Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.7A2, 150-157
Published Online July 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Improving Higher Education Student Learning
through a Table of Learning
Richard Lai, Nurazlina Sanusi
Department of Computer Science and Computer Engi ne e ri ng , L a Trobe University, Victoria, Australia
Received May 17th, 2013; revised June 17th, 201 3; accepted June 28th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Richard Lai, Nurazlina Sanusi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the origina l w o rk is properly cited.
Web-based or “online” learning commonly known as e-Learning which makes use of internet technolo-
gies has been widely used by many education institutions around the globe. Higher education institutions
have been using Learning Management system (LMS) as a part of their campus-based and distance
teaching. To date, very little research has been carried out to investigate whether the uses of LMS actually
contribute to student learning. In this paper, we present a higher education blended teaching method for
improving student learning. By blended teaching, we mean the combination of face-to-face teaching and
the uses of a LMS for learning, teaching and assessment activities. Student’s learning progress is guided
and gauged by Shulman’s (2002) table of learning. The LMS that we use at La Trobe University is
Moodle. To demonstrate the usefulness of our method, we also present in this paper the results of apply-
ing it to teaching a third year software engineering subject, CSE3MQR (Metrics, Quality and Reliability).
Keywords: Constructive Progressive Alignment; Taxonomy of Learning; Blended Learning; e-Learning;
Learning Management System; Student Engagement
Web-based or “online” learning commonly known as e-
Learning which makes use of internet technologies has been
widely used by many education institutions around the globe.
e-Learning supports blended learning that offers student the
flexibility and accessibility in their learning. Blended learning
is a combination of face-to-face and e-Learning practices
(Derntl et al., 2005; Garrison et al., 2004). Blended learning in-
volves instruction and learning activities occurring both online
and in classrooms. The effective uses of educational technolo-
gies remain as central issues for both educators and researchers.
Computer-assisted assessment or e-Assessment has become
important in the online environment. For blended courses, lec-
turers have made changes in the ways they assess students’
learning. The principles of assessment in an online learning or
blended learning environment remain quite the same as what
they are in the traditional teaching; however, there are differ-
ences in the way how these principles are implemented.
In the area of Computer Science education, past researches
mainly concentrated on developing tools, reporting classroom
experiences or scientific evaluations of techniques or technolo-
gies applied in the classroom. How Learning Management Sys-
tem (LMS) activities could actually contribute to learning have
not been well researched into, particularly in relation to online
assessment. Assuming that improving learning is the aim, one
may ask whether incorporation of information technology in the
learning process could lead to better learning experiences and
produce better learning outcomes in higher education. In order
for these to become realities, we need to conduct research that
could underpin the successful delivery of e-Learning.
Research in enhancing student engagement has been mixed.
A study by Sheard, Carbone and Hurst (2010) found that lec-
turers need to explore new ways of engaging students in their
teaching and there is a tool that could assist lecturers to detect
the early signs of disinterest. Pears (2010) who proposed a re-
search based course in introductory programming course found
that the practices promoted student engagement and better
learning outcomes. Krause (2008) suggests that there are a va-
riety of ways in student engagement in higher education. He
identified that to achieve a better learning, it is important for
students to actively construct their knowledge based on their
own experience. A study was conducted by Reaburn et al.
(2009) on examining student engagement with course redesign
in the context of aligned curriculum and instruction. They
found that the students who learned through the fully online
course and had a work-based learning component had a higher
The most well-known educational taxonomy was developed
by Bloom (1956) for cognitive domain. Bloom’s taxonomy is
often used by educators to develop and measure goals of learn-
ing process. It is based on a hierarchy of learning that moves
from simple to complex and concrete to abstract. The hierarchy
starts with knowledge and moves to comprehension, applica-
tion, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The levels are cumula-
tive; that means a learner needs to master the earlier levels in
order to succeed with more complex learning objectives. How-
ever, researchers argue that Blooms taxonomy is not simple to
use and has limitations to educators.
In this paper, we present a higher education blended teaching
method for improving student learning. By blended teaching,
we mean the combination of face-to-face teaching and the uses
of a LMS for learning, teaching and assessment activities. Stu-
dent’s learning progress is guided and gauged by Shulman’s
(2002) table of learning. The LMS that we use at La Trobe Uni-
versity is Moodle. To demonstrate the usefulness of our method,
we also present in this paper the results of applying the method
to teaching a third year software engineering subject, CSE3
MQR (Metrics, Q ua lity and Reli abi lity).
