Expert Group Papers
Lim, C. P. (Ed.). (2018). Digital game-based learning for the global south. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
Over the past two years, DL4D has brought together leading international and regional scholars and practitioners to critically assess the potentials, prospects, challenges, and future directions for the Global South in key areas of interest around digital learning. It commissioned discussion papers for each of these areas from leading experts in the field: Diana Laurillard of the University College London Institute of Education, for learning at scale; Dragan Gašević of the University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education and School of Informatics, for learning analytics; and Chris Dede of Harvard University, for digital game-based learning, the subject of this compilation. Each discussion paper is complemented by responses from a developing country perspective by regional experts in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Digital Game-Based Learning for the Global South examines what role the use of digital games for learning can play to enhance educational quality, equity, and efficiency in Global South classrooms and other learning environments.
In the main paper, Chris Dede argues that while digital game-based learning (DGBL) is a proven educational innovation effective in the Global North, and is showing early promise in the Global South, conditions for success are quite different in the latter. Thus, the Global South cannot rely on hand-me-down games from the Global North to achieve its educational ends. He suggests that immediately building capacity on four dimensions–context-sensitive DGBL design; technology infrastructure; teacher competencies; and research–is essential. Farzana Ahmad and Chin-Chung Tsai, and Nedjma Koval-Saifi, engage with Dede’s assertions and suggestions from the perspective of South Asia and the Middle East, respectively.
Lim, C. P., & Tinio, V. L. (Eds.). (2018). Learning at scale for the global south. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development
Learning at Scale for the Global South is a compilation of papers commissioned for the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D) project. DL4D is part of the Information Networks in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (INASSA) program funded jointly by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, and administered by the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (FIT-ED) of the Philippines. DL4D aims to examine how digital learning could be used to address issues of equity, quality, and efficiency at all educational levels in developing countries.
Over the past two years, DL4D has brought together leading international and regional scholars and practitioners to critically assess the potentials, prospects, challenges, and future directions for the Global South in key areas of interest around digital learning. It commissioned discussion papers for each of these areas from leading experts in the field: Diana Laurillard of the University College London Institute of Education, for learning at scale, the subject of this compilation; Dragan Gašević of the University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education and School of Informatics, for learning analytics; Chris Dede of Harvard University, for digital game-based learning; and Charalambos Vrasidas of the Centre for the Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology, for cost-effective digital learning innovations. Each discussion paper is complemented by responses from a developing country-perspective by regional experts in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Learning at Scale for the Global South considers how and to what extent the unique affordances of digital technologies may be leveraged by developing countries to achieve quality learning on a large scale. How Could Digital Learning at Scale Address the Issue of Equity in Education? by Diana Laurillard, Eileen Kennedy (University College London Institute of Education), and Tianchong Wang (The Education University of Hong Kong) focuses on online methods for formal learning via open universities, distance learning courses, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and courses from private providers as a type of learning at scale; considers the extent to which online learning at scale achieves equity, the issues this raises, and the policy actions needed; and clarifies how greater quality at low cost through greater efficiency might be achieved, given the characteristics of online learning. Mary Hooker of the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative in Kenya and German Escorcia of Knoware in Mexico consider the proposals of Laurillard, et al. from the particular context of their regions, including (mis)conceptions about online learning; barriers to quality online learning; available digital learning infrastructure; the status of the teacher and teacher professional development; and quality assurance and institutional accreditation.
Lim, C. P., & Tinio, V. L. (Eds.). (2018). Learning analytics for the global south. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
Learning Analytics for the Global South considers how the collection, analysis, and use of data about learners and their contexts have the potential to broaden access to quality education and improve the efficiency of educational processes and systems in developing countries around the world. In his discussion paper, Prof. Gašević articulates these potentials and suggests how learning analytics could support critical digital learning and education imperatives such as quality learning at scale and the acquisition of 21st century skills. Experts from Africa (Paul Prinsloo of the University of South Africa), Mainland China (Bodong Chen of the University of Minnesota, USA and Yizhou Fan of Peking University, People’s Republic of China), Southeast Asia (Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo of the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines), and Latin America (Cristóbal Cobo and Cecilia Aguerrebere, both of the Ceibal Foundation, Uruguay) situate Prof. Gašević’s proposals in their respective regional contexts, framing their responses around six key questions:
- What are the main trends and challenges in education in your region?
- How can learning analytics address these challenges?
- What models of learning analytics adoption would be most effective in your region?
- What are the barriers in adoption of learning analytics in your region and how could these be mitigated?
- How do you envision ethical use and privacy protection in connection with learning analytics being addressed in your region?
- How can the operationalization of learning analytics be futureproofed in your region?
