The EBI/EIE is partner in a new ERASMUS+ project where the EBI/EIE has written the application.The project aims to develop and evaluate multimedia based teaching material using the innovative “Analogous Compare and Transfer” Method (acronym ACAT) approach to teach science subjects, namely physics, biology and chemistry. The ACAT method is a methodology concerted on the pattern of thinking of girls enhancing the well-known logical paths boys are using normally and supports the learning of boys as well.
A study from 2017 proofs the acceptance of the pedagogical approach and confirms the usability with an evident preference of female students. In general, the students appreciate the method with higher approval of the female learners. In the same way, the female learners show a stronger agreement to the use of multimedia material, specifically using the described method and to enable the transfer from everyday life images to scientific imagination and clear ideas dealing with the currently discussed problem.
The objectives are
- Use of an “image-based teaching system” which favours the scientific learning behaviour of (approx. 70 % of) girls with a good learning success for boys as well
- Developing multimedia-based and/or interactive examples of best practice (called tools in this application) focusing on physics (for example quantum physics), biology (for example virtual dissections) and chemistry (comprehending chirality utilizing VR-technology).
- Use a self-evaluation model for students to estimate their increase of competences
- Evaluation of these examples in several schools (transnational)
- Development of a transferability guide for teachers
- Publishing of the created and evaluated material as OERs
The project starts with December 2018 and lasts for two years.
The applicant organisation is the Colegio Internacional Costa Adeje (Spain), partners are Dragonskolan (Sweden), the Europäische Bildungsinitiative (Austria) and the Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (Ireland).
This is the acronym for the “Analogous Comparison and Transfer” Method. This pedagogical approach to teaching STEM subjects was developed by Peter Mazohl (EBI/EIE Austria) and published at the ICERI 2017 (International Conference for Education, Research, and Innovation in Seville).
This method means a new pedagogical approach to strengthen female learners in STEM subjects. The method was developed in School Education and focuses on the age of 16 to 18 years old students. The method uses analogous comparisons by taking examples or situations from everyday life and in consequence the logical or analogous transfer to the scientific problem. The method uses the development of imaginations or “pictures in the head” to develop a view of the analogy; this picture is transferred as a problem-solving idea to the concrete scientific problem. Multimedia material like animations are used to provide a higher level of imagination and to develop the understanding for the discussed problem. The method was developed in the disciplines physics, mathematics and computer science and was tested in physics at high school level.
It turned out that male learners also benefit from this approach and get a deeper understanding in the fields of science.
To proof the ACAT method and to test the usability and get some reference to the published study an ERASMUS+ KA2 School Project was started (with December 2018). The project’s outcomes will be several examples of the implementation of the ACAT method, tested and evaluated in a Spanish, an Irish, and finally in a Swedish school.
As an organization intensively involved in eLearning we permanently check the quality of our courses and try to amend the quality. One issue is the communication – here mainly the contact between the learners and the tutor.
In fact, we were sure that the best method is a forum where learners can ask the trainer. The result of a questionnaire (conducted in the frame of a Grundtvig Multilateral Project) the results prove our current opinion – but not fully.
Do women prefer to talk?
In an eLearning course, there is always the problem of the support of the learners. Sometimes, learners want to contact their tutor or the have a problem and need help from their trainer or teacher. Which method – do you think – is the best one?
There are several methods available and you have to select the best one. Here is the list of possibilities:
Here are two synchronous and two asynchronous methods mentioned.
The behavior is similar: the majority prefers forums. Here the preference of male participants is about 10 percent higher as the female answers.
Female participants in the opposite show a higher percentage of skype preferences – they prefere to talk.
If you check the differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication you will find a six percent higher level of preferences for synchronous methods at the female users.
The use of eLearning and Distance Learning is increasing and plays a more and more important role in the teaching environment. Here are some quality characteristics of eLearning (focusing on the learner):
- Learning goal: What does the learner want to learn?
- Learning motivation: Why does the learner want to learn?