Shulman’s Table of Learning
Shulman (2002) proposed a taxonomy of learning. He identi-
fies a six-stage learning process:
Engagement and Motivation
He contended that learning begins with engagement and mo-
tivation. Student engagement is often used to depict students’
willingness to participate in the learning activities, such as at-
tending class, submitting required work, and following teach-
ers’ directions in class. Engagement in learning is critical to
academic achievement because it leads students to have better
understanding and knowledge, skills and confidence and it
fosters in students a sense of belonging and self-worth. Shul-
man also argued that engagement and motivation is an on-going
part of the learning process and collaborates with all the later
stages of learning.
Knowledge and Understanding
Knowledge is a familiarity with something, which can in-
clude facts, information, or descriptions acquired through ex-
perience or education. It often refers to the theoretical under-
standing of a subject. While knowledge concerns with facts and
information; understanding is to do with the real meaning of the
facts. One might know something to be true, but he/she does
not necessarily understand why it is true and what the impact of
that truth is. In contrast to knowledge and information, under-
standing implies a form of ownership.
Performance and Action
Acts of understanding are often based on what are in our
head. Andrew Jackson says “Take the time to deliberate, but
when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” As
students develop an understanding of a subject matter, a com-
mon question emerges: “How do I put this knowledge into ac-
tion?” In the “Performance and action” stage, knowledge and
understanding are put into practice. It is when a student’s
knowledge and understanding are tested and when his/her en-
gagement is affirmed.
Reflection and Critique
Students are encouraged to develop high-order thinking,
meaning that they are able to give further explanation on a sub-
ject matter. We sometimes must cease action and reflect on
what we have done. When researchers stop their work in order
to prepare a paper for publication, they make important discov-
eries about how to move forward with the next stage of re-
search. We can stimulate and assist each other to pause, reflect,
and evaluate our work; and as such we can prepare ourselves
better for the next stage of our work. Thus, action with reflec-
tion is likely to produce deeper learning.
Judgment and Design
They are what happens when understanding meets the con-
straints and complexities of a world with respect to which we
can no longer say “all other things being equal”. For instance,
when one designs a home, he/she works within constraints of
budget, terrain, and lifestyle of the person for whom it is de-
signed. Judgment and Design are a matter of exercising under-
standing, as well as applying skills, under a variety of con-
straints and contingencies.
Commitment and Identity
We experience commitment as we internalize values, de-
velop character, and become people who no longer need to be
goaded to behave in ethical, moral, or publicly responsible
ways. We also commit ourselves to larger groups, larger com-
munities, larger congregations, and professions at large; and by
doing so, we make a statement that we take the values and
principles of that group seriously enough to make them our
own. Commitment and Identity are both moving inward and
connecting outward; it is the highest attainment an educated
person can achieve.
The Pedagogical Principles behind
Our Teaching Method
The idea of Constructive Alignment (CA) was introduced by
Biggs (1996, 1999, 2003) for higher education teaching and
learning. He contends that students construct knowledge through
relevant and meaningful learning activities. Alignment refers to
what a lecturer does to support the appropriate learning activi-
ties in order to achieve the intended learning outcomes. Lectur-
ers are responsible to facilitate the learning activities of the
students and design the assessment ta sks which assess students’
intended learning outcomes. Bigg also states that education is
about conceptual change which takes place when it is clear to
students (and teachers) what is “appropriate”, what the objec-
tives are, where all can see where they are supposed to be going.
CA is based on the principles of constructivism in learning
which states that meaning is personal, it depends on motives,
intentions, prior knowledge, etc., and learning is a way of in-
teracting with the world.
However, CA does not provide clear guidelines as to: 1) how
we should develop or create the teaching and learning activities
in order to help students achieve the intended student learning
outcomes; and 2) how the activities are to be developed in order
to help students learn progressively. Often, students’ learning
outcomes are measured towards the end of the teaching period,
typically by examination and a big assignment. Assignments
and examinations might not be well conceived; students might
view them as urgent and resort to plagiarism and outside help;
this could become counter-productive.
