The use and usefulness of non-assessed online learning: Tracking students' behaviour on LAMS
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education / Fogarty Learning Centre
Recent reviews of active and participatory learning design are critical of the effectiveness of such strategies, pointing out that students’ participation levels in technology-mediated discussion tasks are generally low. In addition, they note that when students are made to participate, through the attachment of assignment points to participation in online discussions, students become skilled in taking full advantage of the assignment points, without necessarily engaging in deep learning. These reviews point to a disturbing trend in student engagement that needs urgent attention. Does student effort or the lack of it pose an inherent problem for the design of online discussion tasks? Is there a need to factor in students’ ambivalence towards online communicative collaboration when designing LAMS learning tasks? In this paper, I document the use and usefulness of non-assessed discussion forum learning design, discussing the meaning of student content engagement and its relationship to deep learning before reporting preliminary research results that sought to investigate current student engagement with non-assessed learning tasks. My findings illustrate the importance of reassessing current conceptualisation of learning and assessment tasks as a linear progression. Moreover, I conclude that it is counter-productive to ‘make students collaborate’ through the simple attachment of assignment points to tasks, because it rewards compliance rather than learning.