The Use of Information Technology to Enhance Management School Education: A TheoreticalViewAuthor(s): Dorothy E. Leidner a...
Modelsof LearningThe Use of                                          nologies in which management schools should          ...
Modelsof Learningto share laser printersand scanners in common           of pedagogical assumptions helps to identify thel...
Modelsof Learningmodify behavior accordingly (Jonassen, 1993).          factual or procedural-based learning. However,The ...
Modelsof LearningThe teacher serves as the creative mediatorof       Consequently, in additionto sharing the peda-the proc...
Modelsof LearningThe cognitive information                             concepts to represent reality. Rather, knowledge   ...
Modelsof Learning                                 Table 1. Summary of Learning Models                                     ...
Modelsof Learning                                                     Realism                                             ...
Modelsof Learningdiscussed. The technologies are also discussed       screen duringclass, and providing    students thein ...
Modelsof Learningappeal to the users, can increase the compre-                    appropriate software and assist the stud...
Modelsof LearningHowever, though based on constructivist rheto-        the student is guided so that he/she reaches theric...
Modelsof Learninginstructor since the instructor remains the nu-       that information is being delivered by the in-cleus...
Modelsof Learningfeedback from the instructor. Electronic mail          The vision to informatedown:might facilitate commu...
Modelsof Learingdatabases, access to a wide varietyof software           an informationresource to be utilized duringfor d...
Modelsof Learningthan would be possible through any other           tion. Studies indicatean increase in participationmean...
Modelsof LearningResearch at anothersynchronous       communication       dustry (Schein, 1992). The role of hierarchyclas...
Modelsof Learningtual learningspace is a graduateeducationclass       Table 3 shows the linkages between the tech-taught a...
Models of Learning      Table 2. Electronic Classroom Types, Assumptions,            and Related Models of LearningElectro...
Modelsof Learning                         Table 3. Technology Fit With the Theories of Learning                           ...
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
It use in mba
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  1. 1. The Use of Information Technology to Enhance Management School Education: A TheoreticalViewAuthor(s): Dorothy E. Leidner and Sirkka L. JarvenpaaSource: MIS Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, Special Issue on IS Curricula and Pedagogy, (Sep., 1995),pp. 265-291Published by: Management Information Systems Research Center, University of MinnesotaStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/249596Accessed: 15/04/2008 11:44Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=misrc.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We enable thescholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform thatpromotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. http://www.jstor.org
  2. 2. Modelsof LearningThe Use of nologies in which management schools should invest in order to informate up and down and ul-Information timately transform the educational environment and processes. For researchers interested inTechnology to the use of information technology to improve learning processes, the paper provides a theo-Enhance retical foundation for future work.Management School Keywords Educational technology, classroom technology, electronic classrooms, learning,Education: A instructionTheoretical View ISRL Categories: AA06, HB08 IntroductionBy: Dorothy E. Leidner Baylor University Although universities create and acquire knowl- P.O. Box 98005 edge, they are seldom successful in applying Waco, Texas 76798 that knowledge to their own activities (Garvin, U.S.A. 1993). In fact, academic institutions typically lag businesses by roughly a decade in the adoption dorothy_leidner@business.baylor.edu of new technologies (U.S. Congress, 1988). This is certainly true in terms of the application of in- Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa formation technology (IT) into the learning proc- The University of Texas at Austin ess: the blackboard and chalk remain the Graduate School of Business, primaryteaching technologies in many business CBA5.202 schools even while the merits of information Austin, Texas 78712 technology to improve communication, effi- U.S.A. ciency, and decision making in organizations sjarven paa@mail.utexas.edu are recognized and inculcated by IS re- searchers. However, as business schools expe- rience increased competitive pressures,Abstract information technology is one area that schoolsTo use information technology to improve leam- might use to differentiate or compete with or, more importantly, to use as a catalyst for trans-ing processes, the pedagogical assumptions un- forming educational processes. IT is not her-derlying the design of information technology for alded as a miraculous yet unpredictable meanseducational purposes must be understood. This of mitigating educational attrition, but as an effi-paper reviews different models of leaming, sur- cacious means of enabling intentional changesfaces assumptions of electronic teaching tech- in teaching and learning processes.nology, and relates those assumptions to thediffering models of learning. Our analysis sug- Some business schools have already begungests that initial attempts to bring information building classroom facilities that incorporate in-technology to management education follow a formation technologies in hopes of improvingclassic story of automating rather than trans- the learning and teaching processes. For exam-forming. IT is primarily used to automate the in- ple, the University of Maryland houses an elec-formation delivery function in classrooms. In the tronic classroom that enables groups ofabsence of fundamental changes to the teach- students to work together while communicatinging and learning process, such classrooms may electronically and anonymously (Alavi, 1994). Atdo little but speed up ineffective processes and Harvard Business School, a pilot program wasmethods of teaching. Our mapping of technolo- conducted where each students dormitory roomgies to learning models identifies sets of tech- was equipped with a personal computer networked MISQuarterly/September 1995 265
  3. 3. Modelsof Learningto share laser printersand scanners in common of pedagogical assumptions helps to identify thelivingspaces. Interactivecomputerapplications types of technologies that automate the tradi-and simulationexercises were used to supple- tionallearningmodel and those that begin to en-ment the traditionalcase study preparation. Stu- able transformation a new model. Borrowing intodents had access to digitizedvideos on factories, from the technology and organizationalchangeproduction processes, marketing campaigns, literature,three transformationalvisions are de-and interviewswith protagonistsfrom the case scribed: informate up, informate down, andstudy firms, allowing the students "to visitthe transform a virtuallearningspace. The paper tofactory they were studying and meet the key concludes witha discussion of technologies thatplayers in the case" before going to class. The management schools might consider investingstudents also had access to Headline News, a in if they desire radicalchanges in their educa-consolidationof majornews fromleading maga- tionalprocesses.zines and newspapers across the world,and aplethora of economic and financialdatabasesfrom commercial providersto augment the in-dustry analysis (The Harbus News, 1994). Theories of Learning:Althoughpromising,these developmentsremainisolated experimentseven withintheirown insti- Assumptionstutions. While such developments representat- The use of ITin an educationalsettingwillreflecttempts to provide technology tools to improve either purposelyor inadvertently some model ofthe teaching and/orlearningprocesses, they are learning.The followingreview of learningmod-often undertaken without a thorough assess- els is not exhaustive; ratherit seeks to highlightment of the learninggains desired or even pos- major differences among the more widely ac-sible. For instance, high expectations without cepted models of learning in terms of their as-clear objectives and realisticgoals may lead to sumptions,goals, and instructional implications.the development of state-of-the-art facilities,atonce impressive yet intimidating, Learningmodels are often classified as being replete with behavioral or cognitive. Objectivism, also re-potentialyet lacking clear guidelines on how to ferred to as the traditionalmodel of learning,isuse the technology to achieve learningimprove- the behavioralmodel of learningand representsments. Earlyresearch in the area of learningim- a traditional view