Individual and Collaborative Approaches in E-Learning Design

Individual and Collaborative Approaches in E-Learning Design

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-940-3.ch003
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There is no doubt that e-learning is not all about technology but includes the human aspect which is often neglected in studies of e-learning. This chapter addresses the interface between technology and the learner by using cognitive psychology to discuss learning processes in formal and informal groups, investigate how to create competent learning groups, and how to design e-learning to facilitate optimal learning by an individual in a group setting. The chapter proposes an e-learning design based on a blend of cognitive and activity theories. It also presents a pilot empirical study that measured the value of e-learning from four constructs derived from the theories. The result of the study suggests that pure virtual learning environments may not always be the best option as some users require some physical contact. While e-learning may fill many gaps, it should be perceived as a tool that needs to be attended with emotional and social contact.
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In order to educate the learner at individual and group levels it is necessary to begin with a consideration of the social psychology of cognition. If cognition is simply our understanding of our world then how we learn to handle and to manipulate that world is to a great or small extent a function of our cognitive awareness. We learn as we understand. Both learning and e-learning fall short of what they can achieve unless individuals enhance their cognitive and intellectual power to explore, question and play with whatever the computer presents and breath life to their imaginations.

Answers to questions are constructed by the joint activities of the computer and of the individual learning to use it. Byrne (2007) goes so far as to argue persuasively that the rational thought of the computer (and one hopes that of the learner and the practitioner) is lacking unless there is room for an attempt to create an imaginative supplement to the computer’s inevitably limited reality.

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