Conceptions of e-learning and professional development for e-learning held by tertiary educators in New Zealand

Authors


  • Sarah Stein is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago's Higher Education Development Centre. Kerry Shephard is Professor of Higher Education Development at the University of Otago's Higher Education Development Centre. Irene Harris was a Research Fellow in the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago and she is now based in Chester, UK.

Dr Stein, Sarah, 65/75 Union Place, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand 9020, Australia. Tel: +64 3 479 5360; fax: +64 3 479 8362; email: sarah.stein@stonebow.otago.ac.nz

Abstract

The conceptions an individual holds about a phenomenon can influence and determine associated behaviours and perspectives. Consequently, they have a bearing upon how learning about a phenomenon is undertaken and how that phenomenon is experienced and applied in context. A phenomenographic research approach was used to gather the expressed experiences of e-learning and professional development for e-learning held by teachers and support staff from institutions across New Zealand. Five conceptions of e-learning (as tool and equipment; as a facilitator of interaction; as learning; as a reduction in distance; and as a collaborative enterprise) and four conceptions of professional development for e-learning (as training; as opening up possibilities; as collaboration; and as relevant and purposeful) were discovered. In this report, we discuss the conceptions, and show how they are interrelated through outcome space. Implications for the professional development of tertiary teachers and teaching support staff are outlined. The study provides some insights for individuals, institutions and those responsible for planning and implementing professional development programmes to help them to support the development and progress of e-learning in appropriate and rewarding directions.

Ancillary