DEVELOPING AN E-LEARNING TRAINING PACKAGE FOR ACADEMIC STAFF IN ONE UNIVERSITY IN SAUDI ARABIA
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The focus of this study is the development of an e-learning training package for the academic staff in King Faisal University (KFU) in Saudi Arabia. Evidence suggests that there is a lack of training for academic staff in Saudi Higher Education on how to integrate e-learning in their teaching. Despite this, very little attention is paid in the research literature to the design and evaluation of e-learning training. There is no clarity therefore about what constitutes effective e-learning training in higher education. This study aimed to design, implement and evaluate a training package for the academic staff. The study was conducted in two phases: 1) identifying the e-learning training needs and preferences of the academic staff in KFU; 2) designing, implementing and assessing a training package based on identified needs and preferences, e-learning training literature and common learning theories in the field. The study was qualitative. In phase one, 69 questionnaires and 17 interviews were analysed. The survey findings showed that the academic staff do suffer from the lack of training. Furthermore, the data showed a disagreement with the existing literature about the factors that limit the academic staff’s use of e-learning. The academic staff’s preferences for their future e-learning training were also determined and used to inform the design of the training package. Key design features of the training package included: covering both technical and pedagogical aspects of Blackboard; using blended delivery and using both cognitive constructivism and social constructivism to underpin its pedagogy. Evaluation data collected from a range of sources suggest that the academic staff responded well to the design features of the training package and that the training had a positive influence on their practice. The study has proposed a model for the design and evaluation of e-learning training in higher education that based on five generic criteria including ownership, intersubjectivity, contextualisation, transformational potential and evidence based.
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