Facing “change” in the process of designing and developing web-based learning environments
Department of Secondary and Tertiary Education, the Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
Dr. S P Karunanayaka is currently the Head of the Secondary and Tertiary Education in the Faculty of Education at the Open University of Sri Lanka. Her research interests are in the areas of ICT in teaching and learning, Instructional Design and online learning. Dr. Karunanayaka could be contacted on email: email@example.com.
The integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into education has provided opportunities for changes in teaching and learning by allowing greater flexibility, interactivity and accessibility. Hence, integration of ICTs into education demands acquisition of new competencies as well as changes in pedagogical beliefs.
A case study was conducted to investigate the process of design and development of Internet-based study materials by a group of teacher educators, who were familiar with using, designing and developing text-based study materials, yet novices to web designing. Throughout this process, data were collected using multiple techniques such as observation of Web Study guides (WSGs), conducting in-depth interviews and obtaining reflective reports. This paper focuses on how these teacher educators faced ‘change', in the process of designing and developing web-based learning environments, as novice web-designers.
The WSG development process was found to be a gradual adaptation to a new instructional mode by the participants, influenced by many factors such as previous instructional experiences, prior exposure to technology, skill levels, immersion in technology, time constraints, assessment focus and cultural practices, that in turn affected their ‘change' of concepts and understandings in the design process. The process indicated a change over time with respect to participants' skill development, attitude towards technology, instructional approaches and pedagogical beliefs. In a majority, more emphasis was placed on skill development over pedagogical content knowledge and design processes, indicating the difficulty of shifting from traditional instructivist approaches towards a more constructivist approach. However, the future expectations expressed by the participants indicated their conceptual changes that had occurred during this process. If educators are to be ‘agents of educational change', they need not only the technology to enhance their practices, but also the support and the time for them to adapt to technology.