October 13 2014

Week 1 discussion

learning theory picture

Online Teaching Theory discussion:

As a visual learner, I was drawn to the illustration posted on our week 1 lessons page, with that in mind, I chose to focus on the article “Toward a Theory of Online Learning” by Terry Anderson.  In Anderson’s Chapter 2, he discusses the learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered and community centered “lens” of the online environment. He also touches on the important role of interaction among the actors in the learning model stating “Communication technologies are used in education to enhance interaction between all participants in the educational transaction.” And further “Interaction has long been a defining and critical component of the educational process …” His model illustrates the theory by depicting the student-student interaction process, student- content interaction, student-teacher interaction, teacher-content Interaction in 4 primary components. He goes on to explain the concept of the Semantic Web where “technology” agents will assist and enhance these interactions, thereby providing a more effective and efficient learning environment. He concludes the chapter with an overview of this online learning interaction theory that is very intriguing and fascinating to me.

“Sufficient levels of deep and meaningful learning can be developed, as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student-teacher; student-student; student-content) is at very high levels. The other two may be offered at minimal levels or even eliminated without degrading the educational experience. (Anderson, 2002)”

The challenge for online teachers is, and always has been, to provide a learning environment that touches each component equitably and remains learning centered, content centered, community centered and assessment centered. We must also provide an environment that supports the diversification of our students and effectively addresses “how people learn”.

One specific way I can better apply the concepts presented by Anderson would be to development a more rigorous student-student interactive element within my current online environment. I could accomplish this by adding more online discussion topics to reinforce content delivered in class. I could also bump up the student-content interaction by adding a video of the class lecture/discussion to our class page as content reinforcement. This would also provide content to students that may have been absent for the notes or simply need a review of the material.  According to Anderson, if high levels of interaction in either of these areas exist, even if student-teacher interaction declines due to the online delivery vs. face to face, then a quality ‘educational experience’ will remain.



Anderson, T. (2004). Toward a Theory of Online Learning. Chapter 2. Retrieved October 12, 2014

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Posted October 13, 2014 by Mrs. C in category My Learning Experiences

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