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A Theoretical Framework for Effective Online Learning



A key, overarching goal for any committed educator is to ensure that the learner has a meaningful and memorable learning experience while achieving the desired learning outcomes. In this paper it is argued that in order to achieve such a goal, a strategy needs to be put in place that is capable of providing students with a fully integrated, all-encompassing learning environment. The reasoning, simply, is that learning will not necessarily emanate from one specific source and when it happens, it will occur through different means, for different people. One of the great strengths of the online learning space is that, harnessing the power of the various information and communication technologies (ICTs), there is greater scope for catering for individual learning needs. With this in mind, the paper puts forward a framework that comprises a number of overlapping ‘sub-environments’ which, together, provide the scaffolding considered essential for the construction of a truly holistic learning environment. To illustrate how this framework for effective online learning can be operationalised, the authors refer to the case of Universitas 21 Global, an institution which offers completely online programs to post-graduate students in more than 40 countries around the world.
No. 009/2005
October 2005
A Theoretical Framework for
Effective Online Learning
Sarah Teo & Jeremy B. Williams
A Theoretical Framework for Effective Online Learning
Sarah Teo Siew Chin, Universitas 21 Global, Singapore 1
Jeremy B. Williams, Universitas 21 Global, Singapore 2
A key, overarching goal for any committed educator is to ensure that the learner
has a meaningful and memorable learning experience while achieving the
desired learning outcomes. In this paper it is argued that in order to achieve
such a goal, a strategy needs to be put in place that is capable of providing
students with a fully integrated, all-encompassing learning environment. The
reasoning, simply, is that learning will not necessarily emanate from one
specific source and when it happens, it will occur through different means, for
different people. One of the great strengths of the online learning space is that,
harnessing the power of the various information and communication
technologies (ICTs), there is greater scope for catering for individual learning
needs. With this in mind, the paper puts forward a framework that comprises a
number of overlapping ‘sub-environments’ which, together, provide the
scaffolding considered essential for the construction of a truly holistic learning
environment. To illustrate how this framework for effective online learning can
be operationalised, the authors refer to the case of Universitas 21 Global, an
institution which offers completely online programs to post-graduate students in
more than 40 countries around the world.
Online delivery of education can no longer be regarded as a fad or the realm of
the nerd. The point of departure in this paper is that after centuries of very little change,
we are now on the brink of a major paradigm shift; a key factor being the ‘disruptive
technology’ of eLearning (Hart & Christensen 2002). This development is to be
welcomed because of the vast opportunities it presents to people who are currently
poorly served, or not served at all by educational institutions. However, while the
benefits of this technology-facilitated liberation of education are well-documented (see,
for example, Williams & Goldberg 2005), eLearning continues to suffer from the
‘Shangrila’ syndrome – people talk about it but they do not know how to get there. One
of the reasons for this is that eLearning, while now firmly established in practice, is still
in its infancy as a science. It is possible to draw to a certain extent on the distance
eduction literature, but as Calvert (2005: 227) observes, ‘its models and methods are
under challenge by the online revolution’. A grand unifying theory of eLearning thus
1 Sarah Teo Siew Chin is Director, Learning Design at Universitas 21 Global.
2 Jeremy B. Williams is Associate Professor in eLearning, and Director, Pedagogy and Assessment at
Universitas 21 Global. He is also Adjunct Professor in Economics at Brisbane Graduate School of
remains elusive and eLearning practitioners continue to operate largely on the basis of
trial and error (Nichols 2003).
This paper represents a modest attempt to contribute to the fledgling body of
knowledge with respect to eLearning theory. It puts forward a ‘holistic learning
environment’ framework that is neither grand nor unifying, but one that is useful in
terms of organising one’s thinking when contemplating online learning design.
Comprising a number of overlapping ‘sub-environments’, this framework provides the
scaffolding that the authors consider essential for the construction of a truly integrated
and effective online learning environment.
The ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’, of course, and to demonstrate how
this theoretical framework can be operationalised, the authors refer to the case of
Universitas 21 Global (U21G), a completely online institution offering degree-level
courses to over 1000 post-graduate students in more than 40 countries around the world.
