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Examining e-learning in higher education: perceptions and reality

Examining e-learning in higher education: perceptions and reality

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Examining e-learning in higher education: perceptions and reality

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  1. Examining e-learning in higher education: perceptions and reality An independent study into the attitudes of university academic and operational staff to e-learning (June 2009)

  2. Contents • Why IMC (UK) Learning Ltd commissioned this survey   • Overview • Key findings • A selection of comments from respondents • How the research was conducted •  About IMC (UK) Learning Ltd • Contact details

  3. 1. Why IMC (UK) Learning Ltd commissioned this survey IMC offers a range of learning technologies to educational institutions, private and public sector organisations, SMEs and training providers in order to support their learning and development strategies. IMC’s offering includes rapid authoring tools, bespoke e-learning content development, e-learning tools and a wide range of consultancy services in the field of learning and training. Universities and higher education institutions are increasingly looking to enhance the learning experience of their students whilst continuing to reduce budgets. This report seeks to establish the views of academic and operational staff in higher education establishments with regard to e-learning. It looks at the current use of e-learning within universities and the perceptions of its benefits and shortfalls.

  4. 2. Overview • Nearly eight in ten (79%) respondents agree that e-learning increases flexible and repeated access to learning content, whereas only 27% agree e-learning saves money and 18% agree it saves time for teaching staff • For those who use e-learning, the figures increase significantly with nearly nine in ten (88%) agreeing that e-learning increases flexible and repeated access to learning content, 40% agreeing it saves money and just over a quarter (27%) agreeing it saves time for teaching staff • When asked which e-learning tools, if any, respondents’ universities use, 35% stated off-the-shelf e-learning content compared with 53% who use bespoke e-learning content. Three quarters (74%) use a virtual learning environment and four in ten (39%) use an e-learning ‘lecture/presentation capture tool’ • Less than one in five (16%) respondents currently record their lectures, with only 14% publishing these to a virtual learning environment • For those who recorded lectures, 21% used video, audio and screen capture, 13% audio only and 4% video only • Of those who use e-learning, three in ten (31%) found automatic synchronisation of recorded data and a combination of video, audio and annotation useful. Other useful features included different output formats (29%), editing content without data loss (21%) and ‘one-click’ publishing to a virtual learning environment (19%) • Less than one in ten (9%) respondents always/frequently post-edit recorded lectures while just over one in five (22%) always/frequently add questions or documents to recorded lectures • When it comes to ease of use, only 15% of respondents agreed that their lecture recording system was very/quite easy to use • Nearly half (48%) of respondents who use e-learning agreed that it is very/quite popular amongst students compared to just 37% of the whole sample

  5. 3. Key Findings

  6. 3.1. Percentage of respondents who agree/strongly agree with the below statements 79% of respondents agree that e-learning increases flexible and repeated access to learning content, whereas 27% agree e-learning saves money and 18% agree it saves time for teaching staff Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  7. 3.2. Percentage of respondents use e-learning and agree/strongly agree with the below statements Of those who use e-learning, 88% agreed that it increases flexible and repeated access to learning content, whereas 40% agree e-learning saves money and 27% agree it saves time for teaching staff Base: respondents who use e-learning

  8. 3.3. Percentage of respondents whose university uses the below e-learning tools 35% of respondents’ universities use off the shelf e-learning content compared with 53% who use bespoke e-learning content. 74% use a virtual learning environment and 39% use an e-learning ‘lecture/presentation capture tool’ Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  9. 3.4. Percentage of respondents who record their lectures 16% of respondents record their lectures with a further 18% considering or planning to do so Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  10. 3.5. Percentage of respondents whose recorded lectures are published to a virtual learning environment 14% of respondents’ recorded lectures are published on a virtual learning environment, with a further 12% considering or planning to do so Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  11. 3.6. Percentage of respondents’ universities that use e-learning and do the below Of those who use e-learning, 31% record their lectures and 27% publish recorded lectures on a virtual learning environment Base: respondents who use e-learning

  12. 3.7. How lectures are recorded at respondents’ universities Of those who use e-learning, 21% record lectures using video, audio and screen capture with 13% using audio only and 4% using video only Base: respondents who use e-learning