Lim, K. Y. T., Comings, J., Lee, R., Yuen, M. D., Hilmy, A., Chua, D., & Song, B. H. (2018). Guide to developing digital games for early grade literacy for developing countries. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development and World Vision.
This Guide presents information to be considered when designing games for literacy learning, uses game examples that demonstrate how game developers and literacy educators have worked together, and features 12 case studies of good practice games. It is intended to assist game developers, literacy experts, and the staff of agencies interested in funding the development of digital games for early grade literacy learning.
Comings, J. (2018). Assessing the impact of literacy learning games for Syrian refugee children: An executive overview of Antura and the Letters and Feed the Monster impact evaluations. Washington, DC: World Vision and Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
This report provides an executive overview of the impact evaluations of two winning literacy apps, Antura and the Letters and Feed the Monster, in the EduApp4Syria competition. The impact evaluations had three goals:
- Assess the impact of each game on players’ literacy skills;
- Assess the impact of each game on players’ psychosocial wellbeing;
- Assess each game’s ease of use and ability to engage children.
To answer these questions, the evaluations employed a quasi-experimental design that used both quantitative and qualitative methods. The findings for the impact on the first two research goals provide weak but encouraging evidence that smartphone learning games can build basic Arabic literacy skills and improve the psychosocial wellbeing of Syrian refugee children. The positive findings for both literacy and psychosocial wellbeing serves as a proof of concept for using smartphone apps for teaching literacy to refugee children and other children who do not have access to effective instruction. Findings for the third goal show that older children scored higher on the oral reading fluency subtest, but younger children showed higher rates of change on all subtests. Boys made larger gains on all subtests except for oral reading fluency, while girls scored the same with Antura and the Letters and higher with Feed the Monster. In addition, parents supported use of the apps, saying their children were learning and that playing the apps made their children happy. Children reported that they enjoyed playing the games and that the games made them happy.
More information about these games and their full impact evaluation reports can be found at allchildrenreading.org. The games in their updated versions can be downloaded by searching for “EduApp4Syria” on Google Play or the Apple App Store
Koval-Saifi, N., & Plass, J. (2018). Antura and the Letters: Impact and technical evaluation. Washington, DC: World Vision and Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
Koval-Saifi, N., & Plass, J. (2018). Feed the Monster: Impact and technical evaluation. Washington, DC: World Vision and Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
An estimated 2.3 million Syrian children are out of school because of violent conflict in their country. These children are primarily displaced within Syria; living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; or in transit camps in countries like Greece and Italy. Many Syrian children have endured multiple traumas and high levels of stress, affecting their ability to learn. Moreover, some Syrian refugee children, who are attending school in a new country, are often being taught in a language they do not speak or understand. These complexities and others stress the urgency for finding innovative, scalable solutions to this education crisis.
Motivated to ensure Syrian children have an opportunity to learn to read Arabic and continue their lifelong learning process, the Norwegian government funded the EduApp4Syria competition. The competition sought to develop an open source smartphone application that could build foundational literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian refugee children. The competition was coordinated by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU); All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD)—a partnership including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision, and the Australian Government; mobile operator Orange; and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). Two games were shortlisted as winners through the two-phased competition: Antura and the Letters and Feed the Monster (FTM).
ACR GCD, Digital Learning for Development (DL4D), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Office of Innovation, supported an evaluation of the two apps that sought to assess the effects on literacy learning and psychosocial outcomes. The evaluation also assessed the technical and gaming aspects of the two apps and compared these against commonly accepted measures of quality and evidence-based practice.
Integrated Services, Indigenous Solutions (INTEGRATED), in partnership with Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education (CREATE) of New York University, conducted an impact evaluation using a longitudinal quasi-experimental design to estimate the impacts of the EduApp4Syria games (apps) on children’s literacy and psychosocial outcomes over time. In this design, we compared growth in literacy outcomes for two groups of children (each using one of the apps) to a group of children in matched environments who did not have access to the apps. All children in the study had little or no schooling and lived in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. This design relies on comparing two groups that experience the same historical trends and events over time. Simultaneously, INTEGRATED and CREATE conducted a technical evaluation, working closely with ACR and DL4D to refine key app evaluation questions to identify usability improvements for the next release of the games, provide feedback on the open beta versions built in Phase 2 of the competition, and inform improvements to be applied in Phase 3. The qualitative evaluation was conducted in collaboration with CREATE researchers who are among the foremost experts in their specialization: assessing game use and engagement among children playing digital learning games. The contributions of CREATE ensured depth in qualitative gaming use data used while triangulating conclusions.
