eLearning and the Designof Everyday Instruction Dr. Brad MehlenbacherTraining & Development (ACCE)NC State Universitybrad_m@unity.ncsu.eduwww4.ncsu.edu/~brad_m The Joseph D. Moore Chair Colloquium Series
The traditional classroom ... • “Just before an airplane breaks the sound barrier, sound waves become visible on the wings of the plane. The sudden visibility of sound just as sound ends is an apt instance of that great pattern of being that reveals new and opposite forms just as the earlier forms reach their peak performance” Adopted from: McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. NY, NY: McGraw-Hill, p. 27.Web-Based Education Commission (2000). The power of the Internet for learning: Moving from promise to practice. Report of the Web-Based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC. Available online: http://www.ed.gov/offices/AC/WBEC/FinalReport
... has been transformed • “Alienation from a natural milieu can be good for us and indeed is in many ways essential for full human life. To live and to understand fully, we need not only proximity but alsodistance…. Technologies are artificial, but — paradox again — artificiality is natural to human beings. Technology, properly interiorized, does not degrade human life but on the contrary enhances it” Adopted from: Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. NY, NY: Methuen, pp. 82-83. Web-Based Education Commission (2000). The power of the Internet for learning: Moving from promise to practice. Report of the Web-Based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC. Available online: http://www.ed.gov/offices/AC/WBEC/FinalReport
Alienation from a natural milieu • Most compelling rationale for a thorough investigation of eLearning is that eLearning by its very nature artificializes our definitions of • learning and the learner • instruction and its relationship to the classroom • resources and tools for instruction, and • the lifelong learning that pervades our professional and personal lives
Balancing proximity and distance • Just as electricity cannot be reduced to mere bits and bytes without a content, so too is it problematic to reduce learning to content, modules, objects, “infodelivery,” or “infoconsumption” • Technologies that distribute my classroom across time and space necessitate a re-articulation of what I value as natural about my non-distributed (“traditional”) classroom Adopted from: Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2000). The social life of information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School P.
Distribution and transformation Adopted from: Graduate course materials delivered via WebCT Vista at NC State University: Browser interface, Vista features, online course structure and organization, and the instructional materials (returning to “My WebCT” allows access to Discussion List).
Online theory versus practice • System administration challenge related to logging in • Privacy issues related to learner tracking mechanisms • Assignment submission difficulties • User interface problems • Difficulties simulating “traditional” classroom conversations • Simulations are not natural • Natural in the classroom is artificial • Access to shared resources and spaces • Lack of learner “control” in the traditional sense • Instructor learning curves that parallel learners’ curves • Containment of “course” across time and space • Nonfluidity of tools, content, and environment management • Nonstandard issues related to learner conduct online • Physical limitations with peripherals • Instructor monitoring of 24/7 nature of online course
A brief ... • November 20th, 1993 • Whitehouse publishes press release announcing creation of Mosaic (the first graphical browser and precursor to Netscape) • Described as the “digital cannon felt around the world” • World-Wide Web (WWW) proliferates at a 341,634% annual growth rate compared to Gopher’s 997% growth rate Adopted from: Zakon, R. H. (2005). Hobbes’ Internet timeline v8.1. Available online: http://www.zakon.org/robert/internet/timeline
History • December 19th, 2000 • Web-Based Education Commission urges new administration and 107th Congress to make eLearning centerpiece of national education policy • “The Internet is perhaps the most transformative technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in astonishing ways…. But for all its power, it is just now being tapped to transform education Adopted from: Web-Based Education Commission (2000). The power of the Internet for learning: Moving from promise to practice. Report of the Web-Based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC, 1. Available online: http://www.ed.gov/offices/AC/WBEC/FinalReport
... of eLearning • November 12th, 2004 • Sloan Survey of Online Learning reviews DE at 1100 universities • Almost 2 million students studying online, Fall 2003 • Online enrollments continue to grow at rates faster than overall student body Adopted from: Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2004). Entering the mainstream: The quality and extent of online education in the United States, 2003 and 2004. Needham, MA: Sloan-C. Available online: http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey04.asp
