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Abstract

Many studies have been conducted, mainly in a university environment, and researchers have identified both advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. Very little is known about the applicability and suitability of e-learning to vocational and skills-based training. The research presented in this paper evaluates an adaptive e-learning model INNOVRET which combines skills-based learning by means of the Competence based Knowledge Space Theory CbKST with the principles of self-regulated learning SRL for a practically-oriented vocational training area, namely highly skilled heat pump system installation, in Ireland. The research methodology employed to carry out this study consists of a participative study to develop the INNOVRET approach for e-learning for heat pump systems installation and an empirical study carried out to evaluate the INNOVRET system. The results show that it is the IT skills of the installers that determine the way they perceive the system and the whole learning experience, as well as the level of knowledge acquired.
International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design, 5(3), 31-46, July-September 2015 31
Copyright © 2015, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
ABSTRACT
Many studies have been conducted, mainly in a university environment, and researchers have identied both
advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. Very little is known about the applicability and suitability of
e-learning to vocational and skills-based training. The research presented in this paper evaluates an adaptive
e-learning model (INNOVRET) which combines skills-based learning by means of the Competence based
Knowledge Space Theory (CbKST) with the principles of self-regulated learning (SRL) for a practically-
oriented vocational training area, namely highly skilled heat pump system installation, in Ireland. The research
methodology employed to carry out this study consists of a participative study to develop the INNOVRET
approach for e-learning for heat pump systems installation and an empirical study carried out to evaluate
the INNOVRET system. The results show that it is the IT skills of the installers that determine the way they
perceive the system and the whole learning experience, as well as the level of knowledge acquired.
Suitability of Adaptive Self-
Regulated e-Learning to
Vocational Training:
A Pilot Study in Heat Pump
System Installation
Aurora Dimache, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland
Thomas Roche, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland
Simone Kopeinik, Knowledge Technologies Institute, Graz University of Technology, Graz,
Austria
Lisa Christina Winter, Graz University of Technology Graz, Austria
Alexander Nussbaumer, Knowledge Technologies Institute, Graz University of Technology,
Graz, Austria
Dietrich Albert, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
Keywords: Adaptive e-Learning Model, Competence Based Knowledge Space Theory, e-Learning, Heat
Pump System Installation, Vocational Education and Training
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2015070103
Copyright © 2015, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
32 International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design, 5(3), 31-46, July-September 2015
INTRODUCTION
The relatively recent development of informa-
tion and communication technologies (ICT) has
changed all the aspects of our lives, including
education (Conole, 2006; Stephenson, Brown, &
Griffin, 2008). The use of computers and digital
media in education (known as ‘e-learning’) has
become an important component of teaching
and learning especially in third level education
(Paechter, Maier, & Macher, 2010; Stephenson
et al., 2008). It is common practice to comple-
ment face-to-face lectures with online material
and activities (using learning environments such
as Moodle or Blackboard), which is known as
‘blended learning’ or ‘hybrid learning’ (Deli-
alioglu & Yildirim, 2008; Glogowska, Young,
Lockyer, & Moule, 2011; Vernadakis, Antoniou,
Giannousi, Zetou, & Kioumourtzoglou, 2011).
Another approach is distance learning that
may be implemented as pure online learning,
where the face-to-face component is completely
eliminated. In this case, the course material is
usually either presented in a structured man-
ner and includes multimedia (e.g. images
and videos) and various forms of interaction
(including self-assessments quizzes) or as
a recorded lecture presented synchronously
or asynchronously (Stephenson et al., 2008).
Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) (Zimmerman,
2002; Zimmerman & Schunk, 1989) is where
learners are encouraged to control and regulate
their own learning process towards their learning
goals, it plays an important role in e-learning
and even more in distance learning. In order to
enhance self-regulatory skills, online courses
should be built on SRL principles (Bernacki,
Byrnes, & Cromley, 2012; Lee & Tsai, 2011).
As learning assisted by ICT is relatively
new, research regarding the effects of e-learning
versus traditional face-to-face classes is not
conclusive. Many studies have been conducted,
mainly in a university environment, and re-
searchers have identified both advantages and
disadvantages of e-learning (Klimova, 2012;
López-Pérez, Pérez-López, & Rodríguez-Ariza,
2011; Paechter & Maier, 2010). Very little is
known about the suitability of e-learning, es-
pecially adaptive e-learning, where vocational
training content is personalised to the learner’s
needs (Holmgren, 2012; Martin, Platis, Malilta,
& Ardeleanu, 2011; Pfefferle, Van den Stock,
& Nauerth, 2010).
The research presented in this paper aims to
answer the question: is adaptive self-regulated
e-learning a viable alternative for practically-
oriented vocational training? Based on find-
ings from existing research (Holmgren, 2012;
Martin et al., 2011; Pfefferle et al., 2010), the
assumption would be that yes, it is a viable op-
tion. To test this, an evaluation of the adaptive
self-regulated learning approach in the context
of vocational training has been carried out. An
experiment was organised in order to:
Assess the influence of different learning
systems on the level of knowledge gained
by the learners (effectiveness);
Identify the users’ opinion on their learn-
ing experience and their behaviour when
interacting with the SRL system, the influ-
ence of the type of learning system on the
users’ time, effort and comfort (efficiency).
The test case was based on the training of
the skills required to install heat pump systems.
The paper begins by presenting a review
of the literature on e-learning and associ-
ated aspects. The focus is on several areas:
first, on types of e-learning, self-regulated
learning and the influence of e-learning on
developing self-regulatory skills; secondly,
on measures of effectiveness and efficiency
of e-learning; thirdly, on the use of e-learning
in vocational training; current limitations are
identified. Next, the research methodology
and data collection methods are presented
and the findings are discussed and analysed.
Finally, the paper discusses the contributions
and limitations of the study and makes sug-
gestions for further research.
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