Module 6 : Learning in a Digital World
Conversations about online learning, face-to-face learning, and blended learning are ubiquitous. Equally prevalent are debates pitting one method of learning modality against another. Perceptions of which type of environment, online, face-to-face, or blended, is recognized as valuable and credible, even in the wake of online courses and blended courses offered by some of America’s Ivy League schools, are equally diverse. In a recent conversation with a Professor of Marriage and Family Counseling who teaches graduate courses exclusively online, she postulated that the notion that degrees obtained online are “bought and sold” is a real-world issue. I found this perception puzzling, considering accrediting standards for curriculum in colleges and universities across the country, brick and mortar or otherwise, mirror one another. In addition, informal conversations with students in each of the three environments at different times in their academic journey revealed they were less concerned with the format in which they completed their instruction, rather more concerned with the kinds of instruction and interaction they received. Complementing this notion is Paechter and Maier’s (2010) study which revealed that when students were required to collaborate on assignments and form shared opinions or solutions, they advocated for face-to-face learning. On the other hand, they preferred online learning “for the dissemination of information and the fast online feedback” (Paechter & Maier, 2010, pp. 295-296). Echoing these sentiments that students learn when the three distinct components converge,McGuire’s (2010) study found that “the most important component across all course delivery modalities [was] course content; outstanding advanced technology and instructor competence and the ability to “connect” with students have little impact if course content material does not facilitate and reinforce the learning experience.” From these findings, it is clear that a constant truism is that learners in online environments, face-to-face environments, and blended environments thrive when content is engaging.
As we segued into other pertinent issues in education, namely what type of content must be included in all delivery modalities, essential learner outcomes, and the best conditions for learning in any environment, it occurred to me that the ideas I posited, my philosophy of learning, parallel constructivism greater than other learning theories. These critical, non-negotiable beliefs are rooted in the fact that students learn best in an environment enriched with the interactions of others. Simply put, these environments are replete with activities that enable students to construct their own knowledge. The premise that the process is more important than the product is a key focus in this student-centered classroom. Driscoll (2005) argued that constructivist theorist Jerome Bruner believed that in order for knowledge to transfer, there must be progressively sophisticated interactions with others that are encoded and processed within the learner. In addition, transfer is based on experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn. As such, I believe instruction must be facilitated by building onto what the learner already knows which should begin by exploring student interests.
That’s my take, Linette
Check out this interesting blog on face-to-face and online learning.http://www.edutopia.org/blog/blended-online-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron
Here’s a link to a YouTube video demonstrating effective blended model learning strategies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duAw-2mCbWo
Driscoll, M . P (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed). Boston: Pearson
Education Week. (2012, March 9). Blended learning, real teaching. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duAw-2mCbWo
Manuela Paechter, M., & Maier, B. (2010). Online or face-to-face? Students’ experiences and preferences in e-learning. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 292–297. Retrieved from http://works.bepress.com/chad_mcguire/17/
McGuire, C. J. (2010). An Analysis of Student Self-Assessment of Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face Learning Environments: Implications for Sustainable Education Delivery. International Education Studies, Education Studies, 3 (3), 35-40. Retrieved from
Wolpert-Gawron, G. (2011, April 28). Blended learning: Combining face-to-face and online education. [Web log post]