Technology-enhanced research: Educational ICT systems as research instruments

Cox, Richard (2007) Technology-enhanced research: Educational ICT systems as research instruments. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 16 (3). pp. 337-356. ISSN 1475939X

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Determining the potential of educational ICT for enhancing teaching and learning is the subject of a great deal of research activity. This paper argues that the technologies employed to enhance learning (TEL) can also be exploited for the enhancement of research. Recorded learner-system interactions, dynamically captured computer screen activity, and visual attention tracking all provide sources of rich process data that can be triangulated with tradition learning outcome (product) data. Such multiple data source approaches can be used in various research design and methodological contexts - design experiments, microgenetic experiments, case studies, etc. Process analytic methods can reveal the fine details of an individual's learning trajectory and permit the effects of short-timescale interventions upon longer term learning outcomes to be assessed. In this paper, three illustrations of technology-enhanced research (TER) are described. The first example (switchER) illustrates an iterative learner-centred design cycle. The second example (Hyperproof) illustrates how process data can elucidate individual differences in learning. The third example (PATSy, VL-PATSy) demonstrates how an established online e-learning system can be used as a tool for identifying students' clinical reasoning difficulties and how it can then be extended by having additional learning support resources added to it together with a context sensitive, rule-based delivery system. The paper concludes with a discussion of broader TER issues such as the need to anticipate and plan for the analysis of large amounts of rich data. It concludes by suggesting some further ways in which TER might be exploited and provides links to some potentially useful TER tools and resources.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Originality: This paper describes presents research methodologies ('technology-enhanced research' - TER) for exploiting the potential of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) systems for research as well as for teaching and learning. Various methods for capturing rich learner-system interactions are outlined, together with methods for developing analysis protocols. Methods of recording eEducational dialogue in synchrony with learner-system interaction data are also presented. The use of TER as a component of data/method triangulationdesigns is also discussed. The paper represents an output from a very well attended national workshop run by the author for interdisciplinary researchers (educationalists, computer scientists, psychologists) who were applicants to an ESRC TEL call. Rigour: Technology enhanced research methods are demonstrated by studies conducted across a range of domains (graphical logic learning, educational diagram construction and case-based reasoning in the clinical sciences). The paper also provides guidance to researchers about how to develop scoring protocols and provides details of a wide variety of computer-based tools that can support the researcher at all stages of TER - data capture, developing scoring protocols and data analysis. Significance: The paper makes innovative contributions to TEL research and evaluation and to the study of individual differences and personalised learning. Impact: The paper is aimed at the educational research community with a view to developing research capacity and to encourage methodological innovation and rigour. A wider adoption of TER techniques contributes to improving the quality of teaching and learning research and to provide researchers with ideas for enhancing the evaluation of educational systems - this is likely to result in better-designed and more effective TEL systems with concomitant improvements in learning outcomes for their student users.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Richard Cox
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:17
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2012 15:58
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