Audience pressures for eLearning • Evolving Learner Characteristics • 75 million adult learners (40% of population) • 87% of all youth (12-17 years old) use the Internet; 78% of those 21 million people report that they use the Internet at school • In March, 2000, 47 million Internet users have done research for school or training online; by September, 2002, number grew 34% to 63 million • 35% of all undergraduates are adult learners, and 70% of them are women Adopted from: Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005). Is it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the Net Generation. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the Net Generation (pp. 2.1-2.20). Available online: http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/ Hitlin, P., & Rainie, L. (2005) and Madden, M. (2003). “The Internet at School” and “America’s online pursuits: The changing picture of who’s online and what they do.” PEW Internet & American Life Project Reports. Available online: http://www.pewinternet.org/
Workplace pressures for eLearning • Changing workforce demands and knowledge-based economy • eLearning products and services estimated at 7.1 billion for 2000; less than 1% of $740 billion spent on education and training of all types in the United States • eLearning projected to reach $40.2 billion by 2005 • Between 2000-2003, e-purchasing grew 63% • Issues of globalization, accelerated processes, demographic changes, increased demand for “soft-skills” training in the workplace Adopted from: Van Buren, M. E., & Erskine, W. (2002). The 2002 ASTD state of the industry report: Executive summary. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training and Development. Hitlin, P., & Rainie, L. (2005) and Madden, M. (2003). “The Internet at School” and “America’s online pursuits: The changing picture of who’s online and what they do.” PEW Internet & American Life Project Reports. Available online: http://www.pewinternet.org/ Thompson, C., Ganzglass, E., & Simon, M. (2000). The state of e-learning in the states. National Governers Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices Report.
Technologies for eLearning • Correspondence courses or self-study • Postal delivery and paper-based • Audio- and Video-based correspondence • Systems-based distance education • Multimedia with phone • Desktop and WWW distance education • Multimedia and interactive WBI • Desktop audio- and video-conferencing • Simulation environments Adopted from: James, W. B., & Gardner, D. L. (1995). Learning styles: Implications for distance learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 67, 19-31.
We are not a trade school • Education versus Training • “… The standard Dean’s Cliché: ‘We are not a trade school.’ [We] do theory not practice, ‘education’ not ‘training,’ gentlepersonly preparation for the business of life, not raw knuckle plumber’s training for a life of business…. What sustains the ‘trade-school’ cliché is the four-year sequestration pattern, the idea that the purposes and problems of life can be postponed for four years while — in adolescense of all times — we philosophize upon them” Adopted from: Lanham, R. A. (2002). The audit of virtuality: Universities in the attention economy. In S. Brint (Ed.), The future of the city of intellect: The changing American university (pp. 159-180). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.
Resistance to competition • Learning from the training industry • “For nearly a decade now the ‘training’ sector has been larger than the ‘respectable’ [‘theory’ world of higher education]. It is clearly our main competitor and has been for a long time…. The ‘training’ world has much to teach us about the uses of educational technology, about bringing courses to market first and teaching them efficiently. And yet most academics do not even know that it exists” Adopted from: Lanham, R. A. (2002). The audit of virtuality: Universities in the attention economy. In S. Brint (Ed.), The future of the city of intellect: The changing American university (pp. 159-180). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.
Assuming educational leadership • Training future learning industries • “Distance learning programs are increasingly being implemented in a variety of organizations and academic settings, despite the limited amount of empirical research on their effectivenss” Adopted from: Burgess, J. R. D., & Russell, J. E. A. (2003). The effectiveness of distance learning initiatives in organizations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, p. 300.
Technology as tool versus ... • Media as delivery vehicles • Technologies are “mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition” • No significant difference • “The good news is that these no significant difference studies provide substantial evidence that technology does not denigrate instruction” Adopted from: Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53 (4), 445-259. Russell, T. L. (1999). The no significant difference phenomenon. Montegomery, AL: IDECC. Available online: http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/
Technology as mirror • “The digital medium is not a neutral conduit any more than print was…. The rhetoric of digital expression is already in use across academic life, at least in embryo, and its implications are clear enough and profound” Adopted from: Lanham, R. A. (2002). The audit of virtuality: Universities in the attention economy. In S. Brint (Ed.), The future of the city of intellect: The changing American university (pp. 159-180). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.
Things and what we think about things • “Conceptual thought undergoes a radical dramatization in the digital medium, dominated as it is by animation. It is not surprising that, in the digital medium, design, which works always at the interface between ‘things’ and ‘what we think about things,’ should emerge as the central rhetorical … discipline in an attention economy” Adopted from: Lanham, R. A. (2002). The audit of virtuality: Universities in the attention economy. In S. Brint (Ed.), The future of the city of intellect: The changing American university (pp. 159-180). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.