Oakley, G., Pegrum, M., Kheang, T., & Seng, K. (2018). An evaluation of the integration of m-learning in Total Reading Approach for Children Plus (TRAC+): Enhancing literacy of early grade students in Cambodia. Washington, DC: World Vision and Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.
This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the mobile learning (m-learning) component of the World Education-implemented TRAC+ project. It focused on the value of Aan Khmer (“Read Khmer”), a game-based app developed with funding from All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development to teach Khmer alphabetical principles, vocabulary, and fluency in low resource environments.
Laurillard, D., & Kennedy, E. (2018). Policy brief: the digital multiplier model for teacher professional development at scale. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, Inc.
An estimated 69 million more teachers are needed by 2030 to meet the scale of the educational challenges across the world, and especially in the Global South. Using current models of teacher professional development (TPD), it would take many decades simply to generate the quality of teaching professionals needed for universal basic education that can achieve good learning outcomes. Written by Diana Laurillard and Eileen Kennedy of the University College of London (UCL) Knowledge Lab, Policy Brief: The Digital Multiplier Model for Teacher Professional Development at Scale argues for the redesign of the current multi-tier cascade face-to-face model into a single-tier online “digital multiplier” model: i.e., using large-scale online courses or MOOCs to provide TPD directly to local teachers, supported in local face-to-face groups. The policy brief pushes for innovative pedagogic design by teachers in addition to digital infrastructure development. In general, it is argued that any intervention must take a holistic and systemic approach to addressing local conditions.
Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia
Kennedy, K., & Chi-Kin Lee, J. (Eds.). (2018). Routledge international handbook of schools and schooling in Asia. Retrieved from https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315694382
The Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia is a compilation of multidimensional overviews of all aspects of education in Asia. Experts provide authoritative views on curriculum, learning and assessment, private supplementary tutoring, special education, gender, and other issues faced by Asian schools. Edited by Kerry J. Kennedy and John Chi-Kin Lee of The Education University of Hong Kong. DL4D Network Lead Professor Cher Ping Lim edits the section on information and communications technology. The chapters in this section include:
Introduction: Digital learning for development of Asian Schools (Cher Ping Lim)
Chapter 35. Digital learning for developing Asian countries: Achieving equity, quality, and efficiency in education (Cher Ping Lim, Victoria L. Tinio, Matthew Smith, and Miron Kumar Bhowmik)
Chapter 36. Current status, challenges and opportunities of Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) in developing countries in Asia (Kaushal Kumar Bhagat, Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo, and Chun-Yen Chang)
Chapter 37. A systematic literature review of game-based learning and gamification research in Asia: The synthesized findings and research gap (Hyo-Jeong So and Minhwi Seo)
Chapter 38. Learning analytics: Approaches and cases from Asia (Bodong Chen, Chen Chi-Ming Chen, Huang-Yao Hong, and Ching Sing Chai)
Sub-Project Research Reports
Cheung, A. C. K., & Guo, X. (2018). Examining the effects of ABRACADABRA, a web-based literacy program for primary school students in rural China. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, Inc.
This study investigated the effects of A Balanced Reading Approach for Children Always Designed to Achieve Best Results for All (ABRACADABRA [ABRA]), a web-based literacy program developed by the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University, on primary school children in rural China. Approximately 360 third grade students from 10 schools (five experimental and five control schools) participated in a year-long matched control study. Treatment and control schools were matched on demographic variables and academic performance. Participants in both conditions were assessed before and after the intervention using a standardized reading instrument. After adjusting for initial pre-test difference, experimental students scored significantly higher on all three key reading outcomes: Phonological Awareness (ES = +.63), Phonemic Awareness (ES = +.59), Early Grade Literacy Skills (ES = +.38), Initial Sound Fluency (ES = +.43), Segmenting (ES = +.87), and Non-Word Reading (ES = +1.02). The study provided evidence that ABRA is not only effective in the context where English is used as a first or second language, such as Canada, Australia, or Hong Kong, but is also effective in a context where English is used as a foreign language (EFL).
So, H.J., Shin, C., Wong, L.S., & Lee, S. (2018). Mobile gamification-based language learning in Mongolia: Toward a participatory learning model. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, Inc.
