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EvidenceBased Best Practices for Interactive Online Learning Environments


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Title: EvidenceBased Best Practices for Interactive Online Learning Environments

Evidence-Based Best Practices for Interactive
Online Learning Environments
  • Dr. Curtis J. Bonk
  • Associate Professor, Indiana University
  • President, CourseShare.com
  • http//php.indiana.edu/cjbonk,
  • cjbonk_at_indiana.edu

Tons of Recent Research
  • Not much of it
  • ...is any good...

Problems and Solutions (Bonk, Wisher, Lee, in
  • Tasks Overwhelm and confuse
  • Too Nice Due to Limited History
  • Lack Justification
  • Too much data
  • Communities not easy to form
  • Train, be clear, structure due dates
  • Develop roles and controversies
  • Train back up claims
  • Use Email Pals
  • Embed Informal/Social

Benefits and Implications (Bonk, Wisher, Lee,
in review)
  • Shy open up online
  • Minimal off task
  • Delayed collab more rich than real time
  • Students can generate lots of info
  • Minimal disruptions
  • Extensive E-Advice
  • Excited to Publish
  • Use async conferencing
  • Create social tasks
  • Use Async for debates Sync for help, office
  • Structure generation and force reflection/comment
  • Foster debates/critique
  • Find Experts or Prac.
  • Ask Permission

Basic Distance Learning Finding?
  • Research since 1928 shows that DL students
    perform as well as their counterparts in a
    traditional classroom setting.
  • Per Russell, 1999, The No Significant Difference
    Phenomenon (5th Edition), NCSU, based on 355
    research reports.
  • http//cuda.teleeducation.nb.ca/nosignificantdiffe

Online Learning Research Problems (National
Center for Education Statistics, 1999 Phipps
Merisotos, 1999 Wisher et al., 1999).
  • Anecdotal evidence minimal theory.
  • Questionable validity of tests.
  • Lack of control group.
  • Hard to compare given different assessment tools
    and domains.
  • Fails to explain why the drop-out rates of
    distance learners are higher.
  • Does not relate learning styles to different
    technologies or focus on interaction of multiple

Online Learning Research Problems (Bonk Wisher,
  • For different purposes or domains in our study,
    13 concern training, 87 education
  • Flaws in research designs
  • - Only 36 have objective learning measures
  • - Only 45 have comparison groups
  • When effective, it is difficult to know why
  • - Course design?
  • - Instructional methods?
  • - Technology?

Evaluating Web-Based Instruction Methods and
Findings (41 studies) (Olson Wisher, in review)
Evaluating Web-Based Instruction Methods and
Findings (Olson Wisher, in review)
  • …there is little consensus as to what variables
    should be examined and what measures of of
    learning are most appropriate, making comparisons
    between studies difficult and inconclusive.
  • e.g., demographics (age, gender), previous
    experience, course design, instructor
    effectiveness, technical issues, levels of
    participation and collaboration, recommendation
    of course, desire to take addl online courses.

Evaluating Web-Based Instruction Methods and
Findings (Olson Wisher, in review)
  • Variables Studied
  • Type of Course Graduate (18) vs. undergraduate
    courses (81)
  • Level of Web Use All-online (64) vs.
    blended/mixed courses (34)
  • Content area (e.g., math/engineering (27),
    science/medicine (24), distance ed (15), social
    science/educ (12), business (10), etc.)
  • Other data
  • a. Attrition data collected (34)
  • b. Comparison Group (59)

Different Goals…
  • Making connections
  • Appreciating different perspectives
  • Students as teachers
  • Greater depth of discussion
  • Fostering critical thinking online
  • Interactivity online

Wishers Wish List
  • Effect size of .5 or higher in comparison to
    traditional classroom instruction.

