CALRG Conference: Doctoral Consortium (27 June 2023)

Faculty members’ teaching practices in developing inclusive pedagogy: from theory to action (Ana Castellano Beltrán, Universidad de Sevilla)

In recent decades, the number of university students with disabilities has increased. However, the participation and success of these students is not ensured, despite the existence of policies aimed at their inclusion. This group continues to face multiple barriers at university: lack of information, access problems, inaccessible methods and resources, and lack of teacher training, among others. In relation to the teaching-learning process, research shows that students with disabilities benefit enormously from the use of technological resources. For this reason, faculty member training on ICT and attention to diversity is necessary. This doctoral thesis aims to respond to this need through two main objectives. Firstly, to describe, understand and explain the designs and actions taken into account by faculty members from different areas of knowledge belonging to different universities in order to develop an inclusive pedagogy through the use of technology. In this way, through the use of semi-structured interviews, good inclusive practices will be identified and shared with the rest of the scientific community and society, which will serve as a guide for the second objective. The second objective is to design, develop and evaluate a Blended-learning training programme on inclusive educational practices based on the use of emerging technology, focusing on the use of mobile devices (Mobilelearning). For this purpose, through a qualitative methodology, the testimony of the faculty members who participate in it will be collected through semi-structured interviews, in order to evaluate the whole process. In addition, the impact of the training on the participants’ teaching will be evaluated through direct observation and focus groups with the students. It is expected to obtain results that will allow the university community to advance hand in hand with emerging technology, thus achieving the development of an inclusive pedagogy at the Higher Education stage.

Can geospatial technologies reduce the transactional distance in open and distance learning? (Kamran Mir, Allama Iqbal, OU Islamabad)

Open and Distance Learning (ODL) has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it provides learners with a greater flexibility and open access to education. Despite several benefits of open and distance education, quality of instruction is a big challenge in any online learning environment. To reduce the transactional distance in a learning environment, a variety of strategies are applied by the educators, such as providing regular and ongoing communication with learners, using multimedia and other interactive tools to engage learners. Geospatial technologies involve the use of technology which has some geographical or spatial context. There is a plenty of geographical data in ODL which can be visualized in the form of interactive maps. The use of a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS), an application of Geographic Information System (GIS) is increasing in many fields to improve the resource allocation and decision quality of the processes. This mix-method study aims to investigate whether the integration of geospatial technologies can reduce the transactional distance experienced by the learners in an open and distance learning environment. The study will use exploratory sequential method as a research design, to first analyze the qualitative feedback given by a group of international ODL experts followed by the quantitative feedback based on Transactional Distance theory. This feedback will be taken after their participation in an online course which will teach them about geospatial technologies in an educational context. The data will be collected using online feedback, interviews, and focus group discussions. The study will contribute to understand the potential of geospatial technologies in enhancing the quality of open and distance learning. Another output of this study would be a conceptual geospatial model for distance education which may guide the ODL leaders, managers, and educators about the use of geospatial technologies in different domains of ODL management and teaching.

Keywords: Transactional Distance, Geospatial Technologies, Spatial Learning Analytics, Distance Education

Negotiating the competing demands of home, work and learning through improved self-efficacy in CPD for healthcare professionals (Helen Darlaston, OU UK)

This research is centred around how health care professionals (HCPs) working within the National Health Service (NHS) in England, particularly those with additional responsibilities, approach online learning for continuous education and what the best practice would be to benefit their learning and increase self-efficacy.

A narrative literature review showed that HCPs struggle to balance the competing demands and distractions of home and work. Online learning for continuous professional development (CPD) may benefit this group of learners as it is flexible and increases accessibility to learning. The review also found that self-efficacy around online learning skills and systems is often low. Studies since the pandemic have concentrated on learning in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) rather than online and blended education for CPD.

This study will employ a mixed methods case study approach using an Online Learning Self Efficacy Scale (OLSES), semi-structured interviews and learner analytics. Findings from three case studies with National Clinically Led workforcE and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) learners (approx. n = 30) aim to address the need for more research on how different demographic groups of HCPs engage with online learning and how their self-efficacy may affect this engagement. Self-efficacy predicts online competence and literacy ​(D’Souza et al., 2023)​ and is a critical factor for learner engagement.

This work contributes to knowledge surrounding self-efficacy for online learning for HCPs in England and how demographic groups construct their self-efficacy. It aims to improve online self-efficacy (OLSE) for HCPs working within the NHS, contribute to healthcare education policies, and create more equitable learning for disadvantaged demographic groups.


D’Souza, C. et al. (2023) ‘Learning self-efficacies influence on e-servicescapes: rethinking post-pandemic pedagogy’, Journal of Services Marketing, 37(5), pp. 636–649. Available at:

Predicting drop-out in Toastmasters (Selina Griffin, OU UK)

My research is looking to build a predictive model to predict drop-out from Members of Toastmasters; an organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills across the world. Toastmasters International has over 300,000 members worldwide and has been running for nearly 100 years. Members join local Clubs, run by more experienced Toastmasters who act as Club Officers.  Toastmasters is about learning by doing, with Members attending meetings; developing and progressing by giving speeches or performing other functions. Members access their training materials through the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) called Pathways which was rolled out iteratively across the organisation starting in 2017. As a third year EdD student, I am currently concluding my pilot study. For my pilot I created a predictive model (using binary logistic regression) looking at Members in the UK (around 5,000 active Members) based on the data I was supplied by Toastmasters international. There are two opportunities for Members to renew every year; in March and in September and as the March renewal period has now passed I am able to see the results of my predictions. I am currently looking to approach Members for interview (who either acted as predicted or did not) in order to supplement my predictive model with qualitative insights as to what datapoints could be missing from my model and to explore whether any actions could have prevented their decision to drop-out.