Are virtual insight visits an effective way of engaging learners?

Conway, David; Gardner, Christine and Hughes, Janet (2021). Are virtual insight visits an effective way of engaging learners? In: AMPS Online Education: Teaching in a Time of Change, 21-23 Apr 2021, Online.



Insight visits have wide ranging benefits to students including reinforcing and expanding upon taught learning, improved ability to relate theory to practice, encouragement of collaborative learning and enhancement of motivation (Higgins et al 2012. Kim-Soon et al 2017. Kuh 1993. Waltz 2019). Subsequently this enhances teaching and learning, student support and employability, which are all fundamental within student experience (Universities UK, 2016).

Mature students often choose distance learning (DL) due to its potential to fit around their circumstances (Rasheed 2020). DL provider The Open University (OU) operate at large scale across a vast geographic location. The average age of an OU student is 28 years of age (Open University 2018) and many learners manage study workload alongside other priorities. Furthermore, many students have disabilities and experience social economic issues. These constraints alongside how it is not practically viable for the OU to deliver visits across the United Kingdom at scale limit opportunities for OU students to participate in insight visits.

Advances in information and communications technologies (ICT) mean it is now possible to design and implement live interactive virtual insight visits at low cost where students participating online can gain many of the same benefits as attending a traditional insight visit. Despite this, the concept of live virtual insight visits have not been fully exploited. Experiences designed remain typically passive and do not include opportunities for social learning and collaboration. Live virtual insight visits using interactive ICT may provide an alternative means of increasing opportunity for mature students to participate in insight visits. This may enhance both university experience and student success,

The aim of this project is to investigate if a live virtual insight visit to Bletchley Park Museum using interactive software which allows remote attendees to actively participate is an effective way of engaging Level 1 Computing and Communication students.

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