Electronic Conferencing Quantitative Analyses
  • Usage patterns, of messages, cases, responses
  • Length of case, thread, response
  • Average number of responses
  • Timing of cases, commenting, responses, etc.
  • Types of interactions (11 1 many)
  • Data mining (logins, peak usage, location,
    session length, paths taken, messages/day/week)

Electronic Conferencing Qualitative Analyses
  • General Observation Logs, Reflective interviews,
    Retrospective Analyses, Focus Groups
  • Specific Semantic Trace Analyses, Talk/Dialogue
    Categories (Content talk, questioning, peer
    feedback, social acknowledgments, off task)
  • Emergent Forms of Learning Assistance, Levels of
    Questioning, Degree of Perspective Taking, Case
    Quality, Participant Categories

Overall frequency of interactions across chat
categories (6,601 chats).
Research on Instructors Online
  • If teacher-centered, less explore, engage,
    interact (Peck, and Laycock, 1992)
  • Informal, exploratory conversation fosters
    risktaking knowledge sharing (Weedman, 1999)
  • Four Key Acts of Instructors
  • pedagogical, managerial, technical, social
  • (Ashton, Roberts, Teles, 1999)
  • Instructors Tend to Rely on Simple Tools
  • (Peffers Bloom, 1999)
  • Job Varies--Plan, Interaction, Admin, Tchg
  • (McIsaac, Blocher, Mahes, Vrasidas, 1999)

Network Conferencing Interactivity (Rafaeli
Sudweeks, 1997)
  • 1. gt 50 percent of messages were reactive.
  • 2. Only around 10 percent were truly interactive.
  • 3. Most messages factual stmts or opinions
  • 4. Frequent participators more reactive than low.
  • 5. Interactive messages more opinions humor.
  • 6. More self-disclosure, involvement,
  • 7. Attracted to fun, open, frank, helpful,
    supportive environments.

Week 4
Starter Centered Interaction
Scattered Interaction (no starter)
Collaborative Behaviors (Curtis Lawson, 1997)
  • Most common were (1) Planning, (2) Contributing,
    and (3) Seeking Input.
  • Other common events were
  • (4) Initiating activities,
  • (5) Providing feedback,
  • (6) Sharing knowledge
  • Few students challenge others or attempt to
    explain or elaborate
  • Recommend using debates and modeling appropriate
    ways to challenge others

Online Collaboration Behaviors by Categories (US
and Finland)
Dimensions of Learning Process (Henri, 1992)
  • 1. Participation (rate, timing, duration of
  • 2. Interactivity (explicit interaction, implicit
    interaction, independent comment)
  • 3. Social Events (stmts unrelated to content)
  • 4. Cognitive Events (e.g., clarifications,
    inferencing, judgment, and strategies)
  • 5. Metacognitive Events

Some Findings (see Hara, Bonk, Angeli, 2000)
  • Social (in 26.7 of units coded)
  • social cues decreased as semester progressed
    messages became less formal
  • Cognitive (in 81.7 of units)
  • More inferences judgments than clarifications
  • Metacognitive (in 56 of units)
  • More reflections on exper self-awareness
  • Some planning, eval, regulation self qing

Surface vs. Deep Posts (Henri, 1992)
  • Surface Processing
  • making judgments without justification,
  • noting that one shares stated ideas or opinions
  • repeating what said
  • asking irrelevant qs
  • i.e., fragmented, narrow, and somewhat trite.
  • In-depth Processing
  • linked facts and ideas
  • offered new information
  • discussed advantages disadvantages
  • Made judgments supported by examples or
  • i.e., more integrated, weighty, and refreshing.

(No Transcript)
Critical Thinking (Newman, Johnson, Webb
Cochrane, 1997)
  • Used Garrisons five-stage critical thinking
  • Critical thinking in both CMC and FTF envir.
  • Depth of critical thinking higher in CMC envir.
  • More likely to bring in outside information
  • Link ideas and offer interpretations,
  • Generate important ideas and solutions.
  • FTF settings were better for generating new ideas
    and creatively exploring problems.

Unjustified Statements (US)
  • 24. Author Katherine
  • Date Apr. 27 312 AM 1998
  • I agree with you that technology is definitely
    taking a large part in the classroom and will
    more so in the future…
  • 25. Author Jason Date Apr. 28 147 PM 1998
  • I feel technology will never over take the role
    of the teacher...I feel however, this is just
    help us teachers...
  • 26. Author Daniel Date Apr. 30 011 AM 1998
  • I believe that the role of the teacher is being
    changed by computers, but the computer will never
    totally replace the teacher... I believe that the
    computers will eventually make teaching easier
    for us and that most of the children's work will
    be done on computers. But I believe that there…

