teaching organization in Europe. In the 1955-75 period Hermods enrolled between 75,000 and 100,000 students each year. In 1966 Holmberg was appointed Director General of Hermods Foundation and resigned from this position, when the Swedish government took over Hermods in 1975.
RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
This article describes educational research methodologies being used in the investigation and evaluation of desktop virtual world environments (DVWEs) as used to teach a variety of subjects in higher education. Ellis’ research framework on innovations (2005) and Reeves and Hedberg’s research goals (2003) were used as lenses to examine the state of educational research methods within DVWEs. An extensive search that resulted in 127 peer-reviewed papers chosen, was carried out to locate journal articles in the fields of educational technology, computer science and information systems, virtual reality/virtual worlds/gaming, science and health education, human-computer interaction, media and communications, psychology, social science, cognitive science, and library science. Results showed that while small scale research is common, research with broader goals (i.e. program evaluation, developmental research) is lacking.
Implications include the need for signature developmental researchers to make their virtual world applications open source, and for DVWE researchers to explore collaborative research opportunities with postmodern, education researchers in order to shed more light on important issues of equity, gender, politics, and culture that impact education.
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
This paper reports on a study aimed at investigating whether a video game can act as an advance organizer for teaching a military call for fire task in order to improve learning efficiency. Participants were 23 males and 45 females, randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Conditions were developed by a 2 x 2 matrix using video games with and without advance organizers to enhance decision-making skills. Participants completed two increasing levels of training that were followed by posttests in several areas. Results indicate that commercial, off-the-shelf video games do not appear to increase learning effectiveness. However, individuals who utilized an educationally relevant video game prior to learning reported more interest in continuing to learn. Unfortunately, they also reported investing higher cognitive load to acquire equal knowledge compared to the traditional outline advance organizer. These data support recent findings that suggest that ill-structured game-based learning environments can impede learning outcomes due to the extraneous cognitive load imposed by gaming elements.
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
This paper describes an ongoing language-learning project, three years into its development. We examine both the feasibility and the limitations of developing English reading and grammar skills through the interface of mobile phones. Throughout the project, reading and grammar materials were regularly sent to students’ mobile phones. Students read or took part in any aspect of the materials that appealed to them. Information gathered from participants and server logs indicate that reading and learning grammar using mobile devices is regarded as a positive language experience. However, the data also indicate that the success of any mobile learning project could be limited unless certain criteria are applied. This includes (a) providing engaging learning materials that are neither too long nor overly-demanding; (b) a proper degree of teacher monitoring; (c) student involvement; (d) the need for incentives; (e) a respect for privacy; and (f) a safe and secure mobile-learning technical environment.
Language Learning & Technology
Specialized educational programs previously unavailable to many students are now accessible to students spread throughout the world. In particular, this globalization presents new opportunities and challenges for universities educating professionals in the field of autism treatment. The aim of the present case study is to analyse the experiences of students who participated in an intercultural graduate level blended learning course in applied behaviour analysis with an autism focus. Students were enrolled in universities in four Nordic-Baltic countries. Country based focus group interviews and surveys were used to explore student’s experiences and perceptions. Results indicate that access to expertise and interacting with other cultures were noted to positively affect learning experience. Risk for cultural divide due to discrepancies in technology, differing pedagogical traditions, and understanding of English were also reported. Implications regarding the potential risks and benefits inherent in intercultural blended learning courses are discussed and suggestions are offered for enhancing the success of such courses.
European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning
Drawing upon cultural-historical activity theory, this research analyzed the structural contradictions existing in a variety of educational activities among a group of alienated adult students in Korea National Open University (KNOU). Despite KNOU’s quantitative development in student enrollment, the contradictions shed light on how the institution’s top-down, bureaucratic pedagogical system collided with individual expectations and needs. In particular, the participants’ critical viewpoints demonstrate the incompatible social roles that the open and distance higher education institution plays in Korean society. For example, while KNOU contributes to extending higher education opportunities for those who have unmet educational needs, the value of the KNOU degree has not been socially acknowledged since there is little, if any, competition in the entrance process. This study also documents how these contradictions were culturally and historically embedded in the participants’ distance higher education activities. Given the persistent contradictions, the research findings illuminate that KNOU’s efficiency-oriented model has not effectively facilitated the students’ learning as its distance higher education system is inevitably based on a compromise between a competitive, quality curriculum and the efficient extension of audiences.
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Post-secondary distance education gives students and their families living in remote and rural regions the option to stay in their communities while they study instead of moving closer to the universities in cities. Post-secondary distance education is an option in many rural and remote First Nation (Indigenous) communities in Canada; however there are many challenges to successful adoption in these communities. There are also many opportunities for post-secondary institutions to expand their abilities and capacity in developing and delivering appropriate content supporting these unique, self-governing environments in Canada. We explore the experiences of students from a rural First Nation in Canada with post-secondary distance education, focusing on how different delivery methods offer both opportunities and challenges for community-based students. The study is situated in the context of contemporary colonialism in Canada.
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
IN THE NEWS
“Train as you fight” is the mantra of the most effective training programs. This may be enabled by embedding training tools in the actual weapons, gear, systems and platforms warfighters will use in real combat.
Military Training Technology
SAN JOSE, Calif.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the integration of its digital publishing platform, Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), and Web experience management solution, Adobe Experience Manager, part of Adobe Marketing Cloud. This new integration, in combination with Adobe Analytics, enables publishers and brands to create, deliver and measure experiences across content-rich apps, like digital magazines, and the Web using one set of assets. As a result, organizations can accelerate application authoring, reduce publishing costs across channels, and deliver a consistent brand experience and content marketing strategy on the Web and mobile devices. With DPS customers using Adobe Creative Cloud to create stand-out apps, today’s announcement underlines the new connections the company is forging between its unrivaled content creation technologies and industry defining digital marketing solutions.
Desire2Learn, the EdTech company that created the world’s first Integrated Learning Platform, today announced the opening of D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação’s new regional headquarters in San Paulo. This office will expand the company’s operations in the Latin American region and further Desire2Learn’s mission to support lifelong learning in international markets.
Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
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