Conole, Grainne and Oliver, Martin
Evidence-based practice and e-learning in Higher Education: can we and should we?
Research Papers in Education, 18, (4), . (doi:10.1080/0267152032000176873).
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Policy makers are increasingly looking to evidence-based practice as a means of ensuring accountability and validity in education and more recently in e-learning. In this paper, the origins of evidence-based practice are reviewed, and considered in relation to the emergence of e-learning as an area of policy, research and practice. The close links between these three activities within e-learning are described, and a critique is presented that raises methodological, epistemological and moral questions about this approach. This analysis identifies a number of implications for e-learning, including the problems facing practitioner-researchers working on project funding and the potentially distorting effect of e-learning policy on research in this field. Possible alternative approaches are suggested, advocating a more inclusive conception of evidence-based practice in which any single model (such as the hierarchy of evidence developed within medicine) is prevented from dominating evaluation by explicitly adopting a commitment to inclusivity and empowerment within evaluation and research.
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