Indicators for the Quality of Students
Dialogue (Angeli, Valanides, Bonk, in press)
Social Construction of Knowledge (Gunawardena,
Lowe, Anderson, 1997)
  • Five Stage Model
  • 1. Share ideas,
  • 2. Discovery of Idea Inconsistencies,
  • 3. Negotiate Meaning/Areas Agree,
  • 4. Test and Modify,
  • 5. Phrase Agreements
  • In global debate, very task driven.
  • Dialogue remained at Phase I sharing info

Social Constructivism and Learning Communities
Online (SCALCO) Scale. (Bonk Wisher, 2000)
  • ___ 1. The topics discussed online had real world
  • ___ 2. The online environment encouraged me to
    question ideas and perspectives.
  • ___ 3. I received useful feedback and mentoring
    from others.
  • ___ 4. There was a sense of membership in the
    learning here.
  • ___ 5. Instructors provided useful advice and
    feedback online.
  • ___ 6. I had some personal control over course
    activities and discussion.

16 Evaluation Methods
  • 1. Formative Evaluation
  • 2. Summative Evaluation
  • 3. CIPP Model Evaluation (Context, Input,
    Process, Product)
  • 4. Objectives-Oriented Eval
  • 5. Marshall Shriver's 5 Levels (Self,
    Materials, Curric, Modules, Transfer)
  • 6. Bonks 8 Part Eval Plan
  • 7. Kirkpatricks 4 Levels
  • 8. Return on Invest Level 5
  • 9. Level 6 budget and stability of team.
  • 10. Level 7 e-learning champion(s) promoted
  • 11. Cost/Benefit Analysis
  • 12. Time to Competency
  • 13. Time to Market
  • 14. Return on Expectation
  • 15. AEIOU Accountability, Effectiveness, Impact,
    Organizational Context, U Unintended
  • 16. Consumer-Oriented Evaluation

My Evaluation Plan…
Measures of Student Success (Focus groups,
interviews, observations, surveys, exams, records)
  • Positive Feedback, Recommendations
  • Increased Comprehension, Achievement
  • High Retention in Program
  • Completion Rates or Course Attrition
  • Jobs Obtained, Internships
  • Enrollment Trends for Next Semester

1. Student Basic Quantitative
  • Grades, Achievement
  • Number of Posts
  • Participation
  • Computer Log Activitypeak usage, messages/day,
    time of task or in system
  • Attitude Surveys

1. Student High-End Success
  • Message complexity, depth, interactivity, qing
  • Collaboration skills
  • Problem finding/solving and critical thinking
  • Challenging and debating others
  • Case-based reasoning, critical thinking measures
  • Portfolios, performances, PBL activities

2. Instructor Success
  • High student evals more signing up
  • High student completion rates
  • Utilize Web to share teaching
  • Course recognized in tenure decisions
  • Varies online feedback and assistance techniques

3. Training Outside Support
  • Training (FacultyTraining.net)
  • Courses Certificates (JIU, e-education)
  • Reports, Newsletters, Pubs
  • Aggregators of Info (CourseShare, Merlot)
  • Global Forums (FacultyOnline.com GEN)
  • Resources, Guides/Tips, Link Collections, Online
    Journals, Library Resources

3. Training Inside Support…
  • Instructional Consulting
  • Mentoring (strategic planning )
  • Small Pots of Funding
  • Facilities
  • Summer and Year Round Workshops
  • Office of Distributed Learning
  • Colloquiums, Tech Showcases, Guest Speakers
  • Newsletters, guides, active learning grants,
    annual reports, faculty development, brown bags

RIDIC5-ULO3US Model of Technology Use
  • 4. Tasks (RIDIC)
  • Relevance
  • Individualization
  • Depth of Discussion
  • Interactivity
  • Collaboration-Control-Choice-Constructivistic-Comm

RIDIC5-ULO3US Model of Technology Use
  • 5. Tech Tools (ULOUS)
  • Utility/Usable
  • Learner-Centeredness
  • Opportunities with Outsiders Online
  • Ultra Friendly
  • Supportive

6. Course Success
  • Few technological glitches/bugs
  • Adequate online support
  • Increasing enrollment trends
  • Course quality (interactivity rating)
  • Monies paid
  • Accepted by other programs

