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A Study Utilising E-learning Theory, Universal Design for Learning and Multiliteracies for Teaching Practical Irish Genealogical Research Online

Author Thomas McErlean
Abstract Over the last two decades the world has become increasingly tech savvy. A large majority of people worldwide have access to both the internet and a laptop, smartphone or similar internet supporting device. Under these conditions, online based education, or e-learning, has all the potential to educate people on a global scale. In order to feasibly reach students in the global classroom, with its inherent levels of diversity, an e-learning course needs a robust design that not only supports an online pedagogy, but learner accessibility and inclusivity as well. One subject matter that is in need for such a design is practical Irish genealogical research; as it has both a lack of an e-learning presence coupled with international student demand.

The purpose of this study was to create a sample, online based Irish genealogy course that combines E-learning Theory (Clark and Mayer, 2016) with the inclusivity and accessibility focused pedagogical approaches of Multiliteracies (Cope and Kalantzis, 2009) and Universal Design for Learning (Hall, Meyer and Rose, 2012). Internationally based students of the course were then surveyed and interviewed to assess the course effectiveness.

The findings reflected that the course was received as highly comprehensible and accessible from the participating students which were domiciled in six different countries. There were some limitations regarding this study as due to the nature of the subject itself: even though international; it is inherently limited to the English speaking world and the descendants of the Irish diaspora within it.

Based on the implications from these results, future work should be to have the same design applied to a synchronous e-learning course.

Keywords E-learning Theory, Multiliteracies, Universal Design for Learning, Inclusivity in Education
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2017
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