The flagship program is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program which
has been offered since mid-2003. The learning design for this program is based on the
theoretical framework described in this paper.
U21G ( is an online graduate school owned by 16
member universities of Universitas 21 consortium (
(McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Virginia, University
of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of
Nottingham, Lund University, University of Freiburg, University of Melbourne,
University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Auckland,
National University of Singapore, University of Hong Kong, and Fudan University)
and the world’s largest publisher, Thomson Learning (
As long-established and highly reputable institutions, the universities are particularly
concerned with preserving their international reputations, hence, a separate external
quality assurance body, U21pedagogica (U21p) ( has
been set up to monitor quality control. This has had a very strong bearing on the
direction taken by U21G to the extent that there has been absolutely no compromise on
quality. The institutional culture that has developed as a consequence is captured by the
oft-quoted phrase within U21G: “someone has to get it right, and it might as well be
us!”. This sentiment takes on greater significance, of course, in the context of a number
of celebrated eLearning failures (e.g. UKeU; NYU online; and Fathom).
The target audience for the MBA program are working adults, the large
majority of whom hold middle management positions. The average age of students is
35 years old, average work experience is 11 years, and the majority are married (72%).
No fewer than 83% travel to other countries in the course of their jobs. These students
tend to fall into two camps: (i) individuals who are highly motivated having selected
U21G from a list of possible educational providers; and (ii) employees of corporations
which have selected U21G to provide educational programs to suit internal corporate
management development objectives. The latter category of students tend to be
motivated as much by external factors, such as their company’s policy on graduate-
level continuing education and promotion, or social factors within the organisation.
These characteristics have been taken into consideration in the design of the
courseware and the learning environment that is provided for the students. It is not just
a question of delivering online courseware and letting the student ‘sink or swim’. There
is a determination to provide these adult distance learners with a holistic environment
in which knowledge is presented in an authentic context with the settings and
applications that would be of immediate relevance to him or her. In this environment,
learning is acquired through opportunities for reflection, active construction of
knowledge as well as by means of social interaction and collaboration.
The U21G learning design considers the principles of adult learning, the
distance learner and their learning styles. From the work of Rogers et al (1994), Cross
(1981) and Knowles (1984), common principles are identified applicable to adult
Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is relevant to the
personal interests of the learner.
Adult learning programs should capitalise on the experience of participants.
There is a need to explain why specific things are being taught.
Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the instruction.
Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.
Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to
their job or personal life.
Adult learning is problem-centred rather than content-oriented.
In addition, the U21G model also incorporates the requirements of an adult
learner when he or she learns from a distance. In these circumstances, isolated and
faced with many competing interests on their time such as family commitments and
work in the office, the element of motivation is a crucial issue. Major challenges
include the lack of face-to-face communications with classmates and professor, and the
absence of an instantaneous response. In an effort to overcome these challenges, a key
element of the U21G learning design is opportunity for regular interaction, be it
accessing self-assessment exercises, Macromedia Flash animations, simulations and
hyperlinked multimedia, or engaging in asynchronous discussion with fellow students
and professors. The goal, simply, is to ensure that learning is meaningful and focused,
and that the learner ‘stays the course’ as a result of becoming motivated to take
responsibility for their own learning. Importantly, this occurs while remaining very
much connected with a learning community in which students’ motivation of one
another to progress becomes a daily phenomenon. In the process, the self-esteem of the
learner is maintained and increased as they proceed through the course.
The strategy, therefore, is to ensure that the learner has a meaningful and
memorable learning experience while achieving the desired learning outcomes. To this
end, U21G is committed to providing a holistic learning environment; a fundamental
assumption being that learning will not necessarily emanate from one specific source
and that when it happens, it will occur in diverse ways, for an equally diverse group of
people. In such a holistic learning environment, the following scaffolding is considered
essential: the instructive environment, the situating environment, the constructive
environment, the supportive environment, the communicative environment, the
collaborative environment, and the evaluative environment (Teo 2003). These ‘sub-
environments’ are designed within, outside and around the courseware, the onus being
on the transfer of knowledge to the learner’s current or future work setting, as opposed
to a learning of knowledge within the confines of subject content. In so doing, students
can cultivate the habits of effective managers: reading, reflecting, analysing,
communicating, debating, collaborating and providing recommendations about future
The basic element in learning – the content – is developed according to specific
learning needs and achievable objectives. These are essential components of a
meaningful learning experience, providing learning satisfaction and motivation for
moving on to complete the whole subject. This is treated very seriously at U21G, to the
extent that each topic normally ends with a summary of the knowledge learnt which
serves as a ‘take-away’ for the learner.
