Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Article 1: Concept Mapping

Hughes, G., Hay, D. (2001) Use of concept mapping to integrate the different perspectives of designers and other stakeholders in the development of e-learning materials British Journal of Educational Technology 32(5): 557-569

I chose this method of data collection after reading the evaluation cook book and chapter 6 from the course reading. It appeals because as you will know from my earlier blogs, I am struggling to understand all of the requirements that my CFO has in terms of e-learning as part of the on-going strategy for education within my organisation. I liked the analogy of ‘slice’ offered in chapter 6, meaning that the design team could see the whole from the different perspectives. My question to myself was, ‘if I am struggling to understand him, what assumptions have I made in order to understand the others….?”

Hughes and Hay (2001) come from the perspective that no one person on the design team could provide all of the expertise required to develop the e-learning material. Thus, they concluded that in order to expedite the needs analysis phase of development, they could use ‘concept mapping’. Concept mapping enables all stakeholders to write down their unique perspective on priorities and expectations for deliverables in the final work. In the AlaaDIN project used as the exemplar in this paper, concept maps were sought and received from a number of stakeholders including the marketing team, potential students, web designers and SMEs. The ALaaDIN project had external sponsors and partnerships and was part of government aided promotion of e-learning. Clearly, there was the potential for individual interests to dominate the final work. However, using this technique, similarities and differences became apparent as the concept mapping interviews took place. Hughes and Hay (2001) suggest that right from the outset, the ‘values’ embedded in the project were explicit and as a consequence there was ‘buy-in’ to the product from the outset from all parties. For example, this methodology helped to avoid what the authors describe as ‘technological determinism’ meaning that the programmer understood from the outset what was to be achieved enabling product development throughout.

As I have chosen an e-learning guideline that directs mapping of good process for developing e-learning units, review of the article by Hughes and Hay (2001) indicates that concept mapping is an obvious way to quickly gather required information from stakeholders. It also reminds me that in F2F learning, I do little in the way of consultation about material to be covered, and for all my constructivist persuasions, I choose the starting point! Furthermore, if I continue to adopt this attitude with e-learning, I will provide a dominant influence on the learning material which may not be useful to others wishing to gauge the importance of the wider LMS for thought!

The article is available via EBSCO on the MIT library site if you want to read it it all.


1 comment:

  1. I agree Sam, multiple perspectives in the design of elearning are the ideal. However, now we have the "luxury" :( of Learning Management Systems, academic staff are more or less expected to go it alone - yes with some help from educational designers and trainers, but rarely do you see a multi-department or team approach. I really like the approach you are considering - concept mapping - as it makes it much clearer to see the whole and it will allow a more holistic approach to the design which should also end up in less linear pathways for learning - one hopes. Good luck with this.