Constructivism as the Driver of 21st Century Online Distance Education

Constructivism as the Driver of 21st Century Online Distance Education

Kathaleen Reid-Martinez (Oral Roberts University, USA) and Linda D. Grooms (Regent University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch216
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Background

While the constructivist method has been highly emphasized in the more recent literature for online distance education (Cheney & Sanders, 2011; Gülseçen, 2012; Jonassen, Davidson, Collins, Campbell, & Haag, 1995; Lê & Lê, 2012; McHaney, 2012; Rovai, 2004; Shapiro, 2008; Shi, Fan, & Yue, 2012; Tenenbaum, Naidu, Jegede, & Austin, 2001; Yang, Nguyen, & Jang, 2012), it is not a new approach to learning. Presenting an early example, Socrates facilitated discourse with students asking directed questions to assist them in realizing the weaknesses in their logic and critical thinking. This enabled learners to share in the responsibility of their learning through active participation while negotiating meaning in the creation of shared understanding. In contrast, professors in Western culture most often served as primary repositories of information along with the scrolls and velum texts found in the limited number of physical libraries available to educators. With the lecture serving as the quickest and easiest way to reach both small and large groups of individuals, dissemination of information functioned as the primary delivery method that assisted in the shaping and formation of student knowledge quickly becoming the standard for traditional education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Autonomous Learner: An individual who takes responsibility for his or her learning.

Distributed Knowledge: Information dispersed throughout a community of practice and not held by any one individual.

Constructivism: An approach in which students share responsibility for their learning while negotiating meaning through active participation in the co-creation of shared understanding within the learning context.

Computer-Assisted Instruction: The computer serves as the “teacher” by structuring information delivered to the human user.

Informatics: Online public access libraries and interactive remote databases.

Computer-Based Conferencing: E-mail, interactive messaging, and group conference support systems.

Interaction: Mutual communicative exchange between individuals.

Collaborative Learning: The process in which individuals negotiate and generate meaning and solutions to problems through shared understanding.

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