Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Investigating Learner Affective Performance in Web-Based Learning by Using Entrepreneurship as a Metaphor

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Investigating Learner Affective Performance in Web-Based Learning by Using Entrepreneurship as a Metaphor

Article excerpt

Introduction

As the Internet is already widely used in education, learners have many opportunities to engage in Web-based learning(Engelbrecht, 2005). Over the past decades, researchers have studied such learner characteristics as preferences, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and self-efficacy in relation to information technology and Web-based learning(Liaw, Chang, Hung, & Huang, 2006; Yang & Tsai, 2008). One of the important challenges of the Web-based learning process is arousing learner motivation(Bento & Schuster, 2003). While most discussions have focused on how to improve online learner's knowledge and skills(e.g., Sendag & Ferhan, 2009), the importance of affective dimension is gradually receiving more attentions(e.g., Wang & Reeves, 2006; Shen, Wang, & Shen, 2009).

The actual presentation of the affective dimension in learning is the spirit. Barsade, Brief, and Spataro(2003) contemplate affect as a trait which is a stable and long-lasting tendency. If there is a spiritual metaphor for learners to emulate, which indicates the affective contents in the web-based learning environment, there would be a positive effect for the development in online learning, as what Bangert-Drowns & Pyke(2001) mentioned, truly engaged learners are behaviourally, intellectually, and "emotionally" involved in their learning tasks. According to Erkkila (2000), in addition to its common application to commercial activity, the term of the entrepreneurship can also be applied to personality traits. That is, by taking "entrepreneurship" as a spiritual metaphor, making this term as a learning model is possible in the learning process based on our consideration that a successful learner is one who 1) actively engages in and focus on the learning task, as an entrepreneur actively managing his business; 2) accumulates experience to facilitate his learning, as an entrepreneur accumulating the total capital to grow and expand his business; 3) strives for learning achievement, as an entrepreneur striving for making financial profits; 4) trains himself to be creative in one's learning process, as an entrepreneur displaying the innovative ideas while running his business; at last, 5) shares his achievements with peers, as an entrepreneur sharing the entrepreneurial achievement with the public and benefiting the society.

This entrepreneurial metaphor might provide a learning model for learners, and some of the traits might equip learners the attitude for achieving successful learning. Take the project-based learning in web-based learning for example, it requires learners investing lots of time and efforts to engage in (Krajcik, Blumenfeld, Marx, & Soloway, 1994), which easily leads learners to their abstention and distraction if lacking a positive attitude and perseverance. With the accentuation upon the entrepreneurial metaphor, an online learner must take the responsibility for success and failure in his or her learning, devoting him- or herself to make it as a successful entrepreneur. After all, Shane, Locke, and Collins(2003) have concluded that technology could be useless without a proper policy. In terms of web-based learning, a well-designed system or activity might be useless without learners' determination and exertion in their independent learning.

Finding a suitable metaphoric term is simply a beginning, for identifying the specific and helpful traits are even more important. Compared to the traditional learning context, the change of learning style in web-based environment is mainly based on the different access to the media, the taught knowledge and learning itself are of little difference. In short, developing a future application for cultivating relevant attitudes to the spirit of entrepreneurship and constructing the specific entrepreneurship traits extracted from traditional practices could be possible at the present stage. In the traditional contexts, some individual traits and attributions in learning, such as the motivation, engagement, etc. …

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