Pilot, research, and experimental projects

I love reading and discussing research. I attend MA and Ph.D research presentations, discussions, and conferences whenever I can. I’m also a member of the Socio Cultural Orientation to Second Language Acquisition Research (SCOLAR), led by Merrill Swain, professor emeritus at Ontario Insitute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, Canada.

The strength of weak ties


Granovetter, M.S., The Strength of Weak Ties, American Journal of Sociology, Volume 78, Issue 6 (May, 1973), pages 1360 – 1380. JSTOR / Alternative download from Stanford University

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

— Abraham Maslow, The Psychology of Science, 1966, p. 15

The paradox of choice

The quantity and diversity of software and services available for elearning has exploded over the past decade. There are so many tools and with them come so many more possibilities. The choices can become overwhelming.

Making informed decisions

You know what you want to implement but how do you know where to start? How do you make well informed decisions? How do you narrow down the choices to something more manageable?

Wouldn’t it be great to sit down and talk with someone with extensive knowledge and experience of using elearning tools, developing strategies to implement learning and teaching philosophies, policies, approaches, methods, and techniques? To develop appropriate plans of action that can adapt to and accommodate unforeseen events and circumstances as they arise?

What tools are available?

How can you use those tools?

What are the benefits and issues with using those tools?

How can you maximise the benefits and minimise/address the issues?

Which tools would be appropriate and how would you use them?

Software systems and platforms

Bulletin boards, social networking platforms, CMS’, ePortfolios, and LMS’

Monitoring learning and gathering data

Research projects and programmes have additional requirements on top of the platforms and tools to facilitate online learning and teaching. They need to gather and manage appropriate data/evidence/artefacts for analysis so that they can inform hypotheses. What kinds of data do you need to gather? How can you best gather it? How can you ensure its integrity and validity and that it reflects what the project/programme is investigating? Can you automate any statistical analyses? Are there easier ways to mine the data to identify patterns, correlations, and/or anomalies?

How can you elicit evidence of learners’ thought processes and learning?