A Learner-Centered Perspective on E-Learning

A Learner-Centered Perspective on E-Learning

Hyo-Jeong So (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Curtis J. Bonk (Indiana University, USA) and Robert A. Wisher (Department of Defense, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch193
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Abstract

For the past decade, e-learning has emerged as a prominent delivery mechanism in educational settings. Now, it is not uncommon to find courses that are delivered fully online or in a blended learning (Bonk & Graham, 2006) mode. In addition, with the pervasive use of handheld, mobile, and wireless technologies, mobile learning (i.e., m-learning) and ubiquitous learning (i.e., u-learning) have received extensive attention as promising trends in the field of distance education. Indeed, our goals, related to the design of environments where learning happens at anytime and any place, seem more reachable with such emerging educational technologies that maximize mobility, connectivity, and versatility. Add to that options for learner participation and contribution within such an environment, as is seen with many online tools today, and there are many exciting opportunities for learnercentered online instruction.
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Introduction

For the past decade, e-learning has emerged as a prominent delivery mechanism in educational settings. Now, it is not uncommon to find courses that are delivered fully online or in a blended learning (Bonk & Graham, 2006) mode. In addition, with the pervasive use of handheld, mobile, and wireless technologies, mobile learning (i.e., m-learning) and ubiquitous learning (i.e., u-learning) have received extensive attention as promising trends in the field of distance education. Indeed, our goals, related to the design of environments where learning happens at anytime and any place, seem more reachable with such emerging educational technologies that maximize mobility, connectivity, and versatility. Add to that options for learner participation and contribution within such an environment, as is seen with many online tools today, and there are many exciting opportunities for learner-centered online instruction.

Despite such significant shifts in technology, however, a pedagogical shift from instructor-centered to learner-centered learning has been slow. A traditional text- or instructor-centered paradigm for teaching and learning is still dominant in many e-learning programs, while learners enrolling in online and blended courses are expecting more inquiry-based activities and learner-centered approaches than in the past. As the adoption of Web-based instruction grows, understanding how to facilitate or moderate student learning in virtual spaces has become an important issue. Online instructors must create situations where students are building knowledge and sharing it with experts and peers who, in turn, offer authentic evaluation and timely feedback. Online instruction, therefore, must fit into an education and learning paradigm that is increasingly learner-centric.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 2.0: Refers to a second generation of Web-based tools, services, and communities, such as blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, wikis, and social networking software that allow users to interact, collaborate, share, and construct new knowledge collectively. From an educational standpoint, such technologies allow learners to participate in their own learning and contribute to the learning of others, instead of simply passively receiving information and knowledge from experts and course resources. In effect, learning is more personalized, shared, and participatory

Learner-Centered Psychological Principles: 14 principles developed by the American Psychological Association based on decades of research on human learning, development, and motivation that focus on ways to help learners learn, and are intended to provide vital information for the redesign of schooling

in such cases: anyone with access to the Web has an opportunity to build, tinker with, or share information that might be of value to a growing knowledge base or learning community

Course Management Systems: Integrated learning tools or packages that facilitate the tracking and monitoring of student online learning in technology settings.

Ubiquitous Learning: A type of learning that utilizes the capabilities of mobile and wireless technologies to support seamless and connected learning.

Mobile Learning: Learning that occurs across learning settings or locations through the use of handheld, portable, or wireless devices by learners on the move

Learner-Centered Paradigm: Viewpoint or learning philosophy that takes the perspective of the learner when considering the design, delivery, or assessment of learning

Wiki: A collaborative online authoring technology wherein users can easily view, modify, update, delete, and share content in the form of Web pages, sometimes freely without a password or account registration. Such pages can also link to other online objects and resources

Blended Learning: The combination of face-to-face and online instruction.

Participatory Learning Culture: Situations wherein individuals can contribute to the knowledge building process instead of passively consuming prepackaged knowledge and information

instead: any individual can now contribute to it as seen in such tools as wikis, blogs, and social networking software

Read-Write Web: Signifies that the Web is no longer limited as a read-only device for passive reception of information or casual browsing

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