Active Learning Online

Active Learning Online

Victor X. Wang (California State University - Long Beach, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-881-9.ch002


Learning does not take place in a vacuum. Learning takes place in any type of environment, including online. The purpose of this article is neither to solely study active learning for its own sake nor to present an analysis of active online learning. It is rather an attempt to examine the relationship between active learning online and learners’ intellectual growth and development. Towards this end, this article’s background covers active learning and learners’ intellectual growth and development. The next section is devoted to how various learning theories can make active learning occur online; hence, learners’ intellectual growth and development. The last section of the article seeks to make a summary of this article and point out some future directions for active learning online. As modern institutions launch more and more online learning programs, what concerns educators and parents is whether active learning will occur online. Unless active learning occurs online (or growth and development occur online), online learning will lose its true meaning in this knowledge society and information age we currently live in.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Situated Cognition: Situated cognition emphasizes studies of human behavior that have “ecological validity.” In other words, situated cognition takes place in real situations (for instance, outside the laboratory). In more traditional laboratory, studies of (for example) how people behave in the workplace, real-world complications such as personal interruptions, office politics, scheduling constraints, private agendas, and so forth, are generally ignored, even though these necessarily change the nature of the activities. Situated cognition attempts to integrate these complexities into its analytic framework.

Reinforcement: Reinforcement is any change in an organism’s surroundings that: Occurs regularly when the organism behaves in a given way (that is, is contingent on a specific response), Is contiguous with the behavior (associated in time and space), and is associated with an increase in the probability that the response will be made or in another measure of its strength.

Active Learning: Active learning can be defined as methods by which learners actively participate in the learning process, e.g., discussion group, problem solving, experimentation. It is used to differentiate it from passive learning by which learners are led by the nose. It is widely believed that active learning may lead to the creation of new knowledge and new skills needed by learners.

Learning: This definition of learning is taken from International Dictionary of Adult and Continuing Education compiled by Peter Jarvis in 2002. According to Jarvis (2002) , there are many definitions of learning, all reflecting the academic specialisms from which the study is conducted. 1. The process of acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, beliefs, emotions, senses, and so forth. 2. The sum total of the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and so forth, for example, a learned person. 3. Sometimes, it is wrongly used as a synonym for education, for example, adult learning. Significantly, it is replacing the term education in the educational vocabulary.

Contiguity: Contiguity refers to how associated a reinforcer is with behavior. The higher the contiguity between events, the greater the strength of the behavioral relationship.

Activity Theory: Activity theory is aimed at understanding the mental capabilities of a single human being. However, it rejects the isolated human being as an adequate unit of analysis, focusing instead on cultural and technical mediation of human activity.

Repetition: Repetition refers to the act or process or an instance of repeating or being repeated. In marketing, repletion may have a different meaning. Repetition has been proven to increase recall and comprehension, particularly if the message is complex. However, a message may lose effectiveness if the consumer is overexposed to the advertisement through excessive repetitions, causing the consumer to lose interest in the message. Unless learners are internally motivated to learn, repetition may prove to be boring.

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