Learner-Centered Theory and Practice in Distance Education: Cases from Higher Education

By Hawkes, Mark | Quarterly Review of Distance Education, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

Learner-Centered Theory and Practice in Distance Education: Cases from Higher Education


Hawkes, Mark, Quarterly Review of Distance Education


Learner-Centered Theory and Practice in Distance Education: Cases from Higher Education, by Thomas M. Duffy and Jamie R. Kirkley (Eds.). (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2004, 453 pages, $45.00)

This book is a result of the U.S. Department of Education-sponsored "Learning Anytime, Anywhere" symposium. The symposium hosted 20 professionals from the learning sciences, education, administration, and the corporate sector who met to discuss issues in the design of learning environment in higher education. The purposes behind the symposium and this volume that follows are twofold, as the editors suggest. The first concern is the lack of discussion of constructivist learning theory guiding the design and development of online learning programs in higher education. The second concern is that model programs in distance education are not sufficiently described in the literature to the point of clarifying theory-to-practice linkages.

To fill that void, Learner-Centered Theory and Practice describes eight distance education programs, two in each of the following sections: "Community Building, ProblemCentered Learning, Innovative Uses of Technology," and "Scaling Up." Each chapter describing a program is followed by a reaction that puts an analytical lens on the methods and pedagogy of the program's distance learning. Included is an edited transcript of the group discussion about the program by members of the symposium.

The programs presented in the "Community Building" section include a master's degree program in educational technology at Pepperdine University and a master's in library science at the University of Illinois. The section describes both programs in rich detail, including the synchronous and asynchronous tools that support participant interactions. Central to these interactions is learner dialogue, which both programs frame as relational knowledge that links what students are learning and understanding about themselves and their social and technological environment to other conditions that impact their professional practice. These programs demonstrate that, by engaging in conversations about professional practices, students learn to be reflective and critical of their own work.

The discussant chapters that follow reveal how the pedagogy within these programs is abundantly constructivist. Scott Grabinger, who provides a reaction to the Pepperdine program, does a thorough job of contrasting traditionally behaviorist instructional design with sociocultural instructional design. The exercise shows the importance of authentic online interactions between people, objects, and culture. I regret that Grabinger did not use more adaptive, flexible, and contemporary models of instructional design as contrasts to sociocultural instructional design, which would have helped knowledgeable readers understand the subtle differences between these design approaches. Still, Grabinger increases our appreciation for the role of discourse in the online learning environment.

This segment of the book is unique in its emphasis on dialogue. Yet, there is a lack of explanation of how the discourse itself is an agent of professional change. Perhaps the key is the collaborative reflection process referenced by the authors. Unfortunately, reflection is a concept the authors fail to unpack. It would be helpful to show how reflection is an element of collaboration, an affiliate of dialogue, and a critical step in the process of social learning. Because the give-and-take of dialogue helps discussants frame and reframe problems and their solutions (collegial reflection), it would be helpful to see how the kind of discourse described in these chapters truly relates to the critical theories of their fields. Without these links, we are left to assume the dialogue has more socially- than theoretically-applied content.

A related concern about the "Community Building" segment is that terminal learning outcomes used in practice are really never explored. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Learner-Centered Theory and Practice in Distance Education: Cases from Higher Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.