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Title: The synthesis of a unified pedagogy for the design and evaluation of e-learning software for high-school computing
Author: Yiatrou, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 6512
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2019
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In recent decades, several countries have applied a resurgent focus to high-school computer science in the hope that it will provide the foundations for strong and innovative national IT sectors. The UK is one example undertaking this transition, and experiencing the associated challenges placed on the teaching community. In parallel, recent years have seen a trend towards enriching education with digital resources, specifically e-learning software. This study offers a practical contribution to the computer science teaching community by supporting the provision of e-learning software, and hence the increased use of e-learning in high-school teaching. However, it recognises that there remains a concern over the inconsistent pedagogical quality of many e-learning implementations. To safeguard the pedagogical quality of e-learning software, this study offers a research contribution by defining: (1) a comprehensive set of pedagogical heuristics to inform the design of e-learning software; (2) an associated e-learning evaluation protocol to guide the evaluation and selection of e-learning software for use in schools; and in doing so, (3) contributes to the under-researched area of high- school computing pedagogy. The proposed pedagogy synthesises a vast body of knowledge on learning theories into a comprehensive, yet accessible, set of heuristics. These heuristics supplement existing literature by focusing more tightly and in depth on pedagogy, rather than usability. The pedagogy synthesises the following learning theories: constructivism, social constructivism, connectivism, and cognitive load, and additionally gives pedagogical focus to VARK learning styles, ARCS motivational design, collaborative learning, gamification, and computational thinking. The e-learning evaluation protocol builds upon existing best practice in evaluation procedures but is unique in its characteristics and focus. The study follows a rigorous three phase mixed methods exploratory design in which the e-learning pedagogy and evaluation protocol were explored and iteratively developed in concert with input and evaluation from education experts and teachers. In parallel, practice-based input was secured via student usage of prototype e-learning software designed in adherence to the pedagogy. The findings of this research offer preliminary validation of the appropriateness and comprehensiveness of the e- learning pedagogy, and the final phase demonstrates statistically significant learning increases based on student usage of the e-learning software prototype. Additionally, this research offers preliminary validation of the reliability and validity of the evaluation protocol. Building on the findings of this research, several possibilities are outlined to further empirically establish this research, or develop it further into new avenues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computer science not elsewhere classified