E-Learning Models

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This chapter describes procedures applied in carrying out the study. This includes the research design, geographical location, population, sampling technique, instrumentation and data analysis plan. It is necessary for generating information that will determine the success of this research in reaching its projected conclusion.

Research Design: Research Approach and Research Methods

A research design can be defined as a plan, format or layout which is used to acquire data relating to a given problem. Data is necessary to verify hypotheses or answer research questions in a particular study. This study will involve a mixed methodological approach. It involves the mixing of qualitative and quantitative approaches at many phases in the research process, from the initial philosophical assumptions to the drawing up of conclusions. It focuses on collecting, analyzing, and mixing quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or series of studies. Some researchers called this approach to research “trian gulation of method”. Neuman (2006:149) asserts that triangulation is the idea of looking at something from multiple points of view. On his part, Gay (1996:217) defines triangulation as “the term for the use of multiple methods, data collection strategies and or data sources”. Elliot (1992:82) says, “the basic principle underlying the idea of triangulation is that of collecting observations or accounts of a situation from a variety of angles or perspectives and then comparing them.
Amin (2005:64) points out that the aim of triangulation is to map out or explain fully the richness and complexity of a study from different points of view and involves the use of both quantitative and qualitative approach in a particular study under investigation. According to him,” the presentation or use of only qualitative or quantitative approach often presents only a myopic view of things”(Amin, 2005:63). Jonassen (2003:364) confirm that relying exclusively on a quantitative or any single form of research restricts researchers’ understanding of the problem. Fraenkel and Wallen (2000:508) postulate that the two approaches should be combined frequently in research. The basis of using quantitative and qualitative approaches in combination is to provide a better understanding of the research problem than either approach alone. This better understanding results because mixed methods offers strengths that offset the weaknesses of separately applied quantitative and qualitative research methods. It also encourages the collection of more comprehensive evidence for study problems, helps answers questions that quantitative or qualitative methods alone cannot answer, and reduces adversarial relationships among researchers and promotes collaboration. Mixed methods encourage the use of multiple worldview. It is a practical and natural approach to research. This research method is important today because of the complexity of problems that need to be addressed. In the same light, Neuman (2006:149) supports that the idea of looking at something from different angles or viewpoints improves accuracy. Qualitative and quantitative representations are complementary (Jonassen, 2003:364).
On the one hand, Qualitative research can be defined as a research study that explores the quality of relationships, activities, situations or materials. According to Fraenkel and Wallen (2000:12), a qualitative research approach provides a holistic picture of what goes on in a particular situation or setting rather than just comparing the effects of a particular treatment. Amin (2005:43) states that qualitative research approach is one in which the inquirer often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspectives (that is the multiple meanings of individual experiences, meanings socially and historically constructed with an intent of developing theory or pattern) or participatory perspective (collaborative). This approach has the capacity to provide a complete picture of the role of e-learning on the professional development of student-teachers in Cameroon. Worthy of note is the fact that qualitative research sometimes provides preconditions on which quantitative research can be applied. Also, qualitative research supports construction of quantitative knowledge not available initially. It supports the findings of quantitative research.
On the other hand, Quantitative research, can be defined as a research approach that investigate how well, how much, to what extent or how accurately different learning, attitudes, or ideas are being developed. Amin (2005:55) points out that quantitative research involves the collection of numerical data in order to test hypotheses or answer questions concerning the current status of the subject of the study. Fraenkel and Wallen (2000:212) assert that quantitative data are obtained when the variable being studied is measured along a scale that indicates how much of the variable is present. They are reported in terms of scores. Higher scores indicates that more of the variable is present than do lower scores. Neuman (2006:151) postulates that “quantitative researchers emphasize precisely measuring variables and testing hypotheses that are linked to general causal explanations”. Quantitative approach also supports the construction of qualitative knowledge. Its findings support qualitative research. The use of this approach in this study is to investigate the extent to which the use or incorporation of e-Learning method influences the professional development of student teachers in Cameroon. That is, the extent to which the use of e-learning influences practicing teachers’ communication skills; technical skills; interpersonal skills; teachers’ attitudes towards ICT; support received by ICT teachers; values and principles suitable for learning; and challenges faced by teachers in the field.
This study will employ survey as well as experimental research (Quasi experimental design). The use of a survey research design necessitates the study of a representation sample, which will allow the researcher to make inferences or generalization to the population under study. The use of survey will permit the collection of quantitative data. Fraenkel and Wallen (2000:283), points out clearly that experimental research is one of the most powerful research methodologies researchers can use. According to them, it is the best way to establish cause-and-effect relationship between variables. In this case, I am going to use the quasi experimental design. Neuman (2006:256), Amin (2006:220), Fraenkel and Wallen (2000:294), holds that quasi experimental designs do not include the use of random assignment. Using this design, the researcher relies on other techniques to reduce threats to internal validity. Amin (2006:220) points out that there are two main types of quasi-experimental designs: non equivalent group post-test designs and non equivalent group pre-test-post-test. This research is going to employ the non equivalent group pre –test – post – test design. There will be an experimental or treatment group and a control or comparison group. The experimental group will be taught using the method of e-Learning while the control or comparison group will not be taught using e-learning. This therefore means that in the experimental group, there will be the presence of e-learning while in the control group there will be the absence of e-learning. In the control group, only the traditional or conventional methods such as the lecture method will be used in the teaching-learning process. This group (control group) will help me to determine whether the integration or use of e-learning has had an effect or influence on the professional development of student teachers.

