Leveraging Learning Theory and Learning Management Systems in Higher Education: The Critical Role of Instructor Facilitation

Leveraging Learning Theory and Learning Management Systems in Higher Education: The Critical Role of Instructor Facilitation

Colleen S. Harris (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA) and David W. Rausch (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3930-0.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter is intended to inform practitioners and those who design curricula in online and hybrid-delivery programs, particularly at the graduate level. After a review of the different learning theories, the chapter explores how constructivist and cognitivist learning theory can best inform the practice of educators using a learning management system (LMS) to design their learning environments. A thorough review of the literature explores the important role facilitation plays in the LMS learning experience, noting in particular the impact of facilitation on both learning and social engagement. Finally, the chapter reviews the experience of designing and implementing a hybrid-delivery doctoral program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and concludes with areas for further research.
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Learning Theory, Facilitation And A Case Study

As higher education contends with increasing costs and the perception of decreasing returns in terms of learning perceived as useful in applied settings (Arum & Roksa, 2011; Kamenetz, 2010), educators in post-secondary institutions are moving away from rote learning and behaviorist learning processes and toward the collaborative, knowledge-building approach recommended by constructivist and social-cognitive learning theories. As this occurs, traditional structures in higher education that involved strict ordering of learning materials are giving way to more organically structured learning experiences involving a rich mixture of diverse technologies, experiential learning opportunities, collaborations between learners, and the new role of teacher as facilitator and guide as opposed to information-distributor.

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