Students’ Attitudes towards Technology-Enabled Learning: A Change in Learning Patterns? The Case of a Master’s Course in Political Science

Mihai Păunescu, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, Romania

English Abstract

This article sets to explore the attitudes of higher education students enrolled in a political science programme at Master level towards e-learning facilitated by the introduction of a Moodle platform. The students have been surveyed at the end of public management course in the first semester of the programme asking them to evaluate both the contents (resources) available on the virtual learning environment, as well as the type of activities and the general interaction with technology. The objectives of our survey were twofold: first to carry a thorough evaluation of the course in order to collect evidence for further improvement, but also, more importantly, to unravel the established patterns of students’ learning and their attitudes towards a set of technology facilitated type of learning activities. We conclude that the implementation of a VLE is definitely not likely to immediately change existing learning/teaching practice. It is seen mainly as a support and complementing activity of face-to-face course deliveries, but does not yet change the pedagogical underpinnings of the learning practices. On the other hand, a thorough evaluation of students’ attitudes towards technology-enabled learning is crucial for consistently planning course designs and for embedding a quality culture at course level.

Romanian Abstract

Acest articol îşi propune să exploreze atitudinile studenţilor înscrişi într-un program de ştiinţe politice la nivel de masterat în privinţa tehnologiilor educaţionale de e-learning facilitate de introducerea unei platforme Moodle. Studenţii au fost investigaţi printr-un chestionar online la sfârşitul cursului managementului public, în primul semestru al anului I de studii, fiind invitaţi să evalueze atât conţinutul (resursele) disponibile pe mediul virtual de învăţare, precum şi tipul de activităţi şi interacţiunea cu tehnologia generală. Obiectivele studiului nostru au fost duble: în primul rând să efectueze o evaluare amănunţită a cursului, în scopul îmbunătăţirii acestuia, dar şi de a descoperi modelele dominante de învăţare ale studenţilor şi atitudinea lor faţă de un set de activităţi de învăţare facilitate de tehnologii de tip e-learning. Putem concluziona că punerea în aplicare a unui VLE (mediu virtual de învăţare) nu este de natură să schimbe imediat practicile existente de învăţare / predare practică. Acesta este văzut în principal ca o modalitate complementară activităţilor clasice de tip  faţă-în-faţă, însă nu schimbă în mod necesar bazele pedagogice ale practicilor de învăţare. Pe de altă parte, o evaluare aprofundată şi contextuală a atitudinilor elevilor faţă de nvăţarea pe bază noilor tehnologii informaţionale este esenţială pentru planificarea eficace a cursurilor universitare, cât şi pentru încorporarea unei culturi a calităţii la nivelul acestora..

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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