Research Pick of the Day #4

February 11th, 2010 by Maria Moriarty

Today’s pick is….

Researching Online Learning with Adult Literacies Learners in Scotland (2009)

This is an examination of the current use of online and blended learning  in adult literacy programs in Scotland.  Recognizing that the terminology often used in relation to the use of technology in teaching and learning the study provides very useful definitions of  online learning and blended learning. Online learning is defined  as, “… a learning experience using either the internet or an intranet system… [including] blogs, wikis, discussion groups, Virtual Learning Environments and online learning courses“(p.14) and Blended Learning is defined as, “… a mix of online learning with other learning approaches…[including] face to face tutor support, email or telephone support”(p.15

The study is based on  the results of an online survey of 179 adult literacy  programs and on 5 case studies  of  programs using innovative  and successful blended and online learning approaches.

The study finds that 54% of respondents reported the positive impacts  of online and blended learning approaches for students.   But,while the practitioners and programs surveyed are positive about online and blended learning, they,  as we have heard many times from practitioners in Ontario and across Canada,   identified the need for up-to-date equipment and ongoing support and training as well as a need for relevant online resources for adults “ there is a need for more ICT equipment and funding for literacies providers that “reflects the reality of IT in 2009” p.38

The case studies provide an engaging snapshot of how online and blended learning support students and in many cases lead to very positive learning gains and achievement.