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Peer-Review Record

Cognitive-Based E-Learning Design for Older Adults

Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010006
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Reviewer 4: Anonymous
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010006
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The paper appears interesting. However, the correlation values among the variables are high. I think that the Authors should try to better check the items.


Author Response

Reviewer 1

Thank you very much for your useful remarks. For each particular comment we describe the corrective actions taken.

The paper appears interesting. However, the correlation values among the variables are high. I think that the Authors should try to better check the items.

Correlation coefficients among the variables were moderate or high, indicating that the questionnaire is valid, as well as that there were no unnecessary questions.


Reviewer 2 Report

I find the paper an interesting one. While there has been a great deal of research on adult e-learners, research on older adults is under represented. However, I believe there are some issues that need to be addressed before this paper can be published. I have dot pointed these items below. Please note - the numbers correspond to the line numbers on the reviewed document.


34-36: Unsure of the relevance. This may require elaboration.

37-38:These two sentences do not logically connect.

94: I question the premise that e-learning is a 'relatively new and untraditional instructive method'. Relative to what?

104: 'Populations are growing older'. All population are growing older. Is it rather that the proportion of elderly adults is increasing?

119-120: 'are positive to using computers' might be better worded as 'are positively included to using computers'.

146: Direct quote page number missing.

159: What is the distinction between older adults and senior citizens?

165: 'sent massively to stakeholders' incorrect use of the word massively.

168: Participants section - it id only in the Abstract that it is indicated that the participants were from Greece. This also needs to be indicated in the section on participants.

177: add 'while' to sentence 'have retired while 11.7% are unemployed.

Method Section:

There is no mention of the e-learning that was undertaken or an explanation of the learning approach taken. While these are presented as results along with e-learning modules it is not clear whether participants underwent different learning approaches or how the e-learning was organised and delivered. This is a major issue and requires revision. 

238: Table Six should be the start of a new paragraph.

Discussion

Doesn't fully address cognitive functioning but more participant attitudes and user preferences. This needs to be better elaborated upon or perhaps revising the paper so that it is broader in scope than just cognitive functioning.

Conclusion

335: Conclusion that participant attention skills were low especially when multitasking. It is not clear how this conclusion was drawn on the evidence presented.

Conclusion makes reference to other studies but results of current study are not integrated.

Unsupported statements are made. For example:

348: prefer more self-directed approach

354: seniors tend to make mistakes

357: adults don't like to get marked by authors.

As indicated, I find this an interesting paper but the above issues need to be addressed before it could be published.




Author Response

Reviewer 2

Thank you very much for your useful remarks. For each particular comment we describe the corrective actions taken.

I find the paper an interesting one. While there has been a great deal of research on adult e-learners, research on older adults is under represented. However, I believe there are some issues that need to be addressed before this paper can be published. I have dot pointed these items below. Please note - the numbers correspond to the line numbers on the reviewed document.

34-36: Unsure of the relevance. This may require elaboration.

This statement was removed

37-38: These two sentences do not logically connect.

A new sentence was added in order to connect these concepts (p.34)

94: I question the premise that e-learning is a 'relatively new and untraditional instructive method'. Relative to what?

It is not relative to something. It is a relatively new method. (comparatively new, fairly new)

104: 'Populations are growing older'. All population are growing older. Is it rather that the proportion of elderly adults is increasing?

Bearing in mind that the proportion of elderly adults is increasing in countries throughout the world, many challenges emerge, regarding the elderly and the ability to provide equal opportunities for this social group

119-120: 'are positive to using computers' might be better worded as 'are positively included to using computers'.

The sentence was changed to: older adults are positive about the capable of using computers

146: Direct quote page number missing.

There is no more direct quote:

Repetto & Trentin (2008) highlight the fact that older adults have different response time, educational needs and motivation in online courses, compared to other users. These differences should be taken into account when designing the course material, and choosing the learning strategies and tutoring style for an e-learning course addressed to them.

