Journal Search Engine
Search Advanced Search Adode Reader(link)
Download PDF Export Citaion korean bibliography PMC previewer
ISSN : 2092-674X (Print)
ISSN : 2092-6758 (Online)
Asia-Pacific Collaborative education Journal Vol.6 No.1 pp.30-49
DOI :

Mobility and e-Learning Delivery Methods: Through the Perspectives of Thailand Cyber University Project (TCU)

Duangchinda Vorasuang, Kim YoungHwan, Mekhabunchakij Kittima
DUANGCHINDA Vorasuang, Mr. is an Assistant Director, Office of Management for Online Education Affairs, Sripatum University (SPU - Thailand). He gives lectures to the Faculty of Information Technology and Sripatum International College. He is also a teacher in the e-Learning Professional program at Thailand Cyber University Project. His research interests include e-Learning Management and Technology Management. He is currently pursuing for a Ph.D. in Information Technology at Graduate School, Sripatum University.
KIM YoungHwan, Ph.D. is a Professor
in Department of Education at Pusan
National University(PNU), Korea. He currently
serves as a President of the Institute
of APEC Collaborative Education (IACE)
and a coordinator of APEC Education
Network (EDNET). His research interests
include Edutainment Park System and
Holistic Educational Systemic Change with
U-technology and Learning Community.
MEKHABUNCHAKIJ Kittima, Ph.D. is a
lecturer in the Ph.D. Program in Information
Technology, Sripatum University, Thailand.
She is also a member of the Subcommittee
for Radio Frequency Utilization and Status,
National Telecommunications Commission,
Thailand. Her research interests include
software architectures, software development
methods, and learning technology.
Received Date: February 20, 2010, Revision received Date: May 23, 2010, Accepted Date: June 4, 2010

Abstract

As e-Learning is now widely used inmany countries and for many purposes,universities have also utilized e-Learningfor effective teaching and learning, includingThai universities. Effective delivery ofe-Learning is therefore an ultimate goalfor teaching and learning inan e-Learning environment. More importantly,the impact of Mobility one-Learning should not be overlooked, asit may provide possibilities for learnersto learn without the limitation of presenceand time. This study surveys teachers ofthe e-Learning Professional CertificateProgram, one of Thailand CyberUniversity (TCU)’s flagship e-Learningcourses, for their perspectives in Mobilityand e-Learning Delivery Methodologies,particularly in the Integrative method asdescribed by the North CarolinaCooperative Extension Service. Resultshave divided the Delivery modes with theapplication of Mobility into two groups.As a result of this study, the IntegrativeDelivery modes of twenty-two choices thathave been preferences among fourteenTCU experts include a Discussion Group,Forum, Brainstorming, Conference, andBuzz Group. In the TCU experts’ pointof view, to carry out e-Learning classes,it is important to motivate the passivelearner to participate actively and to havethe learners more interact more and havemore mobility in sharing opinions andparticipating. While mobility may improvee-Learning delivery in many aspects, physicalcontact may still be needed for somemodes, such as Personal and Office visits.

0081-02-0006-0001-3.pdf226.0KB

Introduction

Thailand Cyber University Project

 Thailand Cyber University Project (TCU) was founded in 2005 by the Office of The Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education, Thailand to be the central body of cooperative activities among universities to promote and support online distance education (e-Learning) in Thailand. Since then, TCU has continuously served as the country’s central hub and seeks ways to effectively create, use, and apply e-Learning, especially at the Higher Education level for lifelong learning (Office of the Higher Education Commission: 2010; Thammetar, 2009).