Our method is based on Shulman’s table of learning (2002),
which defines a six-stage learning process. However, stages 5
and 6 refer to students’ longer and life-long learning. We are of
the opinion that we could improve higher education student
learning if we just focus on the first four stages of Shulman’s
table of learning, given the fact that there are only a limited
number of weeks in one semester for teaching a subject. At La
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 151
Trobe University, there are 12 weeks of teaching in one semes-
ter. We use a blended teaching method with the use of Moodle.
The designs of the teaching and learning activities are centred
around Shulman’s first four stages of learning so that we have
confidence that students are learning from stage to stage; and
consequently, they will increase their learning. We name our
method, Constructive Progressive Alignment (CPA). The me an-
ings of “Constructive” and “Alignment” remain the same as in
the CA context. However, in addition to the expected “Align-
ment” activities that a lecturer would put into place when
teaching a subject using the CA method, we use the term “Pro-
gressive Alignment” to mean that a lecturer also needs to in-
clude and design teaching and learning activities that align with
the ways how students learn progressively in order to improve
student learning.
La Trobe has been using Moodle as the LMS for teaching
and learning since 2011. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented
Dynamic Learning Environment) is an Open Source Course
Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Man-
agement System (LMS) ( It has become very
popular among educators around the world as a tool for creating
online dynamic web sites for their students. Moodle aims to
give educators good tools to manage and promote learning, but
there are many ways to use it. For instances, it has features that
allow it to scale to very large deployments and hundreds of
thousands of students, yet it can also be used for a primary
school or an education hobbyist. Many institutions use it as
their platform to conduct fully online courses, while some use it
simply to augment face-to-face courses (known as blended
learning). Many users love to use the activity modules (such as
forums, databases and wikis) to build richly collaborative com-
munities of learning around their subject matter (in the social
constructionist tradition), while others prefer to use Moodle as a
way to deliver content to students and assess learning using
assignments or quizzes.
The Subjects Taught
We have applied our method to teaching some software en-
gineering subjects. The subjects are: 1) CSE3MQR (Metrics,
quality and reliability) in 2011; 2) CSE3MQR (Metrics, quality
and reliability) in 2012; and 3) CSE3MQR (Metrics, quality
and reliability, CSE3SDM (System Design and Methodology)
and CSE5CPE (Communication Protocol Engineering) in 2013.
In this paper, we limit our discussions on our experiences in
using the method to teach CSE3MQR in 2011. CSE3MQR is a
subject of the Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) course.
BSE is of four year full-time or equivalent part-time duration
and requires the completion of 480 credit points. In the first and
second years, students study a fixed combination of subjects in
computer science and electronics, together with mathematics,
computer systems, physics, and engineering management. A
major industry-relevant project must be completed in third year
and a research project in fourth year. Graduates of the course
are eligibl e for members hip of Engineers Austral ia.
A third year students has to complete the studies of subjects
totaling 120 credit points. CSE3MQR is worth 15 credit points.
This subject examines the different attributes of the quality of a
piece of software and their meanings. The topics covered in-
clude the use of metrics to improve software quality, different
types of metrics, software complexity, size estimation, Goal
Question and Metrics (GQM), software reliability concepts,
reliability model, reliability estimation, testing issues in the real
world, test suite design, testing techniques, management issues
in testing, and software release policies.
In 2011, there were 27 students who enrolled in CSE3MQR.
Teaching consisted of two one-hour lectures and one two-hour
laboratory/tutorial. The assessment consisted of 70% for ex-
amination and 30% for course work which comprised assign-
ments, laboratories, and tutorial.
Implementing the Method
Stage 1: Engagement and Motivation
Learning begins with student engagement, without which
subsequent stages of learning will not succeed well. We wanted
to find out students’ learning preferences so that we could align
our ways of teaching with students’ learning styles. To obtain
such information from the students, we conducted a Moodle
online survey amongst them at the start of the semester. The
survey was entitled “Approach to Studying MQR” and used a
five-point Likert-type scale (with 5 being the most true and 1
being the least true), which indicated the degrees to which the
students agreed with a certain study style or behaviour. It was
aimed at gaining some ideas about what made the students en-
gage in learning and what motivated them to study, based on
their past experiences in learning activities.
The survey consisted of 15 questionnaires; some examples
were: 1) I prefer a personalized approach to learning and want
to have peer learning with my classmates; 2) I am able to do the
best when learning the practical aspects of subject; and 3) I like
a clearly defined schedule and standards so I know what to do
rather than taking independent action. Students indicated their
level of agreement by selecting a number within the range from
one to five, with five meaning the highest level of agreement.