Area of the Study

The area of study refers to the location where this study was carried out. This study was carried out in Cameroon. The country covers a surface area of 475,440 square kilometres and has an ethnically and linguistically diverse population of about 20 million with about 200 linguistic and ethnic groups (Africa Atlases: Cameroon, 2007:7, Cameroon/World bank Report,2012:32). It is bordered to the south by Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo; on its south-west side, it overlooks the vast Atlantic Ocean; to the west by Nigeria; on its eastern side by the Central African Republic and Chad; and to the north by Lake Chad. Cameroon has two official languages, English and French. The country is sub divided into ten regions (North West Region, South West Region, West Region, Littoral Region, Centre Region, South Region, East Region, Adamawa Region, North Region and Far North Region). Each region is further sub-divided into Divisions and Sub-Divisions. These regions are each administered by appointed Governors in addition to Divisional and Sub-divisional officers while executive powers are conferred to the President of the Republic. The economy is basically Agricultural and commonly described as Africa in miniature or the basket of West Africa.
The choice of the study area was first of all because the researcher is a Cameroonian, born and lives in Cameroon. Secondly, the multiplicity of schools in Cameroon and the interest by so many graduates of becoming teachers especially at the secondary, primary and nursery schools. Thirdly, the great need for these young Cameroonians aspiring to becoming teachers to acquire the necessary academic and professional skills, attitudes and values suitable for learning in the 21st century. Fourthly, the incessant love of electronic gadgets like computers, Internet, digital radios, digital Televisions and hand held devices like telephones by Cameroonians motivated the researcher to carry out this study. Fifthly, the growing interest in the telecommunication sector by the Cameroon government: the project on the creation of 20,000 community tele-centres in Cameroon, the project on the National Optic Fiber Network planned to be implemented with the government of China. Above all the researcher masters the area of the study and is a University lecturer in Cameroon.
Moreover, the study was carried out in Government Teacher Training Colleges. Cameroon has 59 Government Teacher Training Colleges that trains teachers of basic education located in each Sub-Division. Basic education is two years for Nursery and Six years for primary school in Cameroon. The country has eight state Universities. Of this eight, two are Anglo-Saxon Universities (University of Buea and the newly created University of Bamenda), four Bilingual Universities (University of Yaounde I, University of Yaounde II, University of Maroua and University of Dschang) and two Francophone Universities (University of Douala and University of Ngaoundere). Five of these universities have Higher Teacher Training institutions that train teachers of secondary education in both technical and general education. This include the Higher Teacher Training College Yaounde of the University of Yaounde I, The Higher Teacher Training College and the Higher Technical Teacher Training College Bamenda of the University of Bamenda, The Higher Teacher Training College Maroua of the University of Maroua, the Higher Technical Teacher Training college Douala of the University of Douala and the Faculty of Education of the University of Buea that trains both campus and distance education students. It is worthy to note that the study involves only general education institutions.

Population of the study

Amin (2005:6) defines a population as “the complete collection (or universe) of all the elements (units) that are of interest in a particular investigation. The population of the study defines the limits within which the researcher’s findings are applicable or are generalised. Thus the population of the study was made up of student-teachers in institutions of teacher education in Cameroon.

Target Population

According to Amin (2004:6), a target population is the population to which the researcher ultimately wants to generalize the results. He further explains that this target population may not be accessible to the researcher. The target population was made up of all the final year student-teachers and lecturers in the different Government Teacher Training institutions in Cameroon. That is third year (3rd year) Student-teachers in teacher education schools in Cameroon. The choice of final year students is first of all because of their experience in school as prospective teachers. These are students that have already learnt basic competencies in teaching and technology given that educational technology is already one of the disciplines taught in all schools from nursery to tertiary education. Secondly, the researcher thought that was the level that could generate data necessary for the study.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background of the Problem
1.3 Formulation of the Problem
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the study
1.5 Aim of the Study
1.6 Research Questions
1.7 Research Hypotheses
1.8 Significance of the Study
1.9 Scope of the Study
1.10 Clarification of Operational Concepts
1.11 Synthesis
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Conceptual Framework
2.3 Review of Related Literature
2.4 E-Learning Models
2.5 Theoretical Framework
2.6 Synthesis
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design: Research Approach and Research Methods
3.3 Area of the Study
3.4 Population of the study
3.5 Sample and Sampling Technique
3.6 Instruments for Data Collection
3.7 Validity of the Instrument
3.8 Administration of the Instrument
3.8.1 Questionnaire Return Rate
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Findings of the Experiment
4.3 Description of sample with respect to Performance
4.4 First Test
4.5 Second Test
4.6 Description of Socio-Demographic Information
4.7 Synthesis
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Discussion of Findings of the Experiment
5.4 Synthesis
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Conclusion
6.3 Implications of the Study
6.4 Limitations of the Study
6.5 Recommendations for the Study
6.6 Suggestions for Further Research
6.7 Summary
6.8 Key Concepts

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