Archive for the ‘e-learning’ Category

Kalpani Manathunga and Konstantinos Michos, PhD students in our learning technologies team at UPF, attended the in the 11th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL2016) held in Lyon, France from 13th to 16th September, 2016. They also participated in  workshops conducted in parallel to the main EC-TEL conference. Konstantinos presented a paper, “Towards understanding the potential of teaching analytics within educational communities” at the “4th International Workshop on Teaching Analytics” (IWTA’16). Kalpani participated in Connecting Learning Design and Learning Analytics (CLAD) workshop co-organized by Davinia Hernández-Leo and the topic of the paper was “Connecting pattern-based learning designs with analytics: The case of the PyramidApp”.

The papers they presented in the main conferences are:

Abstract : Computer Supported Collaborative Learning methods support fruitful social interactions using technological mediation and orchestration. However, studies indicate that most existing CSCL methods have not been applied to large classes, means that they may not scale well or that it’s unclear to what extent or with which technological mechanisms scalability could be feasible. This paper introduces and evaluates PyramidApp, implementing a scalable pedagogical method refining Pyramid (aka Snowball) collaborative learning flow pattern. Refinements include rating and discussing to reach upon global consensus. Three different face-to-face classroom situations were used to evaluate different tasks of pyramid interactions. Experiments led to conclude that pyramids can be meaningful with around 20 participants per pyramid of 3–4 levels, with several pyramids running in parallel depending on the classroom size. An underpinning algorithm enabling elastic creation of multiple pyramids, using control timers and triggering flow awareness facilitated scalability, dynamism and overall user satisfaction in the experience.

Abstract: Social computing enables collective actions and social interaction with rich exchange of information. In the context of educators’ networks where they create and share learning design artifacts, little is known about their collective behavior. Learning design tooling focuses on supporting educators (learning designers) in making explicit their design ideas and encourages the development of “learning design communities”. Building on social elements, this paper aims to identify the level of engagement and interactions in three communities using an Integrated Learning Design Environment (ILDE). The results show a relationship between the exploration of different artifacts and creation of content in all the three communities confirming that browsing influence the community’s outcomes. Different patterns of interaction suggest specific impact of language and length of support for users.

See also info in our gti group website and also the presentation we did about PyramidApp in a Collaborative Online International Learning Symposium.

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Below the slides I used in the panel “Global partnership for development. The role of academia in empowering participatory and collaborative action” at the Social Impact of Science Conference 2016. I talked about “Open collaborative platforms, education and research: MOOCs, ILDE“.


The session was chaired by Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and with speakers Xavier Serra Casals, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Davinia Hernández Leo, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Bruno Raimbault, Médecins Sans Frontières, Open Street Map movement; Xabier Barandiaran, Barcelona City Council – Participation Councillorship. The session organised with the support of the DTIC-UPF María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502).

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It has been a pleasure for me to chair this morning a very interesting session on the impact of MOOCs. It was one of the monographic sessions of this year CIDUI conference. I summarised five papers contributed by five teams of authors. Papers address the challenges around MOOCs and propose some solutions. This was followed by a debate by the authors with contributions by the audience.Foto_CIDUI_Davinia

Main topics included: challenges for educators and the institution; assessing the quality and impact of MOOCs; basic technological skills of educators and learners; and blended learning using MOOCs.

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Recent paper published!

Manatunga, K., Hernández-Leo, D.(2015) Has research on collaborative learning technologies addressed massiveness?Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 357-370.

