EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE TRAINING COURSE FOR LEARNERS WITH SPECIFIC LEARNING DIFFERENCES: FINDINGS FROM AN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT
1 Portucalense University (PORTUGAL)
2 University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This paper reports on findings from the evaluation of an online training course developed for learners with specific learning differences. It is part of an Erasmus project entitled “Supplemental Self-Help in English as a Foreign Language for Learners with Specific Learning Differences“, funded by the European Union. It involves a consortium of 7 partners from 6 different countries: Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Bulgaria and Finland.
The project aims to develop self-help Open Educational Resources (OER) for learners of English with special needs in one or more of the following areas: reading, writing, speaking, listening, memory, motivation and/or learning in general. Several separate self-help guides as well as a portal and platform for learners with special needs will be created and established. The objective of the project is to provide learners of English with specific tools and techniques that they can readily implement to improve their skills and overall competence in the specific area(s) of need.
The project will produce outputs that are completely new in terms of learning opportunities. A portal on the internet is being prepared to provide resources to learners of English as foreign language (EFL) with Special Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), such as guidance, guidelines, resources, links, a glossary and specific learning tips. The portal will include a forum and social media for learners to communicate with each other and with the project partners, as well as seven web-based educational modules, each based on a specific topic. Each module is considered to be an individual course, and a learner may complete as many modules as he or she chooses. The modules will be based on work that has previously been conducted and will provide learners with SpLDs with specific tools and techniques that they can readily implement to improve their skills and overall competence in the specific area(s) in which they are weakest.
The evaluation of each module will be grounded on Kirckpatrick's Evaluation Model, where the focus of evaluation will rely on levels 1 (satisfaction) and 2 (learning). A set of evaluation tools, such as questionnaires based on trainee's expectations at the start of the online course, as well as a questionnaire at the end of the module to collect feedback from trainee's not only in regard to their satisfaction, but also concerning their learning outcomes. What have students learned, as a result of participating in the SupEFL training course? How do trainee's evaluate their satisfaction with the online course (available resources, guidelines, links, learning tips, etc.)? What can be improved in the course? Suggestions and recommendations to be implemented each of the modules?.
Findings achieved from the application of the questionnaires in each of the six partner countries will be discussed in this paper, as well as implications for research on special education.
Keywords: Special education, open educational resources, online training, self-help tools, evaluation.