An ethnographic evaluation of the design, development and deployment of a multimedia Mandarin learning software package for non Mandarin adult learners in Macao

Tse, Rita Tan-Sim

April 2004

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© 2004 Rita Tan-Sim Tse. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study exammes the design, development and deployment of a multimedia CD-ROM for beginning Mandarin learning for adult learners in Macao. It focuses on three major issues: first the development, from existing textbooks and CD recordings, of the Mandarin CD-ROM 'Click!' series; second the use of an ethnographic research methodology to evaluate the first volume of the CD-ROMs; and third answers to questions as to the benefits and limitations of a multimedia CD-ROM and its appropriateness in Mandarin learning.

The design of this study uses an ethnographic approach to develop and evaluate instructional materials with the Knirk and Gustafson (1986) instructional development model and its aim is to apply ethnographic techniques to the different stages of the instructional development process. Due to the special circumstances of this study, the order of this research started with an initial literature review, a pilot study, further literature review, a main study, a follow-up study, and ended with a further literature review. The pilot study, which included a user-interface focus group and a pilot interview, was conducted initially to identify problems, analyse learners' entering skills, content/curriculum, existing materials and the community'S characteristics. The pilot study was used to observe learners' attitudes and learning styles to help to establish instructional objectives and strategies. The first volume of the 'Click!' CD-ROM series was developed after the analysis of the first set of data, which constituted the problem determination and design stages of the model. The pilot study then moved into the development stage. The development stage of the instructional model was an iterative process. First, a main study was conducted to evaluate and revise the first volume of the 'Click!' CD-ROM senes. The mam study included conducting a teacher focus group, in-class observations and main interviews. Notes from these observations and interviews provided valuable data to revise the second volume of the 'Click!' CD-ROM series. Then a follow-up study was carried out to evaluate and revise the first volume of the CD-ROM series again to ensure reliability and validity of the data. The third volume of the 'Click!' CDROM series was developed at the end of this research study. The findings present implications for multimedia design and the development and deployment of a Mandarin learning package for Portuguese adult learners in Macao. The actual outcome suggested that the role of the teachers is still irreplaceable, not even with technology.

Institute for Learning, The University of Hull
Wright, Nigel
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