- Learning setting: Activities surrounding the learning object
- Time: How much time does the learner have to learn?
- Culture and language: Learners are in a multi-cultural context as well in a multilingual environment (especial in Europe)
- Educational level: Age and learning background of the learners
- Accessibility: Access for all (also disabled of handicapped people; in Germany called barrier-free access).
The images show a teaching situation where the motivation of the students is not-existing and the eLearning (in a face to face environment) fails …
2002 the “Council for Higher Education” CHEA published the following seven key areas as criteria for measure eLearning quality:
- Institutional Mission
- Institutional Organization Structure
- Institutional resources
- Curriculum and instruction
- Faculty support
- Student support
- Student learning outcomes
In the same paper, three key areas are mentioned as challenges for quality assurance of distance education:
- An alternative design of instructions (dealing with curriculum, student support etc.
- Alternative providers of higher education (focus on all seven key areas mentioned before)
- Expanded focus on training
You may download this interesting document from the CHEA-Website
To plan and develop an eLearning course covers many aspects. To ensure the necessary quality you have to consider the institutional mission, the organizational structure and the available resources. Furthermore, you have to care for a well-fitting curriculum and design, the support from faculty (or similar internal structure) as well as the students’ support and to define the competence oriented learning outcomes.
Create the content
For the content of such a well-designed course, you have to develop the best-fitting material. Content in eLearning should cover different activities and learning content in a well-defined mixture (that depends in most cases from the taught subject). The following issues must be included:
- Content to gain knowledge
- Activities to interact with other learners. To promote group work and to develop the skills defined in the competence oriented learning outcomes
- Content to develop the learners’ attitudes (as defined in the learning outcomes)
- Assessments and test environment to check the learning progress
Reuse the content
The created content should be reusable – that means, that – as a start developed – content can be used easily also in other courses. The costs of content development for one single course ar too high to create high quality eLearning courses economically.
Where to take content?
There are different types of content based on the used media. Specialists in the subject can do writing a text easily. To provide the necessary graphics or high-quality multimedia material is more difficult and in the most cases cost extensive: You have to buy the material from companies specialized in that field of multimedia or expansive internal or external specialist create it.
Images and graphics
In spite of paying a lot of money for external specialists or image agencies, you may use content from sources under the Creative Commons (or similar environments).
This chapter of the webpage will supply you with information about “open resources”.
The same situation as mentioned above is in the field animations. There are many applications available either to create animations or ready-to-use animations that can be used without copyright violation.
You will also find here some information about free material and the legal conditions for their use.
Here is an overview about eLearning advantages (we always compare eLearning with pure face-to-face classroom teaching). The list is split into three parts respecting the different target groups involved in eLearning. The summary is based on modern eLearning courses using an optimized platform (that does not really exist) and well done courses using a lot or multimedia elements and interactivity.
Advantages of eLearning (learner’s view)
- Learner actively involved in his/her e-learning
- Interactivity and attractiveness of eLearning content
- Flexibility and adaptability according to availability (time, location)
- Training at own pace, independently of other learners
- Self-assessment during and at end of course
- Personal progress monitoring during eLearning course and appraisal of results obtained thanks to tracking
- Tutorial support on demand (if necessary)
- Contact to other learners (if planned and necessary)
- No travel costs
Advantages of eLearning (company’s view)
- “Mass” training (big number of learners)
- Savings relative to classroom-based training indirect costs (travel, accommodation, etc.)
- Flexibility and adaptability according to learner availability (time, location)
- Customization and adjustment of training courses to predefined skills and teaching goals
- Low logistical constraints (no room booking, employee travel, accommodation, etc.)
- Precise course reporting and automated results analysis thanks to tracking (based on the eLearning platform)
- Durable and updatable teaching materials (often reuseable)
Advantages of eLearning (trainer’s view)
- Prerequisites for assessing learner levels
- Training performed on interactive and attractive tools for both trainer and learners
- Flexibility and adaptability according to availability (time, location) especial for the tutorial support
- Learner monitoring from the platform (tracking)