Sunday, 13 April 2008

Article summary

Learner Experiences of e-Learning: JISC

My article isn't really an article but an evaluation report description. JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) is a UK organisation with a mission to "provide world-class leadership in the innovative use of ICT to support education and research". (Supporting Eduaction and Research, para 1). E-learning is one of their eight strategic themes.

"JISC funds a range of programmes, services and activities that promote and support the use of e-learning. The majority of this work is funded under the e-Learning programme, which aims to identify how e-learning can benefit learners, practitioners and educational institutions, and advise on its implementation." (E-Learning, para 2)
The evaluation project (or research study) was completed in 2006 and looked at collecting "learner stories on their experiences with e-learning" (Learner Experiences of e-Learning, para 1, under Aims and Objectives heading) in the belief that this kind of perspective was generally ignored in research into e-learning pedagogy. (As stated by Sharpe et al., 2005).

Research questions centred on learner perceptions and strategies related to e-learning. This links to my small project as I try to discover students views on their blended learning classrooms.

Tools used by JISC in this study were as follows:
  • learners keeping 'audit logs' of their experiences
  • observations of learners using elearning in subject specific contexts
  • surveys
  • in-depth case studies of specific students and their activities (sampled from subject areas) to create learner diaries
  • audio logs and thinking-aloud observations
  • learner interviews (focussing on outcomes of other methods used)
  • focus groups (as a "triangulation method to transcend from the data gathered from individual learners and validate and reflect on these results in a larger group" (Learner Experiences of e-Learning, para 6, under Project Methodology heading))
The mix of various methods for data collection and use of triangulation suggest a eclectic-mixed methods-pragmatic paradigm. The project feels like a responsive evaluation as each method of data collection is used to inform the next. The nature of the project suggests a formative evaluation method - gathering data about what student's are thinking of their e-learning so far.

My project, on a much smaller scale (!) is going to take a similar approach, concentrating on finding out what the learners actually feel about their use of ICT in their lessons and whether they are of benefit.

  1. E-Learning. JISC. Retrieved on 10 April 2008 from
  2. Learner Experiences of eLearning. JISC. Retrieved on 10 April 2008 from
  3. Supporting Education and Research. JISC. Retrieved on 10 April 2008 from


Gordon said...

Yvonne, I found this article, which may be of interest.: It contains some strategy and a few ideas for questions and general areas to probe.

The interesting bit that comes out is that although the students were genrally positively inclined towards the role of ICT in their learning, they are unwilling to sever the umbilical with f2f. This was conducted at the University of Westminster.

Yvonne said...

Hi Gordon

Thanks for the link - it's an interesting read.

I wonder if students in secondary schools will have similar feelings?