 Recently, TCU has been awarded Honorable Mentions for the 2009 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education as over 13,000 education professionals from 76 institutes have been trained (UNESCO, 2010).

e-Learning Professional Certificate Program (e-Pro)

 One of the TCU flagship training courses is the e-Learning Professional (e-Pro) certificate program. Since 2006, learners in the e-Pro have come from many sectors, such as university lecturers and school teachers from all over Thailand; government officers; Captains and cabin crew from Thai Airways Internationals; training personnel from the Stock Exchange of Thailand; e-learning developers and designers, and others (Sombuntham, 2009; Duangchinda, 2009). Given its credentials, e-Pro has been selected as the domain of this study.

 e-Pro has been designed to improve e-Learning competencies for educators in Thailand. e-Pro is divided into three tracks: for e-Learning teachers, courseware designers, and project managers. There are twelve subjects on offer as shown in Table 1. The program is delivered in a fully online environment. Each subject, worth three credit points, spans eight weeks. The total number of students enrolled is now close to 1,000 persons.

Table 1: List of Subjects in TCU e-Learning Professional Program

 Upon completion of each subject, the learner will be given a certificate of subject completion. However, to earn the course certificate and for Quality Assurance, the learner will be required to have face-to-face comprehensive examinations after they have completed all subjects required.(Thailand Cyber University Project, 2010).

 As TCU is pioneering in effective e-Learning suitable for Thailand, identifying successful e-Learning delivery methods is therefore very important. This study aims to capture what the e-Pro teachers think would be the key delivery method, and their perspective in enhancing the methods with mobility.

Research Methods

 This study utilizes a qualitative survey research methodology. An online survey form has been used to capture expert’s choices and opinions in relation to the Integrative Method, one of the three delivery methods in Extension Education, as defined by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (Richardson, Jenkins, & Crickenberger, 1994). These delivery methods are comprehensive and have been tested in several studies including Adeoye, Adenle, & Adeyemo (2008); Crocoll (2001).

 As explained by Richardson, Jenkins, and Crickenberger (1994), the Integrative Method is one of four Program Delivery Methods in Extension Education (please refer to Appendix A). The Integrative Method gives opportunities for learners to discuss, clarify, or to gain better understanding of the study content, and therefore effective learning can take place. There are 22 delivery modes of the Integrative Method, which are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: List of modes investigated (for full details please refer to Appendix B) (modified from Richardson, Jenkins, & Crickenberger, 1994)

 Research participants included Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and the teachers of the e-Pro program, who were lecturers from various universities around Thailand. The e-Pro teachers have had hand-on experiences in teaching the program since 2006.

 An online survey form was created to capture what the e-Pro teachers think would be the key delivery modes in the Integrative Methods, and their perspective in enhancing the methods with mobility.

 For this study, mobility is defined as a generic term describing one's ability to use technology while moving, as opposed to portable computers, which are only practical for use while deployed in a stationary configuration (Wikipedia, 2010).

 The URL of the form was then sent to all e-Pro teachers by email and asked by the teachers to hand it in by a certain deadline.

 All fourteen e-Pro teachers answered the survey. The data was then analyzed. Results are discussed in the next section.

Results

Experience in usage of Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods

 To verify if the teachers had used the Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods for each delivery mode, they were asked:

 · Have you ever used {name of each delivery mode as in Table 2}?

 Table 3 reveals which Integrative Delivery Modes have been used by the e-Pro teachers, and which have not been used in the e-Pro courses.

Table 3: Which Integrative e-Learning Delivery Method have been used by TCU e-Pro teachers?

 There are five Integrative Delivery modes that have been used by more than seven teachers (n=14). All of the teachers have used discussion groups (100%), and the majority of them have used brainstorming (86%). Sixty-four percent have used telephone conversation and seminar, and 57% of them have used conference.

 Further investigation has revealed that the most popular delivery mode for discussion group and brainstorming in e-Pro courses is Webboard, which has been used in all twelve subjects.

 However, more than half of the teachers have never used at least one of the following seventeen delivery modes when teaching e-Pro courses; convention, panel, forum, meeting, symposium, colloquy, dialogue, institute, buzz group, audience reaction team, listening team, interview, teleconference, computer network, satellite conferencing, and office visit. Notably, none of the teachers have ever used personal visit.

