UOC organised a research seminar on Theories for learning with emerging technologies on 15 September 2016, presented by Dr Terry Anderson. These are my notes from the seminar:
Part A: Theories to Guide Online Research
Need for theories: necessary for scholarship, extend past learning, project to future research and practice
Traditional theories of educational technology
- Presentational view – present content using quality presentation – xMOOCs, YouTube, Khan Academy
- Performance-tutoring – present contest but also test and reinforce – cognitive behavioural theories, instructional systems design
- Epistemic-Engagement view – social learning – social constructivism, peer learning
- Online Social Constructivism – active engagement, net presence (building trust), multiple perspectives and sustained dialogue, scaffolding, authentic tasks (relevance), problems are ill-structured and open-ended.
- Challenges of social constructivism: group-based, pace and time limited, teacher-controlled?, little room for introverted, individual learners.
Distance Education Theories
- Transactional Distance Theory (Moore) – structure and dialogue and learner autonomy
- Theory of Instructional Dialogue (Caspi & Gorski)
- Community of Inquiry (Garrison et al) – Social presence, teaching presence, cognititve presence
Business and Organisational Theories
- Systems theory – components of distance education, beyond teaching and learning
- Complexity theory – parts of systems affect each other, emergence and unanticipated events, importance of context
- Heutagogy (Hase & Kenyon)– self determined learning
- Connectivism (Downes & Siemens) – knowledge distributed across a network of connections.
- Connectivist learning requires network effects, persistence and accessibility (extends beyond the course)
- Challenges – requires net literacy, openness can be scary, new roles for students and teachers, can be manic.
- Social aggregation makes a difference – individuals (behaviourism, cognitivism) > groups (social constructivism) > networks/sets (share an interest, but not necessarily a social connection) (connectivism)
Part B: Paradigms & Online Learning Research
- Philosophical/theoretical framework of a discipline or common set of beliefs about how problems can be understood and addressed, a worldview
- Informs questions, literature and methodology
- Paradigm: Ontology + Epistemology + Methodology
- Ontology: view of reality and what exists e.g. realist, critical realist, relativist
- Epistemology: our relationship with the knowledge we are discovering/uncovering – knowledge governed by laws of nature (objective) or interpreted by individuals (subjective)
- Methodology: how you go about finding knowledge (quantitative, qualitative)
- Types: Positivism, Constructivist, Critical, Pragmatist
Research Paradigms – Positivist
- Ontogoloy: There is an objective reality, we can understand it through the laws by which it is governed
- Epistemology: Scientific discourse derived from positivism and realism
- Method: Experimental, deduction, randomised control trials, only measures what you can with scientific accuracy, based on hypotheses
- Research questions: what? How much? Relationship between? Causes?
- Evaluation: validity and reliability
- Examples: Community of Inquiry content analysis, Meta-analysis
Research Paradigms – Constructivist / Interpretivist
- Ontogoloy: World and knowledge created by social and contextual understanding
- Epistemology: Understand a unique person’s view
- Method: Qualitative (narratives, interviews, observations, ethnography, case study)
- Research questions: why? Lived experience? Meaning have?
- Most common type of DE research but more difficult with distance between researchers and participipants
- Evaluation: Credibility, transferability, dependability, engagement
- Example: participants views of delivering online courses
Research Paradigms – Critical / Postmodern
- Ontogoloy: Society rife with inadequacies and injustice
- Epistemology: Uncover injustice and empower citizens
- Method: Ideological review, civil actions
- Research questions: who has power? Vested interest? Who is excluded? How can I change this?
Research Paradigms – Pragmatism
- Ontogoloy: Truth is what is useful
- Epistemology: Best method is one that solves problems
- Method: Design-based research, mixed methods
- Research questions: will this intervention improve learning?
- Features: intervention, natural context, iterative, development of theory