Κυριακή, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 2007

Traditional teaching versus e-learning





Traditional Teaching versus e-Learning



Efstratios Papanis

University of the Aegean

Sociology Department

81-100 Mytilene, Greece

email: e.papanis@soc.aegean.gr








Abstract

In the present study an experiment was carried out in order to investigate the effectiveness of traditional teaching as compared to e-learning. Fifty students of various departments were divided in two subgroups (in vivo instruction and e-learning instructions) and were taught negotiation skills. Assessments of knowledge, application of knowledge, evaluation forms and self-report questionnaires were used. Results showed statistically significant differences in all measurements in favour of traditional teaching. It was hypothesized that attributions towards computer technology determined the outcomes of the assessment.

Key words: e-learning, traditional teaching, negotiation skills, evaluation and assessment of educational programmes.



Traditional Teaching versus E-Learning

1. Introduction

Nowadays, the radical shift in the structure of the workforce and the rapid ‘reinventing’ of traditional work, whether in the factory or in large-scale repetitive clerical operations, establish the use of new technologies as a necessity for successful training. Education and training facilities at a distance have recently been recognized as a means of providing access to knowledge and learning facilitation to those for whom it might otherwise be denied (e.g. persons engaged in part-time employment or living in remote rural communities). The widespread use of information technology (IT) and, in particular, the mass popularization of the Internet/World Wide Web (www) have meant that opportunities have been identified for developing distance learning activity into a more advanced online environment. Furnell [9]. Using technology in both classroom and distance learning will: Improve the quality of learning, facilitate access to education and training and reduce the costs.

Intranets and extranets offer a very capable platform for delivering a comprehensive learning and performance support environment, providing individual workers with access to interactive self-paced multimedia instruction, assessment of knowledge and skills, performance support materials such as references, job aids, etc. and online communication with instructors, experts and colleagues.

E-learning is Internet-enabled learning. Components can include content delivery in multiple formats, management of the learning experience, and a networked community of learners, content developers and experts. E-learning provides faster learning at reduced costs, increased access to learning, and clear accountability for all participants in the learning process. Goodridge [12]. In today’s fast-paced culture, organizations that implement e-learning provide their workforce with the ability to turn change into an advantage. E-learning delivers accountability, accessibility and opportunity. It allows people and organizations to keep up with changes in the global economy that now occur on Internet time. E-learning will be the great equalizer in the new century. By eliminating barriers of time, distance, and socio-economic status, individuals can now take charge of their own lifelong learning.

Countries and organizations must adapt to the demands of the Internet economy to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive world marketplace. The following challenges need to be verified: Countries must educate their citizens, businesses must train their workers and educational institutions must offer innovative programs.

In the information age, learning opportunities span a lifetime- from childhood to adulthood. People’s skills and knowledge need constant refreshing to keep up with new technologies and trends. Overall e-learning, provides information from a greater variety of sources, increased access to knowledge for lifelong learners, improved quality of services, and rapid adoption of new information and new programs.

Dramatic changes that have taken place recently in the training field, led international companies use the e-learning method as their basic technique of delivering training to their workers. In today’s fast-paced culture, organizations that implement e-learning provide their workforce with the ability to turn these changes into an advantage. Warr [21].

Online training refers to a structured learning experience presented on a computer, in which the instructor and learner are separated by both time and geography. Materials are organized into courses, and include a combination of formal teaching sequences and exercises, such as simulations. Individual learners directly interact with the computer to proceed through the courses. Ideally, these courses engage students through meaningful interaction and let students direct their own learning. These courses often include assessments or testing. Because learners and instructor do not need to be online at the same time, this type of online training and education is called asynchronous.

E-learning uses the power of networks, primarily those that rely on Internet technologies but also satellite networks, and digital content to enable learning. Trondsen [19], [20]. It is the use of network technology to design, deliver, select, and extend learning. Masie, [15]. Components of e-learning can include content delivery in multiple formats, management of the learning experience, and a networked community of learners, content developers and experts. Biggs [4].

E-learning is more likely to focus on the needs of the learner, not the trainer or institution, take advantage of the net: real time, anywhere, anytime, bring people together to collaborate and learn together, personalize, often by combining “learning objects”, offer more than one learning method, e.g. virtual classroom and simulation and self-paced instruction, incorporate administrative functions such as registration, payment and charge-backs, monitoring learner progress, testing, and maintaining records.