Perception of the e-Pro teachers towards Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods

 To capture the teachers’ perception towards applying mobility with Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods; for each delivery mode they were asked:

 · Will or does mobility improve the use of {name of each delivery mode as in Table 2} in your class?

 Table 4 shows that only Teacher E’s overall experience in usage of Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods is below 50%. Further investigation has revealed that the teacher teaches subject no. 7 “Evaluation Methods and Techniques in e-Learning”. Whereas Teacher H who teaches subject no. what number? “Quality Assurance in e-Learning”, and teacher M who teaches subject no. 10 “Organizational e-Learning Policy and Strategy” respectively; do have full overall experience in the delivery method.

Table 4: e-Pro teachers’ Overall experience in usage of Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods

 With these findings, it may lead to a belief that teacher E has limited experience in applying Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods in his or her teaching, whereas other teachers, especially teacher H and M do have vast experience in using Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods for the e-Pro classes. However, there may also be other factors impacting the findings including whether or not the delivery modes align with the learning objectives, the contents, or the assessment, as well as the teaching procedure.

 The level of overall experience in the usage of Integrative e-Learning Delivery methods for all fourteen teachers is at 75.71%, which is moderately high.

 Table 5 reveals an interesting finding. The e-Pro teachers were asked whether mobility can improve the Integrative Method, based on their experience and perception. For each mode in the Integrative Method, they had to give a score from 1-5, in which 5 denotes a strong belief that mobility will improve that mode.

Table 5: What are the e-Pro teachers opinions if mobility can improve the Integrative Method?

 The average scores of each mode then have been used as a ranking indicator. For those modes which have equal average scores, they are ranked as “tied”. Thus the next rankings will be numbered next to the number of tied rankings.

 · For example Forum and Brainstorming are equally scored at 4.57, so they are ranked as T2, and the next highest score is Conference (4.43), so it is ranked 4th.

 Table 5 shows that Discussion group is the most preferred mode for the teachers to apply mobility into, with a score of 4.79 out of 5 on average. An office visit is the least preferred mode, with a score of 2.50 out of 5 on average. Interestingly, no modes scored less than 2.50 out of 5, proving that the teachers do believe in general that mobility can improve the Integrative Method.

Discussion

 This study has produced some interesting findings. For a clearer understanding of the outcomes, it is also important to know how the teachers will apply mobility in their class using Integrative e-Learning Delivery Methods. Therefore, for each delivery mode they were asked:

 · Could you please suggest how to improve your class using {name of delivery mode} with mobility?

 Note: these questions are not compulsory as some teachers may not think they will use this delivery mode, or will use the mode without mobility.

 Based on a normal curve technique, Table 6 provides a comparison of the top and bottom five of the Integrative e-Learning Delivery Method. The leading modes that the teachers wish to apply Mobility into are: Discussion group, Forum, Brainstorming, Conference, and Buzz group. Modes that received the lowest scores were: Interview, Institute, Listening team, Personal visit, and Office visit.

Table 6: Top and Bottom Fives: Improvement of Mobility in e-Pro classes in each Integrative Delivery Mode

 The finding suggests that teachers may prefer to use group-based approaches that are not too rigid and have some degrees of flexibility.

 As can be seen from Table 7, when combining Table 3 and Table 6, it can be seen that the e-Pro teachers totally believe in the “Discussion Group”. All teachers have used this delivery mode and are confident that mobility will improve the use of this delivery mode.

Table 7: Selective combination of teachers’ perceptions (Table 6 – top and bottom three) and experience (Table 3)

 In addition, Figure 1 reveals that the teachers do believe that “Discussion Group” will allow effective e-Learning for learners of different locations, providing that they have proper scheduling, support, and technological infrastructure.

Figure 1: Selected excerpt of teachers’ comment on how to apply “Discussion Group” with Mobility

 Forum and Brain Storming are equally ranked second when referring to teachers’ perceptions. However, less than half of the teachers have used Forum, but nearly all of them have used Brain Storming. By observing the comments in Figure 2 and 3, it can be seen that teachers do believe Mobility will allow effective asynchronous brain storming and participation in the forum. Some teachers even have expressed their strong will in applying the modes with mobility in their future classes.

