Use-oriented courseware development for agricultural education : an ecological approach

J.J.C. Blom

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>This thesis investigates the disappointing use of computers and courseware in Dutch agricultural education. The central question is: How to develop courseware that will be used by teachers in agricultural education practice? On the basis of a theoretical frame of reference and by means of two case studies, the use of courseware in the context of Dutch agricultural education is described, understood and explained; and use influencing factors are established. Prescriptions are formulated that reckon with these factors and presumably increase the likelihood of use in practice. In two additional case studies, both the process and the organisation of courseware development for Dutch agricultural education are described, understood and explained. On the basis of this understanding, the prescriptions, phrased in the two preceding case studies, are adjusted and extended. The resulting prescriptions fit into five categories:<br/>a) courseware should address needs<p>b) courseware should lead to lower costs of use<br/>c) courseware development should match teacher learning<br/>d) courseware development should reckon with contexts of use<br/>e) courseware development should be organised in manner that facilitates use<br/>increasing development<p>Essentially, the formulation of these use-increasing prescriptions as described above amounts to tailoring the courseware-development process to the context in which the courseware will be used. For this process of tailoring, insight is needed in the contingencies between courseware- development characteristics and the attributes of a context of use. These contingencies are described in the last chapter of this thesis. Risk prevention is the most important argument in selecting a specific courseware-development characteristic for a given context.<p>In this research, this tailoring process is applied to Dutch agricultural education. The resulting alternative and supposedly use-increasing approach of courseware development can be characterised as situation specific, teacher-driven, and processoriented. Important domains of expertise are those of subject matter, of teachers as users, of project and educational innovation management and of instructional design. This approach combines a small scale with a high level of ambition. This approach is termed ecological since insights from ecology offer instructive analogies that for courseware development can be phrased as follows. Courseware may offer a wide range of educational improvements, the contexts of use determine the quality characteristics of viable courseware applications. Consequently, characterising, a viable courseware application implies describing its context of use.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • van Bergeijk, J., Promotor, External person
  • Moonen, J.C.M.M., Promotor, External person
Award date10 Jun 1997
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054857051
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • computers
  • education
  • teaching materials
  • minicomputers
  • microcomputers
  • data processing
  • teaching
  • training
  • leisure
  • agriculture
  • agricultural education
  • netherlands
  • machines

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