Dialogue and the Construction of Knowledge in E-Learning: Exploring Students' Perceptions of Their Learning While Using Blackboard's Asynchronous Discussion Board

Henry Johnson [henry.johnson@stonebow.otago.ac.nz]
University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
[http://www.otago.ac.nz]

Abstract

This research explores students' perceptions of their learning while using Blackboard's asynchronous discussion board. It aims to understand through in-depth qualitative analysis how students perceive their construction of knowledge while using dialogue in an e-learning context. While attempting to comprehend the links between how a student perceives the use of dialogue and what they actually do in the learning task, the study explores individual constructions of knowledge in this environment, while outlining commonalities between different learners. The research maintains that an understanding by the teacher of students' perceptions of their learning while using dialogue in an e-learning environment provides comprehension of the nexus between how students understand a phenomenon belonging to a learning task and what they actually do in undertaking that task. For the teacher, and underlying a heuristic teaching objective, an insight into these perceptions provides a means from which to develop the learning context into one that truly stimulates the individual and social construction of knowledge. The study illustrates that asynchronous dialogue within a web interface can provide an educational tool that is conducive to learning in that it helps students construct knowledge as a result of using and interacting within an online discussion board. The research shows that students use and construct knowledge within the context in different ways, but go about learning within a constructivist framework through which they gain knowledge and become better learners.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, MOOC, learning management system, LMS, interaction,

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