Tables 1 and 2 below summarises the survey results.
The results were then published on Moodle and discussion
were held with the students. As such, the following decisions
were made together with them: 1) all forms of assessments
were to be of e-Assessment tasks and to be submitted via Moo-
dle; 2) regular and smaller e-Assessment tasks based on the
materials taught were to be given; 3) the assessment tasks were
to be of different varieties, e.g., problem solving, essay, re-
searching into commercial/industrial issues; 4) the breakdown
of marks for each of these e-Assessment tasks were agreed and
well understood by the students.
To obtain further feedbacks from them at the start of the se-
mester, we briefly explained the ten topics that we had prepared
for teaching CSE3MQR and conducted a Moodle survey which
enabled them to indicate their levels of interest in each of these
ten topics. Further, the survey also consisted of the following
two questions: 1) I like to have as many topics as possible to be
covered in this course, with the understanding that each of the
topics will not be taught in depth; and 2) I like to have a lesser
number of topics to be covered but at a greater depth. Students
indicate their level of interest/agreement by selecting a number
within the range from one to five, with five meaning the highest
level of interest/agreement. After analysing the survey data, it
was found that the three topics—“Management by metrics”,
“Software Testing” and “Reliability”—received the highest
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 153
Table 1.
Student responses to state ments on study styles.
Statement No of 5’s
1 I am able to do the best when learning the practical aspects of the subject. 17
2 I seek an organized structure , want lesson s to be clearly spelled out in step by step or d er and want to know t he lecturer ’s expectation s. 17
3 I keep a sharp focus on technical information and enjoy complex ideas. 14
4 I learn best in a face-to-face learning environment and enjoy discussing the content of lessons with a small group of peers. 13
5 I like to experiment, invent and enjoy anal yzing and solving complex problems. 13
6 I like inter actions a s I am re s po n s ive to instructional game s tha n l ectures. 8
7 I will only do assignm ents that will be graded. 8
8 I have a preferenc e for long-term independ ent projec t s which I can carry out wi th minimal lecturer’s he lp . 6
Table 2.
Student responses to s ta te ments on study preferences.
Statement on study preferences No of 5’s
1 I prefer doing e-assignme nt t han doing pen and paper a ssignment. 16
2 I prefer tasks requiring the operation, construct ion or materials over ones requi r ing reading or writing. 15
3 I like a clearly defined schedule and standards so I know what t o do rather than taking independent action. 15
4 I am int erested in explaining facts using theories and principles rather than just learning them and understanding them. 14
5 I prefer a personalized approach to learning and want to have peer learning with my classmate s . 12
6 I enjoy the communication process to be done electronica ll y so I can e x pr ess my though ts freely. 11
scores from the students. They also strongly preferred that top-
ics were to be taught in depth rather than in breadth.
We sent out weekly Moodle announcements reminding them
about e-Assessment deadline, marking criteria, the availability
of assessment results, general feedbacks on the assessment
tasks, seminars and talks on topics that are relevant to them,
what would be taught in the next lecture, and what would be
done in the next laboratory/tutorial class. Other teaching activi-
ties aiming at increasing student engagement and motivation
are listed in Table 3.
Stage 2: Knowledge and Understanding
After students were engaged in learning, it was easier for us
to apply the CA principle to contribute to students’ knowledge
and understanding, hence achieving the intended learning out-
comes. We designed a shorter online multiple choice question
quiz which was based on the material just taught during a lec-
ture and was to be attempted by the students of the class about
10 minutes before the end of the lecture. After the students had
completed a quiz, we closed it on Moodle so that students could
see their results immediately. We then explained the answer to
each of the multiple choice questions. In this way, students
increase their learning by receiving instant feedbacks on their
understanding of the materials just taught, having more interac-
tions with the lecturer and other students, and clearing any
doubts that they might have about the materials just taught.
The smaller weekly e-Assessment tasks were designed to
help students reinforce their knowledge and understanding of
the materials taught not long ago. These tasks were made
available on Moodle a couple of weeks before they were due so
that students could plan their work in advance. In addition,
some of the assessment tasks were based on some industrial
and commercial issues in order to help them achieve a higher
order of learning and understanding and prepare them for work-
ing in the real world. Other teaching activities aiming to in-
crease the students’ knowledge and understanding are listed in
Table 4.
