Collaboration and Communication in the Online Classroom through a Brain-Based Approach

Collaboration and Communication in the Online Classroom through a Brain-Based Approach

Teresa L. Coffman (University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA, USA) and Mary Beth Klinger (College of Southern Maryland, La Plata, MD, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicthd.2014070104
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Abstract

Utilizing brain-based learning strategies in the classroom encourages the creation of learning environments that are inviting, engaging, and meaningful. Information and communication technologies used in online classes can be enhanced and made more meaningful for students by applying a brain-based approach. This paper examines the use of brain-based learning in an online environment to build an inviting and collaborative cultural experience for learners. A brain-based model is explored to illustrate effective teaching strategies that can be implemented in an online learning environment. Empirical research and analysis are presented in a research study along with a theoretical evaluation of how incorporating brain-based strategies in online learning can positively affect overall student development and online culture.
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Introduction

Incorporating brain-based learning strategies in an online course provides opportunities for instructors to create engaging learning environments that motivate and stimulate student learning. Through the use of brain-based methods of instruction in pedagogy, learners focus distinctly on performance and ultimately understanding of core course concepts.

Within higher education, online learning is being offered more readily. Many instructors teaching online courses are just beginning to think about best practices as they become more comfortable and familiar in this medium. Other first adapters who are already comfortable with teaching online are continually seeking ways to improve upon their pedagogy, the course, and the overall delivery of the content.

When working with learners in a classroom setting, whether online or face-to-face, student attention must be gained so that course content can be examined more critically. In addition, it is important that a course be designed so that it is inclusive for all students and meets diverse learning needs.

Brain-based learning is defined as a “systematic process of conceptualizing how learning takes place in a stimulating environment and through a systematic approach, and then, how to best facilitate this process” (Houff, Klinger, & Coffman, 2013, p. 2062). Brain-based instruction focuses on the learner, the individual process of learning, and the ability to incorporate new information into an existing schema.

The use of brain-based learning strategies is one best practices approach that can be integrated into an online learning environment to help instructors design challenging and meaningful course content that resonates with students. The main focus of this paper is to utilize the strategies of brain-based instruction to provide a framework for faculty to embed the brain-based model of instruction into online courses. This paper demonstrates how using brain-based learning can create a collaborative cultural experience whereby student interest, motivation, and ultimately learning is enhanced.

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