A longitudinal study of students in the Training and Development program at Curtin University of Technology has been undertaken in an attempt to develop a framework which describes the dimensions of pedagogical effectiveness in online teaching and learning. The research began in 2004 and data has been collected from the sample group of students in the program from 2004 through to 2007. As a result of analysis and review of the findings, the Online Pedagogical Effectiveness Framework (OPEF) emerged incrementally. The new framework challenges the traditional importance placed on the centrality of teaching skills and the need for student interaction in online teaching and learning, which according to this study, diminished over time. This has ramifications for the interchangeability of the roles of teacher, learner, instructional designer peers and colleagues.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Pedagogical Characteristics: The importance of interactivity in the learning process, the changing role of the teacher from sage to guide, the need for knowledge management skills and for team working abilities, and the move towards resource-based rather than packaged learning.
Adult Learners: Adult learners are people who bring a great deal of experience to the learning environment. They expect to have a high degree of influence on what they are to be educated for, and how they are to be educated. They are active learners and participants who need to be able to see the application of new learning. Adult learners expect to have a high degree of influence on how their learning is evaluated and they expect responses to be acted upon when requesting feedback.
Effective Pedagogical Dimensions: ‘Pedagogy’ covers the function, work, or art of a teacher or trainer. It includes the process of teaching and instruction. It is useful to think of pedagogy as being reflected in the arrangements made to enable someone to learn something for a specific purpose. These arrangements are influenced by- the general orientation of the teacher or trainer, the kind of knowledge to be developed, the nature of the learner, the purpose the learning is to serve.” (Brennan, 2003) Effective pedagogical dimensions are those assessable characteristics or dimensions of pedagogy which illustrate effective learning outcomes
Online Learning: The use of the Internet to access learning materials, to interact with the content, instructor, and other learners, and to obtain support during the learning process, in order to acquire knowledge, to construct personal meaning, and to grow from the learning experience. (Ally, 2004)
Learn ing Management System: A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, a learning management system provides an instructor with a way to create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. A learning management system may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums. (Schlack, 2007)
Training and Development Program: The program is delivered ay tertiary level and comprises undergraduate and graduate components. Students are able to enrol into either, the Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Certificate and/or Graduate Diploma in Training and Development. The BA consists of twenty four units of study, eight of which are awarded in recognition of prior learning. The Graduate Certificate and the Graduate Diploma consist of four and eight units of study respectively. The program is delivered in a fully online mode and the course content emphasises the development of professional knowledge and skills through the practical application of theory to teaching and instruction. The program attracts educators from the broader community who are engaged in working with adult learners and these students come from technical education, industry and business as well as the government sector.
Unit of Study: A unit of study at Curtin University of Technology is usually considered as a twelve week program over the duration of a semester. Students are expected to contribute at least four hours a week to reading and research per unit in order to successfully complete the requirements of each unit.