Stage 3: Performance and Action
Once a student understands a subject matter, he/she becomes
capable of performance or action which would be reflected in
their attitude towards and performance in the e-Assessment
tasks. Regular and smaller assessment tasks helped students
study more consistently and organise their studies better. The
e-Assessment tasks were of various types which consisted of
the following: 1) smaller essay questions that were related to
industrial issues of MQR and required students to do a bit of
research; 2) questions based on the lectures that required stu-
dents to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding; 3)
peer reviews of the anonymous answers to a chosen task sub-
mitted by other students of the class; 4) problem-solving ques-
tions that required the applications of a certain theory taught in
the class. Each of these tasks helped student perform in differ-
ent aspects.
Marking criteria were given to students so that they knew
how to provide better answers. The feedbacks on their submis-
sions helped them perform better next time as they knew where
and how they got the answers wrong in previous e-Assessment
tasks. Other teaching activities aiming to encourage students to
take action in their learning are listed in Table 5.
Stage 4: Reflection and Critique
Critical reflection on one’s practice and understanding leads
to higher-order thinking. Good dialogue elicits those activities
that shape, elaborate and deepen understanding. During each
lecture and laboratory class, we asked students questions, help-
ing them develop their thinking process, getting them to stay
focused in the class, requiring them to be more prepared before
coming to the lecture. In the case that their answers were wrong,
we gave them the right ones and helped them reflect on why
their answers were wrong. Students were encouraged to ask
questions during a lecture or a laboratory class. This would help
them get the concept right.
The essay e-Assessment type helped them reflect on their
learning as they had to construct the answers based on their
understanding of the materials taught. Each student had to do
an online peer review on other fellow students’ anonymous
answer to a question on a commercial/industrial issue. Peer re-
view tasks helped them identify which answers were good and
which ones were not and they learned how to construct a better
answer by learning from others’ good answers. Each student
also had to do a 5-minutes presentation on his/her answers to a
commercial/industrial issue question. Each student’s presenta-
tion was assessed by other students and the lecturer.
Student Learning Experience Survey
We have received an approval from the Ethics committee of
La Trobe University to conduct a survey amongst the CSE3
MQR students about their learning experiences. The approval
number is FHEC11/R49. A survey form was constructed to find
out the learning experiences of the 2011 MQR students. It con-
sisted of 21 questions which were based on how the subject was
taught according to the CA principle and Shulman’s table of
learning. It was divided into four sections: 1) Engagement and
motivation; 2) Knowledge and understanding; 3) Performance
and action; and 4) Reflection and critiques. The survey form
was handed out to the CSE3MQR students during the labora-
tory/tutorial class of the last week of the semester. Students
were asked to select one of the following against each of the 21
SA—Strongly Agree (represented by a score of 5);
A—Agree (represented by a score of 4);
N—Neutral (represented by a score of 3);
D—Disagree (represented by a score of 2);
SD—Strongly Disagree (represented by a score of 1);
AS—Average Score.
In order to preserve the integrity of the data and the data col-
lection process, the forms were collected by another academic
staff (suppose Tom was his name) rather than the lecturer. Tom
collected all the forms and put them in an envelope in his office.
He then stamped on each of the survey forms a departmental
chop with his signature and the date of the signature. When we
were ready to do the analysis, we worked only on the signed
and stamped survey forms. There were 27 students who en-
rolled in CSE3MQR in 2011; and there were 20 students who
participated in the survey. The statistical data were used to
examine the students’ opinions on the effectiveness of the
teaching method with the aim of improving their learning. After
the end of the semester, the CSE3MQR students were inter-
viewed. The interviews provided a rich source of data regarding
student engagement and their learning experiences when
studying CSE3MQR. A sample of student interview data from
a student appears in Appendix A.
The Survey Results
Students’ learning experiences were summarised in Tables
Discussion on the Survey Results
Engagement and Motivation
Table 3 indicates that students were engaged if the lecturer
taught students’ topic of preferences. This is consistent with a
cognitive learning theory—self-regulated (SR) concepts intro-
duced by Bandura (1986). In our case, SR refers to the feelings,
motivation and willingness of the students to learn as these
aspects are important for quality learning (Wang & Newlin,
Knowledge and Understanding
Table 4 indicates conducting a quiz immediately after a lecture
Table 3.
