Research Topic

Learning Design and Approaches for Online Education: Tuning For Online Learning

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The proliferation of information technology brings about fundamental changes in how people live and interact in society. Such a challenging transformation requires ‘tuning the place’ as Coyne states in his 2010 book, ‘The Tuning of Place, Sociable Spaces and Pervasive Digital Media’. This ‘tuning metaphor’ ...

The proliferation of information technology brings about fundamental changes in how people live and interact in society. Such a challenging transformation requires ‘tuning the place’ as Coyne states in his 2010 book, ‘The Tuning of Place, Sociable Spaces and Pervasive Digital Media’. This ‘tuning metaphor’ conveys the processes by which people adjust to new circumstances, recovering when ‘things drift, retuning and detuning’. ‘Tuning the education system’ in order to meet the demand of the information age – what and how people learn - is of vital importance, and creates challenges which require new teaching approaches for the design and delivery of education.

In particular, the use of computer–generated course materials and distance education systems opens up new horizons for progress and the exchange of knowledge and expertise worldwide. In online education, the focus becomes learner-centred and must be considered as being a life-long process with greater portability of training, time and space.

We identify four major components in online education pedagogy: the students, the instructors, course content, and technology tools. Each of these components requires attention to make technology as integrated as possible. Content is driven by the learning outcomes of the discipline; how the technology can be integrated; how to design effective learning packages to encourage interaction and the engagement with the learning material. As instructors, we need to consider our new role as the facilitator and mentor instead of a teacher who is merely delivering the course material. Students need to be given special attention by instructional designers regarding their exposure to the new technology. Lastly, the technology tools
(communication, presentation, information searching and resource management, and course management systems) that form the context of teaching and learning are fundamental to success.
Thus all these educational components need careful ‘tuning’ for online education strategies.

This Research Topic, ‘Tuning For Online Learning’, presents a range of views regarding the principal course development opportunities and challenges raised by the spread of online
education technologies. This research topic is not intended to be a collection of essays offering a complete guide to online course development. Rather it aims to serve as a discussion
platform for different applications of distance education. More specifically, the research topic will focus on the role of constructivist and socio-cultural components of effective
learning design.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• new strategies for effective online learning process;
• possible ways of improving online learning by exploring cognitivist, constructivist, and sociocultural theories of learning and teaching in depth;
• how to develop online learning tools and packages;
• online learning objects that draw upon their own ‘local’ experiences and practices;
• new approaches to knowledge-based and skill-based online course development;
• evaluation of what works and what does not work using ‘reflection in action’ to improve online teaching.


Keywords: online education design, learning packages, course development, delivery of education


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