Domain knowledge is provided by leading academics from around the world
drawn largely (but not exclusively) from the U21 universities. These people are experts
who are intimately acquainted with the current trends and global developments in their
discipline areas. Significantly, the content ultimately produced amounts to a little more
than text outlining concepts and theories. Various instructional strategies are employed
using appropriate media (graphics, animation, simulated scenarios and exercises) to
bring this text to life. Supported with real cases and examples of business successes and
failures, the domain knowledge is thus presented to the students in a highly engaging
manner that serves to facilitate their learning.
Overall, the emphasis is on the application of the concepts and theories to real
life situations. In terms of Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive objectives (Bloom 1956),
learners are exposed to learning outcomes that contribute to knowledge and
comprehension, to application and analysis, but more often to synthesis and evaluation.
Learning activities are designed to ensure that the learner grasps the knowledge easily,
retains the knowledge for a longer period, and is capable of transferring the knowledge
through application in a real world situation. To do this effectively, U21G provides the
learner with situating and constructive environments, in the form of cases, discussion,
in summative final projects, and even in final examinations.
At U21G it is considered important that subject content not be treated as
something self-contained, quite separate and independent of the situations in which it is
learned and used. The activity and context in which learning occurs is, in fact, an
integral part of the process rather than something ancillary to learning. In other words,
‘knowing what’ and ‘knowing how’ go ‘hand in hand’.
The model of situated cognition is based upon the notion that knowledge is
contextually situated and is fundamentally influenced by the activity, context, and
culture in which it is used (Brown et al 1989). Learners need more than abstract
concepts and generic examples – they need ‘full-blooded’, authentic activity.
This is acknowledged in the U21G case, in that the transfer of knowledge from
the instructive environment to the real-life environment is made concrete by situating
the learner in the environment of their own culture and context through authentic
activities. Embedded within these authentic activities are the working practices and
culture of the real world, which serve to initiate the learner in ways that would not be
possible in a more traditional learning environment. Situating learning allows the
student to gain a better appreciation of the unstructured nature of real world problems,
and how to go about breaking down the task into operations, and then to actions.
Importantly, at the conclusion of each simulated situation, the learner is brought back to
the key learning objectives through a closing summary. This allows for reflection and
reinforcement of the lessons learnt.
In an increasingly dynamic international business environment, U21G is
conscious of the need to situate the learner in a multi-cultural setting. To this end, there
is a commitment to make subjects truly international, where necessary providing a
counter-balance in the courseware to any perceived US or Euro-centricity that may
evident in the prescribed text book for a subject. This commitment extends beyond the
use of international examples and cases to scenario design, where there is an attempt to
strike a good balance in terms of the race and ethnicity of the characters in animations
and simulations. Whenever audio is used, there is also a determination to select voice-
over with an accent that is not readily identifiable with any particular country. As
suggested by those advocating situated cognition, care is taken to ensure that the
learning scenarios devised by U21G are varied in format and style to avoid the danger
of ‘over-situating’.
In keeping with the burgeoning academic literature on constructivist learning
that has come to dominate mainstream educational thinking, particularly over the last
decade or so, U21G is firmly of the view that learners should not be passive receptacles
of information. Led by Marton and Säljö (1976a, 1976b), Biggs (1987, 1993) and
Ramsden (1992), this educational philosophy posits that meaning is not imposed or
transmitted by direct instruction, rather it is created (constructed) by the students’
learning activities. This perspective diverges from the instructivist (objectivist) view of
education that presumes knowledge exists independently of the knower, and that
understanding is coming to know what already exists. The constructivists argue that
deep learning will occur only when the learner is actively engaged in, operating upon,
or mentally processing, incoming stimuli. In short, constructivism focuses on
knowledge construction, not knowledge reproduction (Herrington and Standen 2000).
Collins and Ferguson (1993) propose epistemic tools be the basic building
blocks for knowledge construction to help learners recognise, judge and organise
patterns of information, and engage in constructive inquiry. These epistemic forms (or
‘target structures’) appear in the U21G courseware in the way of interactive exercises,
such as listing, development of comparison tables, and mind-mapping.
The constructivist philosophy is also evident in the case-based, problem-solving
approach favoured by U21G. The main vehicles for student learning within this context
are contributions to discussion forums and the assignments that students work on. As
they engage in learning activities, U21G students construct their own knowledge, but
also return this newly constructed knowledge back to the system, adding to the
knowledge base (Looi 1998). Exhaustively-debated discussion topics provide students
with the chance to constantly refine their knowledge as they share in one another’s
experiences of successful and failed projects, boardroom battles, and other ‘war stories’.
There are opportunities to learn from mistakes too as students compare their efforts in
assignments against those of their peers identified as exemplary works and published
for public view. Overall, the structure of the learning design is such that it capitalises
on the vast collective experience of adult learners, serving as context-rich simulated
scenarios and case studies in their own right.
The learning activities in any given subject at U21G culminate in the final
assessment item – the open-book, open-web (OBOW) examination
( This serves as the capstone
on the building blocks for knowledge construction. Unlike the traditional examination
instrument found in many higher education settings, here too, there is a concern for
authenticity of inquiry and the learner's work culture and context (Williams 2005).
To summarise, the constructive environment, in concert with the instructive and
situating environments, provides a cohesive setting for learning to the extent that the
acquisition of new knowledge, its application, and its transfer to different contexts is
made as seamless as possible.
There are two basic categories of support available to assist learners in their
accomplishment of learning outcomes: performance support and cognitive support.
Performance support comes in the form of tools for the execution of certain tasks that
are required for achieving certain objectives, either specific to a topic or segment of
study, or general to the subject or course. Examples of such tools include management
software, cost-calculation tools, project scheduling tools, tables of formulae and
economic status tables, all of which are standard features of the U21G model.
Cognitive support is provided mainly by people who supply the coaching,
mentoring and feedback to the learner. Given the adult learning context of U21G, this is
not limited to the professor. Once a learner establishes and builds upon their knowledge
base, they can assist with the development of others without necessarily having to first
acquire ‘expert‘ status. Students learn from many different sources and while the
professor is one such source, U21G students are actively encouraged to take advantage
of one another’s expertise; expertise that they have acquired through their experience of
different roles and responsibilities.
Further cognitive support is provided through the e-resources that are available,
literally and metaphorically, at the students’ fingertips. Each subject has its own
subject-specific library where, for example, all companies discussed, journals used, and
associations mentioned in the course of a subject are systematically listed for easy
reference. Hyperlinks to respective websites are also included in the list. In addition,
students have an option to add such frequently visited links to their own personalised
online library.
While performance and cognitive support is provided through the courseware,
through peers, and through professors, the ‘time-poor’ adult distance learner also needs
easily accessible pastoral support to assist with any personal challenges they may
encounter. Technical support to minimise technological disturbances to their learning
experience is also of paramount importance. To this end, the U21G Student Services
provide proactive support, together with other relevant departments in the organisation.
Distance education has long been associated with the notion of the ‘hermit
learner’, and an experience akin to the ‘loneliness of the long distance runner’; i.e. a
student learns on their own, largely remote from other learners. As people, generally
speaking, are social beings with a sense of belonging, it is possible to become alienated
from the learning process if interaction with other learners is minimal. In such
circumstances, the communicative environment takes on added importance.
At U21G, there has been a determination to deliver a brand of distance
education that embraces the communicative environment to the extent that, while a
student may be in a remote location, they should not feel remote from their fellow
learners. The courseware, throughout, is written in a ‘conversational’ style to create a
more personal and approachable interface for the student. Email and threaded
discussion, meanwhile, form the bedrock of the U21G communicative environment,
aided and abetted by the increasingly widespread use of instant messaging and audio-
conferencing (with the option of web-cams), all of which have contributed to
development of a buoyant and energetic community of learners.
