Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The underpinnings of e-learning evaluation and research

Phillips, R. (2012) The underpinnings of e-learning evaluation and research. In: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2012, 25 - 29 June 2012, Denver, CO pp. 61-67.

PDF - Published Version
Download (83kB)
Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This paper attempts a fundamental analysis of the nature of research into e-learning. It starts by considering the phenomenon of e-learning, arguing that e-learning is an artificial, designed phenomenon, and that research approaches need to consider how the e-learning environment works and how it can be improved, before we can consider how effective it is. We also establish that e-learning inquiry involves a mixture of evaluation and research, and we discuss this in the context of different disciplinary and interdisciplinary research approaches, arguing that e-learning evaluation research involves a varying mixture of a 18search for fundamental understanding 19 and 18consideration of use 19. We apply the preceding arguments to the e-learning lifecycle, identifying five different forms of evaluation research which are appropriate at various stages: Baseline Analysis, Design Evaluation, Formative Evaluation, Effectiveness Research, and Project-management Evaluation. These forms can be used to guide the design of an e-learning evaluation-research study, in a cyclical research approach. We recognize the strength of design-based research in this context, without claiming that it is appropriate in all circumstances. The paper then unpacks the process of conducting evaluation research, through the use of divide-and-conquer techniques to break down the complexity of an e-learning evaluation-research study. The five forms of evaluation research allow us to conceptualise specific research questions at a particular position in the e-learning lifecycle, and evaluation-research matrices assist us to identify sources of evidence to address these questions.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
Copyright: 2012 AACE
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year