Just what are the critical success factors in e-learning for project-based courses?

The conference is coming to an end but the presentations are still interesting and noteworthy.

Robert Lagerström from Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden,  addresses the really interesting question:

Can we identify critical succes factors when it comes to e-learning for project-based courses?

Inadvertently and unfortunately many e-learning courses have been designed by copying the traditional courses, in other words, no critical assessment of whether learning objectives have to been achieved in different ways than when in the classroom. The pattern of automatic transfer of curricula has to change.

Lagerström identifies the very pertinent factors which have to be taken into account when designing a meaningful e-learning course:

  • teacher – ensure the teacher is ready, able and confident to embrace new technological methods
  • student – ensure the students are aware of their roles and responsibilities
  • course – ensure the course objectives and activities take into account the online dimension
  • technology – which platform, which technology is chosen and why (explicate whether doodle, google hangouts etc)
  • support – ensure technical support so lecturers’  and students’ focus can be on the content of the course

When it comes to project based courses, e-learning activities have to include interaction possibilities and socially inviting technology platform.

Interesting observations based on qualitative interviews with lecturers in Sweden having experience with lecturing project based courses in an e-learning format.  Furthermore Lagerström mentioned that his research indicated that the e-learning systems already designed, and on shelf as it were, do not cate for the needs for interaction possibilities and socially inviting features. Thus further development is needed when it comes to the current e-learning platforms.

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