15 June 2021: Effectively Supporting Online Learning Groups in eLearning Systems

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Session Type: Webinar (1 hour)

Date: Tuesday 15 June 2021; 2:00pm SAST 

Description of webinar:

Learning in groups has been advocated to increase learning. However, although learning groups can bring about meaningful learning, learning groups in online environments are often not working. To solve this problem, this study used design science approaches with three case studies. These case studies were used under three research areas: context of online learning groups, processes to support effective online learning groups and tools to support effective online learning groups. The study adopted mixed methods. Establishing the context of online learning groups laid a foundation for this research study. This was done using a survey approach that covered the five regions in Uganda, semi-structured interviews with experienced online learning facilitators and observation of interaction logs of online courses at both the University of Agder and Makerere University. Initially, preliminary findings of effective online learning groups were established. The preliminary findings consist of the need for: study guide, trained online tutors, motivating and sustaining interaction, high levels of cognitive interactions, peer assessment based activities and ICT. From the context of online learning groups, the Methods and Factors for Effective Online Learning Groups (FEOLG) were established. Methods include: methods for creating online learning groups, methods for structuring online learning group activities, methods for facilitating online learning groups. FEOLG include: supporting institutional online learning group policy; supporting institutional online learning group technology; quality of online learning group activity; quality of the online learning group; and quality of online learning group facilitation. The factors were evaluated using online learning courses based on the existing Makerere University eLearning Environment (MUELE). Therefore, this webinar aims to explain an investigation on how learning groups can work effectively in online learning environments.

Facilitated by: Dr. Godfrey Mayende, Ag. Director, Institute of Open, Distance and eLearning, College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University.

Dr. Godfrey Mayende (Male) has worked at the Institute of Open, Distance and eLearning since 2001, and he is currently the Acting Director of the Institute. Godfrey holds a PhD in ICT (specialising in online learning groups) from the University of Agder (UiA), Norway. He has a PGDE (Educational Technology) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. Godfrey holds a MSc. Eng (Information Systems) from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway and a BSc. Comp Science and Mathematics from Makerere University (MAK), Uganda. He has recent peer reviewed publications in the area of eLearning and specifically online learning groups. He has vast experience in eLearning training workshops most especially for online course development. He is a member of the Makerere University e-Learning Fast-Tracking Task Force. He is an educational technology consultant and his research interests are: online learning groups, social media for teaching and learning, distance learning, eLearning, collaborative learning, Instruction Design and Interaction Design.

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