Learning under the scope of globalization has become a vital business function. Traditional workshops cost a fortune and time away from the job. E-learning is attractive to corporations because it promises better use of time, accelerated learning, global reach, fast pace, and accountability. It cuts paperwork and administrative overhead.

Organizations today realize that they cannot use traditional training methods if they want to stay competitive. Biggs [2]. Because product cycles, competitive intelligence, industry information and corporate strategies are moving and changing so much faster than they need to, companies understand that the only way to get knowledge to their employees is through an e-learning initiative that relies on the Internet .

E-learning focuses on the individual learner. Performance is the goal. The objective is to become competent in the least time and with the least amount of training. A classic study found that Hewlett Packard engineers who watched videotaped lectures followed by informal discussion performed better than Stanford engineering students, who attended the same lectures on campus. Gibbons, Pannoni, & Orlin [11]

E-learning is personalized. An effective e-learning system learns about its users and tailors, its offerings to their learning style, job requirements, career goals, current knowledge, and personal preferences. Biggs [3].

An e-learning environment generally includes self paced training delivered over the web, many virtual events (which could take place in virtual classroom, virtual lecture hall, or expert-led discussion), mentoring (which might entail coaching, help desk, office hours, periodic check-in, e-mail exchanges), simulation (because people learn by doing), collaboration (either joint problem-solving or discussion among study groups via discussion groups and chat rooms), live workshops (for some topics are best taught in the real world by a real instructor or expert), assessment (both for initial placement and for opting out of topics the learner has already mastered), competency roadmap (a custom learning plan based on the job, career, and personal goals), authoring tools (to develop and update content), e-store (to pay for learning or post costs against budgets), learning management system (which registers, tracks, and delivers content to learners; reports on learner progress, assessment results, and skill gaps for instructors; enroll learners, provides security, and manages user access for administrators).

According to Cross [8] in the near future personal software agents will crawl the Web and feed with information personal training portals, connected gadgets will simplify (and complicate) people’s lives, plug-and-play training modularity will be common, learning standards will be established that will create interchangeable environments and personal files or programs will run directly from the Internet

Computing technologies can expand the reach and range of traditional residential colleges, universities, and organizational training programs. They enable learners to synthesize traditional learning with online experiences Guest [13]. Some learners seek a mixture of face-to-face experiences, and network-based education. Patrick [16]. However, e-learning is too new to have produced hard evidence of learning gains. E-learning is a medium, not a methodology.

Henry [14] argues that successful implementation of e-learning requires the same management commitment as other mission-critical organization-wide initiatives. Most of all, e-learning needs to be compelling to the audience it targets, offering the learner a resource that is seen to be appealing, valuable and productive to their goals and aspirations.

The concept of a learning organization has been given much attention in the organization literature for over a decade. Phillips [17] discusses the ideas of learning organizations and applies it to universities, suggesting that they should adapt to the changing environment and that they must become learning universities. The author identifies developments in national policies, increases in student numbers and demands for increased efficiency as factors necessitating change.

Alexander and McKenzie [1] on the other side reported that e-learning would fail for the following reasons: It is overly ambitious in terms of desired outcomes for the budget and time available, it utilizes particular information technologies for their own shake, without sufficient regard for appropriate learning design, there is no change in the assessment of learning to suit the changed learning outcomes, it commenced software development without adequate planning, it failed to prepare students for participation in learning experiences such as working in groups and failed to obtain copyright clearance.

The US Institute has proposed a series of benchmarks for ensuring e-learning quality and evaluating program effectiveness for higher education and policy. These include a documented technology plan, with password protection, encryption, back-up systems and reliable delivery; established standards for course development, design and delivery; good facilitation of interaction and feedback; and the application of specific standards for evaluation .Cisco Systems [5].