Sciences of learning • “… the sheer magnitude of human knowledge renders its coverage by education an impossibility; rather, the goal of education is better conceived as helping [learners] develop the intellectual tools and strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics, and the arts” • Learning becomes applied (e.g., learning-by-doing and examples-based learning) Adopted from: Bransford, J., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R., & National Research Council (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academies P, p. 5.
Models of cognition • Information-processing models of human cognition elaborate on • Comprehension • Integration of new information with existing knowledge structures • Active development of new connections between new information and the existing state of understanding, and • Elaboration toward a richer understanding of the subject matter in question Adopted from: Anderson, J. A. (1995). Learning and memory: An integrated approach. NY, NY: Wiley. Simon, H. A. (1979). Models of thought. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.
Designs for instruction • “Circulating human knowledge … is not simply a matter of search and retrieval, as some views of knowledge management might have us believe. While knowledge is often not all that hard to search, it can be difficult to retrieve, if by retrieve people mean detach from one knower and attach to another.” • Effective instruction involves the transmission of both declarative or conceptual knowledge (facts, concepts, principles) and procedural knowledge (tasks, actions) Adopted from: Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2000). The social life of information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School P. Strange, C. C., & Banning, J. H. (2000). Educating by design: Creating campus environments that work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (1997). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Designs for eLearning • All real-world design problems are ill-structured and “wicked” • Impossible for design processes to account for every aspect that might affect designed artifacts • Design must be treated as an evolutionary process, in which all stakeholders continue to learn new information and insights as the process unfolds Adopted from: Fischer, G. (1995). Distributed cognition, learning webs, and domain-oriented design environments. Proceedings of the CSCL’95 Conference. Indianapolis, IN. Available online: http://www-cscl95.indiana.edu/cscl95/fischer.html Moran, T., & Carroll, J. (Eds.). (1996). Design rationale: Concepts, techniques, and use. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p. 3. Rittel, H. W. (1984). Second-generation design methods. In N. Cross (Ed.), Developments in design methodologies. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Essential tensions • Tension between studying general design guidelines and principles derived from the research and in applying them to real design problems • Source of tension between “general advice” and “specific design problems” lies with the design process itself • Trial-and-error and testing for learning and doing Adopted from: Mehlenbacher, B., Bennett, L., Bird, T., Ivey, M., Lucas, J., Morton, J., & Whitman, L. (2005). Usable E-Learning: A Conceptual Model for Evaluation and Design. Proceedings of HCI International 2005: 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Volume 4 — Theories, Models, and Processes in HCI. Las Vegas, NV: Mira Digital P, 1-10. Perez, R. (1995). Instructional design expertise: A cognitive model of design. Instructional Science, 23 (5-6), 321-349.
Construction and argumentation • Design is at its core both constructive and argumentative • Design is constructive in that it demands synthesis • Design is argumentative in that design decisions must be justified, tradeoffs in alternative designs must be assessed critically, and others must be persuaded to adopt particular solutions Adopted from: Mehlenbacher, B., Bennett, L., Bird, T., Ivey, M., Lucas, J., Morton, J., & Whitman, L. (2005). Usable E-Learning: A Conceptual Model for Evaluation and Design. Proceedings of HCI International 2005: 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Volume 4 — Theories, Models, and Processes in HCI. Las Vegas, NV: Mira Digital P, 1-10.
Principles of everyday instruction • The merit of a theory “… depends upon its power for simplifying information, for generating new propositions, and for increasing the manipulability of a body of knowledge” • Make visible the important aspects of the system/theory • Map intensions to possible actions and actions to their effect on the system/theory • Anticipate physical, semantic, logical, and cultural constraints on the system/theory • Design for error (understand causes, undo them, think of system/theory as approximation of what is desired) Adopted from: Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP. Norman, D. A. (1990). The design of everyday things. NY, NY: Basic.
A framework for eLearning • Benbunan-Fich, Hiltz, & Harasim (2005): • Technology (mode, time dispersion, geographical dispersion, software functionality, reliability, media bandwidth) • Course (type, size, subject, institutional context) • Instructor characteristics (skills, effort, pedagogical model) • Student characteristics (motivation, ability, skills/knowledge, attributes, learning styles Adopted from: Benbunan-Fich, R., Hiltz, S. R., & Harasim, L. (2005). The online interaction learning model: An integrated theoretical framework for learning networks. In S. R. Hiltz & R. Goldman (Eds.), Learning together online: Research on asynchronous Learning Networks (pp. 19-37). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence, p. 24.