Summary of students’ responses to questions on the engagement and m otivat ion aspect of their learnin g.
Section 1: Engagement and Motivation SA A N D SD AS
I think doing a variety of the smalle r e-Assessment tasks has motiva t ed me to learn the s ubject
material s b etter, as compared to do ing one big assignment. 10 9 0 0 1 4.4
I think doing the e-Ass essment tasks has helped me engage more on th is subject, as compared
to using pen and paper. 9 8 3 0 0 4.3
Suppose I miss the deadline of an e-Assessment submission and know that a late submission
will attract a deduction in marks. I still l i k e to submit it b ecause the e-Assessment tasks of this
subject in general motiv ate me to learn the materials better. 9 8 3 0 0 4.3
The fact that the lecturer of this subject gave weekly online announcements about assessment,
tutorial/laboratory, marking criteria, seminar and talk, assessment results, etc., has helped me
organize m y studies better. 11 5 2 2 0 4.3
The fact t hat the lecturer considered our opinions on the breakdown of the marks of the
e-Assessment tasks has motivated me to l earn and eng age more in this subject. 12 5 2 0 1 4.3
The fact that the lecturer taught and concentrated on the topics of our preferences has motivated
me to learn and engage more in this subject. 13 6 1 0 0 4.6
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 4.
Summary of students’ responses to questions on the kno w l ed g e a n d u n de rstanding aspect o f their learn ing.
Section 2: Know ledge and U nderstanding SA A N D SD AS
The fact that the lecturer gave an online quiz on the subject materials immediately after they
have bee n t aught durin g a lecture h as contributed to my better understanding of them. 15 3 1 0 1 4.6
I think the regular smaller e-Assessment tasks and the deadlines associated with them have
helped me understand the subjec t materials b etter. 10 6 2 2 0 4.2
The e-Assessment tasks o f this subject in gener al have co nt ributed to my understanding of th e
materials taught. 9 10 0 1 0 4.4
I think the e-Assessment tasks on real-life industrial/commercial issues have contributed to my
higher-order learning and understa nding. 9 8 2 0 1 4.2
I think the f o rmal peer reviews o f my e-Assessment submissions have contributed to my better
understanding of the subject m aterials. 8 7 3 1 1 4.0
Table 5.
Summary of students’ responses to questions on the performan ce an d ac t ion aspect of t he i r learning.
Section 3: Performance and action SA A N D SD AS
I always like to meet the deadline of each of the e-Assessment tasks of this subject because
they in general help me understand the materials better. 9 7 4 0 0 4.3
For each of the e-Assessment tasks of this subject, I always like to do my best because it
helps me unde r stand the materials better. 12 7 1 0 0 4.6
I think the regular smaller e-Assessment tasks and the datelines associated with them have
helped me study more consistently and organise my st ud i es bette r , thus contributing t o my
better understa nding of the subject materials. 10 3 6 0 1 4.1
I think the clear marking guidelines for each of the e-Assessment tasks have helped motivate
me to do my best when doin g it. 9 8 2 0 1 4.2
I think the formal peer reviews of my e-Assessment submissions have increased my confidence
in assessing my own work and those of others. 9 6 4 0 1 4.1
The feedbacks I received for my e-Assessment submissions in general motivate me to perform
better next time or to maintain the same level of excellence. 10 8 1 1 0 4.4
Table 6.
Summary of students’ responses to questions on their reflection and critique aspect of learning.
Section 4: Reflections and Critiques SA A N D SD Average
I think the o nline and presentation reviews of my e-Assessment subm i s sions ha v e increas ed my
learning due to the inte r actions involved with the lectur er and other fellow stud ents. 7 8 4 1 0 4.1
I think the e-Assess ment essay tasks have h elped me reflect on the subject materials and hen ce
increase my understan ding of them. 11 6 3 0 0 4.3
The fact tha t the lecturer raise d questions to students a bout the subjec t materia ls taught during a
lecture/ tutorial/laboratory class has helped me reflect on the subject materials and contribute to
my better u n d erstanding o f them due to the increase in the nu mber of interactions. 11 6 2 1 0 4.4
The fact that students can express their opinions or raise questions during a lecture/tutorial class
has helped me reflect on the subject materials and contribute to my better understanding of them
due to the increase in the number of interactions. 13 4 2 0 1 4.4
enabled students to increase their knowledge and understanding.