The mere existence of such tools does not mean, of course, that there will
necessarily be active participation by all concerned, but the proactive stance taken by
the faculty and student support services at U21G has served to create a culture where
this is the norm rather than the exception. To this end, the attrition in the MBA program
is around 5 per cent over a two-year period, when distance education is notorious for
high drop-outs rates, particularly in the case of the more traditional, paper-based
programmes. Active personal guidance through feedback from professors and support
staff that is timely and constructive is critical in this regard: there is an expectation that
emails will be attended to within 24 hours, learners are assured of the receipt of
assignments submitted to the professors, and evaluation of the submitted assignment is
provided to the learners with a seven day turnaround.
Working in teams has become a common feature of modern workplaces (Senge
1990). As a result, many tertiary institutions have sought to develop this particular
generic skill among their graduates. Aside from its perceived value in the world of
business and commerce, there appears to be little argument about the value of working
in teams from a pedagogical point of view because of the benefits that accrue from peer
learning (Kadel & Keehner 1994).
At U21G, team work is an integral part of the curriculum. Groups are not just a
convenient way to aggregate the individual knowledge of their members. They give
rise, synergistically, to insights and solutions that may otherwise have not come about.
This mode of problem solving is therefore regarded as a critical source of scaffolding
for learners in the knowledge acquisition process.
End of segment assignments and final projects are designed to promote
collaboration among learners, and there is dedicated work space for teams to make
announcements, engage in threaded discussion, and share files. It is not assumed,
however, that all students will be willing or able to work effectively in teams. To this
end, tips on how to work successfully in online teams are provided wherever
collaboration is required. The collaborative environment is, of course, highly
contingent upon the communicative environment, and vice versa. The completion of
team assignments provides an all important social dimension to learning, but this can be
counter-productive if the collaborative and communicative environments are ineffectual.
At U21G, formal and informal formative evaluations take place throughout any
given subject. There are pre-content exercises to let learners gauge the level of their
expertise before engaging with the content, there are exercises after an expository topic
to allow learners to practice the principles learnt, and there are discussion topics and
review questions to foster critical and constructive evaluation of one’s thinking.
Assignments, both individual and collaborative, are assessed by the professor. Self-
assessment at the end of each topic helps the learner to check their own understanding
before moving on to the next topic.
All these mechanisms are designed to provide the learner with a consistent and
accurate indication of their progress in the course. Adult learners place emphasis on
learning effectiveness to ensure that what is learnt is of immediate relevance to their job
or personal life. Here, again, the situating and constructive environments play an
important role.
For evaluation of all collaborative work, team members are required to
complete peer assessment at the conclusion of the project. The peer assessment tool
(which draws on SPARK ( developed by
the University of Technology, Sydney) determines the individual’s share of the team
grade. If it is clear that there is value in peer learning, and there are learning objectives
about students’ ability to work as part of a team, then there has to be some effective
means of assessing teamwork.
The main objective of this paper has been to contribute to the theoretical debate
on eLearning. As a relatively young and evolving science we may be some way off
anything resembling a grand unifying theory of online learning, but some sort of
theoretical superstructure is clearly required if eLearning is to truly ‘come of age’. This
paper represents a modest attempt on the part of the authors to add some momentum to
this theoretical inquiry. The case study of U21G has been used to illustrate how, within
an institutional culture characterised by its strong commitment to quality assurance, it is
possible to develop a successful eLearning model by design rather than by accident.
Significantly, the holistic learning environment framework described above has
produced a sustainable model for eLearning. The program of study that has grown from
it is proving to be popular with the adult distance learners U21G aims to attract largely
because it caters for the diverse needs of individual students. In such an environment,
learning is acquired through opportunities for reflection, active construction of
knowledge, as well as by means of social interaction and collaboration. The careful and
deliberate consideration given to the planning and design of the learning events so that
the various sub-environments are integrated and blended makes for an authentic and
meaningful learning experience.
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Universitas 21 Global is the world's pre-eminent online
graduate school, designed to meet the needs of
individuals and corporations in the 21st century. It is a
joint venture between Universitas 21, an international
network of distinguished research-led universities, and
Thomson Learning, a worldwide provider of tailored
learning solutions for businesses and institutions.
