The ethics of learning technologies: Issues, coping strategies, and decision making experienced by practitioners in design and training situations
Hong Lin, The Pennsylvania State University, United States
The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded
Learning technologies, under the influence of technological forces and the new style of workplace learning, are frequently cited as an essential factor in transforming the way organizations learn and the way in which training is delivered. This new change has necessitated an increasing introduction of learning technologies in design and training situations. However, there is insufficient information concerning ethical issues associated with learning technology that are actually experienced by practitioners in the design and training situations. This study was intended to provide insight into these experiences. To this end, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate what ethical issues are experienced by learning technology practitioners in design and training situations, and how these issues are handled. The secondary purpose of this study was to investigate what learning technology practitioners rely on to make ethical decisions. Using a qualitative methodology, in-depth interviews of 20 research participants were conducted.
The study found that practitioners who were incorporating learning technologies in their design and training practices often experienced such ethical issues as: copyright, learner privacy, accessibility, diversity, conflicts of interest, and professionalism/confidence. Among these ethical issues, an overwhelming majority of the participants stated that the copyright issue goes beyond its legal ramifications and definitely has ethical ramifications. To cope with these ethical issues, the research participants used a variety of strategies: team communications, laws and policies, management consultation, professional integrity, and technical solutions. The study also identified that half of the participants relied on laws and their own moral values to make ethical decisions. Based on the findings, recommendations for management and practitioners are offered. Lastly, future research that continues to provide a clear picture of the ethics of learning technology is suggested.
Lin, H. The ethics of learning technologies: Issues, coping strategies, and decision making experienced by practitioners in design and training situations. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
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