Activity-based CAL design: A theoretically-based design method for CAL materials

Masters, Michelle Montgomery (2005) Activity-based CAL design: A theoretically-based design method for CAL materials. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There has been more than a decade of initiatives to help promote and develop technology in Higher Education. The UK Government has funded projects such as the Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI), and Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP), but technology in teaching and learning has still not had the impact promised for Higher Education (Geoghegan 1994). However, Sir Ron Dearing's National Committee of Enquiry into Higher Education (1997) reiterated the commitment to technology in future teaching and learning. At the end of Phase 2 of the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme in 1996, Coopers & Lybrand; the University of London's Institute of Education; and the Tavistock Institute were jointly commissioned to carry out an evaluation of the programme so far. The report was, overall, quite critical of the results of the TLTP. The report recommended that for future development of 'courseware' there be "expertise in design, pedagogy, evaluation and management" - expertise that was not universally found in the projects evaluated. The report also found few "projects which had taken account of pedagogic issues in any systematic way." The report went as far as to say that previous research about the use of technology in Higher Education had simply been ignored. This dissertation presents research addressing these recommendations, with the intent of enhancing future Higher Education Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) materials. This dissertation proposes that one reason for the poor quality of CAL materials, and hence their poor uptake in Higher Education, is the lack of suitable design methods to inform and guide educational software developers. Structured methods for instructional materials do exist - commonly known as Instructional Systems Design (ISD) - however, this dissertation argues that the model of the teaching and learning process implied by ISD is in conflict with current thinking in Higher Education. This dissertation claims that: 1. A new design method based on a more appropriate model of the teaching and learning process can be created. 2. The new design method enhances the CAL design process by focussing designers on pedagogic issues. 3. Scenarios can be used to assist the development of a new design method. In order to understand the requirements for a new design method, design as a general discipline must first be considered. The rationale and benefits of a formal method for design are also considered. Several models of the educational process are discussed in order to find a model suitable for Higher Education. It is proposed that Laurillard's Conversational Framework (1993) is both a suitable model for Higher Education, and a suitable basis for a new design method. Reviews of existing Higher Education CAL materials, evaluated against the Conversational Framework, are presented to support the choice of educational model. Techniques from interactive systems design, commonly used for developing product designs, are described and shown to also be useful in the creation of design methods. The design method produced, called the Activity-Based CAL method or ABC method, is a major outcome of the research recorded here. Following a series of refinements the completed design method was evaluated. Two experiments were conducted: the first experiment presented is a comparative observational study of developers given a design task to perform. One group of developers used the new method, the other used any means they felt appropriate. The second experiment was a comparative study of the new method against an existing method based on a different educational model. Again two groups of 10 subjects were used, this time the subjects were research students and research staff of a computing science department. Protocol Analysis was used on the resulting data collected from both experiments. Results of the analysis demonstrate that use of the new design method caused developers to discuss more high-level pedagogic issues rather than low-level interface and presentational issues - i.e. forcing them to consider pedagogy, which the Cooper Lybrand report (1996) indicated was necessary for future CAL developments. The dissertation concludes that: 1. A new design method - The ABC method - can be created based on a suitable model of the teaching and learning process for Higher Education - Laurillard's Conversational Framework. 2. The ABC method enhances the CAL design process, by focussing designers on pedagogic design issues. 3. Scenarios can be used to assist the development of a new design method. A discussion of the comments given by subjects in the evaluation questionnaire follows, which leads to a discussion of the how the ABC method could be further developed.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Tom Carey
Keywords: Educational technology
Date of Award: 2005
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2005-74186
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33

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