• Teaching, learning and technology: An e-route to deep learning?

      Peach, Jeremy; University of Chester (Nottingham Trent University, 2008)
      This paper details a research project that considered the extent to which e-learning is congruent with the notion of inculcating and maintaining deep approaches to learning within HE. Also, to explore what actions may be taken to engender and or maintain a deep approach when using e-learning as the central androgogy as knowing what (is possible) and how (it may be achieved) provides a fuller picture. Whilst this paper is designed to help inform practice and professional judgement it is not purporting to provide absolute answers. Whilst I have attempted to provide an honest account of my findings, truth and reality are social constructions (Pring 2000). The research was based upon methodical triangulation and involved thirty-eight undergraduate students who are undertaking study through e-learning and five academic members of staff who utilise e-learning in their programmes. As such, the project was small scale and how much may be inferred as applicable to other groups and other contexts may be contested, as those sampled for this research have their own unique paradigms and perceptions. Finally, it is always worth remembering that effective teaching and learning is contextual (Pring 2000). The research revealed that deep approaches to learning are situational (Biggs 2003) and e-learning can authentically lead to a student adopting and maintaining a deep approach. There are several factors that increase the likelihood of a student adopting this desired approach. These include; where students perceive the programme to be of high quality (Parker 2004), they have feelings of competence and confidence in their ability to study and interact with the technology and others. In addition, students require appropriate, reliable access to technology, associated systems and individualised planned support (Salmon 2004). Further to this deep approaches are more likely to be adopted where programmes are built on a constructivist androgogy, constructive alignment is achieved, interaction at several levels and a steady or systematic style of learning are encouraged (Hwang and Wang 2004). Critically study programmes should have authentic assessment in which deep approaches are intrinsic to their completion. To effectively support students in achieving a deep approach to learning, when employing e-learning, staff require knowledge and skill in three areas: teaching and learning, technology, and subject content (Good 2001). They also require support from leaders at cultural, strategic and structural levels (Elloumi 2004).