Teaching and Learning online in Virtual Classrooms
Tuesday, October 22 3:25-3:45 PM
ABSTRACT The research paper investigates online teaching and learning and in particular, the role of the ‘e-moderator’ as pedagogical leader in relation to e-learner capabilities. The research builds upon a number of existing models including that of Bass and Alvolio (1996), their ‘transactional/task-giving’ and ‘transformational/motivational’ behaviours, and applies these to e-moderator work. Secondly, a review of the research literature provides further concepts applicable to e-learner online behaviour - collaborative capability and knowledge construction ability. These are utilised to create a new model, the ‘model of Pedagogical Variation’, where online teaching is viewed as situational, and e-learners of varying degrees of capability can be given opportunities to maximise their online learning. A hypothetico-deductive methodology, following the work of Karl Popper (2002), is adopted as the theoretical framework. The research sought to corroborate the proposed pedagogical model, which was successfully achieved with experienced e-moderator practitioners adapting Kelly’s (1955) personal construct psychology using the six elements: socialising, scaffolding, knowledge construction, weaving, summarising and archiving. In accordance with the hypothetico-deductive approach, an evaluation was then conducted with the objective of refuting the basic underlying assumptions of the Pedagogical Variation model. The model did withstand attempts at falsification, but is presented here as provisional, open to further scrutiny, testing and comparison. Future research could be in the development of diagnostic tools for e-moderator evaluation of e-learner capabilities and on e-learner preferences regarding the selection of a particular online learning environment. It is suggested that effective online teaching is dependent not only on e-learner context but also on e-moderators’ pedagogical leadership. The model for Pedagogical Variation is an attempt to show how adaptations in design and delivery can be made in asynchronous learning networks in order to motivate and facilitate successful outcomes for e-learners, whether they are digital natives or digital immigrants (Prensky, 2001). Online course providers and developers may also use the Pedagogical Variation model as a blueprint for exploring creative ways of implementing new emerging learning technologies fit for the 21st Century.