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Online Learning Theory


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Published in: Education, Technology

Online Learning Theory

  1. 1. Theories and Best Practices of Online Instruction Steve Sorden Flagstaff, Arizona
  2. 2. I nformation and C ommunication T echnologies - ICT <ul><li>Computers </li></ul><ul><li>Networks </li></ul><ul><li>Internet and WWW </li></ul><ul><li>Telecommunications (Voice over IP) </li></ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul><ul><li>Many other forms </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Future of ICT – Already Here? <ul><li>Integrated technology (Convergence) </li></ul><ul><li>Personal / mobile technology </li></ul><ul><li>Tele-collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Digital books / paper </li></ul><ul><li>Wearable computers </li></ul><ul><li>Any-time, any-place learning </li></ul>
  4. 4. Anytime Anyplace Learning Same Time Same Place Same Time Different Place Different Time Same Place Different Time Different Place L O C A L R E M O T E A S Y N C H R O N O U S S Y N C H R O N O U S Chalk board Overhead Projector Slides Text Video Conference Audio Conference Satellite TV, Text CBL, CAI, CAL Multimedia, CD-ROM Text, Video, Audio WWW Electronic Mail Streaming Media Text, Video, Audio
  5. 5. Why an Online Course? <ul><li>For students, the number one reason is convenience. </li></ul><ul><li>For instructors, it can be a way to extend the classroom and make learning more authentic and meaningful. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Before you start... <ul><li>Think of the online environment as just a different kind of classroom for interacting with students. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a list of goals or objectives for what students should learn after participating in your online course. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Before you start... <ul><li>Based on your goals or objectives, create an outline of what elements your course will contain, and what topics it will cover. </li></ul><ul><li>Consult with a technology advisor over the best tools that are available to help you achieve your goals. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Characteristics of Effective Web Courses <ul><li>Pedagogically Sound </li></ul><ul><li>Simple organization of each web page </li></ul><ul><li>Effective layout reinforces the message </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul>
  9. 9. Student Centered Learning <ul><li>Flexible learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>at own pace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>variable timescale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>location independent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>variable workspace </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teacher as a resource </li></ul><ul><li>Personal technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of learning modes </li></ul><ul><li>Learning preferences catered for </li></ul>
  10. 10. Shades of Constructivism <ul><li>Early educational technology methods were heavily behavioralist, but constructivist approaches dominate in educational technology today. </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitive constructivism might be viewed as falling more into the realm of educational psychology and is focused on how the learner constructs knowledge internally </li></ul><ul><li>Social (radical) constructivism focuses on how knowledge is constructed through social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>How do these approaches align with a modern or postmodern worldview ? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Meaningful Learning <ul><li>According to Jonassen, meaningful learning occurs when learners are active, constructive, intentional, cooperative, and working on authentic tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>J onassen, D. H., & Strobel, J. (2006). Modeling for meaningul learning. In D. Hung & M.S. Khine (Eds.), Engaged learning with emerging technologies (pp. 1-27). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. </li></ul><ul><li>Human learning is a naturally active mental and social process. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Meaningful Learning (Cont.)‏ <ul><li>Meaningful learning requires a meaningful task, and the most meaningful tasks are those that emerge from or are at least simulated from some authentic context. </li></ul><ul><li>Meaningful learning is often collaborative. Humans naturally work in learning and knowledge-building communities, exploiting each others skills and appropriating each others’ knowledge. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Instructor Sets the Tone <ul><li>The visibility and participation of the instructor is critical for a successful online course. The instructor increases social presence by: </li></ul><ul><li>Promptly answering e-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Providing frequent feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing to discussion boards </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing information and experience </li></ul>
  14. 14. Interaction for Social Presence <ul><li>Courses should provide opportunity for online interaction among students and between students and instructors. </li></ul><ul><li>A Type 3 (formal evaluation) study of the Learning Network at the State University of New York, Fredricksen, et al., (2000) found that interaction with the teacher was the most significant contributor to students’ perceptions of their learning. Students reporting highest levels of interaction with the teacher also reported highest levels of perceived learning in the course. Perceived learning was also higher among students who reported higher levels of interaction with classmates and among students who said their online class participation was higher than their participation in traditional classes. </li></ul>Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology - http:// = evidence&answerID =50
  15. 15. Social Presence <ul><li>Social Presence Theory has been around since the 1970's and is a very important concept for instructional design of online courses. </li></ul><ul><li>In a nutshell, social presence describes how well-connected the students feel to the instructor and each other. - Has a community of learners developed in the course? </li></ul><ul><li>A high level of social presence will create a warm, cooperative, and approachable learning environment. (Encyclopedia of Educational Tech.)‏ </li></ul>
  16. 16. Increasing Social Presence <ul><li>Instructors can use the following strategies to increase familiarity among learners and between learners and instructors: </li></ul><ul><li>Including learner profiles </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating an introduction time at the beginning of the course </li></ul><ul><li>Develop welcome messages from the instructor </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporating audio and video messages </li></ul><ul><li>Using humor and emoticons such as :-) or ;-)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrating caring, addressing learners by name, and striking up casual conversations </li></ul>
  17. 17. Moore’s Theory of TD <ul><li>TD is ‘the physical separation that </li></ul><ul><li>leads to a psychological and communications gap, a space of potential misunderstanding between the inputs of instructor and those of the learner...’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Moore, M. G., The American Journal of Distance Education, 5 (3), 1991) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Importance of Understanding TD <ul><li>TD creates uncertainty by increasing the potential for misunderstanding </li></ul><ul><li>TD evokes feelings of isolation </li></ul><ul><li>TD causes students to consider factors other than the course materials </li></ul>
  19. 19. Moore’s Theory of TD <ul><li>There is always TD in any learning environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Two key variables impact on TD </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue - communication between teacher and learner </li></ul><ul><li>Structure - course elements, such as activities, learning outcomes and content. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Dialogue <ul><li>“ Dialogue is the extent to which in any educational program, learner and educator are able to respond to each other ” (Moore, 1983). </li></ul><ul><li>Information ‘richness’ </li></ul><ul><li>Response times - how quickly the teacher can reply to student queries </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance - to the course, the student’s needs and preferences </li></ul>
  21. 21. Structure <ul><li>Instructional design variables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Individualisation’ of the course materials and methods of delivery. </li></ul><ul><li>How well the course structure meets the needs of the individual </li></ul>
  22. 22. Transactional Distance - Implications for Online Instruction <ul><li>Instructional design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build in opportunities for dialogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create multiple modes of delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Delivery methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronous & Asynchronous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peer networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Response times </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Steve's Tips <ul><li>Use quizzes to check for understanding, but keep points low to discourage cheating and allow students to retake the quizzes until they get an acceptable score. Set quizzes to change order of questions each time. </li></ul><ul><li>Be very visible in your course. Don't go away and leave it for a few days. Check in and respond daily. Respond to people's comments in forums and engage in dialog with students. Answer emails on a daily basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Grade and return assignments promptly. Keep gradebook updated and current. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Recommendations from Research <ul><li>Web-course criteria (WCC) were developed by Cradler & Cradler (2000) during a four-year formal evaluation (Type-3 study) of the development and implementation of web-based high school courses for the Hawaii E-School. A partial list of WCC criteria includes: </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy: There are opportunities for collaboration, self-paced study, exploration, and self-assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Engaged learning: Assignments support multiple learning styles, the course challenges students and encourages creative solutions, and there is continuous dialog between and among teachers and learners. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology integration: Technology is used to support collaboration, problem solving, presentations, instruction, assessment, and extension of learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment strategies: Instructors assess students’ prior knowledge and skills, use multiple approaches to assessment, and embed performance assessments into the learning experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Resources needed by students: Besides ensuring access to all online and print materials, well-designed courses include technical support, on-site facilitation, and regular online &quot;office hours&quot; for access to instructors. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  25. 25. More Recommendations <ul><li>Student interaction with faculty and other students is an essential characteristic and should be facilitated through a variety of ways, including voice mail and/or e-mail. </li></ul><ul><li>Student feedback should be constructive and provided in a timely manner. </li></ul><ul><li>Intended learning outcomes should be reviewed regularly to ensure clarity, utility, and appropriateness. </li></ul><ul><li>The program’s educational effectiveness should be assessed through an evaluation process. </li></ul><ul><li>Course website: The online environment should follow good web design criteria, be easy to navigate, conserve bandwidth, and follow copyright principles. </li></ul><ul><li>Course structure: Online courses need to have objectives, units, assignments, and time expectations well-defined for students, with assessments to help students determine when they are ready to move on to new material. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Current Research Areas in ICT <ul><li>Transactional distance theory </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitive load theory </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits analysis </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Telepresence’ and distributed social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Student motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Individual differences in learning </li></ul><ul><li>On-line moderation </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul>
  27. 27. Glossary of Terms <ul><li>By S. Wheeler </li></ul>
  28. 28. References <ul><li>S. Wheeler - </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 in Online Learning - </li></ul>
  29. 29. Remember - Be VOCAL! <ul><li>Visible </li></ul><ul><li>Organized </li></ul><ul><li>Compassionate </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical </li></ul><ul><li>Leader by Example </li></ul>