A study of participants' perceptions of effectiveness of a web-enabled problem-based learning staff development course

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A study of participants' perceptions of effectiveness of a web-enabled problem-based learning staff development course

 

Author: Li, Wing-sze Wanze
Title: A study of participants' perceptions of effectiveness of a web-enabled problem-based learning staff development course
Degree: M.Ed.
Year: 2002
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Problem-based learning
Internet in education
Computer-assisted instruction
Department: School of Professional Education and Executive Development
Pages: v, 121 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1667786
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/4366
Abstract: Problem-based learning helps learners to construct their own knowledge by engaging them in an active and collaborative learner-centered learning environment to solve real life problems (Wood, 1995). Web technologies and on-line learning environment support flexible learning and allow convenient communication and interaction (Coomey and Stephen, 2001). Recent studies show that web technologies can be integrated to support courses that adopt problem-based learning (Hutton, 1999; Conway and Sharkey, 2001). Positive learning outcomes that favor on-line and web-based learning environments in the aspect of students' learning are reported (Oliver and Omari, 1999; Oliver, 2001). There is, however, an unexplored area of introducing a web embedded problem-based learning format in staff development programs. In this study, the author investigated teaching staffs perceptions of the effectiveness in adopting a combined approach of problem-based learning and web-based learning in a one-month staff development course. The course aimed to help participants explore and identify potential problems and difficulties in designing and implementing project-based learning in teaching. An instructional model with a problem that anchored all learning activities was devised and adopted in the course. Eleven teaching staff members were invited to participate in a questionnaire survey and attend individual interviews. The purposes of which were to share whether or not they had achieved the course objectives, their perceptions of the usefulness of adopting a web-enabled problem-based learning course design, and their feelings in the overall learning experiences in the course. The quantitative results collected from the questionnaires indicated that participants were able to achieve the course objectives and they perceived that most of the web-enabled problem-based learning activities designed in the course were useful. The two major conclusions drawn from the interviews were that an authentic problem was useful to stimulate thinking, discussion and reflection in the learning process and that the web was useful to archive relevant resources for convenient referencing and promoting independent learning. According to the implications of the findings, the instructional model that supported constructive learning by emphasizing learners' reflection and facilitation during the overall problem-based learning process in the staff development course is refined. Further studies to investigate participants' changes in their teaching practices in the long run, and consequently their students' learning outcome, are highly recommended.

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