Student Perceptions and Pedagogical Applications of E-Learning Tools in Online Course

Student Perceptions and Pedagogical Applications of E-Learning Tools in Online Course

C. Candace Chou (University of St. Thomas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-788-1.ch026
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This study explores student views of various E-Learning tools as teaching and learning media in an online course for pre-service and in-service teachers. This chapter also examines the pedagogical applications of E-Learning tools in an online course. The capabilities of a system that allows meaningful interaction, reflection, personal identification, and a sense of community play a key role in the degree of social presence. This study highlights some key findings regarding the efficacy of E-Learning tools from student perspectives and make recommendations for future pedagogical practice.
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Literature Review

Many models have been proposed to explain frameworks and important components of learning environments. A review of these models will provide a better understanding of how to achieve effective online learning.

Bransford’s Model of Learning Environment

Bransford, Brown, Cocking, Donova, and Pellegrino (1999) proposed a model for designing effective learning environments. The learning environment should be learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered as shown in figure 1. An effective learning environment must be learner-centered so that the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs of the students are taken into consideration by the instructors. Learners often use their current knowledge to construct new knowledge. In a learner-centered environment, instructors would attempt to understand what students think, discuss their misconceptions, and integrate instructional strategies that can help learners to acquire new knowledge. Bransford et al. (1999) stated “Overall, learner-centered environments include teachers who are aware that learners construct their own meanings, beginning with the beliefs, understanding, and cultural practices they bring to the classroom” (p. 124). The teacher is the bridge that helps learners build new understandings.

Figure 1.

Perspectives on learning environments (Adapted from Bransford et al., 1999, p.122)

An effective learning environment is knowledge-centered. It is not sufficient to only teach thinking skills and problem-solving skills. These abilities require well-organized knowledge that can be retrieved for the appropriate context. A knowledge-centered learning environment focuses on curriculum design in which students are expected to achieve desired learning outcomes. The curriculum should “help students develop interconnected pathways within a discipline so that they learn their way around in it and not lose sight of where they are” (Bransford et al, 1999, p. 141).

Good learning environments should also be assessment-centered so that students can have many opportunities to receive feedback for improvement. Assessment must reflect the learning goals. Assessment can not only help the students to improve their learning but also the instructors to revise their instructional approach.

Finally, effective learning environments should be community-centered, which share norms and value high standard learning. The norms include ways for learners to interact, receive feedback, and learn.

These guidelines provide a clear pedagogical framework for designing effective online learning environments. These principles are well-supported in the literature. However, for higher education distance learning, the role of the instructor is not clearly defined in this model. In addition, the attributes of technology are missing. The community of inquiry model by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (1999) does address the roles of instructor, students, and learning in distance learning environments.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pedagogical models: Pedagogical models are cognitive models or theoretical constructs derived from learning theory that enable the implementation of specific instructional and learning strategies. Examples of pedagogical models include anchored instruction, problem-based learning, cognitive apprenticeship, situated learning, and computer-supported intentional learning environments (CSILE).

Asynchronous communication systems: Technology tools that allow online learners to communicate with each other at flexible time at their own pace and space. Examples of asynchronous tools include Web-based discussion board, podcast audios and videos, weblogs, etc.

Teaching Presence: The design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.

Social Presence: Social presence is originally defined as the “degree of salience of the other person in the (mediated) interaction and the consequent salience of the interpersonal relationships” by Short, Williams, & Christie (1976). Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (1999) later defined it as the ability of participants in an online community to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as ‘real people.’

Cognitive Presence: The extend to which a student can construct meaning through sustained communication. Cognitive presence focuses on the importance of critical thinking and represents learning outcomes that meet the learning goals.

Synchronous communication systems: Technology tools that allow online learners to communicate with each other at the same time at their own space. Examples of synchronous communication systems include Breeze (a Web-based interactive video-conferencing system), Skype (an Internet-based audio-conferencing system), and Second Life (an Internet-based virtual world.)

Pedagogical applications of E-Learning tools: Pedagogical applications refer to the utilization of E-Learning tools that are based on pedagogical models, for example, the Web as the database for knowledge construction, the virtual worlds for role-playing, the Weblog for reflective learning, and video-conferencing for community building.