More details about Universitas 21 Global can be found at
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... concludes that blended learning can be seen as an successful approach to distance learning in terms of learning experience, interaction between student and student as well as interaction between student and teacher and is likely to emerge in the future as the prevailing education model." (Teo & Williams, 2012)"In relation to eLearning theory, the paper represents a modest attempt to add to the emerging body of knowledge. It presents a 'holistic learning environment' paradigm that is neither grand nor unifying, but one that is useful when considering online learning design in terms of organizing one's thought.This system, consisting of a variety of overlapping 'sub-environments, provides the scaffolding that the authors consider necessary for creating a truly integrated and efficient online learning environment. ...
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COVID 19 pandemic has posed serious problems to the countries across the world. It has disrupted all the sectors of the Indian economy. Issues like social distancing, community transmission has necessitated closing down of the businesses leading to slow down in the economic activities of the nation. Educational sector can be regarded as most vulnerable to the problems of covid 19. Shutting down of schools and higher educational institutions has disrupted teaching learning process and created the need for alternative ways to enhance learning process. Digital learning is proposed as solution to replace offline classes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the students’ perception about virtual classes. The study seeks to understand benefits and limitations of virtual classes. The data required for the study is collected with the help of questionnaire from the students of higher educational institutes in Chennai city. The collected data were analyzed with the help of IBM SPSS and offers meaningful results that can be used as a basis for further research in the current area of study.
... While e-learning can no longer be regarded as new, a grand unifying theory of e-learning thus remains elusive and practitioners continue to operate mainly based on trial and error (Teo & Williams, 2005;Lashayo & Johar, 2018). A theoretical dimension of e-learning effectiveness built on the DeLone and McLean model Information Systems Success measurement also known as D&M Model (DeLone and McLean 1992; revised in 2016) and empirically validated with dimensions of content quality, system quality, service quality, learners' quality with regards to (extent of use and intention to use) and learners' satisfaction (Petter & McLean, 2009;Wang & Wang, 2009;Bindhu & Manohar, 2015). ...
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With the upsurge of Covid-19, many educational institutes at basic and post-basic levels had shifted the paradigm from top-bottom teaching and learning process, and passive to a more interactive, collaborative approach in which learners and instructor co-create the learning process. Thus, the goal of this paper is to explain and predict the endogenous construct of learners' satisfaction in the Partial Least Square (PLS) path model through four exogenous constructs namely; content quality, learners' quality, system quality, and service quality respectively. A non-experimental design of correlational research type was used. The sample consisted of 501 drawn senior secondary school students (K-12) of Lagos Central Senatorial District, Lagos State, Nigeria. Two instruments were used, and data obtained were subjected to a two-step technique to composite-based structural equation modeling; Measurement, and Structural model. Also, the construct validity and reliability were established using average variance extracted (AVE), heterotrait-monotrait ratio of correlations (HTMT), and MacDonald Omega. The significance of the hypothetical constructs' relationship was assessed using a structural model. The findings supported the hypothesized direct constructs relationship except for service quality. The authors conclude that in order to promote learners' satisfaction in online learning during Covid-19, it would be apt for school managers and instructors to direct efforts on the content quality, learners' quality, and system quality because they are essential ingredients in ensuring the satisfaction of online teaching. Consequently, it was recommended that both public and private schools should integrate these factors into their virtual teachings.
... Aunque los resultados de esta experiencia no nos permiten afirmar esto, sin embargo, apuntan en esta dirección y será necesario ir comprobándolo en sucesivos estudios. Nuestro programa se alinea con interesantes experiencias de programas completamente online para estudiantes de postgrado que ilustran bien cómo se puede poner en práctica este marco para un aprendizaje online efectivo (3,7). ...