of learning.The primary com-provements that may be facilitated with peting cognitive model is constructivism.Theinformation technology is thus needed. The ob- constructivist model has a numberof derivationsjective of this paper is to delineate technologies includingcollaborativism and cognitive informa-currently available to support traditionaland tion processing. The socioculturalism modelnon-traditional methods of learning in order to shares some assumptions and goals with con-help guide universitiesin their learningtechnol- but structivism, challenges some others.1ogy investmentdecisions, to help professors ef-fectively apply the new classroom technologies,and to manage the expectations of universityadministratorsand professors concerning the The objectivistmodel of learningbenefits of the technologies. The objectivistmodel of learning is based on Skinners stimulus-response theory: learningisThe premise of this paper is that the effective- a change in the behavioraldispositionof an or-ness of information technology in contributing to ganism (Jonassen, 1993) thatcan be shaped bylearningwill be a functionof how well the tech- selective reinforcement. The tenet of the modelnology supports a particularmodel of learning is that there is an objective realityand that theand the appropriatenessof the model to a par- goal of learningis to understandthis realityandticularlearningsituation.The paper begins witha discussion of the most commonlyadvocated 1 Social learningtheory is yet another model of learningandmodels of learning. How the assumptions of IT lies somewhere in the middleof an objectivist-constructivistare intertwined with the assumptions of the continuum.The interested reader is referred to Gruseclearningmodels is then analyzed. The mapping (1992).266 MIS Quarterly/September 1995
  4. 4. Modelsof Learningmodify behavior accordingly (Jonassen, 1993). factual or procedural-based learning. However,The goal of teaching is to facilitate the transfer models challenging objectivism have emerged.of knowledge from the expert to the learner. Er- The most widely accepted alternate model isrors in understanding are the result of imperfect constructivism and its derivations-collaborativ-or incomplete knowledge transfer. The model ism and cognitive information processing.makes several pedagogical assumptions re-garding learning and instruction. In terms oflearning, the first assumption is that there exists The constructivist model of learninga reality that is agreed upon by individuals. Sec- Constructivism denies the existence of an exter-ond, this reality can be represented and trans- nal reality independent of each individuals mind.ferred to a learner. Third, the purpose of the Rather than transmitted, knowledge is created,mind is to act as a mirrorof reality rather than as or constructed, by each learner. The mind is notan interpreterof reality (Jonassen, 1993). Fourth, a tool for reproducing the external reality, butall learners use essentially the same processes rather the mind produces its own, unique con-for representing and understanding the world. ception of events (Jonassen, 1993). Each realityIn terms of instruction, the objectivist model as- is somewhat different, based on learners expe-sumes that the goal of teaching is to efficiently riences and biases. More moderate construc-transmit knowledge from the expert to the tivists do not preclude the possibility of thelearner. Instructors structure reality into abstract existence of an objective world, but assume thator generalized representations that can be each individual constructs his or her own realitytransferred and then recalled by students of the objective world (Yarusso, 1992). Eventu-(Yarusso, 1992). For example, words in a lan- ally, having analyzed different interpretations ofguage are symbolic representations of the exter- information, the learner is able to detach himselfnal world enabling individuals to communicate from a subjective world of personal experienceusing symbols rather than pointing to actual ob- to the formation of abstract concepts to repre-jects. Individuals must share the same under- sent reality (OLoughlin, 1992). Learning, then,standing of the words in order to communicate is the formation of abstract concepts to repre-efficiently. The objectivist model also assumes sent reality; learning is that which "decentrizes"that the instructor is the source of objective the individual from the material. Learning is re-knowledge that is related, rather then created, flected in "intellectual growth that leads to scien-during class. The instructor should be in control tific reasoning, abstract thought, and formalof the material and pace of learning. Via ques- operations" (OLoughlin, 1992).tions, the instructor assesses whether transfer The constructivist model calls for learner-cen-occurred. Another assumption is that students tered instruction: individuals are assumed tolearn best in isolated and intensive confronta- learn better when they are forced to discovertions with a subject matter. things themselves rather than when they are told,The lecture method of teaching embeds the or instructed. Students must control the pace ofpedagogical assumptions of the objectivist instruction. Based upon the work of Piaget, themodel of learning. The lecture method is the learner must have experience with hypothesiz-most frequently used instructional method in ing and predicting, manipulating objects, posinghigher education (McKeachie, 1990). To an ob- questions, researching answers, imagining, in-jectivist, the presentation of information is criti- vestigating, and inventing, in order for knowl-cal. Any mechanism that enhances the edge construction to occur (OLoughlin, 1992).2communication of the knowledge should en-hance the transfer, or student learning. The 2 It should be noted that Piagets theory, which forms the foundation of constructivism, was based on his studies of themodel also implies that the pace of instruction psychological development of children. Although childrenshould be designed modularly with students need physical actions to grasp new information, adults needprogressing on one topic area before proceed- vivid examples and illustrations (OLoughlin, 1992). Thus,ing to the next one. while the concepts underlying constructivism may seem appealing to those who disagree with the underlyingThe objectivist model may be the most appropri- assumptions of traditionalism, they may be less applicable toate model in some contexts-for example, in adult learning situations. MISQuarterly/September 1995 267
  5. 5. Modelsof LearningThe teacher serves as the creative mediatorof Consequently, in additionto sharing the peda-the process. Classtime mightbecome a project- gogical assumptions of constructivism, collabo-oriented session where the instructorprovides ratists also assume that knowledge is createdtools for helping learners construct their own as it is shared, and the more it is shared, theviews of reality.Learning focuses on discovering more is learned. Anotherpedagogical assump-conceptual relationships,exploringmultiple rep- tion is that learners have priorknowledge theyresentations or perspectives on an issue, and/or can contributeto the discussion. A third as-immersingthe learner in the real-world context sumptionis that participation criticalto learn- isin which the learning is relevant (Jonassen, ing. A fourth assumption is that learners will1993). Lastly,constructivism advocates non-cri- participateif given optimal conditions such asterion forms of performanceassessments such small groupsto workwith.as student learningjournals(Hawkins,1993). One implication the cooperativemodel for in- ofHowever, in practice,constructivismis often re- structional methods is that the instructors is roleduced to studentssearchingforthe preordained to facilitatemaximalinformation knowledge andknowledge that could be more efficiently trans- sharing among learners ratherthan controllingmitted via the instructor. This tends to happen the contentand deliveryof learning.Anotherim-particularly with fact-based or procedurallearn- plicationis that the instructors role is to provideing. Criticsof constructivismargue that there is feedback duringclass although feedback fromlittle benefit in having learners construct such the learnerspeers is similarly critical.Forexam-preordainedknowledge;it is only when learners ple, students are foundto plan more extensivelyare allowed to construct new meaning, such as and writemore carefullywhen they are commu-in higher-orderlearning,that the goals of con- nicating with an audience of peers than whenstructivismare truly achieved. However, it can they are being evaluated solely by the instructoralso be argued that greater understandingof (Bagley and Hunter, 1992). However, groupsfactual and procedural material results when withoutinstructor feedback are unable to attainlearners are forced to discover the knowledge the same level of understandingor mastery asthemselves than when they are merelytold. groups with both peer and