Fionnghuala Kelly

 Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

The benefits to learners of a technology-enhanced learning experience meets the needs of all abilities
This paper reviews an online learning object that addresses the common challenge where student cohorts have varying levels of knowledge of a subject area. 
Reusable online learning objects can provide a resource for learners to engage in at their preferred pace and that meets their specific learning needs.
Learning theories provide an insight into the techniques that can be used by the facilitator to enable the learner.  These include the use of zone of proximal development (Vygotsky 1962), scaffolding (Bruner 1976), chunking information (Miller 1956), reinforcement, and feedback (Skinner, 1953).
Interactive excel spreadsheet (Lehman et al. 2003) were developed and extended to encompass short movies and made available online.  The object was a self-test exercise that addressed accountancy skills required for the syllabus.  A word document was provided containing the scenario and accounting details 
Each cell in the spreadsheet that required data entry contained a comments box which, if selected, provided the learner with a tip to help complete the cell (scaffolding). Each row contained a short movie demonstrating the task with voiceover explanation (scaffolding).  Movies served to explain and provide understanding.  On entering data into a cell it appeared in either green or red font, with green indicating correct answer and red indicating incorrect answer (feedback)
The task was chunked as each row could be completed individually if preferred.  Two more exercises were also available with a reduction in scaffolding (reinforcement).  The second exercise contained the comment boxes but without movies and the final exercises contained no assistance so learner established they had accomplished the learning process. (Raymond, 2000, p. 176, Chang, Sung, & Chen, 2002, p. 7)
The learning object was piloted with students some of which suffered from dyslexia and feedback was extremely positive.

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