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Designing and delivering authentic online learning: A design-based research approach

Parker, J. (2012) Designing and delivering authentic online learning: A design-based research approach. In: MUPSA Multidisciplinary Conference 2012, 27 September 2012, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A


Over the past few decades there has been a substantial swing among higher education practitioners towards a more constructivist approach to learning. Nevertheless, it is still evident that many instructivist models are widely used in both classroom and online learning environments. This research project explores how a design-based research approach could be used to design and develop authentic e-learning within the higher education sector. Like action research, design-based research is accomplished at the 'coal face', however, it also involves an ongoing iterative process to monitor the effectiveness of a specifically designed artifact "to provide immediate (and accumulating) feedback on the viability of its 'learning theory' or 'hypothetical learning trajectory'"(Kelly, 2006, p. 107).

Design-based research consists of four connected phases: analysis; development of solutions; iterative cycles of testing and refining solutions; and reflection and production of design principles (Reeves, 2006). This paper discusses the first three phases of the research process and identifies some of the challenges educators face when designing and delivering student-centred learning environments and how technology is currently being used to support student learning. It proposes one possible solution for improving the quality of online learning in higher education is to create an online professional development course based on an authentic learning framework. The aim of the course is to provide practitioners with an opportunity to: experience online learning from a student's perspective, learn how to use an authentic learning framework to create their own authentic learning courses, explore how new technologies can support learning and network with their peers. The qualitative methodologies, processes and data analysis strategies employed for the research project are described, together with preliminary findings that suggest authentic e-learning has the potential to engage students, and -in the learning process- assist them to develop self-directed lifelong learning skills.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
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