7. Online Program or Course Budget (i.e., how
pay, how large is course, tech fees charged, of
courses, tuition rate, etc.)
  • Indirect Costs learner disk space, phone,
    accreditation, integration with existing
    technology, library resources, on site
    orientation tech training, faculty training,
    office space
  • Direct Costs courseware, instructor, help desk,
    books, seat time, bandwidth and data
    communications, server, server back-up, course
    developers, postage

8. Institutional Success
  • E-Enrollments from
  • new students, alumni, existing students
  • Additional grants
  • Press, publication, partners, attention
  • Orientations, training, support materials
  • Faculty attitudes
  • Acceptable policies (ADA compliant)

Best Practices?
Part I. Best Practices Who are some of the key
scholars and players…???
Karen Lazenby, Instructor Qualities,
Deputy-Director, Telematic Learning and Education
Innovation (now Director, Client Service
Center) (University of Pretoria, Nov., 2001,
  • Flexible to shift between roles
  • Patient, responsive
  • Friendly, positive, supportive
  • Limit lecture
  • Publish best student work
  • Set clear rules for posting and interaction
  • Involve outside experts

Online Teaching Skills The Online Teacher, TAFE,
Guy Kemshal-Bell (April, 2001)
  • Technical email, chat, Web development
  • Facilitation engaging, questioning, listening,
    feedback, providing support, managing discussion,
    team building, relationship building, motivating,
    positive attitude, innovative, risk taking
  • Managerial planning, reviewing, monitoring, time
  • From provider of content to designer of learning
  • From solitary teacher to team member

Ron Oliver, Edith Cowen University, Collab
Constructivist Web Tasks (McLoughlin Oliver,
1999 Oliver McLoughlin, 1999))
  • Apprenticeship QA Ask an Expert forums.
  • Case-Based and Simulated Learning exchange
    remote views enact events online.
  • Active Learning Design Web pages databases.
  • Reflective/Metacognitive Learning Reflect in
    online journals, bulletin boards
  • Experiential Learning Post (articulate ideas) to
    discussion groups
  • Authentic Learning PBL, search databases

John Hedberg, Singapore (was at Univ of
Wollongong) RILE Monograph (2001) Online Envir.
  • Learner must be active in learning process
  • Provide variety of contexts and viewpoints
  • Learning is a process of construction
  • Immerse learners in authentic contexts
  • Reflective thinking is the ultimate goal
  • Learning involves social negotiation
  • Need to develop realistic strategic, pedagogical,
    commercial models for online learning

E-Moderating by Gilly Salmon (Salmon, (1999)
Kogan Page G.K.Salmon_at_open.ac.uk)
  • Know when to stay silent for a few days.
  • Close off unproductive conferences.
  • Variety of relevant conference topics.
  • Deal promptly with dominance, harassment.
  • Weave, archive, co-participate, acknowledge
  • Provide sparks or interesting comments.
  • Avoid directives and right answers.
  • Support others for e-moderator role.

Robyn Masons (1991) 3 Roles (The Open
University r.d.mason_at_open.ac.uk) http//iet.open.
  • Organizationalset agenda, objectives, timetable,
    procedural rules
  • Patience, vary things, spur discussion, invites
  • Socialwelcome, thank, provide feedback, and set
    generally positive tone
  • Reinforce good things, invite to be candid
  • Intellectualprobe, ask qs, refocus, set goals,
    weave comments, synthesize comments
  • Know when to summarize and to leave alone

Morton Paulsens Pedagogical Techniques (Morton
Paulsen, 1995, The Online Report on Pedagogical
Techniques for Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Collective databases, Access to Online Resources
  • Informal socializing (online cafes)
  • Seminars (read before going online)
  • Public tutorials
  • Peer counseling, learning partnerships
  • (Online Support Groups)
  • Simulations, games, and role plays
  • Free Flowing Discussions/Forums
  • Email interviews
  • Symposia or speakers on a theme
  • The notice board (class announcements)

PROF. DR. BETTY COLLIS University of Twente (UT)
, Faculty of Educ Science Technology (TO)
  • Lead successful development and implementation of
    the TeleTOP (http//teletop.edte.utwente.nl)
    Web-based course-management system (1997), now in
    use throughout university and beyond.
  • Learning is active, collaborative, construction,
    and contribution (i.e., learner-centered)
  • Give learner support tools options