instructorfeedback (Stephenson, 1992). A third implicationfor in- struction the need for cooperativeassessment isThe cooperative model of learning strategies. The traditionalcompetitive assess- ment strategies may disable learning:a learnerAn offspring of the constructivistmodel is the may be motivated to withholdknowledge thatcooperative, or collaborative, learning model. wouldotherwisebe shared withpeers.Whereas in constructivismlearningis assumedto occur as an individual interactswith objects, Studies have demonstrated that cooperativein collaborativism,learningemerges throughin- learning is superiorto individualistic instructionteraction of individualswith other individuals in a wide arrayof content areas in terms of in-(Slavin, 1990). Learningoccurs as individuals creases in individual achievement, positiveexercise, verify,solidify,and improvetheirmen- changes in social attitudes, and general en-tal models through discussion and information hancement of motivation learn (Flynn,1992). tosharing. The contributionof different under- Learnerstend to generate higher-levelreason-standings leads to a new, shared knowledge ing strategies, a greater diversityof ideas and(Whipple,1987). Whereas instructor-ledcom- procedures, more critical thinking, and moremunication is inherently linear, collaborative creative responses when they are activelylearn-groups allow more branching and concentric- ing in cooperative groups than when they areity (Flynn, 1992). Although the major goal of or learningindividually competitively (Schlechter,cooperative learning is the construction of 1990). Even when the instructional environmentshared understanding through interaction of group projectswas not geared towardcoop-with other individuals, an implicit goal is im- erative learning, cooperative learning occurredproving communication and listening skills and contributed to longer-term retentionand eliciting participation. (Schlechter,1990). 1995268 MISQuarterly/September
  6. 6. Modelsof LearningThe cognitive information concepts to represent reality. Rather, knowledge cannot be divorced from the historical and cul-processing model of learning tural background of the learner (OLoughlin,The cognitive information processing model is 1992). The more meaningful, the more deeply oranother extension of the constructivist model elaboratively processed, the more situated inand focuses on cognitive processes used in context, and the more rooted in cultural back-learning. Learning involves processing instruc- ground, metacognition, and personal knowledgetional input to develop, test, and refine mental an event is, the more readily it is learned (Iran-models in long-term memory until they are effec- Nejad, et al., 1990). While socioculturalists em-tive and reliable enough in problem-solving situ- brace the concept that there is no one externalations (Schuell, 1986). The frequency and reality, they argue that constructivism and col-intensity with which a student cognitively pro- laborativism force the minority culture intocesses instructional input controls the pace of adopting the understanding derived by the ma-learning. Instructional inputs that are unnoticed, jority. Even a collaborative work group doesor unprocessed, by learners cannot have any not foster participation for minorities: "sharedimpact on mental models (Bovy, 1981; Brun- understanding" is biased by cultural and socialning, 1983). factors.A major assumption of the model is that learners The major assumption of socioculturalism is thatdiffer in terms of their preferred learning style. middle-class Anglo male America has preventedInstructional methods that match an individuals a genuinely emancipatory environment "inwhichlearning style will be the most effective (Bovy, students begin to construct meaning on their 1981). This suggests the need for individualized own terms and in their own interests" (OLough-instruction. The cognitive processing model also lin, 1992). The objectivist model of learning isassumes that the individuals prior knowledge is seen as one that negates the subjective voicesrepresented by a mental model in memory and that students develop from their own culture andthat the mental model, or schemata, is an impor- becomes an instrument of power perpetuatingtant determinant of how effectively the learner the social class inherent in society by forcing allwill process new information. The implication is students to speak in the dialogue acceptable tothat the instructional support required is in- the instructor and peers (OLoughlin, 1992). Theversely related to the depth of existing knowl- major implication of socioculturalism is that stu-edge as well as to the effectiveness of the dents should participate on their own terms. In-learners information processing style (Bovy, struction should not deliver a single interpretation1981). A third assumption is that given a of reality nor a culturally biased interpretation oflearners limited information processing capac- reality. In comparison to the constructivist andity, attention is selective (Bovy, 1981). Selective cognitive models, the sociocultural model is in aattention is an interrelated function of the dis- nascent stage, and practical applications of theplay, the cognitive structure of the learner, and model to instruction are still being formulated.the prior experience of the learner. Preinstruc-tional methods such as topic outlines and learn-ing goals might improve learning because theydirect attention (Brunning, 1983). Summary The learning theories are summarized in Table 1. Figure 1 graphically illustrates the similarities andThe socioculturalmodel of learning differences among learning models.3Whereas collaborativism and the cognitive infor- The objective model assumes that an instructormation processing model are extensions of con- should be in control of the learning environmentstructivism, the sociocultural model is both an 3 The figuremaps current learningtheoriesonly.Because it isextension of and a reaction against some as- a multidimensional figure presented in two dimensions,sumptions of constructivism. In particular, so- certain hypotheticalmodels (such as a model where thecioculturalists disagree with Piagets view that instructor in control,butknowledgeis createdby students) isthe goal of learning is the formation of abstract cannotbe represented thisfigure. on MIS Quarterly/September 1995 269
  7. 7. Modelsof Learning Table 1. Summary of Learning Models Implications for Model Basic Premise Goals Assumptions Major Instruction Objectivism Learning the is Transferof Instructorhouses Instructor in is uncritical absorption knowledge all necessary controlof material of objective frominstructor knowledge. and pace. knowledge. to student. Studentslearnbest Instructorprovides Recallof in isolatedand stimulus. knowledge. intensivesubject matter. Constructivism Learning a is Formation of Individualslearn Learner-centered process of abstractconcepts betterwhen they active learning. constructing to representreality. discoverthings knowledgeby an themselves and for Instructor individual. Assigningmeaning when they control supportratherthan to events and the pace of learning. direction. information. Collaborativism Learning emerges Promotegroup Involvement is Communication- throughshared skills-commun- critical learning. to oriented. understandingsof ication,listening, morethanone participation. Learnershave as Instructor learner. some prior questionerand Promote knowledge. discussion leader. socialization. Cognitive Learning the is Improve cognitive Limited selective Aspects of stimulus Information processingand processingabilities attention. can affect attention. Processing transferof new of learners. knowledgeinto Priorknowledge need Instructors long-term memory. Improve recalland affects level of feedback on retention. instructional studentlearning. supportneeded. Socioculturism Learning is Empowerment. Angloshave is Instruction subjectiveand distorted always culturally individualistic. Emancipatory knowledgeand value laden. learning. framedinformation in theirown terms. Instructionis Action-oriented, embedded in a sociallyconscious Learningoccurs persons everyday learnerswitha view best in cultural/social to change rather environments context. thanaccept or where personally understand society. well known.(i.e., pace and material), that learning is dis- parate points of view, that knowledge is person-semination of knowledge, that dissemination ally experienced but can be shared through col-best occurs via abstract representations of the laborating, and that the realism of context isreality, and that learning occurs best in isolated high in the sense that individual experiencessettings (i.e., the context of the learning environ- prior to learning are real but low in the sensement need not be "real"). Collaborativismassumes that the experiences are shared vicariouslythat the control of the learning environment through discourse. Constructivism assumes thatshould rest with the peer groups, that learning is the learner needs to be in control of the learningthe sharing of knowledge representative of dis- environment, that learning is the creation of 1995270 MISQuarterly/September
  8. 8. Modelsof Learning Realism of Context Low High Creationof Knowledge Socioculturalism Learner by Student Cognitive Information Processing Constructivism ControlLearning Sharingof of theis Knowledge Peer Learning Group Environment Collaborativism Dissemination of Knowledge by Instructor Instructor Objectivism A bstractions Personally I Knowledge is Experienced Figure 1. The Dimensions of the Learning Theoriesknowledge, and that the realism of the context the many dimensions of a given course. Infor-for learning needs to be high. Cognitive informa- mation technology can then be a facilitator oftion processing differs from constructivism in the effective application of the learning models.emphasizing that learning is the formation of ab- The next section establishes links between thestract concepts to represent reality and that the assumptions of the learning models and the as-context need not necessarily be high in order for sumptions of the information technologies insuch abstraction to occur. Socioculturism as- use in educational settings.sumes that the learner must be in control oflearning, that learning is interpretation of knowl-edge by the learner, that specificity and immer-sion in experiential activities promote learning,and that learning best occurs in the context in Information Technologies:which it will be used. Surfacing EducationalNo particular model is the best approach; in- Assumptionsdeed, different learning approaches will be ap- The technology discussion is organized accord-propriate depending on the circumstances- ing to what is labeled visions of electronic class-course content, student experience, maturity, rooms-each vision representing a differentintelligence, and instructor goals, skills, and potential impact of IT on learning. These visionspreferences, among others. However, the in- were derived from the organizational researchstructor must be cognizant of the choice of a on ITvisions (Schein, 1992; Zuboff, 1988): auto-learning model. Moreover, the instructor should mating, informating up, informating down, andbe aware of the different learning models and transforming. Some technologies can facilitatethe different outcomes anticipated by the mod- more than one vision. Both positive and nega-els. The chosen model must take into account tive potential outcomes of technologies are MISQuarterly/September 1995 271
  9. 9. Modelsof Learningdiscussed. The technologies are also discussed screen duringclass, and providing students thein terms of the underlying assumptions regard- ability to printthe instructorslecture outlines.ing the way in which they facilitatelearningand The most well-likedmethodwas video clips, butrelate this to the learningmodels of the previous these were also judged the least helpful tosection. learning.The abilityto printthe instructors lec- ture notes were the second most well-likedas- pect of the technology. less-likedtopicoutlines TheThe vision to automate:automated projectedfrom a computerwere deemed mostclassrooms helpfulto learning.The vision to automate is the perceptionthat IT At BaylorUniversity (Leidner,1994), the instruc-is a means of replacing expensive, unreliable tor consoles in smaller classes contributedtohuman labor with information technology.In or- both perceived and actual structure. Studentsganizations characterizedby the vision to auto- perceived the courses taught in the automatedmate, the role of IT is to provide operational classrooms to be more organized than coursessavings and improve quality by performing taught in traditional classrooms. The advancedstructured, routine, operational tasks reliably preparation a presentationor a softwaredem- ofand efficiently.Because teaching and learning onstrationenforced a structureto the class thatare at best semi-structured activities,neither is might not otherwise have existed. Students re-conducive to automation.Yet certainaspects of ported high satisfactionin the automatedclass-instruction,particularly delivery of informa- the room, but did not reportgreater learningthan intion characteristics of the objectivistmodel of a traditional classroom for a varietyof differentlearning,are proneto automation. courses. The structuremighthave contributed to the students satisfactionwith the learningpro-Information technologies whose purpose is to cess althoughthe technology might have elimi-providetools for manipulating presentingin- and nated the informaldiscussion that would havestructionalmaterialin a classroom are referredto in this paper as classroom automationtech- promotedknowledgecreation.nology. These include: (1) instructorconsoles Similarly,a study conducted by the Air Forceequipped withpresentationsoftwareand display Academy found no significantdifferencein per- consoles and stand-alonecontrols, (2) instructor formance, althoughit found significantimprove-student computers, (3) computer-assisted in- ments in student attitudes about the instructorstruction (drilland practice programs),and (4) and the course when students were taught indistance learning. classrooms equipped with instructorworksta- tions and videodisks versus when taught in a traditional classroom (Gist, et al., 1988). A new- ness effect-a fascination with the technologyInstructor Console -might also explain the results. This is similarThe instructorconsole refers to a computer to results found with transparenciesin the early 1970s (Neter and Chervany,1973). As a conse-equipped with end-user software and used byan instructorin a classroom. The technology quence, although the automated classrooms may hold littleadvantage over traditional class-may be a permanentfixtureof the classroom or rooms in terms of actual student learning,theymay be broughtin on a cart. The primary goalsare the facilitation presentations-freeing the of may influencestudent attitudestowardthe qual-instructorfrom the tedium of writingon a chalk- and towardthe organization ity of the instructorboard and making the presentation more vivid of the course.and memorablefor students. The use of an instructorconsole is based onA study at Northwestern University (Janda, several pedagogical assumptions. One is that1989) examines the impactof the instructorcon- teaching is about presenting material;technol-sole in large (over 200 students) government ogy can improveboth the process and productclasses on student attitudes toward showing The of presentation. improvement occurs throughshort video clips on events in Americanpolitics, the use of color and graphics. Prior research has found that graphics can create interest andprojectingtopic outlines of lecture notes on a 1995272 MISQuarterly/September
  10. 10. Modelsof Learningappeal to the users, can increase the compre- appropriate software and assist the studentshension of the information, and can help the in- when they encounter problems (Leidner andformation be more easily remembered Jarvenpaa, 1993). The former use of the tech-(DeSanctis, 1984). Color has been shown to in- nology supports the objectivist model of learn-crease attention but not necessarily comprehen- ing; the latter, constructivism.sion of information (DeSanctis, 1984). Similarly, At the college level, a positive relationship wasborrowing from graphics research in the organ- found between student control of learning withizational context, the mode of presentation of motivation and performance (Fisher and Grant,classroom information may affect student com- 1983). Engaging in in-class analysis of variousprehension, student recall, and student perform- alternatives to a problem allows students to con-ance as well as student attitude (Benbasat and struct knowledge via computers. One studyDexter, 1985; Watson and Driver, 1983). (Leidner and Jarvenpaa, 1993), however, foundThe instructor console technology most closely a low percentage of use for such constructivistmaps to the objectivist models of learning and learning and a higher percentage of use for soft-instruction. The instructor maintains control over ware demonstrations where students werethe content and pace of instruction, the focus is merely emulating the instructor. The sessions inon knowledge dissemination rather than knowl- which students were allowed to analyze data inedge creation, and the instructor remains the teams of two proved to be the most constructiveprimary source of knowledge. The technology method in the classroom; during these sessions,maps secondarily to the cognitive information exploratory discussions at a high conceptualprocessing model. The more structured and level were common. A similar finding was re-vivid the transmission, the easier it is for a ported in Carrier and Sales (1987).learner to absorb the information.4The cognitive The use of instructor console and stand-aloneinformation processing model would attributethis result to outlines that are learning strategies computers assumes that altering the delivery of information by presentation technologies or bythat help students more readily process and or- allowing students to emulate an instructor willganize information in their memory. However,outlines could also be manually provided or writ- improve the learning process. These assump- tions align with the objectivist model, whereasten on a chalkboard. The role of the technology the assumption that learning will be more effec-is to increase the ease of displaying an outline, tive if the student is required to actively performrather than causing the outline to be effective. procedures during class supports a construc- tivist model of learning.Instructor Console and Stand-Alone StudentComputers Computer-Assisted InstructionA slightly more advanced automated classroom (CAI)/Computer-Based Training (CBT)would include stand-alone5 computers on stu-dents desks to provide them with access to the Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is an inter- active software program that provides informa-same software packages as the instructor. This tion in sequential or non-linear modes tohelps students learn by enabling them to emu- increase a students knowledge and under-late an instructors steps on a particularsoftware standing of a subject matter (Lay, 1989-90).6package. Another approach is for the instructorto give students a problem to analyze using the Among the most lauded goals of CAI is to give control of the learning process to the learner.4 Yet media research consistently fails to find significant 6 CAI has been the term used for interactive computer-based learning differences across varying delivery mechanisms systems used in educational systems, while similar systems (Clark 1991). Clark argues that the reason for this is that used in organizational training have been commonly referred many different media attributes accomplish the same to as Computer-Based Training. More recently, Interactive learning goal and that any teaching method could be Learning System (ILS) has become the term encompassing designed into a variety of media presentations. both interactive computer-assisted instruction and interactive5 We say stand-alone meaning that the computers are not computer-based training. This varies from the earlier CAI and equipped with communication facilities between the CBT because it gives more control over the sequence of computers nor with access to exteral sources of information. informationpresented to the learner. MIS Quarterly/September 1995 273
  11. 11. Modelsof LearningHowever, though based on constructivist rheto- the student is guided so that he/she reaches theric, most CAI and computer-based training predefined knowledge built into the system.(CBT) have provided drill and practice tutorials However, CAI may ease the cognitive load ofthat presented information in a highly structured, sorting through material and may enable stu-linear fashion. Thus, while purportingto individu- dents to process information at their own pace.alize instruction and allow individuals to process Thus, CAI, CBT, and ILS can be viewed as en-information according to their preferred learning hancing the cognitive information processing ofstyle, CAI and CBT primarilyserved as reliable students by making the learning process moreand consistent delivery sources of course mate- individuallytailored.rial. Advances in technology enabled the devel-opment of more interactive CAI that was lessstructured and gave more control over the se- Distance Learningquence of information presentation to the Distance learning is the transmission of alearner. These systems are sometimes referred course from one location to another. The goal isto as interactive learning systems (ILS); yet to provide education to locations that might notthese too are based on ensuring that learners have the resources to offer courses or enableare exposed to predetermined knowledge even employees to take a course without leaving thethough much more of the control for the se- organizations premises. There are many exam-quencing of the information is given to the ples of distance learning. One example is TI-INlearner. Network, Inc., a Texas-based private companyWhile studies of CAI have found increased that provides over 30 high school courses and staff development opportunities via satellite tolearning (Clark, 1986), these results could alsobe attributed to aspects incorporated into the more than 250 subscribing school districts and other educational agencies in Texas as well assystem such as feedback, drilland practice, and 20 other states. Experienced and qualified in-self-paced progression that are independent ofthe technology (i.e., they could be incorporated structors holding at least a masters degree ininto other non-computer media). For example, the subject broadcast their courses from studiosone study comparing manual drill-and-practice in San Antonio, and the schools receive the sig-to computer-based drill-and-practice found that nals via satellite. In Minnesota, rural school dis-it was not the media (the computer) that affected tricts use a system of fiber optics, multiple video monitors, and cameras to link together class-performance, but rather the drill-and-practicemethod itself that was just as effectively carried rooms up to 78 miles apart so that the teacherout manually as with the computer (Clark,1991). can see the students in up to three other loca- tions simultaneously. The originating classroomWhile CAI, CBT, and ILS vary, pedagogical as- has one camera on the teacher, one on the stu-sumptions regarding the way these technologies dents, and one on the teachers desk (U.S. Con-improve learning typically include: learners learn gress, 1988). MBA programs in Arizona,more effectively and efficiently when they are in California, Monterrey (Mexico), and Westerncontrol of the pace, feedback is a critical part of Ontario (Canada), among others, provide videoeffective learning, and active involvement leads conferencing alternatives to attending regularto more effective learning than passive involve- classes.ment. Thus, CAI is based on the stimulus-re- Distance learning supports the objectivist modelsponse-feedback views of learning that areassociated with the objectivist model of learning. of knowledge transmission, only now the knowl-Though CAI may enable more efficient interac- edge is transmitted to students at different loca- tions. From a learning theory perspective, it cantion, interacting with the computer cannot betaken as a substitute for human interaction. CAI be argued that distance learning supports theis therefore more rooted in the objective rather sociocultural model of learning by allowing stu-than collaborative or sociocultural models of dents to remain embedded in their cultural envi- ronments rather than forcing them to adopt alearning. The structure built into the systemtends to prevent constructivist learning because new culture. However, the learners are stillit enables learners to construct new knowledge; forced to adopt the language and culture of the 1995274 MISQuarterly/September
  12. 12. Modelsof Learninginstructor since the instructor remains the nu- that information is being delivered by the in-cleus of the class. Distance learning facilities structor. This pedagogical assumption is closelycan be equipped with facilities to enable stu- linked to the objectivist model of learning. Bydents to communicate with each other and enabling an instructorto ask questions based onhence to promote collaborative learning across material being covered and to assess the de-distances. Such environments are examined in gree of understanding by the responses, key re-the section "InformatingDown." sponse pad technology facilitates more effective knowledge transmission and comprehension. The technology is secondarily related to cogni-The vision to informateup: tive information processing. The technology pro-providingan instructoraccess to motes feedback on students learning.information An extension of key response pad technologyThe vision to informate up is defined as the goal would be to provide a full keyboard so that stu-of using IT as a management control tool to dents could ask and answer questions using fullkeep managers informed of detailed aspects of sentences. Such a facility is provided at the Uni-their organizations performance (Schein, 1992). versity of Arizonas electronic classroom "Exem-In an educational context, such a vision would plar" (Briggs, et al., 1992; Briggs and Ramesh,entail giving the instructor feedback concerning 1992). The students inputs are anonymouslystudent understanding of class material in a displayed on a common screen. The professortimely fashion so that the instructor could clarify can then discuss each input. In this case, themisunderstandings and misinterpretations. As- technology is more closely linked to the cogni-pects of typical college classrooms that prevent tive information processing model of learning.informating up may include student proclivity to One weakness with the question and answer fa-be reticent during class, lack of effective cues to cility of Exemplar is its infeasibility for largelet the instructor know when information is being classes. In a large class of 30 or more students,misconstrued, and the unavailability of the in- it would be very time-consuming for the instruc-structor at the time when the student has a tor to go down the list of responses. This wouldquestion. One technological response is key re- likely lead to a great deal of boredom. Studentssponse pads; another is e-mail between instruc- whose responses were not discussed by the in-tors and their students. structor would receive negative reinforcement for the desired participative behavior and might tend to not contribute to future questions. SuchKey Response Pads questions as the ideal class size and the level ofKey response pads enable a large class of stu- learning possible with response pad technologydents to participate by responding to questions should be addressed in future research.with a yes/no response or rating agreement toan issue on a scale from 0 to 9. The goal of key Electronic Mail Between Instructor andresponse pad technology is to make the instruc- Studentstor more aware of whether students are follow-ing the content being discussed so that he/she Another technology that can informate up iscan modify the flow and intensity of information electronic mail between instructors and studentstransfer if necessary. For instance, a study of outside of the classroom.7 Electronic mail allowsIBMs electronic training facility shows that while students to ask questions as they are reviewingthe lecture mode of teaching was much more material outside of class and to receive delayedtime-efficient in terms of the material covered,the attentiveness of the students was greater in 7 Electronic mail is a technologythat can be used to supportthe "facilitation"mode in which frequent student several of the visions. The natureof the use willthereforeberesponses were elicited via key response tech- specifiedto indicatewhy it is relevantto the particularvisionnology (Horowitz, 1988). being discussed. For informatingup, e-mail between instructorsand students is relevant, whereas student-to-Key response pad technology assumes that the student e-mail is relevant for informating down or virtualinstructor is the nucleus of the classroom and learningdepending the contextof use. on MIS Quarterly/September 1995 275
  13. 13. Modelsof Learningfeedback from the instructor. Electronic mail The vision to informatedown:might facilitate communication between stu-dents and instructors, particularly in large (30 providingstudents greater accessstudents plus) classes, that tends to discourage to informationquestions. The delay in feedback from a cogni- Informating down is the use of technology totive perspective is undesirable, yet the ability to provide information to lower levels in an organi-ask the question as it arises might outweigh the zation. Informatingdown is, in Scheins words, adisadvantage of the delayed response. "more radical IT use" than automating or infor- mating up because it may usurp the control ofOne account of electronic mails value to stu- senior and middle management and demystifydents is the "dial a teacher" electronic mail pro- their role in the organization. In the context ofvided by educational psychology professors at education, informating down provides informa-the Stephen F. Austin University to student tion to students to allow them to critically ana-teachers. Student teachers addressed questions lyze information or discuss issues among a setto the "experts" concerning child behavioral of peers. In this section, informating down tech-problems, course preparation problems, and in- nologies are examined in two broad categories:structional problems. Many of the messages re- the provision of information to learners and theceived from the student teachers requested help provision of communication facilities to learners.with lesson-plan ideas on specific topics or cer- Technologies designed to provide information totain kinds of individual discipline problems learners are referred to as Information Class-(Lowe, 1993). A similar system is used at Iowa room Technologies, and technologies designedState University. Patterns of communication to provide communication facilities to learnersthere found that the most common topic of com- are referred to as Communication Classroommunication for new teachers was on general Technologies. Such technologies can be imple-education issues, followed by technical issues mented in ordinary classrooms and do not as-and classroom management issues (Thompson sume the building of a special physical facility toand Hayes, 1993). house the technology.Electronic mail solicits feedback concerning stu-dent understanding of course material and hence,promotes the cognitive information processing Information Classroom Technologiesmodel of learning. It is, however, unclear whetherthis feedback is similar in quality to that obtained Information classroom technologies facilitatevia a traditional verbal question-and-answer student access to information to improve thesession. A study of electronic mail in organiza- availability or reality of learning materials. Intions found that 62 percent of the messages contrast to automated classrooms that improveconstituted "new" information-information re- the efficiency of information delivery, the goal here is to make new, qualitatively better informa-spondents reported they would not have other-wise sent or received (Sproull and Kiesler, tion available that would otherwise not be.1986). People felt more comfortable sending Learning networks, hypermedia, simulations, and virtual reality are information classroommessages to superiors than to subordinates. Ifthese results hold in an education environment, technologies.students might feel more comfortable asking Learning Networks: Learning networks arecertain questions electronically than face to comprised of networked computers with links toface. Contrary to media richness theory, e-mail shared databases developed by educators athas been found to be a preferred communica- various locations or to external databases. Onetion medium for equivocal and ambiguous mes- study suggests that graduate business class-sages (EI-Shinnaway and Markus, 1992), and rooms should be information-intensive environ-once a work group is familiar with a topic, e-mail ments containing such features as onlineis preferred to face-to-face communication access to real-world data available from com-(Zack, 1993). mercial providers, access to company-specific 1995276 MISQuarterly/September
  14. 14. Modelsof Learingdatabases, access to a wide varietyof software an informationresource to be utilized duringfor data manipulationand analysis and so on class to allow students to search for information(King,et al., 1990). The CATTsystem (Hashim, relevantto a course topic seems immense, andet al., 1991), developed to complementthe case research examininguses of the Internet and theteaching method, features current information World WideWeb is much needed.from publiclyavailable databases such as ag- The hypermediaformatis expected to encour-gregate industrial annual data, U.S. census age thinking, speculation, and personal judg-data, and NYSE and AMEXdaily returns.Using ments on the part of the learner because thesuch data, students are able to develop and learneris responsiblefor organizingand analyz-analyze alternativesto the case problem.Infact, ing information (Ambrose, 1991). On the oneone study demonstrates that graduatebusiness hand, hypermediacould be considered the ulti-student groups that had access to publicly avail- mate tool for a cognitive information processingable financial informationvia computers per- theorist:"because hypertextis a node-linksys-formedsignificantly betterin case analyses than tem based uponsemanticstructures opposed [asstudy groups that had to analyze the same to a sequential access system] hypermediacancases withoutaccess to such information (King, map fairlydirectlythe structureof knowledge itet al., 1990). Examples at lowereducationallev- is presenting"(Ambrose, 1991); on the otherels of learning networks include Video for Ex- hand, for students withvery littleworkingknowl-ploringthe World,which gives quick access to edge in a domain, the seeming lack of struc-data such as humanand animalmotion,and the ture may be disconcerting and may hinderJason project, which gives students access to processing.data being gathered by underwaterexplorers(Rubin,1993).8 Simulation Technologies and Virtual Reality: Simulation technology is anothermediumof the Learning networks are linked to the construc- information classroom. Simulation providea cantivist model of learning:students are construct- condensed or vicariousexperience and is based ing new knowledge from existing information on the belief that students learn best when they sources. There is no single correctinterpretation rather experience the subject or topic. For instance, nor answer