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