E-Reflections: A Comparative Exploration of the Role of e-learning in TrainingHigher Education Lecturers


Tony CHURCHIIL


ABSTRACT
This paper provides an initial evaluation of data gathered by running versions of a five-week online programme called ‘e-Reflections’. This includes comparisons with a course specifically for academics from (or working in) the Gulf and the wider Middle East Region. ‘e-Reflections’ is an online programme developed at University of Leicester for current or potential online tutors. It is based on Professor Gilly Salmon’s five-stage networked learning model and builds on a history of e-learning initiatives at the University. Salmon’s work provided a framework that not only emphasises the pedagogy of e-learning but provides a means of deeper engagements with e-learning – both in terms of interaction with participation and integration into the blend of courses. In comparing data from such courses run at the University (including colleagues across the UK) and the Middle East cohort, cultural differences were anticipated. The findings suggest, however, that factors such as comfort and familiarity with the medium were more influential than culture. Whatever the context of those participating, the main finding was that collaborative online reflection is a powerful tool to encourage deeper learning.


KEYWORDS: e-Reflections, Online Programme, Pedagogy of e-Learning, Collaborative Online Reflection, Cultural Differences

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