Do digital materials help students learn?

Students often experience learning about qualitative research methods as ambiguous and chaotic, leading to increased anxiety to study said methods, and a lesser appreciation and undervaluation thereof. However, research has indicated that seeing concrete examples of analysis-in-action, and having more opportunities to practice with qualitative analysis, can increase student confidence in their own analysis skills, while also shed light on the type of knowledge and skill that qualitative analyses require. Digital materials can provide such spaces for learning by doing—but how do students relate to them?

At ESHCC, dr. Delia Dumitrica and dr. Naomi Oosterman have been designing, developing, and implementing a set of eight digital learning objects for the most common methods of qualitative analysis in the social sciences and the humanities. Recently, Delia and Naomi have started to investigate perspectives and experiences on the learning value of these digital materials.

After having conducted several focus groups, preliminary findings suggest that students are overwhelmingly positive about the usefulness of such digital materials in their study programs. The incremental scaffolding of the digital learning objects – by guiding students from learning a few key tools of analysis, to applying them – seemed particularly rewarding. As one student explained, the material: “really takes you from the most easy part and then kind of slowly builds it up … it was quite helpful, like it was effectively guiding you.”

Another student commented on the usefulness of the practical examples provided: "I quite liked that there were different examples and exercises that you could do. These were very good and helped me to understand the methods more."

Overall, the first results suggest that the digital materials’ structure and contents have been successful in creating a positive learning context. The combination of text and video was also greatly appreciated, as students felt the variety kept them engaged with the digital material.

More information

To find out more about the digital resource and their accompanying pedagogy, please visit the project website.

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes