Evaluating empowerment and control of HE e-learning in a secure environment

Adams, Anne and Pike, Anne (2008). Evaluating empowerment and control of HE e-learning in a secure environment. In: British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference, 2008, Edinburgh, U.K..

URL: http://www.bera.ac.uk/conferences/conference-2000-...


With the increased spread of HE distance learning into a wide variety of contexts it is important for us to understand the factors involved in its successful deployment for students. E-learning has a great potential to support effective and empowering HE distance learning (Wilson, 2007; Adams, 2005; Hughes, 2005). However, within two secure environments, prisons and health service, the factors involved are complex. This paper reviews HE e-learning technology perceptions within these two contrasting contexts from 225 students' and stakeholders' perspectives. Previous research has detailed literature limitations on obtaining students' perspectives of e-learning (Conole et al, 2006). These limitations are compounded when other stakeholder perceptions are not integrated (Sun et al, 2007; Adams et al, 2005; Millen at al, 2002). This paper developed and applied an e-learning framework for student and stakeholder perceptions. This social psychological framework, is based on previous practice based e-learning studies and is used here to synthesise two large-scale case studies. The framework focuses on three concepts learner Access (e.g. learning design, technology design, physical access), Awareness (e.g. of resources, their usage and support for e-learning tasks) and Acceptability (e.g. trust, privacy, aesthetics, engagement). Students' and stakeholders' perceptions identified high levels of students' empowerment through e-learning whilst still requiring a further pedagogical tailoring and an awareness of support. However, serious problems within these contexts have identified blocks to e-learning through stakeholders perceptions and fears of acceptability (i.e. issues of risk and trust). Ultimately, through understanding competing perceptions and needs within these complex environments we can support the effective technological development, pedagogical design and deployment of e-learning systems.

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