Using the Hybrid Interactive Rhetorical Engagement (H.I.R.E.) Metrics to Analyze the Effectiveness of E-Learning Websites

Using the Hybrid Interactive Rhetorical Engagement (H.I.R.E.) Metrics to Analyze the Effectiveness of E-Learning Websites

Yowei Kang (Kainan University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1650-7.ch015
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The rapid development of Web-based learning technologies has become a global phenomenon that affects higher education institutions. Both developing and developed countries are eager to take advantage of the multi-modal and asynchronous technical capacities that Web 2.0 can provide to college students. The “E-learning Phenomenon” has also prompted the development of different types of learning tools, ranging from commercially-developed Blackboard, open-source learning platform Moodle, or less popular platform developed by individual universities around the world. This study applied a theoretical concept, Hybrid Interactive Rhetorical Engagement (H.I.R.E.), and a series of quantitative metrics derived from H.I.R.E., to assess the Digital Learning Website developed at Kainan University, Taiwan. Exploratory empirical findings help college instructors to understand whether H.I.R.E. serves a good system design concept explain and predict users' learning behaviors and can be used to assess a variety of web-learning technologies in the market.
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Impacts of Web 2.0 on Education

Web 2.0 is often defined as a set of Internet-based tools, ranging from email, blogs, social networking service (SNS), web applications, Wikis, etc (Ehlers, 2009; Wan, 2010). These tools enable collaborative Internet applications to facilitate communication between organizations and individuals (Sendall, Ceccucci & Peslak, 2008). Web 2.0 is claimed to derive from “the collective intelligence of crowds to create value” (O’Reilly, 2005, para. 25, cited in Barassi & Treré, 2012, p. 1270). Scholars have also claimed that Web 2.0 is a potentially effective tool to engage students in their own learning (Echeng, Abel & Grzegorz, 2013) because students are able to contribute to the creation of “knowledge repository” (Orchovacki, Gran & Kermek, 2013). The capabilities of Web 2.0 technologies to allow students to share educational and personal information also make these applications instrumental to teachers (John, 2013). This technology and its many emerging applications have attracted scholars’ attention because of its interactivity, ease of use, and wide availability (Karunasena, Deng & Kam, 2013). Therefore, Krelja Kurelovic, Tomljanovic and Ruzie-Baf (2012) concluded that Web 2.0 is characterized by its attributes such as collaboration, collective intelligence, interactivity, openness, and social networking. These technical features are in line with contemporary teaching practices and are helpful to the development of e-education 2.0 (Krelja Kurelovic et al., 2012). Orchovacki et al. (2013) also observed that Web 2.0 also enables teachers to communicate with students, comment on students’ shared artefacts, evaluate students’ e-activities, and publish lecture materials. Researchers have empirically tested the impacts of e-learning technologies on the effectiveness of learning. For example, Karunasena et al. (2013) found that e-learning via Web 2.0 technologies is beneficial to students’ instructional support, knowledge management, collaboration, and management of learning resources. Considering the promises provided by Web 2.0 technologies, Ehlers (2009) envisions the rise of E-learning 2.0, defined as “using social software and learning services, which can be combined according to individual needs” (p. 297).

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