Investigating design issues in e-learning
Madiba, Ntimela Rachel Matete
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The adoption of information technology as an aid to organisational efficiency and effectiveness has a long history in business and public administration, but its application to the processes of teaching and learning in education has been relatively limited. At the dawn of the new millennium this began to change, as educational institutions around the world began to experiment with new ideas for the use of information technology. This happened at the same time that commercial organisations began to realise that they themselves could - because of the availability of IT based systems - invest in educational services focused on their own needs. It was against this background that this research project set out to study how South African higher education has incorporated new learning technologies in the delivery of programmes. The study began by exploring the emerging patterns of the use of e-learning in South African higher education. This was to establish a broad understanding of how e-learning was incorporated into the core business of universities. As the study progressed interviews with both teaching and support staff provided course descriptions which were used to expose the kind of considerations that were made in designing, developing and delivering those courses. The main purpose of the study was to answer the question: what pedagogical considerations are necessary for successful course design when using e-learning? By placing the course descriptions on a continuum developed as a part of the conceptual framework in the study it was possible to analyse the course design features that emerged. The framework and its differentiated learning designs (LD1/2/3) can be used for both design and evaluation of courses and can facilitate the use of technology in enhancing teaching and learning.