Time to think about the 4 Es …

Recently I seem to be constantly referring to collis et al., 4 e’s model as the basis for discussions around where to place the emphasis to enhance the effective use of innovative technology by lecturing staff.

Given I’d a few hours to spare on a train going north I thought it might be a good chance to catch up on some reading on the subject.

A quick read of collis, peters and pals (2001), “a model for predicting the educational use of information and communication technologies” gave a few interesting insights.

Firstly, the evidence based on a sample of 550 people identified the model is still valid, although they have revised it slightly.

Secondly, when looking at the individual vectors they found the most consistently important for the sample population were the organisational aspects as a determinant for the successful adoption of a learning technology.

The questions asked illustrate the thrust of the investigation, they were scored on a 5 likert scale (very good, good, can’t say, poor, very poor).

  1. The vision within my organisation for technology use for learning related purposes is …
  2. The support from the leaders in my organisation for technology use for learning related purposes is …
  3. The readiness change among the people in my organisation when it comes to the use of technology in education is …
  4. The adequacy of my organisations technical infrastructure for technology in learning related purposes is …
  5. The day to day support of technology use in my organisation is
  6. The funding and incentives that are available in my organisation for technology use in learning ad teaching purposes are
  7. The experiences in the past that my organisation has had with technology related innovations have been …
  8. The actual use of technology for learning related purposes is an ordinary part of how most people work …

I think it would be a very illuminating exercise to get staff at UCS to complete this survey. Even without I’d suggest we can reflect on the our deployment of technology enhanced learning against these questions.

For instance, I’d not expect a positive score for the vision question. At the moment technology enhanced learning is seemlessly embed within the teaching and learning strategy. Therefore, given the patchy use of learning technologies at ucs, perhaps we need to make our vision more explicit and argue to make it a strategy on its own.

The second question is very interesting as it will take a while to define, leaders in my organisations. I would suggest there is a consistent message from the provost, and some heads of school, learning network. However, I would suggest this group needs to be engaged with at a consistent level, in the most effective manner. In particular, the need to focus on the evidence of successfull implementation.

The third question would probably show most people wouldn’t think the people in the organisation are ready to change in their use of learning technology. I would suggest this through the relatively low proportion of staff who are engaged in discussing learnig discussions

The fourth question would probably get a response of poor to very poor. This is getting better in terms of the shift to external hosted learning tools, however, there is a time delay in people’s awareness, therefore they’ll be many drawing on the experiences of the recent past. This also brings in many related issues which are outside of the control of the elearning team, but is strongly related to learning technology. For instance, the general teaching spaces. The technologies within those spaces are inconsistent deployed and very inflexible and must act as a deterent for staff to use adopt more effective technologies in their teaching.

The fifth question would score poorly because of the issue structural issues within the teams with ucs. For instance, the use of multimedia in teaching and learning, they’ll talk to a number of support teams, including elevate, and IT, so there is potential of reasons with mixed messages about users feeling day to day support isn’t good. However, we have worked through the introduction of a hub and spoke model, and just in time online support to address these issues.

The funding and incentives will probably score poorly, not because they don’t exist, or ar not adequate, more because of staff’s lack of knowledge of what is available, for instance, how many staff know about the internal fund (ilts), cpd pots, and who to talk to w.r.t leverage external money, accreditation opportunities with cmalt and hea, external special interest groups.

The last two questions are also like to score poorly, this observation is based on how people have used the existing technology, and the way people tend to teach, and assess.

Therefore, I would suggest there is need to develop a strategy and implementation plan with appropriate resources to focus in this area.

Interestingly, the research found the second most important (and only other consistently statistically significant) vector was personal engagement. The questions related to personal feelings and interests towards technology in the learning process. For instance,

  1. I generally find it appealing and interesting to use technology
  2. Technology applications are likely to make learning related activities more interesting for me
  3. I feel confident in my ability to make use of technology applications in my learning-related activities
  4. I am a person who likes to try out new ways to carry out learning related tasks
  5. I am a person who has a high general level of interests in new technological developments
  6. My prior experiences with using technology for learning purposes have been positive
  7. I can picture myself trying to encourage my colleagues to try out new technology applications for their learning related tasks.

At first glance, this is a more difficult vector to have a quick and positive effect upon compared to the the environmental vector. Many of these questions are about the personal attitudes which will take time to change. Therefore, significant issues arise around scalability, and sustainability having to work with large numbers of staff. So, I wonder, how we might be able to roll this into our course team carpe diem workshops. Hfor instance, there is an obvious correlation with the educational effectiveness vector in terms of influencing the fun aspect and prior experiences, while ease of use should influence the confidence question.

So where next, well for me, more reading, applying it to certain technology enhanced learning scenarios, and for you …

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