Annotated Bibliography: e-Learning Sally Adams California State University, San Bernardino Citation: Hlapanis, G., & Dimitrakopoulou, A. (2007). A course model implemented in a teacher's learning community context: issues of course assessment. Behaviour & Information Technology, 26(6), 561-578. doi:10.1080/01449290600691210. Summary: A case study was conducted throughout the Grecian Islands to determine the best way to design and implement an online learning community for school teachers. This article documents the learning communities established, the learning management system (LMS) used, and the process to determine if the courses were successful. The question asked was “How could we design course programmes in a ‘teachers’ learning community’ context (Hlapanis & Dimitrakopoulou, 2007, p.562)? Researchers conducted qualitative and quantitative research: interviewing participants, administering e-questionnaires, and collecting data from the courses themselves, like completion and participation statistics. The findings confirmed the validity of the proposal, that if the course was thoroughly organized using their outline, and implemented according to their rules and guidelines, successful online communities would function and provide students with collaboration, communication, and knowledge. Review: This article was a tremendous insight into creating courses for teachers. The authors considered learning theories, knowledge acquisition, and social interaction. They considered each participant as a member of the overall community, maintaining its overall function, and as a student in up to 5 courses. 18 total courses were offered. The article did a great job of outlining features within the learning community, such as discussion boards, and student to student participation in assignments. The article also laid out a full course model, which the instructors were encouraged to use, complete with artifacts, structure, rules for each session, and emoderation. The LMS used was Microsoft Sharepoint™ Portal Server. I happen to be very familiar with this LMS because I manage the sharepoint portal at our school district. There were tips on using this particular learning community that were very helpful. This research would be highly valuable to any individual looking to create their own online learning community, geared specifically to educators. The model presented, course structure, rules, and moderation suggestions are all excellent resources for the first time you develop a course. The multiple pages analyzing the results are not critical pieces of information, but the conclusion is. “In fact, the close the course implementation is to the fundamental principles of these theories, the greater the success of the course” (Hlapanis & Dimitrakopoulou, 2007, p.575). Citation: Sims, R. (2008). Rethinking (e)learning: a manifesto for connected generations. Distance Education, 29(2), 153-164. doi:10.1080/01587910802154954. Summary: What does the e in e-learning really mean? Is the technology behind this learning tool enhancing the overall learning experience or is it simply a means of presentation? This article seeks to answer these questions. “…the real question is whether the models we use to create learning environments and measure outcomes retain their relevance in a generation in which technology is the medium of communication for many” (Sims, 2008, p.154). e-Learning has cycled through various phases; computer-assisted instruction, multimedia, and learning management systems. The current cycle allows for what the author refers to as a nomadic student to have access anywhere, anytime, for learning on demand. However, there are those who argue that the use of e-learning results in no significant difference in knowledge acquisition. The author could not find any data to prove a statistically significant change in learning outcomes, yet he feels convinced that the technology does have an impact. If we begin to view e-learning as simply learning, without the focus on technology because it is embedded throughout, the roles of designer, teacher, and learner seem to get crossed. The designer can focus on strategy for displaying the content and allow the context to be provided by the teacher and learner as they react to the content. The teacher is more of a facilitator, and emergent learning occurs without guidance from the top-down. Learners can focus on their needs and what they bring to the social dynamic of the community. Review: This article proposes a very interesting question. Do we need to continue to refer to learning with technology as e-learning, or can we remove the e and simply assume that in learning we will use technology to enhance the process? The author notes that the reason for this change is because of the disappearance of the traditional/stereotyped teacher and learner. The collaboration between students is a natural outcome of the online environment, and as learners are becoming fluent with technology use in their personal lives, it seems only natural for this to be the case in the educational environment. The author asks, “What of the possibility that technology has developed as part of the human evolutionary process and that it is slowly and irrevocably becoming part of both individual consciousness and the broader human psyche?” (Sims, 2008, p.160). I would recommend this article to anyone involved in the education field. The idea of technology being an automatic tool in the learning process should be considered by all curriculum developers, instructional designers, educators, students, and parents. The paradigm shift represented in this article is one that we all need to consider. The article does have some grammatical errors that should be noted prior to reading. There are instances where it appears the author forgot to complete a sentence or phrase, but nonetheless, the article is well worth the read. Citation: Githens, R. (2007). OLDER ADULTS AND E-LEARNING: Opportunities and Barriers. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 8(4), 329-338. Retrieved February 22, 2010, from Academic Search Premier database (15283518). Summary: This article studied older adults and their use of e-learning. The study included opportunities for e-learning and barriers that have hindered its progress. The author discussed four major areas: the idea of work and learning for older adults, myths about their use of technology, e-learning available that is targeted to older adults, and barriers that hinder their full participation. For research purposes, an older adult is considered 55+. The author cautions several times about the use of stereotypes and its negative impact on those who are willing and able to learn. Older adults are considered reliable, dependable workers, committed to their jobs and more likely to try new technologies for the good of the company. Their sense of loyalty is key in their participation in these new initiatives. By focusing on the types of e-learning programs, and how to target them for an audience of adult learners, several possibilities are presented for instructional designers. There is a need for asynchronous learning environments where adult learners can feel safe and secure trying out the new technologies at their own pace, without the critical eye of someone younger watching over them. Review: This article is full of great reminders about making sure you know your audience before you begin to design or develop an online learning environment. The author is very clear in practices that he has discovered to be successful and methods that seem to stop the learning process. This article is especially significant for me, as a trainer because it reminds me not to enter a training with a stereotype. In our school district we have over 700 computer using employees (certificated, classified, and administrative) who are, according to this article, older adults. You would want to read this article if you work in a company where there are older adults also working, and you have e-learning platforms available. “…e-learning is used for 27% to 38% of all formal learning programs in organizations” (Githens, 2007, p.333). Therefore, most employers will use some form of e-learning program. Considering the needs of this type of user is mentioned over and over, with great success. If you are looking to create a training program, this article would be of great assistance. Citation: Stacey, E., Smith, P., & Barty, K. (2004). Adult learners in the workplace: online learning and communities of practice. Distance Education, 25(1), 107-123. doi:10.1080/0158791042000212486. Summary: This article is a research study comparing a community of practice to a community of learning. A community of practice is your daily workplace where you interact with colleagues/work associates, and have developed norms and routines for the work environment. A community of learning is an online community of users, with the goal of furthering education. The study surveyed 22 students enrolled in an online course, and then further investigated 7 individuals from the course. The purpose of the study was to determine how practice and learning enhance one another or how they interfere with one another. This study searched for ways that individuals can be successful in practice and learning environments when the student needed to switch between the two roles. Research found that the enhancements far outweighed the disturbances or disruptions. Online studies did not distract an individual from their daily interaction with work associates, but rather enhanced their participation in daily work activities. It was found that participation in an online community enhanced the student’s interaction in the real world. Review: This article was successful in examining the beliefs and opinions of those surveyed. The researchers were concerned about the student’s attitudes toward the online community and the community of practice equally. It appears there were particularly concerned with the ease or difficulty in switching between the various communities as evidenced by the various references to learning “distributed within multiple communities” (Stacey, Smith, & Barty, 2004, p.108). The authors mention a sense of anxiety that arises in individuals when they enter a new community of practice. This anxiety was not present in the online community. They noted that the students felt more at ease using discussions and group collaboration online, because everyone had a chance to share their ideas and be heard. In turn, after having this experience in the online community, students were then able to better interact in their workplace, feeling a stronger sense of belonging to a “real” experience than a virtual one. Also, the online community acted as a support for the community of practice. In the online setting, students could bring up topics related to their workplace and gain insight, perspective, and advice from other colleagues. This article would be beneficial for someone looking to compare the transition between online knowledge and putting the information into practice. Additionally, if you were investigating proper etiquette or use of online tools as related to the workplace, this article would be an excellent resource.