Design and training for implementation of constructivist-based distance learning environments
Mary Corwin Herring, Iowa State University, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, Iowa State University . Awarded
In response to societal shifts, K-12 teachers are attempting to design responsive, effective learning environments. A body of theory titled Constructivism has become increasingly important as a foundation for the design of learning environments that prepare students for the future demands of adulthood.
When knowledge is being constructed, the tools to support that construction become important. Societal demands, new visions about learning, emerging technology, and connectivity to the information superhighway are offering educators the opportunity and the challenge to rethink and restructure the way they go about designing effective learning environments.
This project identified a design guiding framework for constructivist-based distance education and the knowledge necessary for its implementation by distance educators. The intent of the framework is to assist teachers in the creation of constructivist-based distance education learning environments and the staff development needed to support the process. The framework is the result of a Delphi consensus building procedure in which the goal of the Delphi was to identify teacher training elements used for implementation of constructivist-based distance learning environments.
The Delphi was carried out via the World Wide Web. The panel members came to moderate or high consensus that a majority (69%) of the items were important or very important for teachers to know or be able to do to implement the learning environments. While the discussion of teacher training needs for the implementation of constructivist-based distance learning environments was extensive, several threads continually reappeared. (1) Learning guide or facilitator roles for teachers; (2) Training needs of students to carry out learning strategies; (3) Embedding of assessment within the learning process; (4) Creation and facilitation of problem-based learning; (5) Multiple approaches to knowledge development.
The results focused on the learning process, while technology was relegated to a secondary supporting role. The findings can assist those charged with developing the training program to support the implementation of constructivist-based distance education. Finally noted was the fact that change of this magnitude will require careful and extensive staff development for those teachers expected to effectively create constructivist-based distance learning environments.
Herring, M.C. Design and training for implementation of constructivist-based distance learning environments. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Iowa State University.
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