One of the most important course I learnt last semester was the Research Foundation course. I could say that we only learn how to write our research proposal during the whole course, which was very helpful to kick-start my research. There are only a few important things during the whole course and they are:
1. Establish your problem statement – utmost important aspect before any research can be done. The tips that the Prof. gave us was very simple: your research SHOULD solve a problem. Hence, you must first identify the problem before you can start anything. Easy enough? Guess not, because near to the end of the course, there were still many who asked Prof. about their problem statements which most people didn’t get them quite right.
2. Define research objectives and scope – with the problem statement in mind, it should be easy to define what we want to achieve through the research. To achieve the ultimate research goal, all the steps that need to be done are turned to achievable objectives. Scope is defined to limit the field of research and to be more specific.
3. How to do literature review – sound easy enough which normally involves reading journal articles or any information related to your research. However, in reality, this process is most time-consuming and many still didn’t get it right, including myself. Reading is the easiest part. Writing what you understand and how to relate them to your research problem is the hardest part. To some, reading maybe difficult too because different people write differently and interpret differently.
4. Find/select a suitable research methodology – another important step in every research project. Methodology defines the steps necessary to do the research project so it’s important to find the right one to follow throughout. Of course, you can also design your own but in academic, you must always specify reason and give prove that it works. Research methodology is essential to the supervisor/assessor to see how you plan to do your research and how accurate your result will be. I have been told that most failure rate in research is caused by wrong selection of research methodology.
5. Milestones – to me it’s important but very hard to determine for someone like me who loves to procrastinate. I did come up with a milestone plan but I doubt it’s any accurate now. Of course, I would tell everyone that milestone is as important as any aspect in research as it helps you plan your research and achieve your goal accordingly.
In summary, I learnt all those above to heart and at the end of the semester, I was required to submit a 10-page research proposal and a 20-minute presentation which was assessed by the Prof. and another lecturer. So, let me introduce you to my research title/topic:
Design and development of Personal Learning Environment for Higher Education
My research aim is to design and develop Personal Learning Environment (PLE) which gives students (postgrad) the control of their own learning process by utilizing Web 2.0 technology.
It took me some times to finally come up with an initial concept of PLE below:
Generally, what’s still happening in most higher education today is we are using e-Learning platform such as Moodle for teaching and learning. However, this Moodle is educator-centric and the learner has no control over it other than modifying own profile. The problem with such system is different people have different learning level and though the system is designed to help in learning, there’s no guarantee they actually learn something other than fulfilling the requirement of the institution.
My proposed solution is to (sort-of) extend the e-Learning platform to incorporate Web 2.0 technology such as blog, wiki, microblogging, etc. in teaching and learning. As you can see above, PLE includes the existing e-learning platform plus Web 2.0 and social network which I term it as lifelong learning where learning does not stop after graduation.
All these are only my initial research idea which needs more time for me to research upon. If you are interested to know more, check out my presentation below:
Feel free to drop me any comment too. Thanks!