The researchers aimed to design and implement a participatory model of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) in order to enhance English education experience in public schools in Mongolia. In particular, the researchers sought to examine three research questions concerning the implementation of digital learning innovations in developing contexts or resource-poor areas: (a) localization and customization, (b) quality and equity, and (c) sustainability. The whole implementation progressed through the following three phases: Phase 1 – baseline study, Phase 2 – teacher professional development, and Phase 3 – intervention implementation. The main research intervention took place in the three public high schools in Ulaanbaatar with three teachers (two 10th-grade and one 6th-grade teachers) and their students (N=67). The proposed solution for digital learning focuses on the integration of gamification (i.e., use of game-related elements in non-game contexts), social media, and mobile devices to design and implement a participatory style language-learning model. The researchers collected multiple sources of data such as the student perception survey, English proficiency test, and interviews with students and teachers. Overall, the results indicate that the digital learning solution made positive impacts on both the cognitive and affective dimensions. The test results provide the empirical support that the students who participated in the main research intervention were able to improve their English competency, especially in reading. In addition, the teachers’ pedagogical approaches showed a shift from content-centered to participation-centered methods. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the potential of adopting and sustaining digital learning innovations in Mongolian public schools can be enhanced (a) when the solution leverages the existing resources and cultural practices, and (b) when continuous efforts are made for building local teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and skills.
Reyes, C. T. (2018). Developing a student support system through learning analytics for undergraduates at the University of the Philippines Open University. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, Inc.
Through learning analytics, this study identified various factors affecting students’ success in the Associate in Arts (AA) program of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU). Data from various sources were obtained for the analysis of demographic information, previous academic experiences, learner readiness for distance education, and students’ learning behavior. Based on the analysis of their demographic information, it was found that students’ age, gender, civil status, occupation and location are factors influencing their completion of the program. Completion of the Distance Education Readiness module before beginning the AA program has also been found to have a positive impact on program completion. Moreover, prior academic experiences gained by the students before entering the AA program, such as previous enrollments in other universities or colleges, has also been found to have a positive impact on the students’ success in the program. While in the program, academic factors such as a student’s enrollment of required and prescribed courses and activities in the learning management system (i.e., MyPortal) have been found to contribute significantly to a student’s success. A statistical model that can predict the probability of a student’s success in the AA program based on their demographic characteristics and completion of the Distance Education Readiness Module was obtained in this study.
A key aspect of this study is the proposal for the development of a student support system based on the characteristics and attributes of learners as well as their academic behaviors. This student support system aims to promote the students’ success in the AA program.
Shakya, M., & Shrestha, S. (2018). MOOCs for higher education in Nepal. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, Inc.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a global phenomenon, with universities around the world collaborating to provide MOOCs on a wide variety of subjects. Universities from developed countries like America and Australia have been offering MOOCs for various reasons. For developing countries like Nepal, however, it is a challenge to join the MOOC movement. Learners in developing countries have to cope with problems related to technology infrastructure, financial support, policy support, and technical skills which serve as barriers to enrolment in MOOCs, as well as delivery of local MOOCs. This study explores the prospects and challenges of offering MOOCs in Nepal through piloting a MOOC on basic programming. The course, which was offered by Kathmandu University, is the first locally developed MOOC in the country.
Based on interviews with education administrators and a survey of teachers and college students in four regions in Nepal, the study found that digital literacy among students and teachers is high. Although they were not aware of MOOCs, students and teachers expressed a strong willingness to participate in digital learning in general, and MOOCs in particular. Administrators were also positive about implementing and supporting the MOOC movement in their respective institutions, noting that the lack of expertise to teach specific courses can be addressed with the help of MOOCs. However, the data collected from participants in two pilot offerings of the MOOC on basic programming revealed that slow Internet access and lack of time are constraints to MOOC participation and completion.
Wang, Q., Chen, B., Fan, Y., & Zhang, G. (2018). MOOCs as an alternative for teacher professional development: Examining learner persistence in one Chinese MOOC. Beijing, China: Peking University.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have developed into a significant international movement, showing great promise in addressing equity, quality, and efficiency issues in global education. To date, many MOOCs have been developed specifically for teacher professional development (TPD). In this regard, an important empirical question remains to be addressed: How and to what extent can MOOCs support equity, quality, and efficiency in teacher professional development? To help fill this knowledge gap, this study, conducted from 2014 to 2016, focused on persistent teacher-learners in a TPD MOOC that was offered for seven consecutive rounds by the X-Learning Center of Peking University. The study found that more than 15% of the 105,383 teachers who enrolled in this MOOC were persistent teacher learners, defined as learners who enrolled in multiple rounds. Data analysis showed that these persistent teacher-learners had diverse motivations for re-enrollment, including refreshing conceptual understanding, achieving higher scores, earning course certification, and discussing practical problems. The study also found that the persistent teacher-learners developed self-regulated learning skills in the course of multiple rounds of the MOOC and showed significantly higher learning achievement than one-time enrollees. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of both clicklog data and interview data revealed additional insights into the persistent teacher-learners’ learning within the MOOC and their real-world teaching practice beyond the MOOC. Overall, this study contributes to an improved understanding of the potential of MOOCs as an alternative TPD delivery mode in developing countries and sheds light on the future design of effective TPD through MOOCs.