Postgraduate working at a laptop

January 29, 2007, by Teaching at Nottingham

Development and evaluation of a re-usable learning tool to supplement didactic lectures

Jo Leonardi-Bee: “The Division of Epidemiology and Public Health teaches Evidence Based Practice/Medicine (EBPM) to a variety of postgraduate courses. A common theme across these courses is to enable students to put theory from didactic lectures into practice using computer based statistical software packages. However, there are no practical sessions to accompany a particularly difficult medical statistics topic called ‘meta-analysis’. Within the past couple of years, the number of institutions developing multimedia e-learning material has grown dramatically, and e-learning material now features in many aspects of education. The latest multimedia technology allows for variety and interaction to play a major role in enabling the learning process through visual and auditory communication and high quality graphics. Re-usable learning objects (RLOs) are an efficient and meaningful way to create content for multimedia e-learning, and are effective in a wide range of education based situations. Therefore, this project sought to develop and evaluate a RLO to supplement didactic lectures based on the topic area of meta-analysis. This project was funded by the Learning and Teaching Development Fund.

“Stage 1: Developing the RLO Content experts and a media programmer were identified and asked to collaborate to develop a RLO on the topic area of ‘meta-analysis’. After several face-to-face meetings, the draft RLO was developed and formatted using a storyboard template. The content material of the RLO was specifically developed so that it would act as a stand alone learning tool that would be transferable across courses and disciplines within the University of Nottingham, without being too specific to EBPM.

“Stage 2: Internal peer-review The storyboard was internally peer-reviewed using a multidisciplinary team of academics from a range of Schools within the University of Nottingham to assess the usability, aesthetics, and whether the content material was appropriate and at the correct level of knowledge. Seven academics agreed to take part and we sent a copy of the storyboard. Detailed feedback on amendments was received from all academics. Overall, the RLO storyboard and content was thought to be well structured and presented. However, some terms were thought to be ambiguous or too technical to use. The RLO was amended to reflect these comments and then developed using standard development techniques by the media developer.

“Stage 3: Evaluation of the RLO Students from two postgraduate courses were used to assess the effectiveness, usefulness and re-usability of the RLO using a standard anonymised questionnaire. Students were asked to access the RLO following the normal didactic lecture on the subject matter, taught by the presenter. In addition, feedback was also requested from the multidisciplinary team of academics. Generally, the resultant RLO was thought to ‘support the learning objectives’, but could be ‘easier to navigate’, and the activity could be made ‘easier to control’. A demonstration of the RLO will be shown in the presentation.

“The resultant RLO was overall successful and well liked by student users and academics. It is highly recommended that the RLO is used as a supplement to enhance student learning, and should be made available to other institutions which teach similar material. Future work will be based on evaluating the transferability of the RLO across other institutions.”

Paper presented at the University’s Tenth Learning & Teaching conference (January, 2007).

Prof Jo Leonardi-BeeAssociate Professor
School of Community Health Sciences

This article was originally published as part of PESL’s Teaching at Nottingham collection.

Posted in Integrating technologyLecturesXerte online toolkits