Although some scientists (Cooke and Veach [7] ) are in favour of e-learning and others are against it, no safe conclusion about its effectiveness can be drawn from their sayings and ideas, because these evaluations are usually informal and conducted by users rather than independent sources. Large-scale evaluations have tended to focus on issues such as usability, learner preferences, and equipment quality rather than learner outcome. Council of the Chief State School Officers [6]. Thus, the primary question -whether traditional classroom-training is more effective than e-learning- continues to exist almost unanswered. However, there are a few independent studies that attempted to enlighten this great debate through scientific procedures.

As distance education increasingly becomes a vital part of higher education, one must ask, if distance education is in fact better, worse, or as good as traditional education. What is in dispute is not whether distance education is ideal, but whether it is good enough to merit a university degree. Garrison [10] alludes to an argument that states students learn far too little when the teacher’s personal presence is not available because the student has more to learn from the teacher than the texts.

Some researchers view traditional classes as being unchangeable, inflexible, teacher-centred and static. However, proponents argue that many simply would not be able to get a degree without distance education—the full-time worker, the mother of three children or the individual living in a rural area away from any educational institution. Biggs [4]. Many individuals desperately need distance education courses because they have jobs, families, civic responsibilities. Others contend that distance education is "as good as" traditional education. In other words, learning occurs as much in distance education as it does in traditional education. Opponents of distance education may agree that it is possible for some learning to occur through this medium, but that isn’t enough.

Most original research focuses on student outcomes (grades, test scores), student attitudes, and overall student satisfaction toward distance education. Moreover, most of these studies conclude that distance education compares favourably with classroom-based instruction. Only theories, not proof, allude to the fact that distance education students’ education is not worthy of a degree. With few exceptions, students using technology in distance education have similar learning outcomes to students in the traditional classroom setting. Schutte [18] conducted a natural experiment that compared traditional students and distance education students in management of technology master’s degree programs. Results indicate that distance learners should not be viewed as disadvantaged in their learning experiences. Further, distance learners can perform as well as or better than traditional learners as measured by homework assignments, exams, and term papers. Equally important is the fact that students in distance learning courses earned higher grades than those in the traditional classroom setting. Schutte [18] stated that distance education students scored from five to ten percent higher on standardized achievement tests than did students in the traditional classroom setting. Conversely, as reported by other researchers, there are no significant differences in grades for distance education students versus traditional students.

An important question still remaining to be answered is, what are the factors that account for student success or failure in distance learning programs? Is it possible that student learning style preferences have an affect on whether or not students succeed or fail. Students who had learning preferences that were not supported were identified by their instructors as being slow or poor achievers. Student preference for a particular mode of learning is an important variable in learning effectiveness, and effective learning requires knowledge of learner styles. What may work for one type of learner may not necessarily work for another. Learning style is the moving component of educational experience that motivates students to perform well. Recognizing the existence of alternate learning styles may be helpful to the instructor in developing a local instructional theory and localized theory has a greater prospect of success as opposed to a general instructional theory.

Another important study on distance learning was conducted by Robert A. Wisher [22] and his colleagues in 1999, for the U.S. Army Research Institute. The findings indicated that the distance learning research literature focused on education rather than training, was largely anecdotal, and when effectiveness was examined, it was not supported by strong experimental or quasi-experimental design. Based on the reported literature, when distance learning was shown to be effective, it was difficult to determine why.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of e-learning versus the traditional classroom education in teaching adult Greek students negotiation techniques. The experimental hypothesis states that there is a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of participants’ effectiveness in the e-learning instructional program and the mean scores of participants’ effectiveness in the traditional-classroom instructional program as measured by two tests and an evaluation form.


2. Method

2.1 Participants

Fifty (50) students were randomly selected from Management, Psychology and Business courses at the British-Hellenic College. The negotiation techniques programme was delivered to 25 of them via the internet (the various phases of the seminar were e-mailed to half of the students, e-learning condition), and to the 25 left via a traditional class seminar (traditional instruction condition). Much attention was given to the counterbalancing of the participants, which meant that assignment to the learning settings (e-learning or traditional) was random. The selected sample had no prior knowledge of negotiation techniques, in terms that they had never read, taught or seen something equivalent. This was done mainly for two reasons: (1) to attract and maintain their interest for the subject (it was a subject they have not been preoccupied with before), and (2) to assure that the subjects’ performance on the tests would not be biased by any other factor such as prior knowledge (that could have improved their performance on the tests).


