中国远程教育 2016年1期

Learning field in mixed virtual/physical environments: features and formation

Nanzhong Wu and Jianping Li

The introduction of online learning into conventional education has led to structural change in conventional teaching methods, with learning in mixed virtual/physical environments increasingly becoming the norm. Nevertheless, virtual learning has yet to be integrated with learning in the real world, hence unable to realize the desired synergy as promised. Informed by field theory, this article aims to examine the relationship between learners and other participators in mixed virtual/physical environment learning. Mixing online learning with traditional classroom learning can bring about features such as integrity, constructiveness, and dialogism, creating a meaningful learning field in a virtual/physical space. The example of the course ‘Basics of Computer Culture is used to illustrate theoretical assumptions proposed.

Keywords: mixed virtual/physical reality; learning field; blended learning; online learning

Intraindividual differences in childrens typing compositions

in the online environment

Xinglong Zhao

With rapid developments in information technology, learning theories and social practice, online learning which embodies informatization, globalization and individualized learning impacts on all aspects of human learning, hence challenging the traditional cognitive or mental development theory. It is important to study how people judge, reason as well as differ in mental activities in the digital learning environment. Adopting the repeated measures design, this study focuses on intraindividual differences in the lower grade children subjects in the online environment. In the light of the corresponding relationship between language levels and mental features, the study proposes an analysis framework for intraindividual differences, which is commposed of language (frequency profile), mental development (semantic logic) and narrative structure (plot unit), LMN-FSP in short. An in-depth examination is then made to determine the analysis methods and corresponding algorithms for word and concept, sentence and judgment, sentence group and reasoning, as well as plot unit and internal corresponding distribution in the corpus collected for the LMN-FSP framework. Findings indicate that childrens intraindividual differences typically have asynchronous features. Implications for language learning in the digital age from this study are also discussed. First, childrens logical thinking and language learning should be incorporated into a whole. Second, efforts should be made to help children express their true feelings instead of writing for writings sake. Third, schools and families should work together to create an environment facilitating reading and writing to ensure sufficient language input.

Keywords: digital learning; technology-enhanced learning; Chinese language teaching; logical thinking; writing proficiency; typing compositions

Integrating learning management and social networking systems

Terry Anderson and Jon Dron

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become ubiquitous tools in support of both classroom and distance education programming. They bring significant advantages that digitize and automate many of the functions and pedagogy of traditional teaching. At the same time social networks have become ubiquitous tools for communication, entertainment and informal learning by both students and teachers. In this article we examine the characteristics, strengths and limitations of both toolsets and the ways in which innovative distance educators are trying to merge the best qualities of each. We conclude with an example of one such integration from Athabasca University in Canada.

Keywords: learning management systems; social networks; integration

An evaluation system for instructional quality of the ‘One College

Student for One Village Initiative

Xiaomei Zhang, Zhixian Zhong, and Jianhua Shen

The ‘One College Student for One Village Open and Distance Education Initiative (hereafter abbreviated as One-for-One), launched by the Chinese radio and television universities (RTVU) network, aims to deliver higher education to rural areas via the RTVU open and distance education (ODE) network. It is designed to train local farmers who will then in a better position to contribute to local communities, local agriculture and local prosperity, hence re-adjusting talent structure in rural areas and cultivating a new generation of farmers in order to implement the policy of relying on educated farmers to develop agriculture. Informed by the specific needs of the One-for-One Initiative and its learning objectives as well as built on previous research on evaluation of ODE quality, this study adopted the rapid prototyping principle to establish the evaluation system for One-for-One instructional quality. The initial system was revised and improved using the Delphi questionnaire survey technique and the analytic hierarchy process was then employed to assign appropriate weightings to different evaluation indices. The system is intended to highlight objectivity, rigorousness and appropriateness to facilitate feedback on teaching activities and assessment of learning outcomes, standardize teaching management and showcase the social accountability and achievements of the RTVU network. It is also argued that this study can add to research on ODE quality assurance by providing theoretical assumptions and practical experience.

Keywords: ‘One College Student for One Village Initiative; open and distance education; quality evaluation system; Delphi technique; analytic hierarchy process

A participatory approach to designing learning spaces

Qi Wang, Yafeng Xu, and Jinchang Li

Due to influence from new learning sciences and new technologies, learning space is top on the agenda of educational research. Given that some learning space projects are not effectively and efficiently used, it is argued that participatory design be incorporated into the existing design paradigm. Informed by the theory of participatory design, this article introduces eight participatory design principles. For example, learning spaces need to cater for users functional requirements, have sufficient stability, allow users to have the freedom of choice, enhance compatibility, and show considerable flexibility. A participatory design framework is established with four layers-design principles, key steps, design stages, and specific dimensions. According to this framework, a series of iterative activities to ensure optimal design are needed to enhance the usability of learning spaces.

Keywords: learning space; participatory design; design principle; design framework