E-Learning 2.0: E-Learning 2.0 tools are characterized as tag-based, participatory, playful, social networking, and collaborative editing through tools such as blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasting, flickr,, and Wikipedia.

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Harrison Hao Yang, Steve Chi-Yin Yuen
Harrison Hao Yang, Steve Chi-Yin Yuen
Chapter 1
Chien Yu, Wei-Chieh Wayne Yu, Chun Fu Lin
Dramatic changes in information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a powerful force forthe growth of e-learning. E-learning has become... Sample PDF
Computer-Mediated Learning: What Have We Experienced and Where Do We Go Next?
Chapter 2
Clara Pereira Coutinho, João Batista Bottentuit Jr.
In this chapter the authors analyze issues and ideas regarding the next generation of e-Learning, which is already known as e-Learning 2.0 or social... Sample PDF
From Web to Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0
Chapter 3
Chaka Chaka
This chapter contends that both Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web (the SW) serve as critical enablers for e-learning 2.0. It also maintains that the SW... Sample PDF
E-Learning 2.0: Web 2.0, the Semantic Web and the Power of Collective Intelligence
Chapter 4
Jianxia Du, Yunyan Liu, Robert L. Brown
An online learning community can be a place for vibrant discussions and the sharing of new ideas in a medium where content constantly changes. This... Sample PDF
The Key Elements of Online Learning Communities
Chapter 5
Ke Zhang, Curtis J. Bonk
This chapter reviews the characteristics of learners of different generations. In particular, it compares their differences in terms of learning... Sample PDF
Generational Learners & E-Learning Technologies
Chapter 6
Robin M. Roberts
The relationship between the Digital or Millennium Generation and Web 2.0 is investigated focusing on how post-secondary students just entering... Sample PDF
The Digital Generation and Web 2.0: E-Learning Concern or Media Myth?
Chapter 7
Jeffrey Hsu, Karin Hamilton
Adult learners have a set of specific and unique needs, and are different from traditional college students. Possessing greater maturity, interest... Sample PDF
Adult Learners, E-Learning, and Success: Critical Issues and Challenges in an Adult Hybrid Distance Learning Program
Chapter 8
Dazhi Yang, Jennifer C. Richardson
Past studies indicate that students demonstrate different online interaction styles, which consist of the ways or habits students acquire knowledge... Sample PDF
Online Interaction Styles: Adapting to Active Interaction Styles
Chapter 9
Yuliang Liu
Learner satisfaction and learning is currently a very important topic in online instruction and learning. Blignaut and Trollip (2003) proposed six... Sample PDF
Strategies for Providing Formative Feedback to Maximize Learner Satisfaction and Online Learning
Chapter 10
Bo Kyeong Kim, Youngkyun Baek
Web 2.0 is changing the paradigm of using the Internet which is affecting the e-learning paradigm. In this chapter, e-learning 2.0 and its... Sample PDF
Exploring Ideas and Possibilities of Second Life as an Advanced E-Learning Environment
Chapter 11
Jeannine Hirtle, Samuel Smith
Communities of practice (CoP’s)—much touted and studied as a mechanism for teacher education and professional development—may offer environments for... Sample PDF
When Virtual Communities Click: Transforming Teacher Practice, Transforming Teachers
Chapter 12
Luiz Fernando de Barros Campos
This chapter investigates whether information technology tools typical of Web 2.0 can support Knowledge Management (KM) practices in organizations.... Sample PDF
Could Web 2.0 Technologies Support Knowledge Management in Organizations?
Chapter 13
Colleen Carmean
Anytime and all-the-time access to electronic resources, artifacts and community have changed learning practices in the workplace as surely as it... Sample PDF
E-Learning Design for the Information Workplace
Chapter 14
Paraskevi Mentzelou, Dimitrios Drogidis
The aims of Greek education system is to give to students the ability to develop the required skills, character and values that will enable them to... Sample PDF
The Impact of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the Greek Educational Community
Chapter 15
Richard Hartshorne, Haya Ajjan, Richard E. Ferdig
In this chapter, the authors provide evidence for the potential of various Web 2.0 applications in higher education through a review of relevant... Sample PDF
Faculty Use and Perceptions of Web 2.0 in Higher Education
Chapter 16
Susanne Markgren, Carrie Eastman, Leah Massar Bloom
In this chapter, the authors explore the role of academic librarians in the e-learning 2.0 environment. Librarians are excellent partners in... Sample PDF
Librarian as Collaborator: Bringing E-Learning 2.0 Into the Classroom by Way of the Library
Chapter 17
Betül C. Özkan
Because of the ways students learn and make sense of world change, higher education institutions try to re-conceptualize this change process and... Sample PDF
Implementing E-Learning in University 2.0: Are Universities Ready for the Digital Age?
Chapter 18
Hsiu-Ting Hung
The focus of the chapter is two-fold: on one hand, it seeks theoretical understanding of literacy as social practice; on the other hand, it explores... Sample PDF
New Literacies in New Times: A Multimodal Approach to Literacy Learning
Chapter 19
Rajani S. Sadasivam, Katie M. Crenshaw, Michael J. Schoen, Raju V. Datla
The e-learning 2.0 transformation of continuing education of healthcare professionals (CE/CME) will be characterized by a fundamental shift from the... Sample PDF
Transforming Continuing Healthcare Education with E-Learning 2.0
Chapter 20
Brian Smith, Peter Reed
The excitement of Web 2.0 and E-learning 2.0 is upon us. As the use of social networking sites and other Web 2.0 tools continue to increase... Sample PDF
Mode Neutral: The Pedagogy that Bridges Web 2.0 and e-Learning 2.0
Chapter 21
F. R. Nordengren, Ann M. York
This chapter is a practical overview of both the theoretical, evidence-based research in pedagogy and the anecdotal, experience-based practices of... Sample PDF
Dispatches from the Graduate Classroom: Bringing Theory and Practice to E-Learning
Chapter 22
Kathryn Kennedy, Jeff Boyer, Catherine Cavanaugh, Kara Dawson
Using the theoretical framework of “craft” highlighted by Richard Sennett (2008) in The Craftsman, this chapter focuses on constructionism and the... Sample PDF
Student-Centered Teaching with Constructionist Technology Tools: Preparing 21st Century Teachers
Chapter 23
Clara Pereira Coutinho
In this chapter the author presents the results of a project developed in pre-service and in-service teacher education programs at the Minho... Sample PDF
Challenges for Teacher Education in the Learning Society: Case Studies of Promising Practice
Chapter 24
Pearl Chen
This chapter reviews the current state of theory and practice of experience design and suggests that the notion of experience should be regarded as... Sample PDF
From Memorable to Transformative E-Learning Experiences: Theory and Practice of Experience Design
Chapter 25
Carl Scott, Youmei Liu, Madhuri Kumar
This chapter will examine the relationship between a constructivist teaching approach and online learning experiences in the Virtual Worlds of... Sample PDF
Authentic Learning in Second Life: A Constructivist Model in Course Design
Chapter 26
C. Candace Chou
This study explores student views of various E-Learning tools as teaching and learning media in an online course for pre-service and in-service... Sample PDF
Student Perceptions and Pedagogical Applications of E-Learning Tools in Online Course
Chapter 27
Steve Chi-Yin Yuen, Harrison Hao Yang
Enhancing the substantial interaction in e-learning courses can be a challenge to instructors. The chapter gave an overview of online interaction... Sample PDF
Using Blogfolios to Enhance Interaction in E-Learning Courses
Chapter 28
Priti Srinivas Sajja
Quality of an e-Learning solution depends on its content, services offered by it and technology used. To increase reusability of common learning... Sample PDF
Multi-Tier Knowledge-Based System Accessing Learning Object Repository Using Fuzzy XML
Chapter 29
Ivan Angelov, Sathish Menon, Michael Douma
This chapter outlines central findings from surveys that considered factors that drive online experience as expressed by the three different groups... Sample PDF
Finding Information: Factors that Improve Online Experiences
About the Contributors