Figure 2: Selected excerpt of teachers’ comment on how to apply “Forum” with Mobility

Figure 3: Selected excerpt of teachers’ comment on how to apply “Brain Storming” with Mobility

 Context analysis of the findings across all twenty-two Integrative Delivery models reveals more conclusive facts. Table 8 shows selective and excerpted key comments on how Mobility will improve the Integrative Delivery Modes. The modes are ranked by perception scores, which have been discussed in Table 5.

Table 8: Selective and Excerpt of Key Comments: How will Mobility improve the Integrative Delivery Modes, ranked by perception.

Table 8: Selective and Excerpt of Key Comments: How will Mobility improve the Integrative Delivery Modes, ranked by perception.

 Although the teachers may not have unanimously categorized the findings, their comments lead us to believe that they are not convinced that these eleven integrative Delivery Modes are going to benefit their class better if Mobility is applied.The modes include:

 · T12. Audience reaction team, T12. Computer network, T14. Panel, T14. Meeting, T14. Satellite conferencing, T17. Colloquy, 18. Interview, 19. Institute, 20. Listening team, 21. Personal visit, and 22. Office visit

 Table 8 shows selective and excerpts of key comments from the teachers on how mobility will improve the 22 modes of the Integrative Delivery method, ranked by perception of the teachers as explained in Table 5 and Table 6.

 The table is divided into two groups, first, the top eleven and second, the bottom eleven modes according to their ranking. The division is marked by a thick dark line.

 For the top eleven groups (above the thick dark line), the excerpt comments do not show any concerns or negative remarks on applying mobility into the modes.

 However, for the bottom eleven groups (below the thick dark line), comments reveal that the teachers do wonder if some of the eleven modes would be suitable only for synchronous techniques, and some may require pre-requisite conditions such as familiarity between the learners before applying mobility to the mode. These eleven modes (as in Table 8 below the thick dark line) include:

 · T12. Audience reaction team, T12. Computer network, T14. Panel, T14. Meeting, T14. Satellite conferencing, T17. Colloquy, 18. Interview, 19. Institute, 20. Listening team, 21. Personal visit, 22. Office visit

 Thus, this study primarily concludes that based on given evidence, applying Mobility to the delivery modes as in the bottom eleven groups, may not be suitable for Integrative e-Learning Delivery method in Thailand, based on the perception of the teachers of the e-Pro program.

 In contrast, the other eleven modes seem to have attracted the attention of the teachers when Mobility is applied. These eleven modes (as in Table 8 above the thick dark line) include:

 · 1. Discussion group, T2. Forum, T2. Brainstorming, 4. Conference, 5. Buzz group, 6. Teleconference, T7. Seminar, T7. Telephone conversation, T9. Convention, T9. Symposium, and T9. Dialogue

 Context analysis has revealed key terms that have been mentioned several times, for examples “Same time but Different Places”, “Sharing ideas”, “Convenience”, and “Mobile devices”. In fact, no negative comments about applying Mobility to these integrative Delivery Modes were found. Rather, teachers seem to have plenty of ideas on how to effectively apply Mobility to their classes.

 Thus, this study primarily concludes that based on given evidence, applying Mobility to these above mentioned eleven modes may be suitable for Integrative e-Learning Delivery method in Thailand, based on the perception of the teachers of the e-Pro program.

Limitations and Future work

 This study serves as a preliminary finding of Integrative e-Learning Delivery Methods, based only on the teachers in e-Pro certificate program of Thailand Cyber University Project (TCU). Although the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and TCU are credible, it would be interesting to see a comparison of this study with at least two more Thai Universities who offer online courses at a similar level. The results can then be analyzed and generalized more convincingly.