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Resumen Introducción: La crisis Covid-19 supuso en marzo 2020 el cierre de las universidades del país, con interrupción total de actividad presencial. Para afrontar el último cuatrimestre 2019/20 en confinamiento, nuestra Facultad de Medicina elaboró y aplicó un Programa docente íntegramente online con un enfoque enfoque “autoregulativo” (enfocado al aprendizaje autónomo del alumno). Este estudio presenta las opiniones de profesores y alumnos. Métodos: Las características educativas del Programa OnLine Ante Covid19 (POLAC), para 1º y 2º cursos, estructuración, organización de la intervención y resultados académicos, han sido descritos en otro trabajo. Este estudio mediante encuestas online, explora opiniones de profesores y alumnos tras su desarrollo. Dos investigadores codificaron temática e independiente las respuestas abiertas obtenidas, clasificándolas en categorías. Resultados: Respondieron los 8 profesores implicados y un número variable por asignatura de alumnos, recibiéndose 234 cuestionarios (17%). Los alumnos destacan de positivo la optimización de recursos docentes utilizados, la utilidad de las herramientas online, especialmente autoevaluaciones y sistema de gestión de dudas. El desarrollo de las prácticas y aspectos propios de la presencialidad se destacaron como negativos. La dedicación de los profesores recibió comentarios tanto positivos como negativos. Los profesores resaltaron la potenciación de la autonomía del alumno, la utilidad de las herramientas online y la necesidad adicional de presencialidad. Conclusión: Globalmente, los comentarios positivos y negativos están en línea con las fortalezas y debilidades tanto de la enseñanza online como de enfoques docentes “autoregulativos”. Se precisan estudios de diseños más robustos para comprobar el alcance real de estos resultados.
... We broadly designed this course following the suggestions of Aparicio et al. (2016) and Dabbagh (2005) for e-learning in an online environment, employing a distributed learning pedagogical model and a strong emphasis on authentic learning activities, problem-solving, exploration, and hypothesis generation. To increase the efficacy of delivery, we also followed the suggestions of Chin and Williams (2006) by facilitating a constructivist learning environment, with a strong focus on interactive, online experiences. ...
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Threshold concepts can lead to higher discipline comprehension but may also lead to the formation of educational barriers. The acceptance of evolutionary theory, a threshold concept, may be impacted by barriers associated with a student's educational, religious, psychological, and social background. The objectives of this study were to examine the efficacy of teaching evolution online and to assess how educational barriers affect the acceptance of the theory. Pre- and post-semester surveys were distributed to students in a non-science major's online evolution course at a primarily minority-serving Catholic university to evaluate potential barriers and student's Measure of Acceptance of Evolution (MATE). MATE scores increased significantly by the end of the semester, suggesting that online platforms may be effective for evolution education. Learning barriers shifted during the semester: while reported religiosity remained unchanged, it was significantly correlated with MATE scores in the pre- but not post-surveys. Psychological and science understanding barriers were also significant predictors of MATE scores in the pre-survey, whereas only psychological and social barriers were significant in the post-survey. These results suggest that religiosity need not be impacted by evolution education and barriers associated with religiosity are not insurmountable and are reduced by the exposure to evolution education.
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Las instituciones de educación superior enfrentan grandes retos ante el surgimiento del COVID-19 que requieren el desarrollo de estrategias de retención, dada una situación sin precedentes. Para explorar dichos retos, se llevó a cabo una revisión de literatura en diversas bases de datos locales, nacionales e internacionales. A partir de la investigación realizada, se concluyó que existe una experiencia limitada del cambio de la modalidad presencial a la virtual, falta de recursos por parte de las instituciones y del estudiante y la capacidad del docente para enfrentar estos retos. De la misma manera, se encontró que las situaciones económicas forman parte de la problemática y del reto que enfrentan las instituciones ante el surgimiento de la pandemia. Una de las principales estrategias de retención de las instituciones de educación superior es el uso de la tecnología. Se destacó también, la necesidad de rediseñar los ambientes educativos, transformar el currículo, utilizar estrategias dinámicas y el trato individual de los estudiantes. Finalmente, en el caso de las estrategias de retención empleadas por los docentes, se destacó el trato al estudiante y su aspecto emocional.
