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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/381

Title: A VIRTUAL EDUCATION INTERVENTION TO APPROXIMATE HANDS-ON-LEARNING: VIA TASK-CENTERED LEARNING PRAXIS
Authors: Doran, Mae
Supervisor(s): Dr. Aga Palalas (Athabasca University) Dr. Mohamed Ally (Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Dr. Cindy Ives (Athabasca University)
Dr. Bob Heller (Athabasca University)
Dr. Nantha Kumar Subramaniam (Commonwealth of Learning)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: Virtual Hands-on Learning
Task-Centred Learning
Task-Centred Instructional Design
Quality Distance Education Pedagogy
Avatar-Based Learning
Online Hands-on Learning
Simulated Virtual Learning
Design-Based Research
Project-Based Learning
Problem-Based Learning
Learning-by-Doing
Serious Gaming
Online Tactile Skills
Pragmatism Paradigm
Education Intervention
Experiential Learning
Outcome-Based Integration
Prior Learning Activation
Issue Date: 29-Apr-2022
Abstract: As yet, technology cannot offer online learners a way to physically touch real objects in a remote learning environment. The gap in provisioning hands-on learning virtually is widening due to the global population explosion and society's quantum move to a net-connected world. A conundrum is growing where organizations are bound to continue using existing equipment, labs, and worksites to teach physical hands-on skills yet need to move curriculum online. Further, the quality of the pedagogy vis-à-vis the needs of tech-oriented twenty-first century learners, as well as wide accessibility to many demographics at minimal cost, are factors of great concern. Microworld solutions are nascent and out-of-range for all but the most well-funded early adopters such as medical, military, aerospace, and gaming. With this situation in mind, held against the three vectors of the iron triangle of distance education — quality, affordability, and accessibility — I designed a pedagogical-technological intervention called HAvatar. It uses a human avatar to stand in for online learners for equipment-based skills acquisition so that existing facilities can reach online learners with little disruption. The intervention was evaluated using design-based research methodology in iterations grounded in task-centred learning theory criteria (quality) using existing real-world facilities and readily available retail technology (affordability) conducted with remote learners via broadband connectedness (accessibility). Data were collected via mixed methods with multiple data sources. Findings reported that the quality of HAvatar as a way to master hands-on equipment skills was high. The seven participants unanimously recommended that HAvatar be taken further into technical and vocational training organizations. A quantitative in-situ study on its efficacy would be a future recommendation. HAvatar could contribute to the field of distance education by providing a viable solution for virtual hands-on learning.
Graduation Date: Jun-2022
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/381
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