A model for eLearning • Jenkins’ (1978) model, reprinted by Bransford, et al. (2004): • Nature of content (modality, degree of connectedness, engagement) • Teaching and learning activities (lectures, simulations, hands-on problem solving) • Criterial tasks (recognition, recall, problem solving, transfer) • Characteristics of learner (knowledge, skills, motivation, attitudes) Adopted from: Bransford, J., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R., & National Research Council (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academies P, p. 212.
A taxonomy for eLearning • Grabinger (2004): • Learning (traditional ID versus sociocultural ID) • Roles of learners and teachers • Instruction and the environment • Use of tools Adopted from: Grabiner, S. (2004). Design lessons for social education. In T. M. Duffy & J. R. Kirkley (Eds.), Learner-centered theory and practice in distance education: Cases from higher education (pp. 49-60). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 51-53.
Meta-analysis of research on eLearning • Distributed across disciplines • All fields exploring implications of technology on objects of inquiry, methodologies, and instruction • Instruction is “owned” by all fields and disciplines • 10 graduate students have annotated approximately 200 empirical research articles (published after 1996) • Practice-driven, “boutique” studies • Examinations of technology integration without instructional transformation • Few references to the same research and little interdisciplinary replication Adopted from: Abbott, A. (2002). The disciplines and the future. In S. Brint (Ed.), The future of the city of intellect: The changing American university (pp. 205-229). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP. Mehlenbacher, B. Egan, S., & Barksdale, E. (2004). Managing Social Dynamics Online: Real world instructor-learner interaction. EdTech 2004: The Intersection of Learning and Technology. Raleigh, NC: NC State University.
Research clusters on eLearning • Information design • Computers and Composition, Information Design Journal, Journal of Digital Information, Journal of Visual Literacy • Distance and eLearning • Innovate, International Journal on eLearning, Internet and Higher Education, The American Journal of Distance Education • Educational, instructional, and communication technology • Computers and Education, Journal of Educational Computing Research, Journal of Research on Computing in Education • Human-Computer interaction and psychology • Cognitive Science, Computers in Human Behavior, Ergonomics • Training and development • Human Resource Development International, Instructional Science, International Journal of Training and Development • Education in the disciplines • Roeper Review, Journal of Agricultural Education, Journal of Engineering Education, Journal of Nursing Education, Medical Teacher
5 dimensions of instructional situations Adopted from: Mehlenbacher, B. (2002). Assessing the usability of online instructional materials. In R. S. Anderson, J. F. Bauer, and B. W. Speck (Eds.). Assessment strategies for the online class: From theory to practice (pp. 91-98). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Conclusions: eLearning fantasies • “There is no prior history or tradition for this strange half-real, half-fantasy learning space” (Polin) • “My own private fantasy is that much of standard teaching even at the university level could be left to the machines, and students could then explore the human side of it all — history, literature, philosophy, whatever — either with multimedia equipment or even with a teacher” (Ravetz) Adopted from: Polin, L. (2004). Learning with dialogue with a practicing community. In T. M. Duffy & J. R. Kirkley (Eds.), Learner-centered theory and practice in distance education: Cases from higher education (pp. 17-48). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Ravetz, J. R. (1996). The microcybernetic revolution and the dialectics of ignorance. In Z. Sardar & J. R. Ravetz (Eds.), Cyberfutures: Culture and politics on the information superhighway. NY, NY: New York UP, 42-60.
Conclusions: eLearning futures • “Perhaps the greatest problem one has in an experiment of this sort [teaching] is to keep out of the way” (Bruner) • “There is so much to talk about and to build” (Durlach) • “The equivalent of a fully equipped kitchen is sometimes very expensive to recreate” (Schank) • In the meantime, continue • Developing a comprehensive model for organizing and interpreting emerging research on eLearning, and • Generating and testing an heuristic tool for designing and evaluating eLearning environments Adopted from: Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP. Durlach, D. (1997). Affectionate technology. In P. E. Agre & D. Schuler (Eds.), Reinventing technology, rediscovering community: Critical explorations of computing as a social practice (pp. 249-258). Greenwich, CT: Ablex. Schank, R. C. (2005). Lessons in learning, e-learning, and training. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.