Social, usability, and pedagogical factors influencing students’ learning experiences with wikis and blogs
With a variety of technology-enabled tools and environments to choose from, it is increasingly difficult for educators to ascertain the factors that influence the quality of the students’ learning experience and hence make appropriate choices for the use of technology. In this paper, we discuss the role of two technologies — wikis and blogs — in teaching and learning. We provide case studies of two courses at the Open Umiversity, UK and empirical evidence of students’ experiences, perceptions, and expectations on these courses. We discuss the context of these courses and the usage of these technologies: The pedagogical underpinnings and the rationale for introducing these technologies; the intended learning outcomes from the usage of these tools; and the extent to which the activities based around these tools have enabled the intended learning and facilitated the learning process. We report on the social, usability, and pedagogical factors that have influenced the quality of students’ learning experience. The research reported in this paper aims to provide guidance to course designers and educators for choosing tools, particularly wikis and blogs, for their contexts and for creating value and generating a positive student experience to engender student satisfaction and retention.