to be given by the instructor;the students formtheirown ideas fromthe infor- groups of students using computersimulations have been foundto outperform controlgroups in mationthey gatherand explore. problem-solvingtasks (Gorrell and Downing, Hypermedia: Hypermedia providesa non-linear 1989). An example of a simulationis a com- means of browsingand sortingthroughcomput- puter-assisted internationalnegotiation project erized information. Learning networkscan be or- (Torney-Purta, 1993) in which teams of five-12 ganized in a hypermediaformatto encourage college students role-play diplomats from an- students to search the materialin the manner other countryand negotiate international issues that suits their own system of logic. One of the throughthe use of a computer-networking sys- features of the Universityof Marylands AT&T tem. Students acquire practice in higher-order Teaching Theater is the use of hypermediato thinkingabout social issues, in defending their display lecture notes (Norman,1992). Students positions, and in defending their ideas. Simula- can navigate throughmaterial duringclass while tions are based on the constructivistmodel of the instructoris giving a lecture. Perhaps the learning-that learners need to be actively in- most widely knownhypermedia tool in academic volved in learningby workingwith real-lifefacts circles is the WorldWide Web, used by both in- or objects. structorsand students to engage in information Virtualrealityis another information classroom seeking and analysis. Althoughwe are unaware technology. Virtualrealityprovides "panoramic" of research that examines the potentialof the World Wide Web in the context of classroom presentations in three dimensions to the eyes, ears, and hands of a user. One example is a analyses, the potentialof the Web to serve as Britishhigh school that introduced design of the8 The May 1993 issue of the Communications the ACM of a virtualcity where differentlanguages are spo- Classrooms in contains several examples of Information ken to teach foreign languages (Kerney,1993). elementary secondaryeducation. and This gives the course a more realistic context 1995 277 MISQuarterly/September
  15. 15. Modelsof Learningthan would be possible through any other tion. Studies indicatean increase in participationmeans aside from sending the students to the in classes taught using electronic peer-to-peercountry.Otherproposed applicationsincludevir- communication. The technology encourages alltual realityfor use in historywhereby students members of the class to contribute class dis- tocould create a virtualrealityEgyptiancity where cussion (Bump, 1990). A typical session in athey can enter, "walk" through, and discourse class enrolling 18 undergraduates involvedwith ancient Egyptians,for use in medical edu- more than 100 messages contributed 18 par- bycation whereby students could workon medical ticipants. Approximately60 percent were ad-emergencies in a virtualhospital, or for use in dressed by students to other students ratherscience whereby students could create and visit than to the instructor(Slatin, 1990). Ina two-daya virtualsolar system withplanets correctin ap- period, in the English Departmentselectronicpearance, relative size, and distance from the classroom at the University Texas, 200 elec- ofsun (Kerney,1993). tronic comments were made of which only 10Virtualreality is based on the assumption that percent were teacher comments. Twenty-eightthe most effective learningis thatwhich is expe- percentof the studentcomments (comprising 90riential,or based on actual experience in a con- percent of the total)were student to student, 61text that is similarto where learninghas to be percent were directed toward the whole class,later applied. A virtualrealityenvironmentsup- and only 13 percent were of the student to teacher or teacher to student variety (Butler,ports constructivist,cooperative,and sociocultu-ral learning: in designing the virtual reality, 1990).students are actively involved in constructingtheir knowledge of the particulardomain for Groupware-SupportedSynchronouswhich the virtualrealityis being built.Students Communicationwork together to construct the virtualworld bycontributing their own views of how the reality in Similarly, synchronous communicationclass-should operate (much of which willbe based on rooms using groupware,students collaborating andtheirown values, understanding, culture). with the technology were found to have higher perceived levels of skill development, higher perceived learning,and higher perceived inter-Communication Technology Classrooms est than students collaboratingin a classroom without electronic support (Alavi, 1994). In aInformatingdown can also be achieved with similarstudy reportedin this issue, Alavi, et al.communication-intensive classrooms. An elec-tronic classroom built around communication (1995) added groups that were comprised of students from two differentuniversities(distanttechnology can be as simple as providing elec-tronicmail to facilitatepeer-to-peercommunica- groups). They compared their satisfaction, per- ceived learning climate, and performance totion to as complex as CATT (mentionedabove),which, in addition to the information features groups of students fromthe same university(lo- cal groups) engaged in three one-hour-and-fif-previously mentioned, incorporatesgroupware teen-minute collaborative learning sessionsto facilitatecase discussions outside the physi-cal boundariesof a classroom (Rathnam,et al., using groupware-supported synchronous com- munication technology. The study concluded1992). Such groupware-supported facilities that the distant groups perceived a more posi-mightalso be equippedwithsoftwareto provide tive learningclimate and performedbetter on astructureto the conversation. multiplechoice test of learning but that there was no significant difference in satisfactionSynchronous Communication Classrooms measures. The only complaintreceived in an- othergroupwarefacility was the lack of structureSynchronous communicationclassrooms pro- (Jessup, 1993). Some groupware-supportedvide computers on student desks that are net- classrooms embed structureto facilitateconver-worked with software such as Lotus Notes, sation and reduce informationoverload (e.g.,enablingsimultaneouspeer-to-peercommunica- and CATT EXEMPLAR). 1995278 MISQuarterly/September
  16. 16. Modelsof LearningResearch at anothersynchronous communication dustry (Schein, 1992). The role of hierarchyclassroomexaminedwhethertechnology-enabled would change in that distributed informationcollaborative learninginvolving case analyses is would make local problemsolving and lateralin-superior to individual constructive learninginvolv- formation sharing much more feasible. ITwoulding individual case analyses. The goal of both make it possible for an organization be simul- tothese methodswas to increasestudentinterestin taneously centralizedaroundbasic strategy andthe course, increase studentunderstanding the of goals and decentralizedaround implementation andmaterial, promote criticalthinking (Leidner and and control. Power and authoritywould shiftFuller,1995). Studentsengaged in eight 1.5-hour away from position and status toward knowl-case analyses duringthe course of the semester. edge and information, leadershipwould be- andThe study foundthat studentsworking collabora- come less of a role and more of a "function";tivelyvia anonymousgroupware eithersmallor in more emphasis would fall on groups and team-largegroupswere more interestedin the material work. In the context of education, the vision toand perceivedthemselves to learnmorethanstu- transformwould involve using IT (1) to redrawdents who worked individually. study also The the physical boundariesof the classroom, (2) tofound that students who workedindividually out- enable more teamwork,(3) to allow learningtoperformed students who collaborated small or in be a continuoustime-independent process, andlarge groups. This may suggest that thoughcol- (4) to enable multi-level,multi-speedknowledgelaborating, students were not processingand as- creation. The notion of virtuallearning spacessimilatingthe information; though exposed to a begins to operationalize these assumptions.diversity ideas, theydidnotincorporate ideas of the Virtuallearningspaces are those that linkgeo-intotheirown cognitive framework. merits This fur-therresearchbecause a primary of communi- graphically dispersed students withno time con- goal straints. Virtual learning spaces sustaincationtechnologyclassroomsis notjustto expose discourse throughinterruptions across dis- andstudentsto more ideas, butto enablethemto criti- tances and give it continuity over timecallyevaluatea diversity ideas in the creation of of (Scaradamaliaand Bereiter, 1993). Hence, wetheir of own interpretation important issues. distinguish between informatingdown class-The pedagogical assumptions underlyingsyn- rooms that can allow students to engage in col-chronouscommunication classrooms are that(1) laborativesessions across distances