Author Chan, Anthony Khoon Lip
Title Formative research for an e-learning design model.
Institute Thesis (M.A.) (Instructional Design and Technology) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year 2003
Supervisor Williams, Michael
Call no. HF5549.5.T7 Cha
E-learning was first introduced into the SAF in 1997 as an extension of its Self-paced On Time On Need (SPOT-ON) training philosophy.  Like in many organisations embarking on e-learning, it had to grapple with a number of implementation issues.  One of these issues is the pedagogy of this new mode of instruction.

This research set forth to address the pedagogy of e-learning.  The purpose is to determine "How the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) can establish a pedagogically sound model for the design of e-learning." More specifically, it attempts to define e-learning, determine the basic construct for its design, and propose an e-learning design model that can serve as the platform for organization wide implementation of e-learning in the SAF.

In terms of the research framework, four research activities or instances have been developed using the formative research methodology advocated by Charles Reigeluth and Theodore W. Frick (1999).  The hypothesis is that e-learning is a process of learning with technology residing primarily on the internet.  Like all learning processes, it must rests on a pedagogically sound foundation built on a set of well-established learning theories.  About 19 different samples of e-learning solutions from the industry, academia and institutions were examined with a view to sieve out fundamental design principles that could contribute towards an understanding of the pedagogical foundation for e-learning.  Eventually six basic constructs for e-learning design emerged (1st instance).  These were scrutinised alongside traditional learning theories and close links were found for the first three.  The links were conceptually modelled into a three-tier pedagogical foundation for the design of e-learning : Learner tier, Lesson tier and Learning Environment tier (2nd instance).  Based on the conceptual model, a set of five design rules were developed (3rd instance).  Finally, the proposed e-learning design model resting on this three-tier pedagogical foundation was put to the test in a field trial with some 17 participants from various SAF units (4th instance).

The findings of the research are summarised in four propositions:

  • Proposition One : A definition for e-learning and e-learning design model
  • Proposition Two : The six basic constructs of e-learning design
  • Proposition Three : A three-tier pedagogical foundation for e-learning design
  • Proposition Four : The five design rules for e-learning

As of today, schools and training institutions in the SAF who wish to embark on e-learning attend a hands-on workshop based on the design model and design rules developed through this research.  Outside of the SAF, the design model is also being considered by the Public Policy Programme Office at National University of Singapore for developing case teaching online.