Events > IATEFL Conference 2004, Liverpool, 16-17 April > page 7

Friday 16 April

Accommodating learner needs: the guiding principle behind designing e-learning materials

Ruth Trinder (Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration, Austria)

Report by Geoff Taylor, Computer SIG Committee member


Ruth presented a set of educational Web-based materials called Online English Mentor () that she had designed/developed for her employer. These materials were developed as supplementary e-learning resources for students of business English in a tertiary educational context. The pedagogical rationale for the design of the materials was hammered out during her PhD studies into e-learning.

Ruth was project Coordinator. She had two content developers and two programmers, as well as three other contributors. It took a year to develop the materials for first year students, nine months to develop for the materials for the second year.

Ruth demonstrated the overall design of the materials, and a range of study and practice facilities, including interactive exercises. She showed how the design had been improved for the second year material, primarily using the criteria of user feedback.

The material is in use by students at the university. The question was, how much use did it get? It seems that there was a marked increase in use by learners of the second year material. The reasons for this were mainly extrinsic to the design and content of the e-learning materials.

Ruth summarised learners' perceptions of e-learning:

Ruth's conclusions

The closer the correlation between online and class materials, the more use online materials are likely to get.


Ruth drew the short straw with regard to timing, this talk occupying the penultimate slot of the last day of the conference. Only half a dozen people attended, including two Computer SIG Committee members.

This was a pity, as:

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