Academic & Commercial Sports Science E-Learning & Content Development

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As a sports science academic content writer I can develop and create sports science and exercise content for print or digital media. This can include a range of materials including educational content for academics based on their specific requirements.

Academic & Commercial E-learning/ Content Service:

  • Deliver training packages to cover everything from the technical development and administration of Moodle to using resources and activities effectively.

  • Develop stylish Moodle pages to complete customisations with bespoke blocks, plugins and innovative course formats.​​

  • Research, write, edit and proof copy to the highest standard a full range of sports science education and communications materials including scientific abstracts papers, posters, oral presentations, print items, and multimedia.

  • Create educational material for sport science undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

  • Create assessment content for both sport science undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

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What's The Best Way Forward ?

 

Education and training is an important element in keeping your learners employable relevant in this modern age. But how do you know which learning option is the  best approach? 

Classroom-based training has been the status quo for some time. Yet, the learning environment and rapid pace of technology are disrupting the way we think about training—cue online learning. On-demand learning offers significant advantages that address the concerns associated with the classroom or seminars model. 

See below on how online learning measures up to the traditional classroom environment and decide what’s right for you and your organisation.

Online Learning

Reconstruction Of The Educational Landscape?

Unfortunately, like everybody, I am isolated to the realms of restricted daily activities due to the current situation globally. This will undoubtedly change the direction and have a bearing with how education will be delivered in the future. This change in further and higher education is now more sweeping than the transformation brought about by the advent of the Internet and World Wide Web. The educational landscape in further and higher education is promptly shifting fully towards enforced online education. However, this change is challenging with organisations assuming that academics and learners have the necessary resources, skill sets, and e-learning technology to provide positive learning episodes and experiences. This has further exposed the frailties placed within the further educational sector and it is questionable student attainment is augmented. This article hopes to reveal the potential benefits of online learning versus classroom learning and facilitation.

​Importantly,  you may be questioning if this approach of delivery would be the correct ‘fit’ for your learners or even the organisation. To help conceptualise this we have briefly reviewed academic research in this area, to give you an overview of the differences between these modes of learning and how the method of study impacts upon learner outcomes.

Educational Effects Of Online Learning

 

Maeroff [2003] maintained that developments in online learning are not “just a fad” but a “sea change” (p. 2). The combination of knowledge and technology permits further and higher education to provide learning anytime, anyplace, and to anyone (Aggarwal & Bento, 2000; Maeroff; Pittinsky, 2003).

A study by Hannah [2006] assessed the differences between online and traditional learning environments. From the 217 student respondents that completed the 22-question survey, 88% reported that they chose online learning as it allowed scheduling around other commitments. This, therefore, offered a degree of flexibility that traditional classroom-based formats did not permit. Furthermore, these students mean time spent on academic courses was two-hours greater per week when learning online. This can be contributed to several factors, including the lack of travel time to the classroom, the ability to organise additional lessons in and importantly increased learners motivation.

The option of a flexible online learning environment is particularly important for workplace learning, as employees can struggle to organise learning around their congested schedule. With free time already limited for these employees, online learning provides much-needed flexibility when compared to classroom learning.  

This is supported by the work of  Waldman et al. [2009] who investigated the different perceptions between experienced online learners and first-time learners enrolling on an online business course. A total of 300 completed learner questionnaires were resulted. The learners consisted of two groups those experienced with online courses and those with no or limited experience.  The results from respondents indicated that their online courses were of good quality. They also stated that they had additional time in which to absorb information and complete the online course requirements compared to traditional classroom courses. However, it is important to note that both groups identified problematic issues with communication between student and instructor and student-to-student interactions. Experienced online learners did not indicate problems relating to support issues from the instructor and the institution. Waldman et al. [2009] also suggested that a shift in learners attitude and perception towards learning and the requirement to invest time in their studies.

 

Student Investment In Learning

There is also a body of evidence to suggest that online learning facilitates greater levels of effort from the learner. Robinson et al. [2008] assessed the level of student engagement in online learning in undergraduate education using specific dimensions of engagement considered to be effective educational practices (level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student–faculty interaction, and enriching educational experiences). Participants included 86 men (43%) and 115 women (57%). The typical profile of the respondent was White (84%) and less than 25 years old (85%).

 

Robinson and colleagues [2008] concluded that online learning has been accompanied by a comparable, but separate, requirement for greater responsibility in higher education. Measures of student engagement offer indicators of educational quality, yet have been limited to use in on-campus settings. The authors used key engagement dimensions that the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) defined to measure student engagement in online courses from three universities. Online students were modestly engaged in selected NSSE dimensions and had a pattern of engagement that differed from on-campus students.

 

It is important to note that learners must self-direct their learning, which can represent a greater level of investment from the learner in their own achievement. Educators can implement motivational tools including online announcements, discussions with other students and multimedia materials that also contribute to their investment in studying.

Other studies have also suggested that students can learn at their own pace which allows individuals to gain a deeper understanding of the course content. Further,  it is not possible to revisit the learning materials at their leisure and this allows them to study the concept until they comprehend it, rather than struggling to keep up with the rest of a classroom.

