Doctor of Education
Faculty of Education
Karunanayaka, Shironica Priyanthi, Design processes adopted by Sri Lankan teacher educators to develop Internet-based study materials, Doctor of Education thesis, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2001. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/969
This study examined the experiences of twelve Sri Lankan teacher educators as they developed Internet-based study materials at the University of Wollongong while undertaking postgraduate professional development. It investigated the approaches these experienced teacher educators, yet novices to the Internet, took as they designed and developed Web study guides.
The investigation focused on the design processes adopted by the participants during planning, designing and development of their Web study guides, and reports the process as a case study. Simultaneous data collection and analysis were undertaken mainly using questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews, analysis of Web study guides and student reflections. Nine key categories: participants, task, planning methods, design patterns, concerns, influences, issues, support and reflection, were used to organise data.
Insights gained through this study provided an understanding of the unique experiences of Sri Lankan teacher educators in a learner-as-designer context. The new technology together with the constructivist approach to learning placed a high cognitive load upon the participants. All participants started designing their Web materials in an approach similar to the conventional text-based approach with which they were familiar. The main concern of the majority of respondents was on skill development. In many cases, only the medium of presenting the learning material was changed and the instructional approach was unchanged.
Initially the effects of limited knowledge and skills about Web-based learning resulted in a limited focus on instructional strategies and a major focus on product refmement. As the experience of participants increased, their approaches to design became more inventive. However, only two participants who had superior prior skills and exposure to computer-based learning, changed their instructional strategies from an instructivist to a constructivist approach. to learning. The other participants stayed with the conventional instructivist approach in which they were comfortable. However, many indicated a willingness of to change to a more constructivist approach in the future, indicating a small shift or change in their thinking. The results are consistent with previous research findings, stressing the need of time, support and repeated experiences for educators to modifY their conventional pedagogical beliefs and instructional approaches, when adopting technological innovation in teaching and learning processes.