2.2 Design

Effectiveness was defined as the subjects’ level of understanding of the training material. It was is assessed by the following tests: 1) a test of 50 negotiation multiple choice questions, score range 1-100 2) a written test of 10 short essay form exercises to assess the level of comprehension, score range 1-100 3) a role playing situation, (application of learned material), in which they had to simulate a company negotiation situation, score range 1-100 and 4) an evaluation form which included data concerning the quality of the taught presentation or the cd-rom’s clarity, their effectiveness and whether the whole process was worthwhile in terms of their time away from their normal duties, and finally whether they could recommend it to their peers, preference range 1-100.

Furthermore, subjects who participated in the e-learning group were provided with a self observation form, in order to take full notes of the efficacy of the e-mail presentation and of the problems they encountered. The observation also included data collection concerning the reading and following of CD-ROM’s instructions, showing interest, time spent on CD-ROM exploration, etc.

Finally, an interview with the instructor of the traditional-classroom instructional group was conducted after the completion of the experiment in order to detect the subjects’ attitudes and behavior concerning the instructor’s presentation/seminar.. The design was an experimental one.


2.3 Material

The training programme selected was a negotiation techniques seminar for managers. The reason for choosing this program renders on the idea that negotiation skills are important to people not only for occupational purposes but for every day life purposes as well. The training material, which was based on an interactive CD-ROM (Communication Applications S.A., 2001) was send to the first group via email and had the following structure:

  • Introduction: definition and basic concepts of negotiations

  • Methods: methods of negotiating and ways of implementation

  • Phases: phases of a negotiation

  • Tactics and tricks: tricks and tactics that can be used during a negotiation

  • Exercise Test: a series of 4 exercises that the trainee must answer and check his/her knowledge

  • Negotiation Ability Test: it helps the trainee internalize the negotiation process

  • A CD-ROM Evaluation Form

Each step was analyzed extensively by the CD-ROM. Instructions and rubrics are provided to the trainee through links.

The instructor’s presentation for the traditional class seminar was based on the CD-ROM’s presentation concerning the negotiation techniques, in order to present the same kind of information to both groups and this way ensure the experiment’s internal validity. Consequently, the instructor’s presentation had the following structure:

  • Introduction: definition of negotiations, properties of negotiators, causes of failure and general rules to follow when negotiating.

  • Methods: the methods used in negotiations and a further analysis of them

  • Phases: the phases of a negotiation process

  • Tactics and tricks: some tactics and tricks used by negotiators

  • Exercise Test: a series of 4 exercises concerning negotiation problems

  • Negotiation Ability Test: a self-assessment test on negotiation ability

  • A Seminar Evaluation Form

The traditional class-seminar was conducted by a trained and experienced instructor holder of a BA (Hons) in European Business Administration, MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, employed as a lecturer at British-Hellenic College. The scoring of tests was performed by two different and naïve experienced teachers of Organizational Behaviour (inter rater reliability 0,73).The instructor and the raters were not informed about the purpose of the experiment before it was completed, so as to ensure that she was a naive observer and rater. The instructor made the necessary changes concerning the structure of the presentation, that according to her opinion would make the seminar more efficient to the subjects, but not in a way that could alter or bias the experiment’s results Moreover, this compatibility between the CD-ROM presentation and the instructor’s presentation offered the chance to assess and evaluate the subjects’ level of knowledge on the taught subject based on the same quantity and quality of the learning material. Finally, an analytical program of the negotiation techniques programme was developed, including the objectives, structure, and duration of the subject, as well as the setting and the assessment techniques used. The analytical program is common for both the CD-ROM and the traditional class seminars.

2.4 Procedure

Lessons were conducted in the facilities of the British-Hellenic College and were taught in Greek language (condition A). Exams were held the day after the instruction took place. Students of the e-learning condition (B) received by e-mail the full contents of the negotiation training cd-rom in Greek language and were given the same amount of time to study it at their own pace. However, they were instructed to come to the college’s premises the following day, in order to take the test (common for both conditions). The college arranged for students who participated in the experiment to have no lessons before the experiment was conducted to prevent cognitive overload, boredom or exhaustion. The classrooms chosen were cozy, sunny, and deprived from any external distraction that could influence the students’ attention. After the completion of the lesson or the self studying period, subjects in both groups took the tests and interviews were held.


