2016 Summer Travel Grant Series: Developing and Evaluating an Open Learning Platform for Khmer Speaking Users

Summer Travel Grant 2016 Recipient

Sokunthearith Makara

Graduate Degree Fellow

One of the pressing issues facing the Cambodian education system today is the unequal access to quality education between people in the countryside and those in the cities. The solution I am proposing for this issue involves the use of Internet technology to transfer the quality learning modules from the cities to the countryside. In order for this to happen, a learning platform which allows people to create modules and to learn the modules for free is required. Therefore, the purpose of my summer field research was to develop and evaluate an open learning platform for Khmer speaking users.

The study began with a pre-development data collection to find out the target population’s attitudes and experiences toward e-learning. Questionnaires were sent out both in paper and online formats. 35 people filled out the questionnaires and the results showed that the majority of the subjects had little or no experience in taking online courses. However, a considerable number of the subjects expressed their optimism toward e-learning and looking forward to taking ones in the future when learning modules that are relevant to them are available. Since the participants were not familiar with e-learning, the results from the questionnaires were not very helpful in the design of the platform. I therefore started my design based on the literatures I reviewed. It took me six weeks to develop and localize the platform to Khmer language.

The next step was the usability study to find out the ease of use of the platform. Three people were willing to participate in the study. In each usability test, the participant was asked to do three things: create a student account, search for a particular course, and take a course. The participant was then asked for their opinion toward the ease in doing each task. The average score for the first task was 1.5/5 with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult. For the second task, the average score was 1 although the participants used different ways to search for the course they were asked to. And finally for the third task, which is taking a course, the participants gave a 2.5 of 5 since it took them a while to get used to the navigation in the course. It should be noted that the platform was developed using WordPress in an offline environment to avoid the expenses for the domain and hosting subscription. Following are some screenshots of the platform.




The East-West Center Association (EWCA) and the EWCA Hawaii Chapter provided Travel Grants ($500 each) to 10 current East West Center students for the summer of 2016.