An exploratory study of the development of virtual learning environments for adult literacy education
Holland, Charlotte (2006) An exploratory study of the development of virtual learning environments for adult literacy education. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis fundamentally was derived from the increasing demand for more flexible models of adult literacy education, within a wider agenda that aimed to improve accessibility to a wide range of users with different learning styles and to promote the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a necessary life-skill.
A study in 1997 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, reported that one in four Irish adults lacked the basic literacy skills needed to function in society. In 2001, anecdotal evidence suggested that as low as four percent o f Irish adults with literacy problems were receiving literacy tuition and support in established adult literacy centres in Ireland. A proposed solution to the problems of access and support, retention of anonymity and provision of flexibility in literacy education involved the establishment of virtual learning environments.
The focus of this research was to present a synthesis of developments in the area of the adult literacy tuition and support, and, furthermore, to ascertain whether there existed elements of a ''workable process’ for designing and integrating technology in literacy programmes that could be utilised in future developments of virtual learning environments. The focus of this investigation was primarily on design team and stakeholders engagement in the software design and development processes, as opposed to an investigation into the suitability of the learning processes adopted from an instructional perspective.
The findings of this research present a four-level
'workable process' that can be used to guide design teams through the process of software development. A contextual review of the area in which the software is to be embedded, and an analysis of the needs of the various participants, is considered pivotal to the success of this four-level process. The findings also emphasise the importance of collaborative teamwork, and furthermore the engagement of design team members in a dialectical process in consensus formation, as being critical to the successful implementation of this 'workable process'.
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