  13. 3.8. Percentage of respondents who find the below useful when recording lectures 17% find automatic synchronisation of recorded data useful when recording lectures, with 16% finding different output formats useful and 15% finding a combination of video, audio and annotation useful Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  14. 3.9. Percentage of respondents who use e-learning and find the below useful when recording lectures Of those who use e-learning, 31% find automatic synchronisation of recorded data useful when recording lectures, with 31% finding a combination of video, audio and annotation useful and 29% finding different output formats useful Base: respondents who use e-learning

  15. 3.10. Percentage of respondents who post-edit recorded lectures and content Only 9% of respondents frequently/always post-edit recorded lectures and content, with 10% never doing so Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  16. 3.11. Percentage of respondents who add questions or documents to recorded lectures 22% of respondents frequently/always add questions or documents to recorded lectures, with 4% never doing so Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  17. 3.12. Percentage of respondents who use e-learning and frequently/always do the below Of those who use e-learning, 29% frequently/always add questions or documents to recorded lectures and 15% frequently/always post-edit recorded lectures and content Base: respondents who use e-learning

  18. 3.13. How easy or difficult respondents found using lecture recording systems 15% of respondents found their lecture recording system very/quite easy to use while 3% found their system very/quite difficult to use Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  19. 3.14. How easy or difficult respondents who use e-learning found using lecture recording systems Of those who use e-learning, 27% of respondents found their lecture recording system very/quite easy to use, while 4% found their system very/quite difficult to use Base: respondents who use e-learning

  20. 3.15. How popular respondents see e-learning amongst students 37% of respondents believe e-learning is very/quite popular with students, with 10% saying it is very/quite unpopular Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  21. 3.16. How popular respondents who use e-learning see it amongst students Of those who use e-learning, 48% of respondents believe e-learning is very/quite popular with students, with 13% saying it is very/quite unpopular Base: respondents who use e-learning

  22. A selection of comments from respondents “I only provide paper handouts for students, if they don’t turn up, and many don’t, that is tough.” A professor/head of department at a university (formed before 1992) “The amount of work required to produce quality bespoke e-learning content is consistently underestimated by those who make budgeting decisions. Appropriate off-the-shelf content is very difficult to come by.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed after 1992) “From what I’ve seen, few students use recording as an excuse to not attend on a regular basis. Those that watch them often come to the lecture too, which is a good reason for making the effort to record them.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “The nature of education has changed, and not necessarily improved, by resorting to e-learning.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “E-learning should be set up to enhance the student experience. An aim to ‘save time’ rarely works but can be a bonus of a system set up to benefit the student.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “[There is a] need to embrace all the informal modes and opportunities offered by web 2.0 and further...A risk-adverse culture in learning and technology, combined with a lack of knowledge/awareness and fear at the top, is hindering development of e-learning communities.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed after 1992) “Students still want a high level of support and face-to-face contact. They do not just want to work through the material. Even if self marking tests are set, they want a lecturer to summarise the information in a face-to-face tutorial.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “E-learning is tremendously useful to academics and students, but does also provide institutions with mechanisms for imposing horrendous levels of control” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992)

  23. A selection of comments from respondents “Universities are trying to make money out of e-learning, but the pedagogy has got to change. E-learners prefer face-to-face and they must form a community.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed after 1992) “There is no substitute for student contact with an enthusiastic practitioner. Recorded lectures are OK for large student numbers but where classes are 50 students or below, it is possible to respond to questions and tailor one’s lecture to deal with misunderstandings on the spot...The time invested in producing the material is rarely allowed for in workloads.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “We’re in an exciting time! The problem, as always, is keeping up with developments and finding time to develop new, good material.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “It takes much, much more time to create high-quality e-learning material than traditional forms of teaching for the same level of learning and outcome. The biggest disadvantage of e-learning is the lack of personal interaction, so it can, at best, supplement traditional teaching.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “[E-learning is] useful for low-level learning and revision, for repetitive practice of simple tasks to gain facility and for accessing information but has real cognitive limitations for more complex material, gaining deeper understanding or creative/synthesising tasks (e.g. design).” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “I am an external examiner for a university that does a lot of distance learning with e-learning. My impression is that to do it properly requires as much effort as face-to-face teaching. I don’t believe that simply making a DVD of a talk-and-chalk lecture is satisfactory.” A professor/head of department at a university (formed before 1992) “[E-learning has] great potential if resources are available to do it well.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed after 1992)

