E-Social Constructivism and Collaborative E-Learning

E-Social Constructivism and Collaborative E-Learning

Janet Salmons (Vision2Lead, Inc., USA & Capella University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-106-3.ch019
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Social constructivism is an established educational theory based on the principle that learners and teachers co-construct knowledge through social processes. This chapter proposes an updated theory, e-social constructivism, that takes into account the milieu of electronic communications in which e-learning occurs. Thinkers such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner, who laid the theoretical foundations of social constructivism, wrote in a time when face-to-face interactions were the basis for instruction. The works of these writers are reviewed in this chapter. Together with the results of the author’s phenomenological study of collaborative e-learning, they form the basis of e-social constructivist theory. The author uses grounded theory and situational analysis to derive and support e-social constructivist theory. This chapter discusses the implication of that theory for research, teaching and instructional design.
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Employing phenomenological, grounded theory and situational analysis methods, this chapter meshes analysis of two sets of data. One set of data is derived from a theoretical sample of literature. A second set of data is drawn from in-depth interviews the author conducted with a purposeful sample of experienced online educators.

Phenomenological research methods provide a way to investigate human experience through the perceptions of research participants. Theorist Husserl distinguished between “noema,” the phenomenon which is experienced and “noesis,” the act of experiencing the phenomenon (Husserl, 1931) In the author’s study, phenomenological research methodology provided a structured approach for inquiry into the perceptions of success factors for instruction using collaborative e-learning. The four basic steps of phenomenological research described by Moustakas (1994) provided a methodological framework for the study. The author used in-depth dialogue with research participants at each of the four stages of the process: preparing to collect data, collecting data through in-depth interviews, analyzing data, and reporting outcomes. The study investigated noesis, the experiences of teaching with collaborative methods online, and noema, the organization and design of the learning activities participants used to promote collaboration.

Grounded theory complements phenomenological research. To apply this theory, researchers build on the understanding of individuals’ experiences derived through phenomenological methods to generate theoretical principles (Creswell, 2007; Straus, 1987). They look at categories discovered in the data and construct explanatory theoretical frameworks, which provide abstract, conceptual understandings of the studied phenomena. Situational analysis is a style of grounded theory. Situational analysis looks at the social situation while grounded theory looks at social process. Situational analysts diagram elements in the research situation to capture the complexities and show relationships in the data. Theory is thus “grounded” in the data from participants who have experienced the phenomenon Grounded theory can help explain practice or provide a framework for further research and more formal theory development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Constructivism: Constructivism both an epistomological view and an instructional method. A core notion of constructivism is that individuals live in the world of their subjective experiences—a world where they construct their own meanings.

Interaction: Reciprocal actions, effects or influences; the effect of one variable on another variable (Soanes & Stevenson, 2004). Between individuals, interaction entails acting in such a way to have an effect on each other; or a mutually affecting experience. Whether online or face-to-face, interaction typically involves communication between individuals.

E-Learning: An educational activity or course conducted in an electronic learning milieu, using Internet communication technologies for delivery of instruction, curricular materials and learning activities. In this study, e-learning refers to instructor-lead academic courses which may be offered partially or entirely online.

Threaded Discussion: Threaded discussion (or discussion forum) is a form of asynchronous discussion where original comments and responses are organized by topic. Threaded discussion occurs when one user posts a message that is visible to other users, who respond in their owntime. A “thread” is formed when the software groups users’ comments hierarchically under the original post. Threaded discussions create a linear format with continuity of comments on topic.

Transactional Distance: Transactional distance describes the gap in time between comment and response in discussions that occur asynchronously, not simultaneously.

Teaching with Collaborative Methods: Organizing learning activities and creating an environment where collaborative e-learning occurs, and assessing the success of outcomes.

Collaborative E-Learning: Constructing knowledge, negotiating meanings, and/or solving problems through mutual engagement of two or more learners in a coordinated effort using Internet and electronic communications.

Social Constructivism: An educational theory based on the principle that learners and teachers coconstruct knowledge through social processes.

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD describes the distance between what one can do alone and what can be accomplished in collaboration with others who are more capable (Vygotsky, 1978).

Collaboration Software: Collaboration software may operate either synchronously, allowing all users to participate simultaneously, or a synchronously, allowing users to participate at any time. Synchronous tools allow collaborative partners to meet and discuss projects, give presentations, view and edit documents in real time, or share applications. Synchronous collaboration tools include videoconferencing, online meeting platforms, shared whiteboard, Voice Over Internet, voting, chat or messaging, and immersive 3-D environments. Asynchronous tools allow collaborative partners to exchange materials, contact lists, or to access shared files or resources, libraries or archives. Asynchronous collaboration tools include e-mail, Wikis, blogs, shared calendars, polling, track changes, and document exchange

Appropriation: A kind of peer learning that occurs when a learner “appropriates” strategies used by a stronger or more experienced learner.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Michael Beyerlein
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Chapter 1
Frances Deepwell
In this chapter, we consider two multi-institution, multinational education research projects in Europe that used a variety of technology to... Sample PDF
E-Research Collaboration, Conflict and Compromise
Chapter 2
Susanne Croasdaile
In the world of education, many occasions necessitate interorganizational collaboration. Geographical distance and time constraints are challenges... Sample PDF
Inter-Organizational E-Collaboration in Education
Chapter 3
Kumiko Aoki
This chapter discusses cultural differences in educational practices of the East and West. In East Asian countries, where Confucian philosophy has... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues in Global Collaborative Education
Chapter 4
Ken Stevens
The Internet and an expanding range of technologies have enabled small schools in rural communities in Atlantic Canada to collaborate in addressing... Sample PDF
The Development of Collaborative Structures to Support Virtual Classes in Small Schools
Chapter 5
Christine Marrett
Information communication technologies (ICTs) have facilitated institutional collaboration in distance education. Based on the study, Institutional... Sample PDF
Experiences in Collaboration in Distance Education from the Caribbean, Looking Beyond Electronic
Chapter 6
Neli Maria Mengalli
This chapter presents the course School Management and Technologies, and what emerged from the discourses of subjects that make it possible to... Sample PDF
Collaboration and Networks: Basis for the Management Based on Knowledge in Education
Chapter 7
Niki Lambropoulos, Panagiotis Kampylis, Sofia Papadimitriou, Marianna Vivitsou, Alexander Gkikas
Recent rapid technological advancement has influenced communication and information management. In addition, it has facilitated collaboration, an... Sample PDF
Hybrid Synergy for Virtual Knowledge Working
Chapter 8
Chijioke J. Evoh
The purpose of this study is to examine the dynamics of collaborative partnership involving the private sector, government, and community groups in... Sample PDF
Collaborative Partnerships and the Application of ICTs in Secondary Education in South Africa
Chapter 9
Sandra J. Chrystal
This chapter reports on two University of Southern California collaborations that partner business communication classes with not-for-profit... Sample PDF
Technology Leverages a Community University Collaboration
Chapter 10
Tine Köhler, Michael Berry
Internationally distributed teams (IDTs) face challenges related to the team members’ diversity and geographic dispersion. However, research on IDTs... Sample PDF
Creating Synergy for Inter-Cultural Learning
Chapter 11
Iris C. Fischlmayr
In this chapter, factors “really” influencing virtual multicultural team work shall be described and a training design used for students and company... Sample PDF
A Training Design for Behavioral Factors in Virtual Multicultural Teams
Chapter 12
Jennifer V. Lock, Petrea Redmond
An international online collaborative learning experience was designed and implemented in preservice teacher education classes at the University of... Sample PDF
Working Collaboratively on the Digital Global Frontier
Chapter 13
John D. Murphy
This chapter introduces Collaboration Engineering as an approach to developing more effective collaborative sessions for interdisciplinary teams.... Sample PDF
Engineering for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Chapter 14
Darren Lee Pullen
Communication technology, which is not constrained by geographical boundaries, has increasingly resulted in faster and more efficient ways to... Sample PDF
Back to Basics: Electronic Collaboration in the Education Sector
Chapter 15
Elizabeth DePoy
This chapter presents and analyzes the scholarly basis and empirical work that resulted in the development of Techscape, the application of... Sample PDF
Designing University Techscapes
Chapter 16
Kathy Lynch, Aleksej Heinze, Eljse Scott
The barriers to global collaboration of yesteryear include country boundaries and time zones. Today, however, in a world where communication is... Sample PDF
Scholarly Collaboration Across Time Zones
Chapter 17
Christine Aikens Wolfe, Cheryl North-Coleman, Shari Wallis Williams, Denise Amos, Glorianne Bradshaw, Toby Emert
A group of National Writing Project teachers from around the nation attended a Professional Writing Retreat in Santa Fe in 2004 and continued their... Sample PDF
Stepping into the Role of Professional Writer
Chapter 18
Garry G. Burnett
This chapter introduces Media Synchronicity Theory as a means to examine the influence of technology use on the relationship between a... Sample PDF
Collective Identity and Learning in a Virtual Team
Chapter 19
Janet Salmons
Social constructivism is an established educational theory based on the principle that learners and teachers co-construct knowledge through social... Sample PDF
E-Social Constructivism and Collaborative E-Learning
Chapter 20
Jeffrey Mok
Technological artifacts such as computers and mobile electronic devices have dramatically increased our learning interactions with machines. Coupled... Sample PDF
Social and Distributed Cognition in Collaborative Learning Contexts
Chapter 21
Qing Li
Increasingly, educators in a range of venues and institutions (e.g., K-12 schools, post secondary institutions, training facilities) are being... Sample PDF
Modeling the Model for Distributed Learning
Chapter 22
Kathryn Dixon
This chapter is the result of an investigation into the capacity of an electronic portfolio (e-folio) to promote reflection and collaboration in a... Sample PDF
Capacity of an Electronic Portfolio to Promote Professionalism, Collaboration and Accountability in Educational Leadership
Chapter 23
Robert J. Redmon Jr.
Departmental e-mail reflection groups promise to help resolve two of the most pressing problems facing the teaching profession, finding time for... Sample PDF
E-Mail Reflection Groups as Collaborative Action Research
Chapter 24
Janet L. Holland
This chapter reports on a mixed study dealing with the impact of integrating student peer mentor facilitators into online discussions in an effort... Sample PDF
Integrating Student Peer Mentoring Online
Chapter 25
Rosemarie Reynolds, Michael T. Brannick
This study examined the effect of computer-based videoconferencing and text-based chat on mentoring relationships, and compared the findings to... Sample PDF
Outcomes of Computer Mentoring
Chapter 26
Linda L. Larson, Paul Boyd-Batstone, Carole Cox
When teachers integrate online discussions into courses, they are faced with the challenge of deciding how to evaluate the postings. This chapter... Sample PDF
Rubric to Determine a Quality Online Discussion Posting
Chapter 27
Andre L. Araujo
Recent advances in Web-based technologies along with investments in international outsourcing and offshore locations have unquestionably increased... Sample PDF
Instrumental and Social Influences on Adoption of Collaborative Technologies in Global Virtual Teams
Chapter 28
Kenneth David Strang
Logically, it makes sense that organizations can be successful if their employees collaborate effectively, in a synergistic manner. Economically... Sample PDF
Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business
Chapter 29
Gilliean Lee
Recent industry and business trends can be described as shorter life cycle, increased speed to market, customizability, and a wide variety (rather... Sample PDF
Overview on Information Systems and Tools for Collaborative Enterprise: Business Impacts and Managerial Issues
Chapter 30
Apivut Chakuthip, Yvonne Brunetto, Rod Farr-Wharton, Sheryl Ramsay
This chapter uses the structural and relational dimension of Social Capital Theory as the lens for examining the factors affecting a Small and... Sample PDF
Trust, Social Networks and Electronic Commerce Adoption
Chapter 31
Bolanle A. Olaniran
Trust and relational development represents a critical challenge in online collaboration groups. Often the problem is attributed to several factors... Sample PDF
A Proposition for Developing Trust and Relational Synergy in International e-Collaborative Groups
Chapter 32
Peter Rittgen
The increasing complexity of products and services encourages more and more companies to form collaborative networks. As these companies are... Sample PDF
Supporting Inter-Business Collaboration via Contract Negotiation and Enactment
Chapter 33
Larry R. Irons
This chapter reviews research in distributed work, relating it to the way organizations manage collaboration between home-based customer support... Sample PDF
The Limits of Anytime, Anywhere Customer Support
Chapter 34
Tobias Müller-Prothmann
Collaboration is a constitutional element of any organization. To conceptualize the organization as an evolving system of interactions means to put... Sample PDF
KMmaster® for Collaboration and Knowledge Management
Chapter 35
Steven Jeddeloh
This essay explores ultimate team performance as experienced by veteran airline pilots working together with a common purpose. The research... Sample PDF
Ultimate Performance in a Highly Functioning Team
Chapter 36
Theresa Rich
This case study presents the work done to develop and execute the global vision for a 24/7 matrix organization within a major multinational... Sample PDF
Globalizing a Function within a Company
Chapter 37
R. Todd Stephens
This chapter examines the elements of the new Web 2.0 technology base and reviews the lessons learned when implementing these technologies.... Sample PDF
Integrating Web 2.0 Technologies within the Enterprise
Chapter 38
Mairi Stewart Kershaw
This chapter details one project, “Linking for a Change” (LFC), connecting schools and public/social sector providers of education for sustainable... Sample PDF
An Evaluation of ‘Linking for a Change'
Chapter 39
Lynn Wilson
Environmental sustainability and global climate change issues intensify the need for collaborations between scientists and policymakers. Working in... Sample PDF
Collaboration in the Service of Knowledge Co-Creation for Environmental Outcomes, Science and Public Policy
Chapter 40
Diego Liberati
In current economic and scientific scenarios, interactions and organization models tend to be more and more oriented to flexibility of... Sample PDF
Networked Experiments in Global E-Science
Chapter 41
Jeroen Wolbers, Peter Groenewegen, Pieter Wagenaar
The implementation of GMS (Integrated Emergency room System) in the Netherlands has had a tumultuous record. A direct consequence of the... Sample PDF
ICT to Facilitate Emergency Response in The Netherlands
Chapter 42
Elena Corradini
This chapter discusses a project for the implementation of a digital repository in a specific context, namely a small Italian town. The latest... Sample PDF
Enhancing Collective Memory with a Community Repository
Chapter 43
Simon Milne
This chapter examines the development and associated outcomes of two government funded projects designed to support small tourism enterprise (STE)... Sample PDF
ICT and Tourism Enterprise Collaboration in Rural New Zealand
Chapter 44
Rubye Braye, Eric Evans
This chapter originated as a reflection of the communication between U.S. facilitators and a Rwandan host as they ecollaborated in planning... Sample PDF
2007 Leadership and Human Resources Training in Rwanda
Chapter 45
James L. Smith
This chapter reveals the common theme three rural Minnesota communities used in their collaboration efforts in to install and deliver broadband... Sample PDF
Collaboration through Municipal Motivators
Chapter 46
Keith Baker
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is often seen as a vehicle for organizational reform. However, the established literature on... Sample PDF
Understanding the Dialectic Relationship between Intraand Inter-Organizational Cooperation
Chapter 47
Rakesh Biswas, Jayanthy Maniam, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth, Premalatha Gopal Das
This is an illustrative process description of a collaborative project utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. The requirement for collaboration... Sample PDF
Electronic Collaboration Toward Social Health Outcomes
Chapter 48
Beverly-Jean Daniel, April Boyington Wall
This chapter presents a case study of the process of employing technology in a project involving the development and presentation of a unique... Sample PDF
Technology Enhanced Collaborative Leadership Development
Chapter 49
Lisa Faithorn, Baruch S. Blumberg
Complex social, economic, political and environmental challenges as well as new research areas that cut across disciplinary, institutional and... Sample PDF
Lessons Learned from the NASA Astrobiology Institute
Chapter 50
Lynn Wilson, Janet Salmons
The concluding chapter offers the editors’ insights into the book chapters’ combined contribution. Using the editors’ Collaborative Integration... Sample PDF
Online Collaborative Integration and Recommendations for Future Research
About the Editors
About the Contributors