The global outbreak of COVID-19, subsequent lockdown of universities, and suspension of on-campus learning have caught many higher educational institutions off-guard, challenging their ability to adapt to a new delivery system. Distance learning has come under the spotlight as the only option to avoid the disruption of the teaching-learning process irreversibly. The present study outlines the problems facing Ukrainian universities after the quarantine imposition due to the COVID-19 emergency. The research reveals that the emergency transition of Ukrainian universities to distance learning has not been smooth; both professor-tutors and students have been put at an unfair disadvantage. Additionally, the study intends to analyse the specifics of distance learning in the system of higher education of Ukraine in the emergency and activities of Ukrainian universities concerning the problems of transition to distance learning and utilisation of educational online platforms. An internet survey was conducted among Ukrainian university professor-tutors and students to explore the changes to the teaching-learning process under the COVID-19 emergency quarantine. Interviews with senior officials of leading Ukrainian universities were held to explore how they addressed the issue of the disruption of the education process due to the COVID-19 quarantine.
Conference Paper
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After centuries of little change, the role of the teacher as it has been traditionally defined and practiced is on the verge of becoming an anachronism. New and emerging pedagogies have harnessed the power of information and communication technologies bringing dramatic change in the educational landscape, transforming the breadth, depth and opportunities for learning. Significantly, those people who refer to themselves as 'teachers' are increasingly on the sidelines, not centre-stage. Learner-centricity is a key facet of the knowledge economy, which itself is characterised by learning organisations, learning management systems, and e-learning. Teaching, meanwhile, is becoming a peripheral activity. Some institutions have attempted to transplant the old model within the new by delivering didactic pre-recorded lectures and canned 'death-by-PowerPoint'. The 'learning' that has taken place is then evaluated within an assessment regime that has been largely unchanged for generations, not because of an extant literature that validates the assessment instruments and the assessment regime, but because these are the tools that have always been used. This paper reflects on past practice and rejoices at the focus on learners and learning and at the technologies and emerging pedagogies that provide profound and exciting learning opportunities for the future.
Part 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 1.Introduction 2.Ways if Understanding Teaching 3.What Students Learn 4.Approaches to Learning 5.Learning form the Student's Perspective 6.The Nature of Good Teaching in Higher Education 7.Theories of Teaching in Higher Education Part 2: Design for Learning 8.The Goals and Structure of a Course 9.Tecahing Strategies for Effective Learning 10.Assessing for Understanding Part 3: Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning 11.Evaluating the Quality of Higher Education 12.What Does it Take to Improve Teaching?
As multinationals unrelentingly seek new growth to satisfy shareholders, they increasingly hear concerns from many quarters about environmental degradation, labor exploitation, cultural hegemony and local autonomy. What is to be done? Must corporations' thirst for growth and profits serve only to exacerbate the antiglobalization movement? On the contrary, the authors say, a solution to this dilemma does exist. Companies can generate growth and satisfy social and environmental stakeholders through a "great leap" to the base of the economic pyramid, where 4 billion people aspire to join the market economy for the first time. This is not a question simply of doing the right thing in order to lift people out of poverty - although that will surely be a result of the leap the authors have in mind. From a senior executive's point of view, it's a matter of finding the most exciting growth markets of the future. It is also where the technologies that are needed to address the social and environmental challenges associated with economic growth can best be developed. The authors illustrate their point with examples of companies that are already profitably disrupting such industries as telecommunications, consumer electronics and energy production. Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002. All rights reserved.
Learning is now widely accepted as the currency of survival in an era of constant change. Many businesses, however, are struggling to learn how to learn. The cultural and structural issues they need to confront in order to acquire the flexibility and responsiveness to learn were articulated in 1990 in The Fifth Discipline by Peter M Senge of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Measuring Business Excellence revisits this now landmark work to review its continuing relevance to the aspirant learning organization.
Inquiry-oriented learning has been characterized and promoted from a variety of perspectives by researchers, educators and practitioners over the years [1–5]. Some have stressed the active nature of learner's involvement, associating inquiry with hands-on learning and experiential or activity-based instruction. Others have associated inquiry with a discovery approach or with the development of process skills associated with scientific methods. Yet others have emphasized promoting metacognitive knowledge and skills such as self-reflection and attitudes for inquiry. What role can technology play in facilitating these kinds of inquiry-oriented learning? We see at least a few ways in which technology in the form of interactive learning environments can enrich inquiry learning: 1) as instructive tools; 2) as constructive tools; 3) as communicative tools; and 4) as situating tools. We provide a discussion of current approaches to designing learning environments that support these roles. In particular, we descri...