  24. A selection of comments from respondents “E-learning is not as good as face-to-face interactions but is sometimes a necessity which we try to do as well as possible. It therefore takes quite a bit of effort and it is never our intention to do it to save the educational efforts of academics.” A professor/head of department at a university (formed before 1992) “Materials made available electronically are largely ignored until the student needs them at the the very last minute. This is counterproductive.” A senior manager (non-academic) at a university (formed after 1992) “As an adjunct to conventional teaching methods, e-learning can be of value. However, in my view it can never substitute for direct contact between lecturing staff and students. I am quite concerned that students are increasingly expecting e-learning resources to be sufficient for their needs and that as a result they are losing the skills of note taking as well as of listening to and concentrating throughout 50-minute lectures.” A professor/head of department at a university (formed before 1992) “It is a useful tool to enhance the teaching quality and should not be considered as a cost cutting tool.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed after 1992) “A major hurdle is the presumption that students will not attend lectures if material is available online or in an e-learning package, always available to download. More material such as this leads to poor lecture attendance and we then observe cramming for exams at far too late a stage.” A professor/head of department at a university (formed before 1992) “Recorded lectures are a good idea but need more thought on how they are used, including ways for students to edit and mash them up are definitely needed.” A senior lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992) “There is a big difference between using material available via the web to support lectures and replacing lectures with pre-recorded e-versions.” A lecturer/researcher at a university (formed before 1992)

  25. How the research was conducted (1) The research was conducted online by Spectrum Consulting amongst academic and operational staff in universities formed pre-1992 (74%), universities formed post-1992 (22%), business schools (1.5%) and university colleges (1%) in the UK. Participants included professors/heads of department (47%), senior lecturers/researchers (34%), lecturers/researchers (11.5%), operational staff (3.5%) and non-academic senior managers (4%). Respondents came from a wide range of different sized universities and higher education establishments. In all, 125 respondents contributed to the findings of the survey. Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  26. How the research was conducted (2) Sample by job title Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  27. How the research was conducted (2) Sample by number of students Base: whole sample (125 respondents)

  28. About IMC (UK) Learning Ltd. • IMC (UK) Learning Ltd is a subsidiary of IMC AG, one of the world’s leading service and technology suppliers of advanced learning and content solutions.   • Hundreds of companies ranging from multinationals to small and medium-sized companies, as well as public sector organisations, numerous training providers and over 150 universities carry out their training and continual professional development programmes using IMC learning technology applications and services. • IMC’s product portfolio includes: • CLIX and CLIX Start – placed by Gartner in the Visionaries Quadrant of the 2008 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Learning Systems (CLS), the web-based solution combines all learning activity in a single platform that can be adapted to specific business processes and embedded into a comprehensive service offering. • LECTURNITY – this award winning rapid authoring tool is the quick & easy way to capture training sessions and turn existing training materials into interactive, SCORM compliant multi-media e-learning modules. • Start & Learn – using POWERTRAINER, IMC can set organisations on the path to creating their own e-learning and blended learning solutions. The Start & Learn package delivers some real e-learning content, an award winning easy-to-use rapid authoring tool and the support and training to create future in-house e-learning content. • LIVECONTEXT – Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS). The success of any ERP, CRM, SCM or software implementation is measured by the effective use of the system, by the end users. LIVECONTEXT will provide pinpoint information, to improve quality and increase productivity and speed to competency.

  29. Contactdetails For more information about IMC (UK) Learning Ltd products, please contact: Gareth Walters Director of Sales and Marketing IMC (UK) Learning Ltd 5th Floor, South Tower, Tubs Hill House, London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1BL Tel: 01732 741 688 Fax: 01732 741 500 Mobile: 07918 760 342 Email: gareth.walters@im-c.co.uk www.im-c.co.uk