Guided learning and Technology Enhanced Learning – an evaluation of the impact upon students’ learning experiences at a UK HEI

Pike, David (2020) Guided learning and Technology Enhanced Learning – an evaluation of the impact upon students’ learning experiences at a UK HEI. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Blended Learning, Technology Enhanced Learning and technology are three key components of many HEI’s approaches to teaching and learning. The language used to describe such approaches varies but is often framed in terms of enhancement, or improvement. However, the advent of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) presented a potentially difficult problem for the implementers of technology. Instead of being front and centre stage in claims for enhancement, institutional TEF exercises indicate that institutions’ conception of technological enhancement is limited to the capture of lectures. This does not reflect claims from the literature which can be generally summarised as technology delivers enhancement, and improvements in students’ learning experiences and outcomes. Furthermore, the literature suggests that standardisation of resources within Virtual Learning Environments or removing interactions such as lectures and moving online will yield improvements in outcomes like the NSS (National Student Survey). Whilst the NSS data drives part of the TEF exercises, it is too distant from the point of technology implementation, and I argue a new approach is needed to form the evidence base to support technology implementations. Within this thesis I perform an investigation into an existing technology implementation strategy (an analogue of Blended Learning) to demonstrate how changes to approaches of technology implementation can improve the evidence-base for demonstrating improvement and enhancement: the approaches technology implementers utilise to justify success in BL (Blended Learning) implementations, examining the implications of a BL-style implementations upon students’ experiences via a case study of computing students, identifying the benefits and drawbacks of technology standardisation, and examine methods to evaluate students’ priorities. The outcome of this investigation is a new framework which focuses upon iterative evidence generation to manage technological implementations – which use data to look backwards, and think forwards. The analysis and approach can be tested and adopted by practitioners who want to show a constructive alignment between their own technology implementations and to work towards support the outcomes of TEF subject-level narratives. The data underlying the suggested framework is drawn from the School of CST (Computer Science and Technology) at the University which has difficulties with attainment, retention and poor NSS outcomes. I use a combination of iterative implementation utilising DBR (Design Based Research) and TA (Thematic Analysis) combined with supporting statistical analyses. The use of DBR is intended to allow fellow practitioners to adopt, test and adapt the framework to test implementation in their own context. The framework provides a departure from the existing blended learning computing literature which focuses upon claiming success from single point implementations or utilise control and experimental group approaches. My findings indicate that the intentions and utility of blended learning fails to align with the requirements of students and the rhetoric does not provide sufficient pedagogic utility to academic staff, I finish by providing a framework for other practitioners to develop and test the utility of combining narrative and quantitative data. It is this framework which will provide the implementers and managers of technology a standardised approach to planning, assessing and iteratively developing technology to support learning.

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05 Jan 2021 15:10
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21 Sep 2023 03:34