Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

The Combination Design of Enabling Technologies in Group Learning: New Study Support Service for Visually Impaired University Students

Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

The Combination Design of Enabling Technologies in Group Learning: New Study Support Service for Visually Impaired University Students

Article excerpt


This article aims to show how the process of new service technology-based development improves the current study support service for visually impaired university students. Numerous studies have contributed to improving assisted aid technology such as screen readers, the development and the use of audiobooks, and technology that supports individual learning by the visually impaired. Before conducting research on how the existing technologies could enhance today's study support service, a lead user was identified from among the visually impaired university students that were involved in the new service development process. Telephone interview analysis was used for primary data collection from 49 sampled students while interviews, discussions, and brain storming were used for the primary data collection in the idea generation process and the new service functionality synthesis between the lead user and researcher. The findings from this study make several contributions to the area of service development using the lead user technique. The lead user provided an idea that is claimed to be a useful service solution. It was demonstrated that a group learning technology-based service can work as a new service for visually impaired university students. The findings are also original in that the new service with the capacity for knowledge access and transfer using telephony technology will be the first new service that shifts their individual learning to a group or community that includes instructor participation.

Keywords: group learning enabling technologies, virtual knowledge telephony system, visually impaired student, Ramkhamhaeng University, lead user, new service development, Thailand

1. Introduction

Assistance for visually impaired students by study support services has been provided in various ways for years. For instance, the live reading service, which is the simplest service, does not require technology, but it has many limitations that have been identified in a study by Kaijage Jackton J.L. (J. L., 1993). Live reading efforts will not be setup for only one person. Therefore, a group learning method might need to be considered to enhance the live reading service because it has the potential to generate a transfer of tacit knowledge that contains valuable personal techniques and skills from one member to another member of the group. The effort that was put into the live reading service became self-sustaining, and thus was not limited to only one person. Given that travelling for visually impaired people is difficult in itself, the possibility nowadays of being able to access a live reading service or of obtaining Braille material is important.

Subsequently, many scholars have contributed to the area of individual learning for people with sight disabilities. The provision of digital talking books was implemented as a new library service to improve knowledge access (Cookson John, 2001). Furthermore, the development of digital talking books has been attempted over the types of computer networks that are found in schools (Steve, 2001). This research revealed a broader opportunity to print for disability students in school. The enhancement of computer software which improved the efficiency of the audio book was examined as a consequence (B. T., 2001). Many types of assistive technologies and specialized software were developed and customized to improve internet access quality for people with visual and print disabilities (Jennifer, 2002), (Axtell Robert, 2002), (Byerley & Chambers, 2002), (Loo, Lu, & Bloor, 2003), (Téribi Lobna, 2000). Despite the value of many of these studies, they do not address the group learning aspects. The current research aims to show the value of a new service which enables group learning among visually impaired university students. This research was conducted using the concept of lead user involvement in the steps during the service design and development phases. …

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