 In addition, it may be useful to quantitatively survey teachers around the country to confirm the findings. Perhaps, similar study can be conducted at a greater magnitude, in more than one country. Lastly, a quality framework model such as e-Learning Maturity Model (EMM) (Beames, Mitchell, & Marshall, 2009) may be employed for controlling quality and benchmarking the deliveries.

Appendixes

Appendix A: Glossary

1. Integrative Methods (Richardson, Jenkins, and Crickenberger, 1994)

 · Refers to one of Program Delivery Methods in Extension Education. Program delivery methods that provide the learner opportunities to discuss, clarify, or otherwise gain greater understanding of new information can be classified as integrative methods. These methods generally provide opportunities for learners to merge new information with their existing knowledge.

2. Other Program Delivery Methods (Richardson,Jenkins, and Crickenberger, 1994)

 · Experiential Methods, which includes: Audio cassette, Video cassette, Interactive video, Audio compact disk, Video compact disk, Method demonstration, Result demonstration, On- farm test, Tour, Field day, Workshop, Analysis of data or results, Game, Skit, Networking, Role play, and Case study

 · Reinforcement Methods, which includes : Fact sheet, Notebook, Leaflet or flier, Pamphlet or booklet, Magazine article, Journal article, Poster, Book, Fax message, and Computer software, Newsletter, Letter, Home study kit

 · Others, which includes : Broadcast television, Cable television, Radio, Newspaper, Movie (film), Film strip, Slide-tape presentation, Photograph, Bulletin board, Show, Fair, Exhibit, Lecture, Speech, Teletip message, Church bulletin, Comics, and Novelty items

3. Mobility

 · Mobility in Mobile computing refers to a generic term describing one's ability to use technology while moving, as opposed to portable computers, which are only practical for use while deployed in a stationary configuration. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_computing)

Appendix B: Twenty-two e-Learning Delivery Modes investigated (Richardson,Jenkins, and Crickenberger, 1994)

1. Conference

 · Refers to a meeting of a large or small group of people having similar interests for formal presentations to the entire group and for smaller group sessions that focus on specific components of the general topic who have similar interests and who represent subsets of a larger organization. Multiple planned meetings of subgroups occur simultaneously at least part of the time during the event.

2. Convention

 · Refers to an assembly of a large number of people who have similar interests and who represent subsets of a larger organization. Multiple planned meetings of subgroups occur simultaneously at least part of the time during the event.

3. Seminar

 · Refers to a meeting in which a group of people who are studying a specific subject engage in discussions led by a recognized authority.

4. Panel

 · Refers to a discussion among a small group of people who are knowledgeable about a subject conducted in front of an audience. Panel members make no formal presentation; they exchange ideas through conversation.

5. Forum

 · Refers to a form of group discussion that allows audience members to participate. The discussion period may be completely open or restricted to a specific part of the program.

6. Meeting

 · Refers to an assembly of people at which information on a topic of common interest is presented.

7. Symposium

 · Refers to an assembly in which short presentations are made by a small number of speakers who are knowledgeable about a particular subject. These presentations may range from 5 to 20 minutes each.

8. Colloquy

 · Refers to a gathering at which a panel of individuals discuss a subject in front of an audience but interact with audience members only when those members wish to ask a specific question or clarify a point under discussion. When a particular point is resolved, the organized discussion among panel members continues.

9. Dialogue

 · Refers to a discussion between two people conducted in front of an audience.

10. Institute

 · Refers to a planned series of sessions of one or more days each for in-depth presentations and significant study by individuals who hold similar interests.

11. Buzz group

 · Refers to a group of five to eight persons who discuss relevant questions posed by the leader of a larger group assembly.

12. Discussion Group

 · Refers to an informal meeting of people to discuss a topic of mutual concern.

13. Brainstorming

 · Refers to a process in which members of an audience are encouraged to participate by sharing their ideas or suggestions on a subject. No discussion of each point is allowed until all ideas have been expressed.

14. Audience reaction team

 · Refers to three members of the audience preselected to respond to the information presented by offering a brief summary and interpretation. The team provides an opportunity for group reaction or response when the audience is large or time is limited.

