eLearning hands-on: blending interactive eLearning with practical engineering laboratory

Cheddi Kiravu, Kamen M. Yanev, Moses O. Tunde, Anna M. Jeffrey, Dirk Schoenian, Ansel Renner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Integrating laboratory work into interactive engineering eLearning contents augments theory with practice while simultaneously ameliorating the apparent theory-practice gap in traditional eLearning. The purpose of this paper is to assess and recommend media that currently fulfil this desirable dual pedagogical goal. Design/methodology/approach: The qualitative approach compares the eLearner-content interactivity deriving from Mathematica’s Computable Document File (CDF) application, Pearson’s myLab and Lucas-Nuelle’s UniTrain-I. Illustrative interactive examples written in JavaScript and Java are thereby drawn from an engineering eLearning course developed at the University of Botswana (UB). Findings: Based on its scientific rigour, wide application scope, engineering analytical depth, minimal programming requirements and cross-subject-cum-faculty application and deployment potential, the authors found the CDF to be a versatile environment for generating dynamically interactive eLearning contents. The UniTrain-I, blending a multimedia information and communication technology (ICT)-based interactive eLearner-content philosophy with practical laboratory experimentation, is recommended for meeting the paper’s dual eLearning goal as the most adept framework to-date, blending dynamic interactive eLearning content with laboratory hands-on engineering experimentation. Research limitations/implications: The lack of other competing frameworks limited the considerations to only the three mentioned above. Consequently, the results are subject to review as the ongoing research advances new insights. Originality/value: The conclusions help eLearning designers plan ICT-based resources for integration into practical electrical engineering eLearning pedagogy and both CDF and UniTrain-I help dispel the prevailing apparent disquiet regarding the effectiveness of the eLearning-mediated electrical engineering pedagogy. In addition, the cited examples document an original electrical engineering eLearning course developed at the UB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-299
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Information and Learning Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications


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