This qualitative research used a descriptive case study method to examine the phenomena of 'delight' in its natural context.
A descriptive case study
Qualitative research involves the study of things in their natural settings and attempts to make sense of phenomena (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident and in which multiple sources of evidence are used (Yin, 1994).
Data sources collected
The multiple data sources included taped interviews with the facilitator, Blackboard statistics and documents such as students' reflective learning logs, discussion board messages and virtual classroom archives, emails, MSN discussions and newsletters. Data was collected over four terms to allow for the development of a community and investigate whether or not 'delight' was evident throughout this time.
The people involved in the Learn-Now programme were the facilitator of the online programme, five mentors and seventy students (Years 5 to 9, aged 9 to 13 years) who attended eleven primary schools throughout New Zealand. The students were enrolled as an extension programme for several hours a week and were supervised in their schools.
The project involved a small pilot study in Term One of two sample groups with the main study carried out over the rest of the year.
Data was analysed according to the indicators of the online environment, online learning, and the facilitator's strategies and delight.
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