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That syncing feeling: the impact of learning design on participation and interaction in webinars for teacher training

Presented at JALT 2012
by

David Gatrell

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of That syncing feeling: the impact of learning design on participation and interaction in webinars for teacher training

That "syncing" feeling: the impact of learning design on participation and interaction in webinars for teacher training

David Gatrell, British Council Hong Kong and TeachingEnglish online teacher development team How did I get interested in webinars? Presentation agenda How did I become interested in using and researching webinars?

Theoretical background

Research: webinars on E-moderator Essentials by British Council TeachingEnglish

Implications of the research

Questions, feedback and suggestions on the presentation or research: join http://learningtechnologieshongkong.pbworks.com/webinars MA DTCE: http://madigitaltechnologies.wordpress.com
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Social presence as a learner - less isolated
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Collaborative projects - faster pace, more dynamic interaction
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Joined British Council TeachingEnglish development team
Introducing webinars on online courses for ELT:
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/british-council-online-courses
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E-moderator Essentials = MA DTCE dissertation Participation and interaction in webinars are shaped by factors we can't control Scheduling
Number of participants
Learner differences
Technical problems Participation and interaction in webinars also depend on factors we can control The webinar-based learning environment
Learning design
Perceptions of webinar-based learning? Existing research Medium not widely used until late 2000s: Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate, Wimba Classroom
Little available research
Text-based > multimodal
Nothing on ELT Benefits of all synchronous e-learning Promotes social and informal communication
More ideas sharing
More community, less isolation
Stronger ties, denser interaction
Higher participation
More equal participation
Immediate feedback + social presence = more motivation

see Chou 2002, Hrastinski 2006, 2008, 2010, Orvis et al 2002 How is multimodal different? What do webinars add? So what is the role of the moderator? Ground rules and interaction patterns
Pre-reading and agenda
Promote deeper engagement
Encourage reflection
Flexible approach to technology used

see Park & Bonk 2007, Shi et al 2008, Chen et al 2009 How can webinar tools aid interaction and participation? Participants as "presenters" - more learner-centred
Polls to gauge understanding
Breakouts to encourage collaboration
Slides and whiteboard - visual channel

see Wang & Hsu 2009 Pitfalls specific to webinar-based learning? Two-way audio - interruptions
Video - distracting
NOT the same as F2F
Multiple audio and visual elements - unnatural Users, not only the medium, dictate how a medium will be used How far is participation and interaction shaped by the people who use webinars ... and how much is it down to the medium itself? Research questions What is the nature of participation and interaction in moderated webinar-based learning for developing e-moderators?

What is the impact of different learning designs on participation and interaction in moderated webinar-based learning for developing e-moderators?

How are different learning designs perceived by moderators and participants? Theoretical framework: multimodal discourse analysis Deals with all modes of communication
Activity Theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics
3 components: Technology, Activity and Task design
Subject of discourse: Activity, Content, Technology, and Socio-emotional *
Nature of interaction also analysed

* Berge's (1995) moderator roles: managerial, pedagogical, technical and social
Based on Bower & Hedberg 2010 Coding frame for textual discourse - subject two iterations of EME - EMOD-034 and 036
one moderator, 20 participants
30-55 year-old native- and non-native speakers, C1+
0-4 years' experience in webinar-based learning
six episodes analysed from 3 meetings - 75.4 min
5-10 participants per episode
post-meeting forum discussion Context Learning design Tools used General Presentation Delivery - to show slides in main room
Webcam and VoIP - technology-permitting
Text Chat - to other CPs * or main room
Breakouts *
File Upload - to show video and PDF in breakout room *
Notes - to record feedback from breakout room
Polling - to gauge opinion
Attendee List - to indicate status, e.g. ‘applause’
Whiteboard - to record feedback from breakout room
Archiving - to record the meeting Qualitative approaches used purposeful analysis of each episode transcript Quantitative results Global results - nature of participation and interaction

Learning design results - impact of learning design Interface design poll text chat notes pod whiteboard attendee list Global results - comparing actions Learning design results - technology design MDA =
quantification of interaction + participation
moderator + participants
global + individual learning design

Content-focused
Other discourse useful: Activity, Technology, socio-emotional
Participants use tools available to them to interact

Perceptions affect interaction + participation: "In the second meeting, familiarity meant greater confidence and more productivity … persist and things get easier." Conclusions different channels of communication captured and analysed
cause-and-effect relationships identified
helped conduct qualitative analysis of participation/interaction

video, private chat and breakout rooms not analysed
affecting factors: scheduling, learner differences, moderator differences, technical issues, group size ...
possible that one variable, e.g. technology design, overshadowed the other two
context not representative of all webinar-based learning designs and cannot be extrapolated Reflections on quantitative method Looking forward How can it benefit practitioners? How can it benefit the research community?

highlights examples of good practice in webinar-based learning
can inform approaches to webinar-based learning
research tools can be used to investigate webinar-based learning in ELT

Questions, feedback and suggestions: http://learningtechnologieshongkong.pbworks.com/webinars
"It is not simply a case of choosing the most appropriate medium - we must also ensure it is used in most appropriate way."

