Books and papers on elearning, learning and teaching

Emerging Technologies – Autonomous Language Learning (PDF)

Interest in learner autonomy has increased substantially in the last decade. Given the emphasis on student-centered pedagogy and on accommodating student diversity, this is not surprising. What is also both driving and, to some extent, enabling this approach to learning are new directions and developments in technology. The dramatic increase in online resources, network services, and educational software, together provide new opportunities for self-directed learning. In the last few years, developments in mobile technology and the explosion in social media use have accelerated the level of interest.


Second-Language Acquisition and the Information Age: How Social Software has Created a New Mode of Learning by Renaud J. Davies (PDF)

We are presently witnessing a great shift in how young people learn and in the benefits that social software has to offer. New technologies can augment and build on traditional forms of social learning, giving birth to an improved and more multifaceted approach to knowledge acquisition that complements the current more general shift toward an increasingly technological world. The purpose of this article is not only to consider how social learning through the use of technology benefits learners, but also to investigate the implications of such learning and technology for curriculum development.


Extensive Reading: Why? and How? by Timothy Bell (online)

An extensive reading program was established for elementary level language learners at the British Council Language Center in Sanaa, Yemen. Research evidence for the use of such programs in EFL/ESL contexts is presented, emphasizing the benefits of this type of input for students’ English language learning and skills development. Practical advice is then offered to teachers worldwide on ways to encourage learners to engage in a focused and motivating reading program with the potential to lead students along a path to independence and resourcefulness in their reading and language learning.


Articles on PowerPoint and slide show presentations (online)

Open Source Collaborative: Moodle Assessment Report (PDF)

North Carolina Community College System Office: Learning Technology Systems

Abstract: Moodle open source course management system (CMS) has been found to be a viable alternative to Blackboard; the proprietary CMS used by the majority of North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) institutions. This conclusion was reached by a team of NCCCS staff using three independent research techniques – each of which verified the findings. The three techniques included functionality comparisons, end-of-term survey results by both instructors and students, and case studies of four NCCCS institutions that have migrated from Blackboard to Moodle. The study reports that the CMSs had similar overall application functionality and the faculty and students seem equally satisfied with the CMSs ease of use. The case studies indicated that migration from Blackboard to Moodle is challenging and resource intensive at the college level but the four Moodle colleges are uniformly satisfied with the results and report reduction in overall costs once the migration is completed. The study identified lack of “instructor comfort” with both CMSs suggesting more effective instructor training is needed. However, this study did not fully address the issues of technology and funding framed in terms of scalability, compatibility, and interoperability of all learning technology applications used in the NCCCS. The team recommends a determination of the technical and financial solutions required for the next stage of CMS utilization within the North Carolina Community College System.


LMS Feasibility Study Executive Summary (PDF)

Part II of the Open Source Collaborative Moodle Assessment Report

The North Carolina Community College System Learning Technology Systems Department published the Open Source Collaborative: Moodle Assessment Report (Randall, Sweetin and Steinbeiser)in August 2009. The Report, available at was designed to answer the research question, “Is Moodle a viable alternative to Blackboard?” The Report concluded that Moodle was a viable alternative to Blackboard in areas of functionality, usability, and total cost of ownership. The Report also recommended that a Learning Management System (LMS) Feasibility Study be conducted to answer the follow up research question, “What is the best LMS solution for the North Carolina Community College System?”


E-learning Materials Development: Applying and Implementing (PDF)

Software Reuse Principles and Granularity Levels in the Small

E-learning materials development is typically acknowledged as an expensive, complicated, and lengthy process, often producing materials that are of low quality and difficult to adapt and maintain. It has always been a challenge to identify proper e-learning materials that can be reused at a reasonable cost and effort. In this paper, software engineering reuse principles are applied to e-learning materials development process. These principles are then applied and implemented in a prototype that is integrated with an open-source course management systems. The reuse of existing e-learning materials is beneficial in improving developers of elearning materials productivity. E-learning material reuse is performed, in this research, based on construct’s granularity rather than on unified constructs of one size.


iNACOL National Standards of Quality (PDFs)

iNACOL, The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning.


Research-Supported Best Practices for Developing Online Learning (PDF)

An analysis was conducted of the body of research studies on best practice in asynchronous or synchronous online instruction in higher education. The analysis used specific research design criteria and categorized studies by the type of theory used, such as creation of typologies. Many studies had flaws in research design and generally were pre-experimental case studies. Those studies most closely meeting the research criteria indicate online learning is viable and identify potential best practices in four categories: student behaviors, faculty-student interactions, technology support, and learning environment.


Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning (PDF)

A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies

A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 50 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se. An unexpected finding was the small number of rigorous published studies contrasting online and face-to-face learning conditions for K–12 students. In light of this small corpus, caution is required in generalizing to the K–12 population because the results are derived for the most part from studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).


CfBT Evidence for Practice (PDFs)

CfBT has commissioned, conducted and published a significant volume of research over the past ten years. The research largely aims to provide evidence about effective interventions, strategies and policies in education with a view to impacting on or improving practice and policy.

CfBT is not just committed to investment in research but also to the use of evidence in education. CfBT recognises the need to promote research-based evidence and to encourage practitioners and policy makers to think and act purposefully on what it says.


Multimodal Learning Through Media: What the Research Says (PDF)

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Author Unknown

People have long quoted this statement, often attributing it to an ancient Chinese proverb. Emergent neuroscience and visualization research now reveals glimpses of the science behind the saying. Visuals matter. The rapid advances of technology in literally every field, including communication, medicine, transportation, agriculture, biotechnology, aerospace, and energy, have tremendously increased the amount of data and information at our fingertips. As we strive to make sense of unimaginably large volumes of data, visualization has become increasingly important. Why? Our brains are wired to process visual input very differently from text, audio, and sound. Recent technological advances through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans confirm a dual coding system through which visuals and text/auditory input are processed in separate channels, presenting the potential for simultaneous augmentation of learning. The bottom line is that students using well-designed combinations of visuals and text learn more than students who only use text.



The links on this page are personally gathered, viewed and assessed by Matt Bury. They are included purely on the basis of relevance to the areas of elearning, and second language acquisition theory and practice. This is a non sponsored and impartial blog that reflects Matt Bury’s interests and activities. It does not include links to web pages, web sites or services from commercial organisations. Any requests to include them will be ingnored.