3. Results

Data were analysed with SPSS 11 for windows. The mean scores of each student on multiple choice questions and written essays were computed serving as a depended variable ‘negotiation techniques mean knowledge score’ in the three-way between groups analysis of variance model, which was used (Three independent variables affecting one dependent). The selection of this statistical procedure was made because we wanted not only to establish causal relationships between variables (simple main effects), but also to examine their interactions. The independent variables were: ‘gender’ (levels: males and females), ‘method of instruction’ (levels: in vivo instruction and e-learning) and ‘department’ (levels: Psychology, European Business Administration and Hotel management). Statistically significant effects were obtained for the variable ‘method of instruction’ (p=0,000<0,01) and the interaction of method* department (p=0,000<0,01).The effect of gender, and all the interactions associated with it (gender*method, gender*department were not significant at 0,05 level, p=0,566 and 0,740 respectively) The effect of ‘department’ was also not significant at 0,05 level, p=0,465 and such was the case for the three way interaction gender*department*method of instruction, p=0,605. Descriptive statistics revealed that the highest mean scores were obtained by students attending in vivo instruction (mean score 62,8, sd=13,5), whilst e-learning produced a mean score of 39,5, sd=9,6. A further LSD multiple comparisons analysis and Tukey tests were performed, in order to examine the differences between departments. Psychology students scored significantly higher (p=0,033<0,05) under the in vivo instruction condition when compared to Business Administration and Hotel Management students and lower than them in e-learning condition (table1).









Table 1: Descriptive Statistics, 3-way anova table. Tests of Between-Subjects Effects

Multiple Comparisons, Tukey HSD

Dependent Variable: negotiation techniques mean knowledge


gender

method of instruction

Mean

Std. Deviation





male

in vivo instruction

61.5000

13.91941

e-learning

39.4091

10.20984

Total

50.4545

16.42291

female

in vivo instruction

63.6071

13.63561

e-learning

39.7143

9.57504

51.6607

16.78296

Total

in vivo instruction

62.6800

13.51225

e-learning

39.5800

9.64978










Source

Type III Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

GENDER

.725

1

.725

.008

.931

METHOD

4783.716

1

4783.716

49.607

.000

DEPARTMENT

150.805

2

75.403

.782

.465

GENDER * METHOD

32.338

1

32.338

.335

.566

GENDER * DEPARTMENT

58.601

2

29.301

.304

.740

METHOD * DEPARTMENT

2545.075

2

1272.538

13.196

.000

GENDER * METHOD * DEPARTMENT

98.274

2

49.137

.510

.605


Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.

(I) department

(J) department

Psychology student

European Business Administration student

8.4503*

3.22996

.033

Hotel Management

8.5171

3.57423

.057

European Business Administration student

Psychology student

-8.4503*

3.22996

.033

Hotel Management

.0668

3.53456

1.000

Hotel Management

Psychology student

-8.5171

3.57423

.057

European Business Administration student

-.0668

3.53456

1.000

*The mean difference is significant at the .05 level



The ‘select cases’ command in SPSS was used in order to select students who participated in the e-learning condition only and a two way analysis (by gender and department) was performed in their knowledge scores. Again the effect of gender was not significant (p=0,701) and so was the two way interaction gender*department. Yet, the main effect of department was significant at 0,05 level (p=0,026). Post hoc test showed a significant difference of psychology students, who achieved lower grades in their test scores when compared to European Business Administration and Hotel Management students. Results are shown in table 2.



Table 2: 2-way anova model, Tests of Between-Subjects Effects, Pair wise Comparisons

Dependent Variable: negotiation techniques mean knowledge. E-learning condition only


Source

Type III Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

GENDER

11.867

1

11.867

.152

.701

DEPARTMENT

695.738

2

347.869

4.457

.026

GENDER * DEPARTMENT

17.902

2

8.951

.115

.892


Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.

