An investigation of the usage and success of blended e–learning material for computer networking students
Van Aardt, Christoffel Carolus
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Students enrolled for the Network Systems III module at the Vaal University of Technology are experiencing problems with passing this module. Many of them fail due to the fact that they do not understand the subnet masking part of it. In an attempt to increase the students' pass rate, this study will make additional study material available to them, complying with their learning style preferences. This material will be available as elearning material on the Internet. The usage and success of elearning material implies a holistic approach towards learning styles. Learning styles consist of different interrelated learning elements. This study will make use of an action research approach comprising four phases. In the first phase, different learning styles are diagnosed by means of a literature study. The information obtained is applied to compile an interpretive questionnaire for completion by students. This questionnaire will enable the researcher to do an empirical study with regard to their learning preferences. The data obtained from the questionnaires will be analysed and information obtained will be applied to make additional module related elearning material available on the Internet. During the second phase, results obtained from the empirical investigation will be used to develop elearning material on subnetting, while also addressing the identified learning styles of participants. The elearning material is provided on the Moodle learning management system, enabling students to use it according to their own preferences. In the third phase, the success of the intervention on the elearning material is investigated. In this phase, the activities of students using the elearning material are analysed and tests and examination results processed to determine whether there is any correlation between time spent on elearning material and these results. The usage of elearning material is tested by means of an interpretive questionnaire to the students. The last part of the action research approach deals with the question of whether the research was conducted successfully. A second iteration of the process proved the results to be satisfactory. The elearning material was positively received by students participating in the research, while a growing interest in this material was noticed from the last semester in 2007 to the first semester in 2008.