Design of a Learner-Directed E-Learning Model
How can one create online educational material that support and motivate students in guiding their own learning and make meaningful instructional decisions? One of the main focuses on designing e-learning is about creating an environment where learners can actively assume control and take responsibility for their own learning with little or no guidance from the tutors. This research aims to discover a new way to design learning that would cater to individual choices and preferences. The idea goes beyond learner-centred design; it is about learner control and direction. As an option, learners should be able to choose to be in the driver’s seat, to direct their own learning journey. As a starting point, this research explores the use of two educational theories - Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) theory as the underpinning instructional design for a Learner-Directed Model to support students’ online learning in both domain knowledge and meta knowledge in the subject of computer programming. One unit material from an online Introduction to Java Programming course has been redesigned based on the proposed Learner-Directed Model for the experimental design study. The study involved a total of 35 participants divided randomly into one Experimental Group and one Control Group. They were assigned to either a Learner-Directed Model (Experimental Group) or a linear model (Control Group). Pre/post tests, survey, follow-up interview as well as log file analysis were instruments used for assessing students’ domain knowledge, meta knowledge and their attitudes for their overall learning experience. Learning experience is further broken down into perceived ease of use and user satisfaction; system usability; learner experience; and perceived controllability. The results of the study have revealed that there is statistically significant difference between the survey results for the Experimental Group and the Control Group. The Experimental Group reported a higher level of overall learning experience and better attitudes in general. However, there was no statistically significant difference existing between the two groups on the domain and meta level knowledge improvement. Based on these results, I have proposed further research directions and put forward a number of recommendations and suggestions on learner-directed e-learning design.
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