Learners that merely attend a classroom or lecture doesn’t automatically equal an understanding of the learning material being discussed. If the student is disconnected or misses essential elements in the lecture, they can’t replay the lecture or locate the materials that were discussed. The ability to question is present in the classroom, though those that are more self-conscious may not use this option or there may not be time within the lesson to ask.

Within traditional learning environments, there may be an expectation that attendance equals success. As several studies have reported, there may be a positive correlation between good attendance and preferable educational outcomes, the two are not mutually exclusive [Eisen et al. 2015]. Student characteristics and capability are much more highly weighted when considering a learner outcome.

The Learning Experience

Organisations must have a comprehensive virtual learning environment (VLE) such as Moodle or Blackboard that permits learner interaction and facilities further engagement. It is important to consider the quality of the learning environment as this is an important consideration. Evans et al. [2004] assessed the hypothesis that material (Virtual Lectures [VL]) presented in an interactive, easily navigable (VLE) creates significant improvement in the learning experience over identical material presented as simply pictures and text (Web pages). The authors reported that there was a significant increase in final examination grades for learners taking the material as a VLE compared with Web pages. Students using Web pages also expressed some discontent with their experience but those using the VL did not. In there second study participants were divided into two groups and exposed to the material in the form of both Web pages and a VL. The results of a multiple-choice assessment reveal a significant increase in scores for material presented as a VL. Questionnaire analysis from learners further supported the VL approach. However, it is important to ensure that the quality of the learning environment is a carefully designed interface as this can significantly improve the learning experience.

There are ultimately learners that prefer classroom learning as it promotes discussion between peers. However, this can be replicated in the VLE to produce similar experiences. There are features within the VLE platform that permits the educator to construct online debates and can be used as part of the learning experience which shapes a class community and creates interactions amongst learners.

Research also suggests that these interactions or activities necessitate genuine engagement from learners to improve their learning experience. Through active dialogues, tasks and discussions with others, learners become immersed within the course content. It can be said, that the role of lecturers (in part) is to create ‘the spark’ which creates a more enjoyable and interesting learning experience.

The most effective strategy for enhanced learning is to embed multiple components within online learning. This ‘blended learning’ approach tends to generate better learner outcomes. By using a mixed-method approach of video lectures, formative assessments, tutor support and guidance helps to augment the texted materials. This will allow learners to be more aligned with this style of learning prompting greater self-investment towards the programmes. Conversely, if the content is solely text-based, some learners will become disengaged and may struggle to complete their education.

If the content is solely text-based, some learners will become disconnected and struggle to complete their education. This can also occur in a traditional classroom environment, as the teaching style may not match the needs of every student. It is important to note that too much of one style will ultimately impact the uptake of information.

Overcoming The Hurdles & Enhancing The Learning Experience

Unfortunately, there are still numerous barriers that learners have when accessing learning online. These can include the required technical skills and also learner motivation towards learning. A literature review by  O’Doherty et al. [2018] investigated barriers and solutions that face medical educators when developing and implementing online learning provisions. From the ten full-text papers that met the inclusion paper (seven studies with  high methodological quality. The authors reported that significant barriers which affect the development and implementation of online learning in medical education included time limitations, limited technical skills, insufficient infrastructure, absence of institutional strategies and negative attitudes of learners and academics.

The solutions to these barriers included improved educator skills, incentives for development and delivering online content, improved support for staff and learners. For example, an issue with technical skills can be overcome using tutorials and further engagement with students. By creating an instructional environment, learners don’t require high technical knowledge to access the course.

The use of different components can also address the needs of different kinds of learners (i.e. with video, audio and written information). Creating a positive culture towards the learning environment is also critical, as this helps to overcome many barriers, including discontent, unwillingness to attempt learning and other attitude-related concerns.

This is an issue that is not solely limited to online learning, as the learner’s attitude are a factor in all types of learning. However, the solutions offered will vary depending on the mode of learning. Offering support virtually may not be as effective for all learners as meeting with a tutor in person.

In studies that have examined the acceptance of online learning, new learners report greater difficulties than those that have studied online previously. Simply familiarising themselves with processes and viewing helpful materials, including online orientation videos, can significantly diminish any issues with online learning. When examining attrition levels of online learners, those who were more confident in their abilities were able to adapt to the cognitive load at the start of the course and adjustment to the learning environment. This initial adjustment period can be overwhelming to a learner, especially with self-directed study. This is where an enhanced onboarding process can also give way to better outcomes for the learner.

Key Points

Overall it has been found that the biggest contributor to the success of online learning is the individual learner. Those who use the learning materials to their advantage and self-direct their studies with purpose can achieve better grades compared to those in a traditional classroom. Predictably, convenience was the most frequently cited reason for accessing online learning instead of a traditional classroom environment.

It is important to note that it not inherently more demanding for learners to uptake information online; for many, this can be a useful method. While there are obstructions towards online learning, such as learner motivation, similar barriers also apply within the classroom environment. The correct learning materials also play a significant part in learner success. A blended multimedia learning approach allows the learner to fully engage with the materials and reach a deeper level of understanding. The learner’s ability to repeatedly access learning content until they comprehend it entirely can also help to elevate their grades further. With the correct attitudes and support for educators and learners, online learning can offer better superior results for the majority of learners than traditional classroom learning.