(I) department

(J) department

Psychology student

European Business Administration student

-11.588

4.380

.016

Hotel Management

-12.688

4.939

.019

European Business Administration student

Psychology student

11.588

4.380

.016

Hotel Management

-1.100

4.562

.812

Hotel Management

Psychology student

12.688

4.939

.019

European Business Administration student

1.100

4.562

.812




The effect of the same independent variables (gender, department and method of instruction) on application of knowledge for students in all conditions was examined. Statistically significant effects were obtained for the variable gender (p=0,038<0,05) ‘method of instruction’ (p=0,000<0,01) and the interaction of method* department (p=0,004<0,01) and gender*department (p=0,008<0,01).The effect of department was not significant at 0,05 level (p=0,412) and the same applied for the two way interaction gender*method (p=0,961 and the three way interaction gender*department*method of instruction, p=0,085. Descriptive statistics revealed that the highest mean scores were obtained by students attending in vivo instruction (mean score 72,4), whilst e-learning produced a mean score of 53.









Table 3: 3-way anova table.Tests of Between-Subjects Effects, Multiple Comparisons, Tukey HSD

Dependent Variable: application of knowledge


Source

Type III Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

GENDER

223.563

1

223.563

4.623

.038

METHOD

14425.879

1

14425.879

298.293

.000

DEPARTMENT

87.686

2

43.843

.907

.412

GENDER * METHOD

.120

1

.120

.002

.961

GENDER * DEPARTMENT

527.791

2

263.896

5.457

.008

METHOD * DEPARTMENT

627.576

2

313.788

6.488

.004

GENDER * METHOD * DEPARTMENT

254.371

2

127.186

2.630

.085


Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.

(I) department

(J) department

Psychology student

European Business Administration student

5.9503

2.28737

.034

Hotel Management

6.9017

2.53118

.025

European Business Administration student

Psychology student

-5.9503

2.28737

.034

Hotel Management

.9514

2.50309

.924

Hotel Management

Psychology student

-6.9017

2.53118

.025

European Business Administration student

-.9514

2.50309

.924


The variable ‘computer preference’, which rated the liking of computer usage of students in both conditions, was used as a covariate and produced highly significant results (p=0,000<0,01), since it influenced the evaluation of the training programmes. Students with high computer preference favoured the e-learning instruction and those who disliked computers in general preferred traditional teaching. The three way analysis with programme evaluation as a dependent variable showed that method of instruction, department, method*department produced significant results (p=0,000 with higher mean score in favour of traditional teaching, 0,037 with higher evaluations of psychology students in favour of traditional teaching and 0,015 respectively), whilst gender, gender*method, gender*department and gender*method*department had no significant effect on students evaluations.(p=0,524, 0,855 0,551 and 0,598 respectively).

Comparative evaluation measures of negotiation skills teaching programmes (in vivo instruction or e-learning) according to gender and department was obtained using three way analysis of variance procedure. Results shown on table 4 and graph 3 reveal statistically significant differences in method of teaching (in favour of in vivo instruction), department and their interaction. It seems that the theoretical background of psychology students makes them more reluctant to the adaptation of innovative teaching techniques.



Table 4: gender * method of instruction * department mean scores, confidence intervals and three way analysis of variance.

Dependent Variable: programme evaluation

Mean

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval

GENDER

method of instuction

department

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

male

in vivo instruction

Psychology

70,000

7,090

55,648

84,352

Business Administration

66,667

9,153

48,138

85,195

Hotel management

76,667

9,153

58,138

95,195

e-learning

Psychology

35,000

7,926

18,954

51,046

Business Administration

64,000

7,090

49,648

78,352

Hotel management

45,000

11,210

22,307

67,693

female

in vivo instruction

Psychology

68,333

6,472

55,232

81,435

Business Administration

63,333

6,472

50,232

76,435

Hotel management

75,000

11,210

52,307

97,693

e-learning

Psychology

23,333

9,153

4,805

41,862

Business Administration

52,000

7,090

37,648

66,352

Hotel management

56,667

6,472

43,565

69,768

Tests of Between-Subjects Effects

Dependent Variable: programme evaluation

Source

Type III Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

GENDER

104,013

1

104,013

,414

,524

METHOD

6189,851

1

6189,851

24,630

,000

DEPARTMENT

1815,911

2

907,955

3,613

,037

GENDER * METHOD

8,491

1

8,491

,034

,855

GENDER * DEPARTMENT

304,597

2

152,299

,606

,551

METHOD * DEPARTMENT

2362,314

2

1181,157

4,700

,015

GENDER * METHOD * DEPARTMENT

262,388

2

131,194

,522

,598

a R Squared = ,506 (Adjusted R Squared = ,363)