when theparticipation criticalto universitylearning,(2) is collaborativesessions are time-controlled (suchlack of participation primarily is attributable to as with the Alavi, et al. (1995) work previouslystudent inhibitions abouttalkinginfrontof others, mentioned)from virtuallearningspaces where(3) anonymitywill allow students to freely ex- the communication forms the basis of thepress themselves and overcometheirinhibitions, course itself and is conducted at will-when theand (4) synchronous communicationtechnolo- students want and for as long as they want. Vir-gies providean efficientmechanismforproviding tual learningspaces can exist to allow a groupanonymity. The firstassumptionmaps closely to of students withinthe same course to communi-the cooperative model of learningespecially if, cate at will(as withthe CATT system) or to bringfor practicalreasons, the class is divided into together students from various courses at vari-smallerdiscussion groups. The thirdassumption ous universities worktogether. tocan arguably be used to enable socioculturallearning.By providing anonymity and non-verbalcommunication, different culturesare allowed toexpress themselves withouthavingto adopt the Asynchronous Communication Acrosslanguageor opinionsof the dominating culture. Distances The simplest virtual learning spaces are founded on electronicmail and electronic bulle-A vision to transform: virtual tin boards. Press (1993) considers e-mail a low-continuous learningspaces tech innovationthat can have a radicalimpactThe ITvision to transform the basis for a com- is on curriculum, commutingpatterns,frequencyof class meetings, and student-instructorroles. Anplete transformation an organizationand in- of example of an asynchronouscommunication vir- MISQuarterly/September 1995 279
  17. 17. Modelsof Learningtual learningspace is a graduateeducationclass Table 3 shows the linkages between the tech-taught at the University Texas. The students of nologies and the models of learning. No visionmeet in a classroom only three times duringthe of technology is more desirable than others.semester.The rest of the course takes place using Rather, the most appropriatetechnology de-asynchronouselectronicmail.The discussionsvia pends on the underlyingmodel of learningthatelectronicmail were not only multi-level (several the instructorwishes to employ.themes being discussed) butalso multispeed (dif- We have not investigated the specific courseferentaspects of a theme beingaddressed by dif- content and student characteristicsto which theferent participants)(Harris, 1993). In another variousvisions may be most appropriate. Futureproject and (Knoll Jarvenpaa, 1995),studentsfrom researchers can addess these issues. For ex-over 10 universitiesfromnearlyall continents areteamed up to work in globallydispersed virtual ample, in the domainof business education,de-teams. Forsix weeks, the studentscompleteteam cision-making skills including analytical and problem-solving skills and communicationskillsassignmentswithout face-to-facecontactwith any are seen as critical.We mightthereforespecu-their team members using electronicmail and late that methods requiring interactionand stu-computerconferencingtechnologies.An example dent involvement would be preferred overin secondary education is geographicallydis- traditionalmethods. Thus, the informating or uppersed teams of studentsworking togetherto ac- tasks associatedwithscience projects or transforming technologies with the correspond-complishenvironmental studies(Hawkins, ing collaborativeor constructivistlearningmod- 1993). els might be ways to improve the quality of business education.Groupware-SupportedAsynchronousCommunication Across DistancesGroupware-supported communication class-rooms when designed for students to accessfrom remote terminalscan also become virtual The Taxonomy of the Impactlearningspaces. Anonymity be builtin or the can of ITon Learningidentitiesof the group may be known.The addi-tion of the groupwareto the asynchronouscom- The previous discussion of the relationshipbe- tomunicationacross distances purports provide tween technologyand learningsuggests the fol-structuring mechanisms to the exchange of lowingtaxonomy (see Figure2). The taxonomymessages in orderto help learnersorganizethe suggests the impactof the fourclasses of learn-information they share. ing technologies on two process dimensions: (1) controlof the pace and content of learningThe main pedagogical assumptionof the virtual and (2) the purpose of instruction(knowledgelearning space is that learning is a process of or dissemination knowledgecreation). The taxon-workingtoward a more complete and coherent omy also suggests possible impacts of the vi-understanding.The flow of information must al- sions on a numberof well-established learninglow for progressive work in a problem, with outcomes from education research (see Tableideas remainingactive over extended periodsof 4). IS researchers should find it useful to drawtime. Furthermore, learningis viewed as ongo- upon well-established variables from educationing and need not occur as single well-defined research ratherthan creating new variables astopics covered in a finiteperiodsuch as duringa they pursue research in the area. Althougha re-class period. In this way, the virtuallearning view of the educationalresearch comparingthespace supportscognitive,constructivist, collabo- effectiveness of the models is beyond the scoperative,and sociocultural learningmodels. of this paper, Table4 lists the learningoutcome variables that typicallyform the foundation of educational methodologyresearch. Most of theSummary research discussed thus far examines one orTable 2 summarizes the technologies and the more of these learningoutcome variables;they are summarizedhere for convenient reference.assumptions discussed above. Examining leamingoutcomevariables well-defined 1995280 MISQuarterly/September
  18. 18. Models of Learning Table 2. Electronic Classroom Types, Assumptions, and Related Models of LearningElectronic Classroom Type Principal Pedagogical AssumptionsThe Vision to Automate InstructorConsole Instructorthe center of the classroom activity. Presentation technologies can make the delivery of information more memorable and interesting. Instructor Console and Stand-Alone Students learn better if they can emulate what the instructor is doing Student Computers on the computer. Learning is more effective when it is interactive. Computer-Assisted Learning Students benefit when they control the pace of learning. Feedback should be frequent. Distance Learning Weakness in education is the lack of availability of good courses and faculty. Accessibility in remote locations or smaller schools can be efficiently provided via telecommunications.The Vision to Informate Up Key Response Pads The instructor needs feedback. The abilityto elicit responses via technology is superior to hand-raising. Instructor-Student E-mail Feedback, even delayed, is better than no feedback. Limited access to instructors limits communication.The Vision to Informate Down Learning Networks Delivery of information is not a pressing problem, but rather the lack of current informationfrom realistic contexts. Students create knowledge through information exploration. Hypermedia/Internet Students need to create their own knowledge structures. Simulation/VirtualReality The more real the context, the more effective the learning. Students should be provided the means to experience the phenomenon during class. Synchronous Communication Participation is critical to the learning process. Classrooms Anonymity encourages participation. Groupware-Supported Synchronous Structure imposed on communication is effective in helping students Communication Classrooms learn. Communication is more efficient when structured.The Vision to TransformVirtual Continuous Learning Spaces Asynchronous Communication Learning is an ongoing process. Across Distances Time should be flexible. Learning need not be geographically dependent. Groupware-Supported Asynchronous Ad hoc communication is more effective when supported with a Communication Across Distances structure. MIS Quarterly/September 1995 281
  19. 19. Modelsof Learning Table 3. Technology Fit With the Theories of Learning Objectivist Constructivist Collaborative CognitiveIP SocioculturalThe Vision to AutomateInstructor Console xxInstructor Console and Stand- xx xAlone StudentComputersComputer-Assisted Learning XXDistance Learning XXThe Vision to InformateUpKey Response Pads XX X E-mailInstructor-StudentThe Vision to InformateDownLearning Networks XXHypermedia/Internet XX XXSimulationNirtual Reality XXSynchronousCommunication XX xClassrooms Synchro-Groupware-Supported XX XX X Classroomsnous CommunicationThe Vision to TransformAsynchronousCommunication XX XAcross Distances AsynchronousGroupware-Supported XX i XX AcrossDistancesCommunication match; X representsa secondarymatch XXrepresentsthe primary 1995282 MISQuarterly/September

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