The survey suggested that peer review did not contribute as
much to their learning as it was intended.
Performance and Action
Most students wanted to do their best for each of e-Assess-
ment tasks given. Students felt that the e-Assessment tasks
helped them perform and understand the subject better. Smaller
e-Assessment tasks together with the deadlines and the feed-
back helped them manage and organize their studies better.
Reflections and Critiques
Most students agreed that expressing their opinions and rais-
ing questions were important ways of reflecting on their learn-
ing. It was also noted that the e-Assessment essay tasks and the
questions raised by the lecturer also helped students reflect on
their learning and give them cognitive processing time to fur-
ther understand the materials taught.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 155
CA does not provide clear guidelines as to: 1) how we should
develop or create teaching and learning activities in order to
help students achieve the intended student learning outcomes,
and 2) how the activities should be developed in order to help
students learn progressively. In this paper, we have presented a
higher education blended teaching method for improving stu-
dent learning. By blended teaching, we mean the combination
of face-to-face teaching and the uses of a LMS for learning,
teaching and assessment activities. We have reported the results
of applying the method to teaching a third year subject CSE3
MQR (Metrics, Q ua lity and Reli abi lity).
Our method is called Constructive Progressive Alignment
(CPA). The meanings of “Constructive” and “Alignment” re-
main the same as in the CA context. However, in addition to the
expected “Alignment” activities that a lecturer would put into
place when teaching a subject using the CA method, we use the
term “Progressive Alignment” to mean that a lecturer needs to
include and design teaching and learning activities that align to
the ways how students learn progressively in order to improve
student learning. The principles of the design of our teaching
activities are based on the first four stages of Shulman’s table
of learning. As such, we have the confidence that they are pro-
gressing in their learning. The survey and interview results
indicate that the CPA method does help students improve their
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Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Appendix A: Sample Student Interview Data
Learning Stages Answers to the interview questions from Student A
Engagement and Motivation
Smaller and regular assessment tasks motivated me to learn because it is easier to do assignments that are relevant to
the weekly lectures.
Assessment tasks delivered in an online mode motivated me to learn more because they are flexible and easy to
I still wanted to submit e-Assessment tasks after the deadlin es because I wanted to learn.
Weekly online announcements motivated me to learn because I could arrange my study time better.
The breakdown of the marks motivated me to learn the subject as I can plan the strategy to g et bette r marks.
Teaching th e t op i cs of my preferen ces mo t i v at ed me to learn b ecau se the inter esting to p i cs comp el l ed me to come
to class.
Knowledge and Understanding
The online quizzes helped me understand the subject better because I can ask the lecturer for an explanation if my
answer was wrong immediately after the results were published on the system.
Regular smaller tasks and deadlines helped me to learn better because I had to study consistently.
E-Assessment tasks contributed to my understanding because it is flexible to use and I can find the related
E-Assessment tasks on real-life situations contributed to my high-order thinking skills because it prepared me to face
the real worl d later.
Formal peer-reviews in e-Assessment helped me learn from others because I came to know the different ways and
methods of doing the assignments.
Performance and Ac tion
Meeting deadlines helped m e understand the subject m aterials better because I have to do research in doing the tasks.
I always like to do my best in doing t he e-Assessment tasks b ecause I w ant to have better grade s .
Regular smaller tasks with deadlines helped me perform better in my studies because they made me study
Clear marking guidelines from the lecturer helped m e perform b ecause the y guided me to produce better answers.
Formal peer review of e-Assessment submissions helped me understand the subject better because I learned how to
identify the good and the bad answers.
Feedbacks on the e-Assessment tasks motivated me to perform better next time because they helped me identify the
reasons for my wrong answers.
Reflecti o n and Critiques
The interaction during presentations increased learning because I can shared information with others.
Essay tasks hel ped me refl ect o n my l ear ni ng b ecaus e to ans wer th e qu esti ons I need to cons tru ct an swer s f rom my
understanding of the lecture no tes and other reading materials.
The question raised by the lecturer during a class helped me understand the lecture better because he could make me
stay focused.
Asking qu esti ons and rais ing o pin ions in t he cl ass hel ped ref lect on my le arn in g becau se th e lect ur e r p oin ted me to
the right answers if I answered wrongly.
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