Rapid Implementation of E-Learning using a Technology Design Model

Rapid Implementation of E-Learning using a Technology Design Model

S. Johan Coetzee (University of the Free State, South Africa) and Alistair Smart (University of the Free State, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-198-6.ch014
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Abstract

From this case study a process was developed that the instructional designer can easily upscale or downscale for use during consultations with lectures who want to use the LMS: depending on the time available, intended outcomes and students involved.
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Introduction

In this chapter the authors discuss the process they had used to place an existing face-to-face delivered learning module into a blended mode of delivery. The technology design process was useful when aiming on expanding the uptake of e-learning in a blended model of teaching, as a total redesign of the learning module from scratch is not required. The opportunity to test a new model of expanding e-learning uptake by lecturers arose, when the university piloted implementation of a new Learning Management System (LMS). Having changed LMS’s twice before, academic staff using the previous LMS were reluctant to move to yet another LMS. The look and feel of the new LMS was different and migration between the two LMS’s required redesign and rebuild, as migration of content was not possible. The previous LMS had a penetration just over 10 percent of all modules registered at the university, but usage was limited and sporadic in most modules.

The contribution of the chapter lies therein that it demonstrates how existing modules could be adapted to blended learning, without following a laborious time consuming redesign, using a process such as ADDIE. The focus is on gradually incorporating elements of blended leaning into existing modules, to ensure a change in student learning behavior and improving technological skills of students. Staff in the Faculty of Education had a high teaching load and with the appointment of a new dean, further restructuring of faculty programs, departments and staff were expected. Lecturing staff were therefore unsure what the future would hold and not too eager to totally redesign their modules just for the implementation of the new LMS.

Despite barriers created against the adaptation of e-learning in the Faculty of Education, the aim was to use a combination of strategies to implement LMS usage in such a way that the lecturers take ownership of the process. The focus in the article is primarily on how the technological design process was used, but this formed part of a larger context of strategies:

  • A departmental approach in the each of the five departments in the Education Faculty

  • Management support for e-learning

  • Infrastructure development on campus allowed for LMS usage in many class rooms

  • A campus-wide awareness campaign of the new LMS

  • LMS skills training for academic staff

  • Design teams implementation from E-learning division

All these efforts may seem to create the ideal background for the implementation of e-learning, but there was a big difference between formulation of policy, giving verbal support and delivering service at grass root level. Changing the perceptions of academics during the larger process was slow and cumbersome at first. Experiences with previous LMS’s demoralized some early adopters of e-learning on campus, thus creating a perception barrier to the new LMS.

Design team was set up consisting of an Instructional Designer (ID), Teaching and Learning Manager (T&LM) and the lecturer (as subject specialist), but due to workload and different roles of T&LM in each faculty, the design team was never larger than the ID and lecturer. Lecturers were on the one hand hesitant to share their unit content with the ID, but also reluctant to the new approach that required them to take responsibility for developing their own e-learning modules.

These concerns were in-line with common barriers relating to the individual lecturers identified by researchers: time, workload, lack of recognition, attitude, technical assistance and competence (Ballantyne & Hughes, 2004; Berge, 1998). Educator attitude has become the most identified barrier (Panda & Mishra, 2007, p. 327), which may be a culmination of years of change in education resulting in work overload.Van der Linde (2009) indicated that both users and non-users of an LMS experienced barriers to LMS usage. For the existing LMS user, the barriers may be lack of additional skills or support to use the LMS more effectively, while for the non-LMS-user it may be a total lack of knowledge regarding e-learning on which perceptions are based.

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