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Research Methodologies for Online Learning Environments

Melissa Layne, Ed.D. Director of Research Methodology, Editor-in-Chief, Internet Learning, American Public University System
March 10, 2014

Introduction Online Learning Research Online Learning Environments Methodological Approaches

POLL: How many attendees here today conduct research on online environments?

POLL: What type of research do you typically conduct?


Largely quantitative Largely qualitative Largely mixed methods

Introduction Online Learning Research Online Learning Environments Methodological Approaches

Online Learning Research


Research is sparse in terms of exploring methodological approaches conducive to documenting student learning vis--vis these technologies Much of existing research studies are based upon comparative studies of face-toface learning versus online. Need for more qualitative and mixed method studies

Session Objectives
In this session, I will: identify current online learning environments and associated learning tools, describe learning tool functionality as they pertain to student learning outcomes, and present methodological approaches to student learning-related data extracted from these online learning environments.

Introduction Online Learning Research Online Learning Environments Methodological Approaches

POLL: Which of the following online learning environments do you most use?
A Learning Management System (LMS) A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) A Multi user virtual environment (MUVE) Social network Games Other

Online Learning Environments - LMS


What is it?

L
Learning
An online environment that allows for the administration of learning and training activities

M
Management
Manages documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of online courses

S
System
Software application or web-based

Online Learning Environments - LMS


ToolsusedtoCollectLMS Data Discussionboard/chat Blogs Journals Wikis Studentprofile Audioandvideo messages Webconferencing Googledocsand Etherpad

Online Learning Environments - MOOCs


What is it?

M
Massive
Classes may consist of up to 100,000+ students.

O
Open
Registration is open to anyone around the world

O
Online
The course is taken completely online

C
Course
They are similar to college courses some offering credit and some not.

Online Learning Environments - MOOCs


ToolsUsedto CollectMOOCData AudioandVideo Peergrading system Automatedessay grading

Online Learning Environments - MUVE


What is it?

M U
Multi User

V
Virtual

E
Environment

Online Learning Environments - MUVEs


In-World Tools Used to Collected MUVE data Chat Logs Data (In-world) Video Audio Recordings or Transcripts Discussions Snapshot tool

Online Learning Environments - Games


IngameTools UsedtoCollect Data Collaborative tools Communication tools Individualand groupproblem solvingtools ex.Minecraft

Online Learning Environments - Games


IngameTools UsedtoCollect Data Notes Instantmessage Snapshottool ex.Lureof Labyrinth, BrainPop

Introduction Online Learning Research Online Learning Environments Methodological Approaches

Methodological Approaches
Quantitative
Built-in quantitative analytics

Dashboard data Built-in assessments Interaction measures Participatory measures

Methodological Approaches
Qualitative
Built-in qualitative analytics Observational (examine the environment through a wide lens) Behavioral (examine student interactions, participation, engagement) Participatory measures

Melissa Layne, Ed.D., Director of Research Methodology, Editor-in-Chief, Internet Learning American Public University System
Email: mburgess@apus.edu