A SCORM compliant e-learning content prototype for the training of OBE mathematics educators in the context of developing countries
The main purpose of this study was to examine how e-learning can help resolve some of the most acute problems that are specific to the nature of the outcomes-based education (OBE) system in developing countries. This was accomplished by investigating the relevant literature on OBE and by designing an e-learning content prototype for the South African version of OBE, with the focus on the training of Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy educators. OBE is an education system centred on the theory of mastery of learning introduced by Bloom in the 1950s. It has been implemented worldwide in primary and secondary schools and also in tertiary institutions. Some studies have shown that OBE is problematic, and that both educators and learners are opposed to this system of education. Existing research also reports that the quality of education in OBE is very poor as compared to that of the traditional education system. This study was an attempt to identify the most acute problems experienced by educators and learners in the OBE context and to design a prototype for e-learning content that can be used in courses in an attempt to solve these problems. The research population of the perceptions survey consisted of Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy educators and learners from the 6 000 primary and secondary schools of the KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) province of South Africa. Eighteen schools formed part of the research sample, with an average of two schools per region (the KZN province is divided into nine regions). Both private and public schools were included in the study. Data for the study were collected from March 2007 to August 2007 in the form of a perceptions survey of 104 educators and 288 learners, yielding an average of six educators and sixteen learners for each randomly selected school. Results from the perceptions survey show that educators and learners do not understand OBE terminology. In addition, educators claim that they are not sufficiently trained for OBE. Research iii participants also report that schools’ basic infrastructure is unsatisfactory, and that their classrooms are overcrowded. Mathematics is perceived as the most difficult subject by both educators and learners. The survey also reveals that most public schools do not have computers and that neither educators nor learners have access to computers in their public libraries. A SCORM- (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) compliant e-learning course was developed in this study to address the most acute problems identified by the survey, based on the Software Engineering Unified Model. The designed e-course contains OBE terminology such as learning outcomes, OBE principles, assessment standards, assessment methods, national curriculum statement and learning fields. The e-learning course content also contains the Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy curriculum for grades 11 and 12. It was constructed using 16 documents extracted from the National Department of Education’s website: 7 documents under Further Education and Training, 4 under Teacher Guide, and 5 under General Education and Training. The evaluation of the e-learning content prototype was conducted through a survey among 36 educators from different primary and secondary schools of the Mnquma Municipality of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. They were trained in the SCORM-compliant e-learning course content at the Walter Sisulu University’s Butterworth campus. The training took place from 10 to 13 November 2009. After the training, educators filled out a questionnaire on their perceptions of the effectiveness of the proposed e-learning content prototype with regard to the practice of OBE. Results from the SCORM e-course evaluation survey showed that the proposed SCORM software artefacts allow educators to have a better understanding of OBE terminology. The proposed software artefact is user-friendly and educators recommended its use not only for Mathematics but for all subjects.