Measuring e-learning readiness in Oman’s schools in collaboration with MOE
A research team led by Professor Ali Kadhem, College of Education, is conducting a research project designed to determine the degree of readiness of schools in the Sultanate to provide e-learning to their students in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team will also look into the options available for schools to develop their e-learning capacity, including the availability of appropriate electronic equipment, teaching and administrative staff know-how in communicating with students electronically, and students' awareness and ability to use technology as a basic source of learning, and well as utilizing possible opportunities to overcome the challenges and apply this mode of education.
Recently, e-learning has been considered by many countries as an alternative means of education due to the coronavirus outbreak, said Professor Kadhem, adding that students can receive their education remotely without the need to be physically present at school or university.
Explaining the research methodology, he said: “First, two main areas were identified: the readiness of schools to deliver e-learning, and the options available for implementing it. As far as readiness is concerned, three sub-areas were suggested, namely infrastructure, awareness and perception, and e-learning skills. Regarding the options, two sub-areas were highlighted: infrastructure and e-learning skills. Two questionnaires were set, one for teachers and one for students, with five options to choose from; each tool included the goal of the project, instructions on how to respond, and an assurance regarding the confidentiality of respondents, and that the data would be used for research purposes only. The teachers’ questionnaire included three demographic variables: gender, years of experience, and specialization; the students’ questionnaire included gender, grade and school.”
He continued: "The tools were reviewed by 17 referees who are specialists in educational and psychological sciences working in higher education institutions and the Ministry of Education (MOE). All observations and suggestions were taken into account, e-copies were prepared, and the questionnaires tested."
The research project is likely to identify and establish the strengths of current practices, while at the same time diagnosing the weaknesses in order to overcome them. It also seeks to build appropriate overall strategies and bring together the efforts made by educational institutions to achieve the desired results of using e-learning.
It is worth noting that the MOE has decided to merge the project with another project it started a short while ago targeting private education in the Sultanate. The team will review the project objectives, tools, and procedures in line with the Ministry’s proposal to better serve education in country.