Ok, analysing the interviews took quite some time but it was kind of fun. I managed to write my discussion and summary. 19000 words. Oh boy… got to delete 4000 of them or move them to the Appendices. The quantitative and qualitative gave me very good data and a profound insight into my RQ’s. After revisiting my LR, seems like I’m entering the final stage.


From quantitative to qualitative

The questionnaire resulted in 57 participants who offered me very rich data. Good insight into the wishes of the participants and good ideas. I used this data to develop questions for my interview. 10 participants volunteered to be interviewed. The interviews were partly f2f and partly by skype, as the participants preferred. The interviews too gave me good ideas and data in depth. I’m no searching how to put them in themes and how to develop my transcript. To be continued!


Time for surveys!

surveyOh, yes! Finally my survey went online. It’s a good feeling to go online and it’s exciting to wait on the responses. I had a good tutorial with Richard, in which he gave me good advice. I’ll try to do all adjustments this week, so I can spend on discussing quantitative data collection during the next two weeks.


Update: 6 hours later… 32 submission. Ain’t that beautiful!


working around the clock

Ok, I’ve been working 18 hours on my EPP and … even dreamt about it. I’ve been writing a lot and finished the draft om my Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology. Also made a questionnaire.

I also read a lot and guess what… all of the four authors (TEL2) came across in the papers I read: Lave, Hollan et al., Gee and even Latour (constructivism, quoted by Siemens). Very interesting stuff from Kop, Littlejohn, etc.

epp  <– my desktop, not just some image from Istockphoto.

Ok, gotta go to mow the lawn, seems to be very relaxing and inspirational. Or am I just exhausted?



Action Research or Case Study



Schermafbeelding 2014-07-06 om 17.57.09 The EPP is in my mind at all times. Even while Pearl Jam is covering Neil Young on Rock Werchter, I can’t resist writing some thoughts in my note block.

Action Research or Case Study? That’s the question. Not to forget about action research case studies.

Good information about Action Research can be found at

http://www.jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/23/43 and http://books.google.be/books?id=CPcbtaQNtiUC&printsec=frontcover&hl=nl&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=action%20research&f=false.




A very unresearched world

It becomes clear much research has been done on using a discussion board in an online learning community. But my situation is a bit different. I’m offering learner paced study, in which students can decide when they start their course in contrast to other educational institutions.

Paulsen (2013) advocates:

Meaningful group communication is perhaps the greatest pedagogical challenge in unpaced learning

As dr Anderson told me, I’m moving into a very unresearched world of unpaced or continuous enrolment education. So my research question has to be revised. Instead of researching the implementation of a discussion board and holding to (social) constructivism, I must do research whether social constructivism is the best option. A constructivist school of learning might be more convenient in my specific situation. Building a network instead of a group.

So much reading during the last 6 weeks. At least 6 hours a day, no exceptions. A fast calculation brings it to 250 hours. Time to finalize my research questions and proceed to my methodology. A bit of gardening and running gives me the opportunity to clear my head.


Reading and breathing papers: getting feedback from the authors

In modern times, people forget that the authors of papers are also on Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. These – often scanned – papers with their old fonts, would make other assumptions.

Nevertheless, I was able to contact Jane Hart and ask her about the difference between collaborative and social learning.

I also got very interesting feedback from prof Gilly Salmon (known for her books E-tivities and E-moderating).

I know collected 5 models on building online communities: Kop, Wengers’ CoP, Pallof & Pratt, Garrison and Salmon. Better having too many models than none, but I guess I can’t base my EPP on all models, which makes it hard to decide which model to eliminate.

Last but not least, after reading about social constructivism, I did some reading on ‘Communal Constructivism‘ and guess what… Seems I’m being coached by an expert! And… my EPP will be proofread by another expert!


Nevertheless, I have to admit I quite enjoy this stage of reading literature. I gives me better understanding and adjusts previous opinions. It made me change my mind on my research questions.


Literature and technology

All emails have been analyzed, with interesting outcomes. Some requested features have already been implemented. The most interesting area for research seems to be the supporting part. Users can register a course with or without support. At this moment people can ask support by email. There isn’t an integrated ticketing system. It might be useful to implement such a system in which all answers to (frequently asked) questions are logged, so more than just person can consult it. On the other hand support questions can be increased by implementing collaborative learning.


I’ve found different very useful resources on self-study, self-efficacy, types of creativity, learning styles, moocs, collaborative learning, etc.


I contacted the support desk from Nvivo. Seems like they haven’t already implemented a function to import emails, which makes it less interesting for me.

I’ll write my EPP on Google Drive, because it’s easy to share, easy to work on, in different locations and easy to export as a Word doc, PDF or even website. Google Drive has an interesting Add-on: EasyBib Bibliography creator.

Schermafbeelding 2014-06-18 om 10.03.31


some light at the end of the tunnel

Though I still have to start on writing my dissertation, yet some light at the end of the tunnel: 550 mails to go, 4500+ mails read and structured. It becomes clear these categories are the most represented:

  • not able to log in
  • reporting that the course has been paid (and requesting to activate the account)
  • asking for support

The first two categories are related. When people didn’t pay, they aren’t able to log in. Many people just need to contact “someone of the website” to ensure they didn’t loose their money, the website is real or just to fasten up the procedure of activation. This part seems not to be suitable for a research.

The next issue is interesting: many people are requesting support. Because of the great number of these questions and a fulltime job to fulfill, there isn’t much time left to produce new courseware, develop new features and spend time on marketing. At this time only the person who puts an issue and asks a question, gets an answer. It might be interesting to ask public and log answers, so every member can benefit these participations.

On the other hand there are definitely some people who want to share findings, resources, etc.

This research is directing to social learning, social constructivism, maybe even connectivism, in which every member can share his/her PLN.


Structuring emails

Ok, after one week of reading emails, I’ve been able to structure 2100 of them. 2071 to go… It is becoming obvious most e-mails are about payment, not being able to log in. Lots of emails are replies to newsletters: mentioning to be unsubscribed, mentioning their mail address changed of wanting to receive more information about courses.

But there are lots of emails left which can be structured into these categories:

  • complaints
  • requests
  • asking for support
  • questions
  • remarks
  • commercial offers
  • wishes

NOTE TO MYSELF: It might be interesting to study the amount of support asking emails per month, related to the amount of people registering, login in. Did the amount of support mails increase? Because there are less members logging in? Because the quality of courseware is better? Because information isn’t up to date?

INTERESTING: I’ve  read a lot of emails which I rarely receive nowadays, due to improved or added features.


  • asking to be unsubscribed from the newsletter (added feature to unsubscribe in newsletter)
  • asking for password (added “forgotten password” feature)
  • general questions (added FAQ to contact page)

Also nice to see people are just emailing because they are thrilled to learn, sending new year messages or just saying they are pleased with the quality.