Problem-Based Online Learning Instructional Design: Guided Active Participation

Problem-Based Online Learning Instructional Design: Guided Active Participation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8879-5.ch004


Compiling the information from the research efforts for establishing knowledge-building communities through the application of the online TPACK learning trajectory, the research effort proceeded to implement and examine instructional design for scaffolding problem-based online learning experiences for transforming teachers' technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). This chapter focused on active learning methods including collaboration, cooperative learning, and problem-based inquiry learning that emphasized guided active participation for engaging both participants and instructors. A multiple case, descriptive study provided the research insights to illuminate the incorporation of the tools and processes in the online TPACK learning trajectory situated in a social metacognitive constructivist instructional framework for graduate coursework. In one course in the program, inservice K-12 teachers were directed toward rethinking and redefining teaching and learning, in a 21st century literacy for taking advantage of multiple digital technologies. The research identified insights about the incorporation of the key tools (community of learners and reflection) and processes (shared/individual knowledge development and inquiry) in the online learning trajectory for reframing teachers' TPACK through guided active participation. Three themes revealed how the online learning trajectory incorporated these tools and processes to enhance the participants' learning: the tools and processes are needed for constructing knowledge, for transitioning the participant's thinking as a student to that of a teacher, and for recognizing the importance of guided active participation for problem-based learning with technologies.
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Learning is not a spectator sport. ~Anonymous

Technology has increased the intensity and complexity in today’s society such that literate persons must possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, often referred to as multiple literacies other than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Literate persons now must attain digital, visual, media, and information literacies among many other literacies to be successful in the current society (Jones-Kavalier & Flannigan, 2008). They must be active participants in this learning since developing a 21st century literacy is definitely not a spectator sport.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has consistently demonstrated leadership in the calls for all educators to be empowered professionals and learning catalysts for this digital age (ISTE, 2016). As empowered professionals, they must:

Continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and explore proven and promising practices … seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success to improve teaching and learning … inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world. (ISTE, 2016, p. 1)

As learning catalysts, they are challenged to:

Collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems … design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments, facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement… understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning. (ISTE, 2016, p. 1)

With the convergence of multiple calls for changes in education for the digital age and recognition that teachers need a reformed knowledge for teaching, teacher educators must redesign professional development experiences towards reframing teachers’ TPACK for teaching with the knowledge, skills and understandings of education in the 21st century. To develop this reformed instructional knowledge, teachers need experiences and opportunities for revising their traditional conceptions of teaching and learning in their content areas and grade levels; in other words, they need to relearn, rethink and redefine teaching and learning to focus on guiding students in developing 21st century literacy. Again, this new learning is not a spectator sport.

One promising educational avenue for these experiences uses online graduate teacher education coursework to meet the needs and timing for inservice teachers. The identification of a researcher- conjectured, empirically-supported online TPACK learning trajectory provides a starting point for teacher educators as they design online courses focused on transforming teachers’ TPACK and the education called for in ISTE’s Educator Standards (2016). The learning trajectory described in Chapter 3 presented a dynamic interaction of key tools and instructional processes for scaffolding the content towards an enhanced TPACK understanding. Mishra and Koehler (2006) describe this TPACK content as an amalgam of three knowledge sources: subject matter content, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge, in essence indicating the importance of a content specific instructional design.

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