About Learning‎ > ‎

Online learning / elearning

Online learning is also commonly referred to as: e-learning (or elearning), distance learning, digital learning, virtual learning, or web-based learning, and as these terms are often used interchangeably, it can be quite confusing. On this page I use online learning as an umbrella term for any form of learning that involves the use of the Internet. Many educators that follow a constructivist philosophy of learning believe the core elements for designing meaningful online learning include; student interaction, communication and collaboration. 

K-12 Time-to-adoption Horizon: One year or less
Online learning refers to both formal and informal educational opportunities that take place through the web. Today, it is uncommon for schools to not have a web presence, and increasingly people expect for that to include learning modules and resources so that new knowledge and skills can be acquired on the go. An aspect of digital learning, which encompasses blended learning approaches, online learning has experienced a significant surge as more than 2.7 million students in the US alone are taking part.289 Educators are becoming more comfortable testing various levels of integration in their existing classes and programs, and many believe that online learning can be an effective catalyst for thoughtful discussion on all pedagogical practice.290 For example, online learning, especially when coupled with immersive technologies such as virtual reality, has the potential to facilitate simulations that help students better understand and respond appropriately to real-life environments and situations. Indeed, major online learning trends include more project-based learning, personalized learning, and interactivity (New Horizon Report K-12, 2016, p. 38).
Netiquette: When people communicate and interact online we miss out on vital body language cues that assist with interpreting meaning. To avoid misunderstandings it is helpful to abide by common online protocols and the core rules of netiquette (Shea, 1990-2011).
Online presence is an important component of online and blended learning. As in a face-to-face classroom, students need to feel safe and supported in the learning environment. Developing a community of inquiry is one way to encourage students to interact and engage with each other in a positive manner in an online learning space. Garrison, Anderson and Archer's (2000)Community of Inquiry (CoI) model provides a useful framework for selecting appropriate pedagogical strategies, instructional technologies and resources to support the development of social, cognitive and teaching presence in an online course (Parker, 2015).

Blended learning is the term commonly used when students are learning in a mixed environment such as in a classroom (F2F) and online.

Models of online learning

There are many online learning models and frameworks that can assist educators to design and implement effective online courses. Below are a few examples:

Student online learning skills

Most online courses require students to be self-directed independent learners. However, "not every student is prepared to learn that way" (Chamberlain, 2009, para. 3).

Self-assessment sites... 
More info...

Learning to teach online videos (UNSW, COFA)

Learning to teach online ‎(LLTO)‎


Academic works

Articles, papers or books listed by highest number of citations (in brackets): 

Google scholar as at 23/09/2016:  Online learning
Seminal works over 700 citations: Sorted in descending order
  • Distance education: A systems view of online learning (Book: Moore & Kearsley, 2011)
  • E-learning: Strategies for delivering knowledge in a digital age (Book: Rosenberg, 2001)
  • Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies
    (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, 2009)
  • E-tivities: The key to active online learning (Book: Salmon, 2013)
  • Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students' perceived learning and satisfaction (Richardson & Swan, 2003)
  • The theory and practice of online learning (Book: Anderson, 2008)
    • Towards a theory of online learning (Book: Anderson, 2008)
  • Foundations of educational theory for online learning
    (Book: Ally, 2004)
  • Online nation: Five years of growth in online learning
    (Allen & Seaman, 2007)
  • Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005)
Google scholar as at 23/09/2016: Blended learning
Seminal works over 500 citations: Sorted in descending order
    • Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004)
      • Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles and guidelines (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008)
    • Blended learning systems (Book: Graham, 2006) 
      • The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (Bonk & Graham, 2012)
      • Blended learning environments: Definitions and directions (Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003)
    • Building effective blended learning programs (Singh, 2003)
    • Blended learning and sense of community: A comparative analysis with traditional and fully online graduate courses (Rovai & Jordan, 2004)
    • Can blended learning be redeemed? (Oliver, & Trigwell, 2005)
    • Student perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: Relationships and critical factors (So & Brush, 2008)
    • Blended learning: let's get beyond the hype (Driscoll, 2002)

     First online papers

    Subpages (1): Community of Inquiry