The analysis of the self report form constructed to observe the attitudes toward the process of the participants in the e-learning group, indicated the following results. None of the subjects read nor followed the instructions of how to proceed in the CD-ROM provided by the constructors. However, almost all of them followed the structure of the CD-ROM, even though they were told that they could explore it in their own way. In addition, most of the participants showed interest for the subject presented in the CD-ROM, they did not seem confused or nervous while exploring it, and they were always staring at the screen trying to understand what was written. Finally, the mean time the subjects spent exploring the CD and completing the two tests and the evaluation form was 34,5 minutes, although they were given 3 hours time by the experimenters to complete the process. Moreover, in the e-learning group no social interaction or positive climate existed

Finally, the interview with the instructor concerning the attitudes and behavior of the subjects in the traditional-classroom instructional group toward the instructor’s presentation indicated the following results. The subjects in the traditional-classroom group asked the instructor many times for further information about the taught subject (negotiation techniques), clarifications for concepts that looked ambiguous, discussed with the instructor and other classmates about the subject, exchanged opinions and ideas. The social interaction that existed in the classroom between the subjects themselves and with the instructor, enabled them to “withstand” the whole 3 hour presentation without complaining or dropping-out, and created a positive climate in the classroom that facilitated the instructor’s job and maintained the subjects’ for the instructor’s presentation and the taught subject (negotiation techniques)

4. Discussion

In this experiment, the traditional-classroom instructional group scored highly better than the e-learning group and all the evaluations were in favour of traditional teaching. This is verified in all stages of knowledge acquisition (Knowledge, analysis, application and synthesis, according to Bloom’s model). This is especially true for students of social and humanistic sciences such as Psychology, who find it intolerable to receive information concerning human interaction through a ‘rigid’ medium of instruction, such as a computer. Students who have a general negative attitude towards technology and a strong theoretical background are in disadvantage when dealing with learning material presented in innovative ways. On the contrary, students of empirical disciplines score equally well under the e-learning condition The statistically significant difference in the mean scores between the two groups may be also due to the fact that the participants in the e-learning group spent only 34,5 minutes (mean time) on processing the information presented in the CD-ROM (as indicated by the self report form), while the participants in the traditional-classroom instructional group spent 3 hours on processing the same amount of information included in the instructor’s presentation. Students in the traditional-classroom instructional group had plenty of time to process, absorb, and become familiar with the learning material presented to them via the instructor compared to subjects in the e-learning group.

The reason why students in the e-learning group chose to spend only a few time (34,5 minutes) on processing the CD-ROM lies in the fact that there was lack of social interaction or vigilance during their study and consequently lack of a positive climate (that usually results from social interaction among classmates) within the e-learning group. It must be noted, also, that Greek students are used to the traditional-classroom instructional method of delivering learning materials, while they are not at all used to new, innovative methods of delivering learning such as e-learning. Even though the teaching of computers’ operation is becoming widespread in the Greek educational system, students are not yet used to receiving learning materials via the computer.

Any further research concerning the debate e-learning vs. traditional classroom education should include in its experimental design a third group of subjects that would be taught the selected training subject via the combined e-learning and traditional-classroom instructional method. This way, conclusions can be extracted about the effectiveness of the two methods (e-learning vs. traditional-classroom) separately as well as combined. These conclusions can then be used by instructors in order to improve the way they train their students or employees.

Moreover, further research should be longitudinal, which means that the duration of the lessons taught in the two or three (including the e-learning/traditional classroom combined group) groups must be a yearly one, and not restricted to only 3 hours. The longitudinal study can yield more safe conclusions than a restricted one. In a longitudinal study, subjects will be tested and re-tested several times, so the effectiveness of each of the two methods would be assessed along a continuum and in the long-term. Also, the continuous assessment of each method’s effectiveness would eliminate any external, temporary factor that could influence the subjects’ performance if this was assessed only once and only immediately afterwards. In addition, a greater sample used in a further research could yield results that would have a higher external validity.

