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a theory of online learning

presentation for seminar in ed tech on Anderson's chapter

Mike Nantais

on 5 March 2010

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Transcript of a theory of online learning

Towards a Theory of Online Learning by Terry Anderson presented by: Mike Nantais (aka old Mike) chapter 2 in: Theory & Practice of Online Learning
T. Anderson (Ed) author: Terry Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor at Athabasca University
Canada Research Chair in Distance Education
Founding director of the Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research
Editor of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning Theory "theory allows us and even forces us to see the big picture and makes it possible for us to view our practice and our research from a broader perspective than envisioned from the murky trenches of our practice." (p. 45) three functions of theory... "it helps to envision new worlds" (help us see how education can best use the affordances of the Internet)

"a good theory helps us to make things" (helps us make best use of time & resources)

"keeps us honest" (builds on what is known & helps us plan) Attributes of Learning Online learning is a subset of learning.

"Effective learning environments are framed within 4 overlapping lenses." (p. 47) Learner-Centred Knowledge-Centred Assessment Centred Community Centred http://cde.athabascau.ca/faculty/terrya.php http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120146 Affordances & constraints of the Internet Interaction & Online LEarning Anderson's Model of Online LEarning The Semantic Web TOwards a Theory of Online Learning Some questions: How many:

have taken an online course?
taught an online course?
designed an online course?
know about online courses (WBCs) in Manitoba Public Schools?

What is your opinion of online courses?

"Education is not only about access to content. The greatest affordance of the Web for education use is the profound and multifaceted increase in communication and interaction capability." (p. 54)

Online learning offers flexibility in time & space.
access to content
ease of updating & revising
communication & information management tools
Constraints include:
issues of access
explosion of content available (+ and -) "Interaction has long been a defining and critical component of the educational process and context." (p. 54) Using the model requires decision making by teachers & designers based on the nature of learning that is prescribed. "The Net changes everything" Oracle Corporation (p. 3) semantic = meaning of

"The Semantic Web is about two things. It is about common formats for integration and combination of data drawn from diverse sources, where on the original Web mainly concentrated on the interchange of documents. It is also about language for recording how the data relates to real world objects. That allows a person, or a machine, to start off in one database, and then move through an unending set of databases which are connected not by wires but by being about the same thing."
(from: WC3 Sematic Web : http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/)

Web Based Learning in Manitoba (9-12) Web Based Courses home: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/wbc/index.html
Courses available: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/wbc/coursesfordelivery.html
Preview courses: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/wbc/wbcdemo.html
Request a course: http://web4.gov.mb.ca/wbcrequests/logout.do
Anderson has presented an overview of:
the attributes of learning,
the affordances of the internet,
the types of interactions that occur in learning,
and a model of online learning.

He posits that a theory of online learning can now be created as long as one of the following 3 forms of interaction are at a high level:

The challenge for teachers is to "construct a learning environment that is simultaneously learner-centered, content-centered, community-centered and assessment-centered. There is no single best media of online learning..."

To do this, teachers need:
skills to respond to student needs (existing & emergent)
respond to curriculum needs
develop a repertoire of adaptable online learning activities.
His final challenge is that theory builders and online practitioners use the model presented and work to deepen understanding of the variables of online learning & create a "robust and comprehensive theory of online learning." (p. 68)
Full transcript