159: What is the distinction between older adults and senior citizens?

The phrase “senior citizens” was removed

165: 'sent massively to stakeholders' incorrect use of the word massively.

The whole sentence has been changed.

168: Participants section - it id only in the Abstract that it is indicated that the participants were from Greece. This also needs to be indicated in the section on participants.

The corresponding information about the country of the participants was added.

177: add 'while' to sentence 'have retired while 11.7% are unemployed.

The word while was added

Method Section:

There is no mention of the e-learning that was undertaken or an explanation of the learning approach taken. While these are presented as results along with e-learning modules it is not clear whether participants underwent different learning approaches or how the e-learning was organised and delivered. This is a major issue and requires revision. 

During the study there was no eLearning undertaken. The results referring to the learning approach preferred, were based on the answers of the participants to the corresponding question during the online survey.

238: Table Six should be the start of a new paragraph.

A new paragraph starts now at this point

Discussion

Doesn't fully address cognitive functioning but more participant attitudes and user preferences. This needs to be better elaborated upon or perhaps revising the paper so that it is broader in scope than just cognitive functioning.

The scope of the study was described again:

The purpose of this study is to analyze the cognitive profile of older adults in order to identify the way that they learn better, as well as to analyze older adults’ attitudes, for the development of an e-learning platform which will be adapted to their needs.

Conclusion

335: Conclusion that participant attention skills were low especially when multitasking. It is not clear how this conclusion was drawn on the evidence presented. The sentence was reformed: Literature review revealed that attentional skills of older adults appear to be very low, especially when multitasking.

Conclusion makes reference to other studies but results of current study are not integrated.

In each paragraph of the conclusion, findings from the literature review are compared to the results of the online survey on older adults’ attitudes.

Unsupported statements are made. For example:

348: prefer more self-directed approach. Reference added

354: seniors tend to make mistakes. Reference added

357: adults don't like to get marked by authors.  Statement removed

As indicated, I find this an interesting paper but the above issues need to be addressed before it could be published.


Reviewer 3 Report

This paper presented a survey that investigates the profile of seniors and their attitude toward e-learning. The paper contributes to the literature by presenting the empirical data and associated lessons learned to guide future e-learning design for the elderly. Therefore, I think the topic of the paper fits to the scope of this journal.

 

The paper is organized clearly and is easy to follow.  The paper also presents the literature related to the topic. However, the presentation of the research design and the analysis can be improved. To better present the arguments, I would suggest the following:

Although there’s an overview in the abstract, I would suggest it to have a brief overview of      the structure of the paper upfront in the paper itself to give the readers      an idea in terms of what to expect.

Although the abstract provided information in terms of the location of the study, it was nowhere      to be found in the write-up. The author(s) may want to present the      procedure of the survey a bit more clearly especially how the survey was      distributed. Since it is an online survey, was it published in a forum      where elderly adults normally visit? Or, was it sent with the help of some      senior organization?

Since the survey is conducted online, will it be safe to assume only those who have online      experience will have easy access to the survey? If so, how can the results      be generalized?

According to the abstract, the participants were fromGreece. Was it only available      for people reside inGreece?      Did you have any control while distributing the survey?

Was the survey conducted in English? In the questionnaire, there was a question regarding      the English level. However, there was no data presented in the discussion.      Does this mean all participants are fluent English speakers, and readers?      Same problem also exists in terms of the health conditions and other      demographic data.

When presenting the participants’ experience level (page 6, line 212 to 227), it appears that      the data discussed were not presented in Table 5 as the author claimed.      There’s no table specifically presenting the data related to this      variable.

On a minor note, there are some typos in the write-up which could be easily fixed. For example,      on page 4, line 172, it is said “... only a mere 2,9% were over 75 years old....” when it      should have been “... 2.9%...”

 

Author Response

Reviewer 3

Thank you very much for your useful remarks. For each particular comment we describe the corrective actions taken.

