3.2 Examining impact – Mason reviews OECD

[I’m engaging in a risky gambit at the moment of trying to compress 30 hours of study into about half the time. Basically, I don’t wish to continue playing catch up as the course progresses and the TMA appears rapidly on my horizon. I toyed briefly with dropping out and getting a refund, but hey, we’re built of sterner stuff round here. Or we just have unrealistic expectations. You choose.]OECD logoA few points in Mason’s review struck me. It seems that based on the data, or rather this data [Mason’s italics], ‘e-learning has failed to emerge as a significant activity or market, although there is evidence that online learning is growing’ (287). Also, elearning has not had the predicted ‘revolutionary’ effect many had predicted. Being familiar with Mason from H808 and indeed the findings of the OECD report is very pertinent to that course, I was surprised to find myself reading her review with a H809 hat on. Essentially, I wasn’t so interested in the findings, I was more interested in her critique of the methodology, that italicised ‘this‘.Learning about questioning and learning to question research is core to the course thus far. From this review, we learn that Mason has doubts about the efficacy of the questionnaire approach to gathering data employed by the OECD because this method ‘would probably never capture the subtleties of slow, personal changes in the processes of teaching and learning’ (287). That does raise the question if these slow, personal changes can be captured and if so can anything meaningful be extracted to be applied in a general way (back to the quandry Wegerif and Mercer hoped to overcome).Mason also makes a point of telling us that the survey has produced findings that she also found: 15 years ago.  So, she reminds us that elearning is best suited to motivated postgraduates who need flexible delivery, and certain courses (Business Studies, Management, IT and Education) use elearning more. Does this indicate that certain characteristics of elearning remain regardless of the changes and developments over the years?We also learn that while elearning is broadly viewed as positive, little ‘substantive internal research evidence’ (288) was presented to support this belief. One could (as I did) see this as a potential weakness were one to attempt to promote elearning, but Mason correctly asks if similar evidence be presented for the efficacy of lecturing?Ultimately, she chimes in with the assertion that governments should cultivate patience and resist the urge to micro-manage change. Given her earlier comment about the difficulty of quantifying the slow nature of change in education, perhaps it suits her to urge patience? Given that the report proffers 15 year old findings, perhaps things should speed up a little? But those comments are more suited to H808, so I’ll move along…   [Edited 7 March 08  on learning that Robin Mason is a woman]


2 responses to “3.2 Examining impact – Mason reviews OECD

  1. Frances Wilson


    Came across your blogg as another student on H809 while searching for Mason review on Google scholar!
    Share the same problems re time but am determined to get through this!

  2. Hi Frances,

    It’s mad how our little contributions are now feeding into the great digital soup out there for other lonely webcrawlers to catch!

    Let’s stick with it for the moment. Actually, I’m finding feeds from Google Reader and the wikis to be helpful in getting a sense of where people are on the course. I don’t think I’m too far behind really! But TMA01 beckons!

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