What does your Personal Theory of Online Learning/Teaching connect to what you are examining in Distance Education research? How well supported does your personal theory feel? What research could you do in order to support your theory? What methods would you employ? Please share empirical studies you are starting to collect and detail what sort of citation management system or tool you will be using to organize your literature review (see Week 2 for resources related to this topic). Additionally, feel free to explain one or two supporting papers that align with how you are approaching your distance learning research for your study.
The focus of my Personal Theory of Online Learning/Teaching is how do the instructional designers of company based face-to-face (f2f) courses make the transition to an online or blended course presentation. This is of critical importance due to the situations that all students may not be able to participate in a f2f environment due to their job assignment or the cost of travel and housing for training is cost prohibitive. The courses could be presented as a live synchronous class, but in some instances the student may be located in an international country where the time zone is 12 hours opposite of the instructors teaching assignment. So there is a need to consider the flexibilities afforded by developing an online or blended course that has both synchronous and asynchronous components that best fit the students as well as the company’s instructional requirements.
Based on my study, my personal theory of inquiry is a constructivist world view. Constructivism or social constructivism “believe that individuals seek understanding of the world in which they live and work, where they develop subjective meanings of their experiences and meanings directed toward certain objects or things” (Creswell, 2009, p. 8). The environment in which the instructional designers work is an industrial setting where the course content is primarily focused on meeting engineering design requirements in a manufacturing operation. The constructivist theory directly applies to my planned research study in multiple ways (Creswell, 2009, p. 8): constructivist researchers address the processes of interaction among individuals and the researchers focus on specific contexts in which people live and work in order to understand the historical and cultural settings of the participants.
In my research I will employ a qualitative study where I will develop open-ended questions about their instructional design approaches related to both f2f and online courses. To support my research, I am identifying different journal resources that are being considered for use in my study. One of the journals entitled “The Graduate Virtual Classroom Webinar: A Collaborative and Constructivist Online Teaching Strategy” (Power & St Jacques, 2014), focuses on blended online learning designs and the use of a constructivist and collaborative approach to instruction. Another journal entitled “Towards constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments” (Huang, 2002), focuses on applying constructivism theory concepts to online course design to address adult learner needs.
I have installed the Zotero and Mendeley software on my computer, but I have as yet to start populating these applications. Now that I am collecting additional research journals I will be trying out one or both of these applications to determine which one supports my research efforts.
Creswell, J., (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Huang, H., (2002). Towards constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(1), 27-37.
Power, M. & St Jacques, A., (2014). The graduate virtual classroom webinar: A collaborative and constructivist online teaching strategy. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(4), 681-696.