Using Learning Theory to Guide the Design and Practice of Distance Learning
This paper reviews multiple perspectives to identify principles and pedagogies that undergird effective online learning. Three examples derived from the theoretical review of literature in each category are as follows. (1) Create a cultural/linguistic safety net; e.g., instructor responses show that diversity is valued, including linguistic, past and current professional experience, and geographic location. (2) Organize lectures thematically; e.g., organize the course content through a developmental lens to help students understand a continuum of learning. (3) Draw on Schema Theory to connect concepts and content; e.g., integrate a conceptual framework into lectures and activities to create an expandable structure for knowledge building. Important understandings guide future online courses: multi-theoretical perspective and a conceptual framework.