Developing a Conceptual Framework for Research in Online K-12 Education. Michael Corry Julie Stella Bob Ianacone. Who We Are. Michael Corry , Distance Educator and Director, Center for the Advancement of Research in Distance Education (CARDE).
Developing a Conceptual Framework for Research in Online K-12 Education
Michael Corry, Distance Educator and Director, Center for the Advancement of Research in Distance Education (CARDE).
Julie Stella, Distance Educator and Technical Writer. Research Assistant, CARDE.
Bob Ianacone, Faculty Liaison to the George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS).
Created the Center for the Advancement of Research in Distance Education (CARDE). Chartered in March 2012.
CARDE is located on the Science and Technology campus of George Washington University and is part of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
A conceptual framework, which may lead to the development of many theoretical frameworks, can enhance online distance education research by explaining, “either graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied—the key factors, concepts, or variables—and the presumed relationships among them” (Miles and Huberman, 1994, p. 18).
A conceptual framework is particularly important in new areas of research to develop a solid foundation for growth and stability.
Our Framework has nine components: learners, teachers, materials, delivery, methodology, evaluation, administration, international, and history. The Framework can be used to connect researchers with existing knowledge in the field, gain a better understanding of key factors, concepts and variables, outline possible gaps in the research and provide a foundation for new research.
Learners are of tremendous importance to research and investigation in distance education because education programs exist primarily to serve learners.
Researchers have identified success traits such as independence, intrinsic motivation, highly developed technology skills, and strong time-management skills among online learners. As such, teachers are challenged to assist students in developing success traits so that all learners can succeed in distance education.
What types of students do well in an online learning environment and what types of students do poorly (success traits)?
Online learning and at-risk learners
Online learning and learners with disabilities
Online learning and advanced academic students (gifted & talented)
Development of social skills in online learning
Online learning in rural environments
Online learning class size
Researchers widely recognize the specialized skills necessary to teach online distance education courses.
Integral to the idea of specialized skills is the recognition that teaching online distance education courses is much more complex than simply taking face-to-face material and putting it online for student consumption.
Preparing teachers to teach in an online learning environment
Continued professional development for online teachers
Evaluation of online teachers
Unique needs and challenges for online teachers
Student teaching (internships/mentoring) in online learning
Online learning curriculum materials design and evaluation
Assessments in online learning
What topics can be taught well in an online learning environment and what topics cannot be taught so well?
Software in online learning
Barriers to the development of online learning materials
Online learning CMS use
Blended/hybrid delivery (combination of online and face-to-face learning)
Completely online learning vs. blended/hybrid learning vs. face-to-face learning
Synchronous vs. asynchronous online learning
Interaction in online learning.
Engagement in online learning.
Success factors and barriers in online learning for student, teacher, parent & administrator.
Effectiveness of online learning
Student and teacher evaluation in distance education environments
Quality indicators in online learning
Accreditation of online schools
Federal/state policy and legislation
Policies for approval & monitoring of online schools
Collaboration between schools in online learning
Administrator training & development to work in an online learning environment
Counseling in online learning
Administrative and technical support for online learning (admin and technology)
Delivery in different languages
Delivery in different cultures (differing barriers)
Accessing foreign markets
Support structures in foreign markets
Different learning styles in foreign markets
Replicating and learning from past research studies
Examining the historical basis for current distance education policies and practices
Longitudinal studies comparing historical data
While demand for online K-12 distance education grows, so to does the need for rigorous empirical research of its impact on teachers, learners, administrators, and other affected parties.
The nine-component conceptual Framework for Research in Online K-12 Distance Education is a categorized foundational structure, which may be of use to the academy and industry alike.
The Framework uses the strengths of general conceptual research frameworks by identifying key factors, concepts, relationships, prior research, and other studies .
The Framework adds the field-specific goals of establishing a common lexicon, empirically extrapolating research, and focusing on the design and analysis of online distance education.