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Lecturers’ professional development in E-learning: An exploration of E-learning professional development culture, perceptions and practices at Ibri College of Technology in Oman

Lecturers’ professional development in E-learning: An exploration of E-learning professional development culture, perceptions and practices at Ibri College of Technology in Oman
Lecturers’ professional development in E-learning: An exploration of E-learning professional development culture, perceptions and practices at Ibri College of Technology in Oman
E-learning use in Higher Education is an emerging area of research that has been gaining increasing interest and scrutiny. This is attributed to various factors including the continuing development of technologies, E-learning potential in affecting teaching and learning and expectations from Higher Education providers to implement E-learning. Lecturers’ Professional Development (PD) is widely viewed as a key component for the improvement of lecturers’ E-learning practices, which could potentially affect teaching and learning. The transition from PD to classroom practices continues to be a rich area of research where there is lack of clarity in the process through which practitioners transform knowledge to classroom practices.

This thesis investigated lecturers’ E-learning PD in an Omani Higher Education Institution following an ethnographic case study approach. I spent four months in Ibri College of Technology examining day-to-day formal and informal learning practices, lecturers’ and managers’ experiences with and perceptions of E-learning PD and lecturers’ use of and perceptions of E-learning use in teaching. The study involved managers and lecturers from four academic departments: Business, Information Technology, Engineering and English, in addition to trainers from the Educational Technologies Centre and Senior Managers within the College. Multiple methods were employed in the study including interviews with managers and lecturers, focus groups, questionnaires, documentary analysis, classroom observations, observations of PD practices and a lesson planning and lesson teaching activity.

The findings revealed that several factors affected lecturers’ E-learning PD practices and perceptions at Ibri College: many of them were contextual and others were individual. The contextual factors were examined using documentary analysis, questionnaires and interviews with managers. They revealed that many government and institutional policies had a negative impact on E-learning PD such as lecturers’ work contracts, lack of effective PD leave policies, lack of investment in E-learning PD, lack of academic promotions and providing general training without tailoring it to lecturers’ needs. There was also lack of E-learning PD accountability and clear disparity between policies and practices. The data indicated that there was inadequate use of College resources and lack of utilization of College lecturers’ expertise.

The study showed that there were many individual factors that had an impact on E-learning PD. Investigation of lecturers’ perceptions and experiences showed that although most lecturers had positive attitudes toward E-learning, E-learning pedagogical anxiety and fear of application of technology in the classroom were common. Furthermore, there was a common feeling among lecturers that the management did not provide enough support and did not prioritise E-learning PD and E-learning use in the classroom. There was a common mistrust and miscommunication between lecturers and managers; and in some cases, among lecturers or managers themselves. Some lecturers felt that traditional teaching methods worked better or were safe options, and resisted the idea of E-learning use or professional development. Informal collaboration among lecturers was aided or restrained by lecturers’ communities; which were created based on common factors among them such as interests, nationalities, years of experience and positions.
University of Southampton
Almanthari, Abdulsallam, Maktoum
7deae7d2-c05e-416d-ad0e-8b390aae4f97
Almanthari, Abdulsallam, Maktoum
7deae7d2-c05e-416d-ad0e-8b390aae4f97
Brockmann, Michaela
f8b5697f-f9fc-4645-9bd5-a78af20d0ea5

Almanthari, Abdulsallam, Maktoum (2019) Lecturers’ professional development in E-learning: An exploration of E-learning professional development culture, perceptions and practices at Ibri College of Technology in Oman. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 442pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

E-learning use in Higher Education is an emerging area of research that has been gaining increasing interest and scrutiny. This is attributed to various factors including the continuing development of technologies, E-learning potential in affecting teaching and learning and expectations from Higher Education providers to implement E-learning. Lecturers’ Professional Development (PD) is widely viewed as a key component for the improvement of lecturers’ E-learning practices, which could potentially affect teaching and learning. The transition from PD to classroom practices continues to be a rich area of research where there is lack of clarity in the process through which practitioners transform knowledge to classroom practices.

This thesis investigated lecturers’ E-learning PD in an Omani Higher Education Institution following an ethnographic case study approach. I spent four months in Ibri College of Technology examining day-to-day formal and informal learning practices, lecturers’ and managers’ experiences with and perceptions of E-learning PD and lecturers’ use of and perceptions of E-learning use in teaching. The study involved managers and lecturers from four academic departments: Business, Information Technology, Engineering and English, in addition to trainers from the Educational Technologies Centre and Senior Managers within the College. Multiple methods were employed in the study including interviews with managers and lecturers, focus groups, questionnaires, documentary analysis, classroom observations, observations of PD practices and a lesson planning and lesson teaching activity.

The findings revealed that several factors affected lecturers’ E-learning PD practices and perceptions at Ibri College: many of them were contextual and others were individual. The contextual factors were examined using documentary analysis, questionnaires and interviews with managers. They revealed that many government and institutional policies had a negative impact on E-learning PD such as lecturers’ work contracts, lack of effective PD leave policies, lack of investment in E-learning PD, lack of academic promotions and providing general training without tailoring it to lecturers’ needs. There was also lack of E-learning PD accountability and clear disparity between policies and practices. The data indicated that there was inadequate use of College resources and lack of utilization of College lecturers’ expertise.

The study showed that there were many individual factors that had an impact on E-learning PD. Investigation of lecturers’ perceptions and experiences showed that although most lecturers had positive attitudes toward E-learning, E-learning pedagogical anxiety and fear of application of technology in the classroom were common. Furthermore, there was a common feeling among lecturers that the management did not provide enough support and did not prioritise E-learning PD and E-learning use in the classroom. There was a common mistrust and miscommunication between lecturers and managers; and in some cases, among lecturers or managers themselves. Some lecturers felt that traditional teaching methods worked better or were safe options, and resisted the idea of E-learning use or professional development. Informal collaboration among lecturers was aided or restrained by lecturers’ communities; which were created based on common factors among them such as interests, nationalities, years of experience and positions.

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Published date: June 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433186
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433186
PURE UUID: 752989d0-de6a-46bf-ae84-b125a7d4643d
ORCID for Michaela Brockmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4978-1883

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 10 Aug 2019 00:31

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Contributors

Author: Abdulsallam, Maktoum Almanthari
Thesis advisor: Michaela Brockmann ORCID iD

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