Hrastinski 2010 Technology design - presentational
or collaborative? Task design - conceptual or metacognitive knowlege ... and at what stage is content introduced? Activity design - moderator-centred,
moderator-participant interaction
or moderator-as-regulator? Learning design Coding frame for textual discourse - nature of interaction Is the sentence independent or responsive? Is the sentence a question or statement? Is the sentence responding to a question, statement or action? explain participation and interaction identify perceptions analysis of post-meeting discussion forums focus groups moderators participants Global results - total participation Global results - comparing discourse by subject moderators participants 2 3 1 Global results - comparing nature of intereaction collaborative design presentational design Learning design results - technology design collaborative design presentational design Learning design results - technology design collaborative design presentational design Learning design results - activity design moderator-as-facilitator design more moderator-centred design Learning design results - activity design moderator-as-facilitator design more moderator-centred design Learning design results - activity design moderator-as-facilitator design more moderator-centred design more moderator-centred design Learning design results - task design conceptual knowlege - input during meeting metacognitive knowlege - input before meeting Learning design results - how do webinar tools support interaction? Learning design results - perceptions of collaborative tech design Social presence: "nothing beats it ... it adds a human touch"
Slides and moderator webcams provide a focus
Non-verbal communication supports interaction
Tools allow new patterns of interaction
Range of tools ensures communication
Replicates classroom environment Positive perceptions Easy to lose the thread of a text discussion
Typing skills inhibit participation
Lack of feedback when speaking
Audio difficult to use with larger groups
"Too much going on ... tools are a distraction"
Less tech-savvy participants comfortable with simpler, presentational design Negative perceptions Questions raised from focus groups What is the purpose of webcams - social presence or interaction?
How do perceptions change over time - will subsequent participants become more comfortable with the environment?
Should webinars aim to replicate F2F learning or actually transform the learning environment? Learning design results - how moderator-centred should it be? "If the moderator wasn't leading things, you could end up directionless"
"If the moderator just left them to it, they'd all go off the point"
"Online, it's more necessary to make sure [a discussion] doesn't go off topic and weave things in"
"I always felt more comfortable in the [main room] … I could hide … I felt I was in my comfort zone when I had the whole class there" More moderator-centred "It's nice for participants to generate notes and record their discussion"
"In [breakout] groups it was better … you can give your opinion and if you keep silent, different participants ask you [to contribute]"
"People participated more equally in breakout rooms" Less moderator-centred Questions raised from focus groups Does the need for a more moderator-centred approach diminish over time?
Do certain stages of the webinar call for a more moderator-centred approach than others?
Can tools - such as slides and polls - help reduce the need for moderator presence by enhancing participation and managing interaction? Learning design results - when should new material be inputted? "Pre-reading is useful - people have different levels of knowledge … if they’ve read the material beforehand they start on a level playing field"
"Pre-readings helped us lead discussions ... when we were given texts in the meeting there wasn't time ... we don't all read at the same speed"
"It's better to use the meeting for discussion - not input ... it's like the flipped classroom"
"Too much input and time management becomes an issue" Before the meeting "I liked the use of video as input - it was more interesting"
"I like interacting with the thing there at that moment and dealing with responses and everything happening at that moment … that’s the way I work"
"If your input is short and concise and stimulates discussion then it can be managed" During the meeting Questions raised from focus groups Does the webinar become a presentation, or a discussion based on what people have read or watched?
Is the purpose of a webinar to stimulate thought and process information, or are we using it to input new information to them?
Does task design depend on individual learning styles?
Regardless of what happens during the webinar, how can we promote reflection after it has finished? Research question 1 What is the nature of participation and interaction in moderated webinar-based learning? Research question 2 What is the impact of different learning designs on participation and interaction in moderated webinar-based learning? Research question 3 How are different learning designs perceived by moderators and participants? participant discourse Content-focused and responsive, moderator discourse Activity-Content-focused and independent

resulted from predominantly moderator-centred approaches - moderators engaged with participants, providing "hooks with both ends" and "confronting and conflicting" - and presentational technology design more collaborative technology designs enabled those participants with microphone rights to contribute more sentences per minute than when using text-chat

collaborative technology designs resulted in higher levels of Activity, Activity-Technology- and Technology-focused discourse and increased socio-emotional communication

less moderator-centred activity designs lead to higher, more equal and more independent participant discourse

metacognitive task designs drawing on participants' experiences yield more equal participant contributions, especially if content is inputted before the meeting - the “flipped classroom” collaborative technology designs are more likely to succeed if tools are introduced gradually and supported by screencasts or practice sessions that all participants can attend

more moderator-centred activity designs can support less experienced participants, and are better suited to feedback and summarising

different task designs appeal to different learning styles - though pre-reading is essential, some participants may benefit from working with new content during a webinar both tools helped explain quantitative findings
forum discussions took place immediately after each episode
participant focus group was selected to include active and less active participants
moderator focus group was directed by research participants themselves, not the researcher

focus groups took place one month after the final episode
not all moderators and participants could attend
one participant contributed by text, not audio
few participants took part in the second forum discussion Reflections on the qualitative method Non-verbal communication + webinar tools = enhanced participation + more dynamic interaction Over to you Have you used webinars or other types of videoconferencing as a teacher or learner?

Did they promote learning? Why / why not?
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