Abstract: There is a growing interest in understanding to what extent innovative educational technologies can be used to support massive courses. Collaboration is one of the main desired elements in massive learning actions involving large communities of participants. Accumulated research in collaborative learning technologies has proposed and evaluated multiple models and implementation tools that engage learners in knowledge-intensive social interactions fostering fruitful learning. However, it is unclear to what extent these technologies have been designed to support large-scale learning scenarios involving arguably massive participation. This paper contributes with a literature review that aims at providing an answer to this question as well as offering insights about the context of use, characteristics of the technologies, and the types of activities and collaboration mechanisms supported. The main results point out that till 2013 the level of massiveness considered in top scientific journal papers on collaborative learning technologies was low, the scenarios studied were predominantly contextualized in co-located higher education settings using Learning Management Systems, the most common activities considered were open and structured discussion, followed by peer assessment and collaborative writing, and the most broadly used mechanism to foster fruitful collaboration was group formation following diverse policies.

More info also at http://gti.upf.edu/has-research-on-collaborative-learning-technologies-addressed-massiveness/


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The other study around videos in education in which I’ve recently participated (see my previous post on “the flipped or the hands-on classroom”), will be presented by Diana Diaz at the ICALT conference (Taiwan) on July 6-9.

Diaz, D., Ramírez, R., Hernández-Leo, D. (2015) The effect of using a talking head in academic videos: An EEG study. IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Hualien, Taiwan, pp. 367-369.

This study was designed to understand the effect of using a talking head in academic videos frequently used in video-based learning approaches, such Massive Open Online Courses. The experiment consisted of exposing participants to videos about different types of open software licenses. Each participant was exposed to 3 videos, each with a different condition: instructor always presented (talking head condition), only instructor’s voice present (only audio condition), and instructor presented only at the beginning of the video (mixed condition). Dependent variables included cognitive load, and emotional states (valance and arousal) obtained with electroencephalography, a personal assessment of the difficulty of the material, personal opinion regarding the social presence and performance in a memory test. The results indicate an increase in the cognitive load in the mixed condition, which may have implications regarding the use of the talking head in the design of academic videos.

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I’ve recently participated in two studies around videos in education. In this first post, I summarize the study that Laia Albó will be presenting at the EDEN conference (Barcelona) on June 9-10. (See a second post on the design of videos regarding the use of “talking heads”.)

Albó, L., Hernández-Leo, D., Barceló, L., Sanabria, L. (2015) Video-Based Learning in Higher Education: The Flipped or the Hands-On Classroom? EDEN Annual Conference, Barcelona, Spain. (Best research paper award finalist.)

This case study shows that the use of video-based learning may not only converge in the use of flipped classroom methodology. It is also possible to use videos in a hands-on class as a support tool that encourages a more autonomous, flexible and significant learning. The application of a flipped or a hands-on classroom approach depends on diverse aspects, including the nature of the course (with practical or theoretical orientations), the behaviour emerging from the students (depending on their needs and preferences, time constraints, etc.) and the design of the activities proposed by the teachers (strongly requiring students to what videos in a certain timeframe, e.g. previously to the class, or offering flexibility). Future research considering variations of these parameters will help to understand the benefits and limitations of both approaches and to what extent they may coexists in video-based learning.

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I’m pleased that the Open Event that we organized as part of the METIS project in collaboration with Cibernàrium – Ajuntament de Barcelona  last week (11th, 12th December) on “Design for Learning: new tools for educators” was a success!!!


The event was addressed to teachers from any educational sector and other stakeholders (academic managers, etc.) interested in learning design tools and experiences of use. Over 100 participants attended the plenary sessions: a talk by Grainne Conole on “Learning Design” and a Panel sharing “experiences of using the ILDE“, with representatives from diverse educational institutions including Àgora association, KEK-Eurotraining, The Open University, the University of Valladolid and the HandsOn MOOC initiative.


The interest shown by participants in the 6-hour hands-on workshops was also outstanding. 40 teachers (diverse educational levels, but mainly Higher Education, Vocational Training and Adult Education) had the opportunity to use learning design conceptualization, authoring and implementation tools integrated in the ILDE.


Some of them will continue in contact via a Linkedin group they created! And since there is a number of people interested that missed the workshops, we will run an additional session in January at UPF. Stay tuned!


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