15. Listening team

 · Refers to a small group formed from members of an audience before a presentation and asked to listen for different things in the presentation and then to discuss or clarify how the information could be applied.

16. Interview

 · Refers to a face-to-face meeting in which facts and beliefs are elicited or exchanged.

17. Teleconferencing

 · Refers to the process by which three or more individuals at distant locations are connected by two-way audio signals or audio and video signals for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas.

18. Telephone conversation

 · Refers to an electronic means for direct sharing of information between two people at distant locations by voice transmission.

19. Computer network

 · Refers to the linking of three or more computers for the purpose of sharing and exchanging information. The linkage may be restricted to the computers on the local network or may extend to other information sources over a wide area.

20. Satellite conferencing

 · Refers to a teleconferencing method that uses both audio and video signals transmitted via cable or satellite for the purpose of conferring, instructing, and disseminating information among people at distant locations.

21. Personal visit

 · Refers to a face-to-face exchange of information between two or more people, usually at the location of the person or persons receiving the information.

22. Office visit

 · Refers to a face-to-face exchange of information among two or more people, usually at the location of the information provider.

Appendix C: Online Survey Form

Figure 4: Top of the form

Figure 5: Explanation and Glossary

Figure 6: Question 1

Figure 7: Question 22 (last question)

Reference

1.Adeoye, B. F., Adenle, S. O., and Adeyemo, S. A., (2008), "Framework for Choosing Teaching and Learning Delivery Methods in Nigerian Universities", European Journal of Scientific Research, Vol.20 No.1 (2008), pp.134-140.
2.Beames, S., Mitchell, G. and Marshall, S, (2009), "Using the e-Learning Maturity Model to Benchmark Institutional Learning and Teaching Plans and Capabilities", Proceedings of the 2009 Educause in Australasia Conference, Perth, Australia, 3rd-6th May.
3.Crocoll, C. E. (2001), "Inspiring Volunteer Development: A Resource Book for Training Senior Volunteers in Intergenerational Programs", National Service Fellow, Corporation for National Service, National Service Fellowship Program, USA.
4.Duangchinda, V. (2009), "Relationship between Academy-Industry-Government for Teacher Training and Human Resources Training utilizing IT: The Thai Experience", Keynote speech at the The XVIII Deans and Faculty Chairs Congress in Informatics and Computing (XVII I DFCCIC), Mexico.
5.Office of the Higher Education Commission, (2010), "2009 Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC): Annual Report", pp. 173-175.
6.Richardson, J. G., Jenkins, D. M., and Crickenberger R. G., (1994), "Program Delivery Methods in Extension Education", North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Available online at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/resources/education/sd6/Last accessed: February 14, 2010
7.Sombuntham, S. (2009), "Establishing Cyber University and Reform of Higher Education: Thailand Cyber University Project", Asia-Pacific Cybereducation Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2m pp. 41-48.
8.Thammetar T., (2009), "A case study of a Thailand Cyber University project", Keynote Speech at e-Learning Asia Conference 2009 (eLAC 2009), Seoul, Republic of Korea.
9.Thailand Cyber University Project, e-Learning Professional Site, (2010), Available online at: http://www.thaicyberu.go.th/e-pro Last accessed: February 18, 2010
10.UNESCO, (2010), "2009 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education awarded" Available online at: http://www.unesco.org/en/education/dynamic-content-single-view/news/rector_of_moscow_institute_of_open_education_and_the_jordan_education_initiative_receive_2009_unesco/back/9195/cHash/86115cd643/ Last accessed: February 1, 2010
11.Wikipedia, (2010), "Mobile computing" Available online at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_computing
12.http://www.unesco.org/en/education/dynamic-content-single-view/news/rector_of_moscow_institute_of_open_education_and_the_jordan_education_initiative_receive_2009_unesco/back/9195/cHash/86115cd643/Last accessed: April 1, 2010