Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on New Approaches in Education
Mixed Methods Insights into E-Learning as Transformative Covid-19 Response in The Behaviorist Education of Oman
Ghania Al Kharusi
The Covid-19 pandemic has created unique problems for education as teaching and learning have had to move online. This disruptive event has had different outcomes in different educational systems. Those based on behaviourist approaches, as is the case for Gulf countries (Reimers & Schleicher, 2020) have been hit hardest. No education system was fully prepared. There is no pandemic e-readiness model for education. By understanding students’ experiences, this study helps to redress the wrongs of Covid-19 and to create a legacy by developing a model. It will contribute to preparing for a smooth transition to online learning in subsequent disasters.
I examine an example of a teacher-centred education system, the female undergraduate students in the Engineering Faculty at Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman. This study is ground-breaking in using a mixed methods approach rather than simply quantitative research or qualitative research to analyse an education system’s response to pandemic. Quantitative data give precise insights while results of qualitative research validate and corroborate the quantitative data.This paper identifies first order barriers such as the availability and accessibility of materials and devices, internet connectivity and tutors’ training and second-order barriers such as content and pedagogical strategies. It recommends key improvements to e-learning which would be crucial to a future pandemic plan. It shows the power of e-learning as a pandemic response to promote transformative learning during an emergency and possibly after it, helping change teacher-centred educational culture and turn passive students into active citizens.
Keywords: e-learning, e-readiness, first-order barriers, second-order barriers, transformative learning online.