Akyol and Garrison discuss deep and meaningful e-learning in their paper " Understanding cognitive presence in an online and blended community of inquiry: Assessing outcomes and processes for deep approaches to learning
". They found that higher "cognitive presence" results in better course results and more student satisfaction. Higher-order learning can be achieved online through an online community of scholars Structured collaboration helps with this. One interesting question is if real time collaboration is required. I don't think it is and the mentored and collaborative approach
I use for e-learning seems to work fine.
Akyol and Garrison's paper is a little too loaded with jargon to be of use to the average teacher. The authors appear to be proponents of "community of inquiry
" by may nor have done their case any good by making it sound so hard. Far more useful is Dr Richard Baker's "Super-tutorials" - A method to assist small group teaching
". In this Dr. Baker describes is practical terms a technique which can be applied to old fashioned face to face teaching, to e-learning, or a blend of both.
This paper focuses on deep and meaningful learning approaches and outcomes associated with online and blended communities of inquiry. Applying mixed methodology for the research design, the study used transcript analysis, learning outcomes, perceived learning, satisfaction, and interviews to assess learning processes and outcomes. The findings for learning processes and outcomes indicated that students in both online and blended courses were able to reach high levels of cognitive presence and learning outcomes. The results suggest that cognitive presence in a community of inquiry is associated with perceived and actual learning outcomes. It is recommended that future research efforts focus on quantitative measures to establish links between cognitive presence and the quality of learning outcomes.
Akyol, Z. and Garrison, D. R. , Understanding cognitive presence in an online and blended community of inquiry: Assessing outcomes and processes for deep approaches to learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01029.x
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