Browsing Faculty of Social Sciences by Subjects
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Management of e-learners: some implications for practitionersInformation technologies have played a leading role in supporting many recent changes in teaching and learning approaches in Higher Education. Contemporary innovation finds information technology (IT) at the heart of Higher Education transformation. The opportunities afforded by these learning technologies are well documented in popular academic literature. They point to new applications of the latest communication technologies. However, they also bring with them a host of new questions and challenges. The management of e-learners is likely to be part of a more far-reaching organisational change. Where learning technologies are introduced, a layer of technical complexity is added. The redesign of business processes and structures is far from simple ‘technical’ matter. It involves significant social redesign. The extent to which enabling technology has driven the shift towards learner-centred learning in all educational contexts is a matter of debate. As the century turns, establishing the acceptance, let alone the effectiveness and quality of technology-mediated learning, is still seriously problematic (Salmon, 1999). However, the suitability of information and communication technology (ICT) as a means of encouraging self-directed learning is not in doubt, nor that the role of the tutor is changing to ‘guide on the side’: a facilitator not transmitter, of information (Marchmont, 2000). This paper reports findings of a single case study at Wolverhampton Business School. Qualitative data was collected through structured and unstructured interviews with learners and tutors on Business Administration Award. A total of 20 learners and 5 tutors form the basis of the findings.
The effectiveness of innovative modes of deliveryThe School of Legal Studies has, since the mid 1990’s, been using a variety of different and innovative teaching and learning strategies in a number of areas in its portfolio. Of particular interest so far as this project was concerned is the range of modules in the undergraduate and postgraduate provision that have been supported by the use of CD ROMs, floppy disks and the internet. In line with the School’s long-term plan to turn over the LLB by Distance Learning degree to electronic delivery, and the shorter term aim to encourage the wider use of such delivery in campus-based modules, the authors wished to discover whether the innovations in teaching and learning mentioned above, especially in relation to electronic delivery, are being effective. The object of the research was to investigate the ways in which students learn and whether electronic delivery improves a student’s performance as compared to more traditional teaching and learning approaches. The authors also wished to ask questions about whether electronic delivery favours particular learning styles or whether students adapt their learning styles to the mode of delivery, and hoped to learn more about the extent to which students adopt ‘strategic’ approaches to their learning. It was also hoped to discover whether electronic delivery assists in developing ‘deep’ rather than ‘surface’ learning. The outcomes of this investigation will inform decisions about future innovations in the development of technologically supported teaching and learning materials. It will also inform decisions relating to the Teaching and Learning Strategy of the School.