This thesis reports on an action research project that investigated whether the integration of computer-based homework with face-to-face delivery would enhance learning opportunities for a group of 36 Indigenous adult learners enrolled in Certificate III in Spoken and Written English at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, in the Northern Territory. The project took place in the 2008 academic year, during which 13 intensive residential workshop weeks were conducted. The impetus for the project was concern over learners' slow rate of progress through the course in the two years prior to the research. Historically, progress had been adversely affected by extended periods between workshops when students were not involved in formal study, as well as by low and irregular levels of attendance. The students' interest in using digital technologies in the classroom suggested the possibility of linking homework to computer-based activities which would provide opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. Four cycles of action research were conducted to investigate student levels of participation in, and responses to, computer-based homework. Three distinct approaches to computer-based homework were implemented during the project during which modifications were made to course and homework activities on the basis of data collected from reflective surveys, focus groups, individual interviews and document reviews. Results of the project showed that the use of computer technology did enhance opportunities for homework participation; however, these opportunities were mitigated by factors linked to three thematic areas: access to computer technology; lifestyle factors; and attitudes towards learning and homework. The research found that the interrelationship between these themes impacted on the students’ participation in computer-based homework. The findings of the research led to four recommendations for ongoing action, at course, institutional and government levels, to improve the educational opportunities for Indigenous adult learners in the Northern Territory. In addition, four recommendations have been made for additional research into ways in which formal education could be more closely aligned to the lives and realities of Indigenous Australians.
|Award date||1 Jan 2011|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|