Ideal Environment of Synchronous Trainer by
Jennifer Hoffman (Insync Training,
  • A private, soundproof room.
  • High-speed connection telephone powerful
    computer additional computer tech support phone
  • Studio microphone and speakers
  • A Do Not Disturb sign
  • Near restroom pitcher of water

Zane Berges Pedagogical Recs (Zane Berge, 1995,
The role of the online instructor/facilitator
  • Draw attention to conflicting views
  • Dont expect too much/thread
  • Do not lecture (Long, coherent sequence of
    comments yields silence)
  • Request responses within set time
  • Maintain non-authoritarian style
  • Promote private conversations

Linda Harasim, Online Collab Learning Simon
Fraser University, linda_harasim_at_sfu.ca
  • In 1985, Dr. Harasim was one of the first to
    teach a totally online graduate course. The
    following year, she and her colleagues at the
    Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
    delivered the first professional development
    courses taught online.
  • Harasim, L. (2001). Shift Happens Online
    Education as a New Paradigm in Learning. The
    Internet and Higher Education, 3(1). Elsevier
    Science, New York, NY
  • Harasim, L.. The Virtual University A State of
    the Art. Advances in Computers, Book Series -
    Volume 54. Academic Press, London, UK.

The Sharp Edge of the Cube Pedagogically Driven
Instructional Design for Online
Education Syllabus Magazine, Dec, 2001, Nishikant
  • five functional learning stylesapprenticeship,
    incidental, inductive, deductive, discovery.
  • http//www.syllabus.com/syllabusmagazine/article.a

Dealing with Online Students (Vanessa Dennen, San
Diego State Univ)
  • Students dont participate
  • Because it isnt required
  • Because they dont know what is expected
  • Students all participate at last minute
  • Because that is what was required
  • Because they dont want to be the first
  • Instructor posts at the last minute

Just a Lot of Bonk (Curt Bonk, Indiana University)
  • Variety tasks, topics, participants
  • Interaction extends beyond class
  • Make learners are also teachers
  • Allow multiple ways to succeed
  • Embed personalization and choice
  • Clarity and easy to navigate course

Instructor Tips
  • Archive work, repurpose it, use it
  • Take a course onlinebe a student
  • Conduct usability testing and simplify
  • Schedule someone due early in course
  • Market/Share what do
  • Find a tech mentor
  • Be flexible

What do we need???

Reflect on Extent of Integration The Web
Integration Continuum (Bonk et al., 2001)
  • Level 1 Course Marketing/Syllabi via the Web
  • Level 2 Web Resource for Student Exploration
  • Level 3 Publish Student-Gen Web Resources
  • Level 4 Course Resources on the Web
  • Level 5 Repurpose Web Resources for Others
  • Level 6 Web Component is Substantive Graded
  • Level 7 Graded Activities Extend Beyond Class
  • Level 8 Entire Web Course for Resident Students
  • Level 9 Entire Web Course for Offsite Students
  • Level 10 Course within Programmatic Initiative

2. Reflect on Interactions Matrix of Web
Interactions (Cummings, Bonk, Jacobs, 2002)
  • Instructor to Student syllabus, notes, feedback
  • to Instructor Course resources, syllabi,
  • to Practitioner Tutorials, articles,
  • Student to Student Intros, sample work, debates
  • to Instructor Voting, tests, papers,
  • to Practitioner Web links, resumes
  • Practitioner to Student Internships, jobs,
  • to Instructor Opinion surveys, fdbk,
  • to Practitioner Forums, listservs

Study of Four Classes (Bonk, Kirkley, Hara,
Dennen, 2001)
  • TechnicalTrain, early tasks, be flexible,
    orientation task
  • ManagerialInitial meeting, FAQs, detailed
    syllabus, calendar, post administrivia, assign
    e-mail pals, gradebooks, email updates
  • PedagogicalPeer feedback, debates, PBL, cases,
    structured controversy, field reflections,
    portfolios, teams, inquiry, portfolios
  • SocialCafé, humor, interactivity, profiles,
    foreign guests, digital pics, conversations,

Some Final Advice…
Or Maybe Some Questions???
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