E-EXAM QUESTIONS AND MEANINGFUL LEARNING
University of Jyvaskyla, Kokkola university consortium Chydenius (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Traditionally exams are seen as one of the important learning situations and possibilities to verify the learning processes in universities. In academic contexts exams are used actively, and they still play an important role. From pedagogical point of view, exams are also criticized – do exams promote high-quality learning? Current learning theories highlight the active role of the individual learner´s and skills for future working life. At the same time the changes in the operating environment are massive and the pace of development is high, which also challenges academic practices. Lifelong and life wide learning are natural part of adults´ everyday life. Digital revolution forces and allows learning in different contexts. Different web-based solutions are developing strongly and in active use also in academic contexts, also in the open university. Web-based solutions can promote equal possibilities to participate lifelong learning for adult students. For example, e-exams help and sometimes enable academic studies for adult students.
In the open university e-exams are developed since the students' request. The first e-exam was piloted in 2009 and after that the good practice widened and is now part of open university study practices. Practically e-exam participants write their e-exam-answers on their own computers at home. E-exams require preregistration and the students prepare for the e-exam in the normal way by reading the literature mentioned in curricula. The students´ have four hours´ time to answer and send answers via system. It is allowed to use all the materials possible during e-exam.
The open university adult students´ already have strong and individual know-how which is in central role in building individual expertise. The main goal in academic education is to confirm individual learning and to create opportunities to compound informal and formal learning in academic contents. Open university teachers` role is more to supervise and enable learning by combining new learning environments, digital possibilities, academic contents and individual interests.
The analyzed material is the open university students´ e-exam answers. The material is collected during three academic years (2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016). The students participated educational studies in bachelor level. In e-exams, the last and optional question concerned the adult students´ own learning process, feedback concerning e-exam, how students´ self-evaluated the e-exam questions and their own meaningful learning process. What makes a good e-exam question in adult students´ point of view?
According to the students´ the e-exam was exciting and new learning experience. They were satisfied for the possibility to participate e-exam at home, it fitted well in their life situation, saved time and intensified studies. They had prepared well, many of them mentioned mind maps as important tool. They also commented e-exam questions: good questions were clear, wide and enabled own reflection. E-exam was reflected as crystallizing experience. Good question helped to summarize the core content and answering combined with own reflection deepened experienced learning. E-exam seems to support meaningful learning, if e-exam questions are planned from the adult pedagogy point of view. New technologies can diversify adult students´ learning processes in open university, e-exams promote integrative adult pedagogy and strength required digital and other generic skills.
Keywords: open university, adult student, e-exam, meaningful learning