Designing Web 2.0 based constructivist‐oriented e‐learning units

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  • Campus-Wide Information SystemsDesigning Web 2.0 based constructivistoriented elearning unitsChing Sing Chai Huay Lit Woo Qiyun Wang

    Article information:To cite this document:Ching Sing Chai Huay Lit Woo Qiyun Wang, (2010),"Designing Web 2.0 based constructivist#orientede#learning units", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 27 Iss 2 pp. 68 - 78Permanent link to this document:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10650741011033044

    Downloaded on: 05 November 2014, At: 05:35 (PT)References: this document contains references to 24 other documents.To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comThe fulltext of this document has been downloaded 762 times since 2010*

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10650741011033044

  • *Related content and download information correct at time of download.

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  • Designing Web 2.0 basedconstructivist-oriented e-learning

    unitsChing Sing Chai, Huay Lit Woo and Qiyun Wang

    National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

    Abstract

    Purpose The main purpose of this paper is to present how meaningful e-learning units can becreated by using an online tool called Meaningful E-learning Units (MeLU). The paper also aims todescribe how created e-learning units can be shared by teachers and students.

    Design/methodology/approach This tool can help to produce e-learning units that consist of sixcomponents: introduction context/scenario, activities, rules and roles, assessment, and concludingactivities. A sample of an e-learning unit called Creating Tessellations was created by using the tooland is presented in this paper.

    Findings It is easy to create e-learning units by using the MeLU tool as it provides a large numberof templates for teachers to choose. The tool also allows multimedia elements to be added to or deletedfrom the unit. Also, this tool enables teachers to share their e-learning units with others and tocustomize existing units for their use.

    Originality/value The proposed form of e-learning lessons could help to advance the integrationof ICT-enabled constructivist learning in schools. The potential to further enhance MeLUs capacityand to further develop it to incorporate Web 3.0 technologies are also discussed.

    Keywords E-learning, Communication technologies, Worldwide web, Software tools

    Paper type Research paper

    1. IntroductionCurrent advancement of Web 2.0 technologies has changed the ecology of the countlessusers of the internet dramatically. Creating web sites and web pages are now simplifieddrastically such that anyone who knows word processing is able to publish their workonline without any difficulty. Building on the affordances of the Web 1.0 technologies,pedagogical ideas such as Webquest (Dodge, 2007) and other forms of e-learning hasgained wide acceptance among educators for the past decade. With the current Web 2.0technologies, we believe that it is timely to propose more refined ideas about howteachers can create e-learning units that are highly customizable, sharable and open tofurther refinements (Wang, 2009). We propose e-learning may be constructed into unitsusing the constructivist paradigm and undergirded by the Jonassens framework ofmeaningful learning (Jonassen et al., 2008). In the following paragraphs, we explain ournotion of e-learning and the framework of meaningful learning before we illustrate howwe operationalize the idea into an e-learning unit.

    Based on Rosenbergs (2001) explication of e-learning, we delimit our notion ofe-learning as a broad collection of pedagogical solutions deliver through the internet toenhance human performance. The essential characteristic of e-learning is that it isnetwork-based, which facilitates immediate updating, storage/retrieval, sharing anddistribution of instruction or information.

    The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

    www.emeraldinsight.com/1065-0741.htm

    CWIS27,2

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    Campus-Wide Information SystemsVol. 27 No. 2, 2010pp. 68-78q Emerald Group Publishing Limited1065-0741DOI 10.1108/10650741011033044

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  • While e-learning is more commonly delivered through the internet, we argue thatonce an e-learning unit is created, it allows the instructors to use it both in the onlinedistance learning setting and offline face-to-face setting. In other words, an e-learningunit can be employed as learning resources for blended learning environments. As theunit is designed with online learning as an assumed condition, all instructions have tobe clearly articulated and the teaching and learning resources properly integrated.With this, when the e-learning unit is employed in a face-to-face setting, the instructorsare freed from explicit teaching and focus on facilitating learners learning. We foreseegreat potential in using e-learning units in the manner described to enhanceaffordances for learning.

    Research studies have shown that e-learning is an appropriate means to encourageself-directed learning and collaborative learning among learners, which are essentialqualities that learners need for twenty-first century learning (Liu, 2009; Osburg andTodorova, 2009). Vonderwell and Turners (2005) study indicates that the onlinelearning environment enhances pre-service teachers sense of self-direction byproviding them with more learner control. Song and Hill (2007) observe similar effectsof online learning, both in the cognitive and the metacognitive dimensions ofself-directed learning. Chai and Tans (2009) study, on the other hand, indicates thatengaging teachers in extended online discussion promote co-construction of knowledgeamong teachers. However, to reap the potential benefits of e-learning, there are somecrucial pedagogical considerations that have to be attended to. In the next section, wearticulate the framework of meaningful learning.

    2. Theoretical framework for constructing meaningful e-learning unitsConstructivism argues that learning is a process of active sense-making by theindividuals (Brooks, 2002). Social constructivism further emphasizes on the role ofcommunities and interactions among members for collaborative sense-making (Hungand Chen, 2006). In essence, both theories support that to facilitate meaningfullearning, the designed learning environments have to engage learners. In addition tothis, Jonassen et al. (2008) also articulate five essential characteristics of meaningfullearning with technology, they are authentic, constructive, active, intentional, andcooperative.

    Authenticity is the key enabler for the emergence of meaningful learning. It isusually assumed that real life problems are authentic but we argue that authenticityhas to be grounded in the learners own world and with reference to the topic to belearnt. Many real life problems are by nature authentic but they may not be relevant tothe learners. For example, using actual stock exchange figures is a good example forstudying the topic profits and losses in Mathematics but few students understand theoperations of the stock market let alone using it. Authentic learning occurs whenlearners are able to relate the real life problem to the subject matter in such way thatstudents become interested in solving the problem. Pedagogically, this means aninstructor must possess the ability to present authentic problems or identify theauthentic problems by negotiating with the learners to ensure that the learningassociated with the problems is meaningful.

    Authentic problems are usually complex and ill-defined (Brickell and Herrington,2006) and are solvable only when constructive, active, intentional, and cooperativeactivities are employed. Under such a setting, learners are likely to select strategies

    E-learning units

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