Pedagogical Evaluation of E-Learning Websites with Cognitive Objectives

Pedagogical Evaluation of E-Learning Websites with Cognitive Objectives

Georgia Kyriakaki (Technical University of Crete, Greece) and Nikolaos Matsatsinis (Technical University of Crete, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5129-6.ch013
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Abstract

E-learning has known a large expansion in the past decades due to the advent of the Internet as a major communication medium and the WWW as a technology that provides enormous capabilities for information exchange anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Few studies exist on the evaluation of e-learning Websites in terms of their pedagogical quality that is on their success in helping learners learn through specific pedagogical principles. Pedagogical evaluation, however, is very important in e-learning as it can improve the quality of the system greatly and help the decision maker choose the most appropriate among different systems or designs. This chapter proposes a multi-criteria evaluation model for e-learning Websites based on well-known pedagogical principles, namely Bloom’s taxonomy of six cognitive objectives, Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.
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Introduction

E-learning has known a large expansion in the past decades due to the advent of the Internet as a major communication medium and the WWW as a technology that provides enormous capabilities for information exchange anytime, anywhere, anyhow. E-learning is by its nature an interdisciplinary field as it combines domain knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and applied technological knowledge in a single environment that aims to cover specific needs of multiple user groups. Education providers employ e-learning systems in order to address problems such as the lack of educational resources: teachers, funds, space and other material resources. Teachers adopt e-learning in order to assist classroom-based learning and promote the active and personalized involvement of learners in the learning process.

However, e-learning systems are not a panacea and the decision for their adoption is very important especially in formal education. The decision for the choice of appropriate e-learning settings, systems, tools and processes is complicated and involves criteria from multiple perspectives: the teacher’s perspective, the learner’s perspective and the organization’s perspective. The primary criterion is certainly the ability of an e-learning system to improve the learners’ knowledge and skills but that is a complicated question to be answered as well. It depends on a multitude of factors such as the quality of the system’s scientific, pedagogical and technical characteristics.

Web-based learning environments are the most popular e-learning systems nowadays as they are easily delivered to end-users and furthermore provide communication mechanisms among instructors and learners. Many research studies exist on the evaluation of web-based learning systems with the attention drawn primarily by the usability characteristics and usability performance of the system and secondly by the appropriateness of the web-based learning environment for meeting specific business-oriented criteria such as requirements, cost, quality assurance mechanism, etc. Very few studies exist on the evaluation of e-learning web sites in terms of their pedagogical quality that is, on their success in helping learners learn through specific pedagogical principles. Pedagogical evaluation however is very important in e-learning as it can improve the quality of the system greatly in terms of learner performance and satisfaction as well as in terms of instructor satisfaction.

This work proposes a multi-criteria evaluation model of e-learning web sites based on well-known pedagogical principles, namely Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom 1971) of cognitive objectives, Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. The goal of the model is to serve as a preference model for a decision maker who can be an educator, an educational organization or a learner wishing to employ an appropriate web-based learning environment to meet his needs. The decision maker’s attitudes towards the pedagogical characteristics of the system are related to a specific set of web-based learning services and criteria that can enhance the decision process.

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