This paper presented a survey that investigates the profile of seniors and their attitude toward e-learning. The paper contributes to the literature by presenting the empirical data and associated lessons learned to guide future e-learning design for the elderly. Therefore, I think the topic of the paper fits to the scope of this journal.

The paper is organized clearly and is easy to follow.  The paper also presents the literature related to the topic. However, the presentation of the research design and the analysis can be improved. To better present the arguments, I would suggest the following:

Although there’s an overview in the abstract, I would suggest it to have a brief overview of the structure of the paper upfront in the paper itself to give the readers an idea in terms of what to expect.

Although the abstract provided information in terms of the location of the study, it was nowhere to be found in the write-up. The author(s) may want to present the procedure of the survey a bit more clearly especially how the survey was distributed. Since it is an online survey, was it published in a forum where elderly adults normally visit? Or, was it sent with the help of some senior organization?

Since the survey is conducted online, will it be safe to assume only those who have online experience will have easy access to the survey? If so, how can the results be generalized?

According to the abstract, the participants were from Greece. Was it only available      for people reside in Greece?  Did you have any control while distributing the survey?

The questionnaire was sent to the students enrolled in the Master in Education “Specialization in ICT and Special Education”, of National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos”. Students were asked to forward the questionnaire to their family members over 55 years, or guide them how to answer it, in case they had no previous online experience.

Was the survey conducted in English? In the questionnaire, there was a question regarding      the English level. However, there was no data presented in the discussion. Does this mean all participants are fluent English speakers, and readers? Same problem also exists in terms of the health conditions and other demographic data.

We added info explaining that the questionnaire was in Greek language. It is true that there is a question about participants’ English knowledge level. We added the corresponding data in the section 3.2. Participants. We also added information about participants’ health conditions in the same paragraph.

When presenting the participants’ experience level (page 6, line 212 to 227), it appears that      the data discussed were not presented in Table 5 as the author claimed.      There’s no table specifically presenting the data related to this      variable.

Table 5 presents results in terms of participants’ confidence level and frequency of using ICTs and online activities. On the next paragraph (we now created two paragraphs for this section) are presented results which are not also presented in tables.

On a minor note, there are some typos in the write-up which could be easily fixed. For example, on page 4, line 172, it is said “... only a mere 2,9% were over 75 years old....” when it should have been “... 2.9%...”

Corrected


Reviewer 4 Report

Need more discussion of elearning design generally as well as pedagogies/andragogy as it relates to elearning in Lit Review. 

Need a stronger method along with discussion of limitations (e.g. most participants are not very old and are highly educated, which means they may have encountered elearning in this form otherwise). 

Survey questions are leading and are very limited in their scope of approaches and alternates to elearning methods. Why did the authors choose these particular design features? 

Author Response

Thank you very much for your useful remarks. For each particular comment we describe the corrective actions taken.

Need more discussion of eLearning design generally as well as pedagogies/andragogy as it relates to eLearning in Lit Review. 

The following was added:

The process of learning is understood as an internal one, controlled by the learners themselves. This process includes intellectual, emotional, and physiological functions. Learners are not seen as empty containers ready to get filled with facts. Learning is seen as a dynamic process, based on learning objectives that can be accomplished based on learning experiences which are defined as interactions between learners and their environments. […] Originally, the term of ‘e-learning’ (electronic learning) derived from the advertising industries and described learning arrangements and scenarios where information or communication technology is used to support the learning process or to provide learning materials and contents.

Need a stronger method along with discussion of limitations (e.g. most participants are not very old and are highly educated, which means they may have encountered eLearning in this form otherwise). 

The following was added:

A possible limitation of the study is the fact that most participants were less than 65 years old, as well as that most participants were graduates of higher educational institutions.

Survey questions are leading and are very limited in their scope of approaches and alternates to eLearning methods. Why did the authors choose these particular design features? 

These particular design features emerged from the studies included in the literature review.


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