Developing E-Learning Scenarios for Everyday Learning

The e-lab is a laboratory for the investigation of e-learning scenarios. It is run by the “Contextual Informatics” workgroup. The goal is to develop, implement and evaluate different kinds of scenarios for computer supported learning and teaching with our partners at the university. The e-lab uses a platform virtually identical to the koaLA platform, which is already used throughout the University of Paderborn for various teaching and learning purposes. This allows us to test our concepts in a near real world context.

Currently three different scenarios are being developed by the workgroup. These scenarios focus on discourse structuring and student feedback. The development is supported by the university’s quality in teaching program.

Evaluation of learning scenarios at the e-lab

Discourse Oriented Pyramid Discussion

Pyramid discussion is a discourse structuring method used in courses in order to foster the participants’ abilities in structured discussions.

The first step in the pyramid discussion is the assignment of all students to groups. Every group is given the same problem to discuss and develops a common position on that problem. In the next step every group is joined with another group in order to prove whether combining both positions is possible. If the combination of both positions is possible, the pyramid discussion can be continued. Groups will be joined together, developing common positions until the discussion is held in one big group finally having developed one position for the given problem.

Thesis-Critique-Replique Method

The thesis-critique-replique method is a round-based discourse structuring method. The goal is the acquisition of discussion skills.
The method starts with a number of groups, which are given a problem and each write a thesis for that problem. Then these theses are exchanged between the groups and another group writes a critique for its exchange partners’s thesis. The last step in one round is a replique for the critique. The method works better with a number of rounds to improve the discussion skills of the participants.

Rapid Feedback

The third application currently being tested is a tool for creating and answering online feedback questionnaires. The rapid feedback web application allows the quick creation of feedback questionnaires. The lecturer can choose between different types of questions like, multiple choice, matrix choice and text feedback. Rapid feedback allows the lecturer to get quick responses on teaching topics or opinions.

Implementation on the E-Learning Platform

The scenarios presented are supported by web applications, which are associated with a course on the e-learning platform. The e-learning platform manages the access rights as well as the organisation of the participants. The applications then manage all documents, which are created during the discourse in such a way that the lecturer can easily keep track of the process. The lecturer can thus perform all tasks required in the context of the scenario in one place and analyse the results.

Integration into Everday Learning

The target for the presented methods is the integration into everyday learning. Therefore we have developed web-based software applications for each scenario, which are currently being tested. The next step is the evaluation of these applications with small groups of students on our e-lab-platform. After the evaluation, we will develop these scenarios until they are ready to be deployed on the university’s koaLA system with access for every university lecturer and student.