As mentioned earlier, the Greek educational system is now inducing the use of computers to every gymnasium and lyceum across the country. Combining this with the fact that the use of PCs is already widespread in the Greek society, and with the fact that young children spend countless hours alone in front of a computer screen-playing or surfing on the Internet, becoming this way familiar with isolation and no interpersonal communication, the conclusion extracted is that the next generation will be extremely familiar with everything the computer and the Internet offers, not feeling at all lonely when occupied with them. It is possible then that a study conducted after 10-15 years in Greece concerning the e-learning vs. traditional-classroom debate would yield some extremely striking results.




























5. References


  1. Alexander, S. and McKenzie, J. (1998), An Evaluation of Information Technology Projects in University Learning. Department of Employment, Education and training and Youth Affairs, Australian Government Publishing Services, Canberra.

  2. Biggs, J.B. (1970), “Faculty patterns in study behavior”. Australian Journal of Psychology, Vol. 22, pp. 161-74.

  3. Biggs, J.B. (1978), “Individual and group differences in study processes”. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 48, pp. 266-79.

  4. Biggs, J.B. and Rihn, B. (1984), “The effects of intervention on deep and surface approaches to learning”, in Kirby, J.R. (Ed.), Cognitive Strategies and Educational Performance. Academic Press, New York, NY.

  5. Cisco Systems (2000), Cisco Systems IQ Atlas. Available at www.ieng.com.

  6. Council of Chief State School Officers (2000), “Preparing Teachers To Meet the Challenge of New Standards with New Technologies”. Report on the CCSSO State Educational Technology Leadership Conference 2000. Washington DC: CCSSO, March, 2000

  7. Cooke, J. and Veach, I. (1997), “Enhancing the learning outcome of university distance education: an Australian perspective”. International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 11 No.5, pp. 203-8.

  8. Cross, J. (1999), “Training and Development: e-learning Trendz”. ASTD’s e-learning series.

  9. Furnell, S.M., Onions, P.D., Bleimann, U., Knahl, M., Roder, H.F. and Sanders, P.W. (1998), “A security framework for online distance learning and training”. Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy, Vol.8 No.3, pp. 236-42.

  10. Garrison, S.H. and Borgia, D.J. (1999), “Using an Internet-based distance learning to teach introductory finance”. Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 16 No.4, pp. 136-9.

  11. Gibbons, J., Pannoni R., Orlin J., (1999), “Learning, working, and playing in the digital age- Creating Learning Ecologies”.

  12. Goodridge, E. (2001), “Online training lets companies provide more employee instructions for less money”. Learning Circuits, v2 n2 (2001, Nov.). ASTD Publishing: Alexandria, V.A.

  13. Guest, S. (2001), “Guidelines for buying e-learning services”. Learning Circuits, v2 n11 (2001, Nov.). ASTD Publishing: Alexandria, V.A.

  14. Henry, P. (2001), “E-learning technology, content and services”. Education + Training, Vol. 43 No.4, pp. 249-55.

  15. Masie, Elliott, TechLearn 98, TechLearn 99, eLearning Briefing 2000. TechLearn Trends

  16. Patrick, J. (1992), Training: Research and Practice. London: Academic Press.

  17. Phillips, V. (1998), “Lifelong Learning”. Adult Education and Distance Learner’s Resource Center (January 20, 1998).

  18. Schutte, Jerald G. (1997), “Virtual teaching in Higher Education: The New Intellectual Superhighway or Just Another Traffic Jam?”. California State university, Northridge.

  19. Trondsen, E. (1998), “Learning on Demand: Building Knowledge-Based Companies”. Fujitsu management Review, No. 197.

  20. Trondsen, E. (2001), “E-learning and the Economy: Some Perspectives”. E-learning forum presentation, July 2001

  21. Warr, P.B., Bird, M.W. and Rackham, N. (1970), “The Evaluation of Management Training. London: Gower Press.

  22. Wisher, R.A., Champagne, M.V., Pawluk, J.L., Eaton, A., Thorton, D.M., Curnow, C.K. (1999), “Training Through Distance Learning: An Assessment of Research Findings”. U.S. Army Research Institute fir the Behavioral and Social Sciences (1999, June


1


Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια: