A Learner-Centered Design Framework for E-Learning

A Learner-Centered Design Framework for E-Learning

Wendy Fasso (Central Queensland University, Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia), Cecily Knight (James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia) and Bruce Allen Knight (Central Queensland University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2014100104

Abstract

This paper presents a design framework for online learning. The framework is based upon the taxonomy devised by Dettmer (2006). In a learner-centered focus, it draws together the cognitive, affective, social, and sensorimotor domains of learning, and is situated with the concept of online personal learning spaces and environments. It is at this intersection of learning domains that the graduate attributes and general capabilities of students are able to be intentionally supported and demonstrated. The proposed framework draws on recognized theory, principles, and practical considerations of contemporary online learning to clarify considerations of the learning outcomes, learning processes and learner performance when designing online learning that is mediated by education technology. This integrative approach will support mentored, reflective learning design and design-based research aimed at improving both the experience and outcomes of online students. The paper contends that this framework presents a useful design that reflects the nature of contemporary online learning environments.
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Introduction

Contemporary literature (Gosper, 2011; Woo, Gosper, McNeill, Preston, Green and Phillips 2008) attests that increasing numbers of tertiary students are seeking more flexible study options. Student-centred flexible learning has been identified as “meeting the learning needs of students, in terms of logistical and pedagogical perspectives” (Willems, 2011). Universities are pressured to demonstrate sensitivity to these flexibility needs as students demand well-resourced, quality online learning products. In addition, higher education institutions are required to meet learning outcomes that include generic skills and attributes in order to prepare graduates for the technology-led, networked 21st century society (Barrie, 2007). For instance, an initiative proposed by the Australian Higher Education Standards panel has proposed that the learning outcomes of coursework be informed by the generic skills and attributes required of graduates, and the application of these attributes in the context of the field of study, including the communication skills required (Higher Education Standards Panel, 2013). In an aligned curriculum, the implications are that the course design should include an active engagement with the graduate skills and attributes. These factors prompted research through a review of the e-learning literature (Fasso, Knight & Knight, 2013), into the way in which a higher education institution intentionally frames and designs online courses. From the literature it is clear that learner-centred, technology-mediated approaches to university teaching enhance student learning outcomes. Furthermore, the technologies available to universities allow staff to create learning communities in new ways that are not simply an online version of face-to-face classes, but allow for learning experiences that are different. These potential differences include wider participation, participatory learning, personalisation and the establishment of learning networks (Laurillard, 2007). This paper presents a summary of this literature, and uses it to propose a learning design framework that supports learner-centred, technology-mediated learning that addresses not only cognitive learning outcomes, but those associated with graduate attributes.

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