Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory
Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory avatar

Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

This week’s topic was introduced by Jenny Mackness’ video:

I thought her video was brilliant. I enjoyed the different learning theories (Insctructivism, Behaviourism, Constructivism, Social learning theory, Connectivism and Emergent Learning) she introduced us to. One thing I have been pondering upon lately (and this video reinforced) was how important it is to teach students to learn “outside the classroom”. For myself, teaching French, what are ways students can continue learning French outside of my class?

Additionally, we had to watch the video (which analyzed the above learning theories): Adventures in Online Pedagogy, (Jim Sullivan and Lisa M Lane, Spring 2010 POT workshop) or watch the slides with audio slidecast

My notes – A summary of Lisa Lane & Jim Sullivan’s Adventures in Online Pedagogy:

Instructivism / Behaviorism (the content is presented by the “expert”, the instructor, to the student).

Students learn through presentation as instructors attempt to ensure the proper presentation. The content is often presented in a lecture format in which the instructor will motivate the students to learn what is being presented.


Students are encouraged to learn and generate knowledge. Students build upon prior knowledge and in essence, learn to teach one another.

Connectivism (the “new” learning theory / the electronic world theory)

The instructor is more of an environmental designer than anything. The student learns from everything than the content in itself that is being learned. The connections create a pathway for learning.

Examples of social learning would be Diigo, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook (below is a snapshot of my Facebook group page – I just started last August, thanks to Lisa Lane).

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 13.59.15

I personally have a hard time figuring out what type of instructor I am based on the those three types of learning theories. I can see myself in each of them.

As an instructivist, I definitely have a “lecture” in my (blended) class followed by repetition, practice exercises and a fun activity.

As a constructivist, many activities we do in class consist of students using prior knowlege to teach one another and work on a project together.

I see myself as a connectivist as well as I try to link social learning to engage students in using our discipline in their daily life whether it be staying in touch with French speakers to reading in French, etc. Another article we had to read: “Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching (2007) by George Siemens,  defines Connectivism as: “Connectivism represents the act of learning as a network formation process.”

We also had to:

An excerpt of the article by Wikipedia’s co-founder:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 14.03.21

I couldn’t agree more how more and more we are “relying increasingly on the Internet as an extension or prosthesis of our memory“. I see it all the time when students seemed shocked that something needs to be memorized. Facts seem useless to retain if they can be found at the snap of a finger (i.e. the Internet).

Another paragraph I enjoyed:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 14.08.42

Using the Internet for students to learn together, through a project for instance, can certainly be useful. This, to me, refers back to constructivist learning even if it’s strongly linked to connectivism. While some students can learn/study by themselves, we certainly need one another to learn.

This article also talked about how we are so used to being stimulated that our concentration levels are lowering which “may be making us less capable of processing broad, complex information and, more simply, less capable of reading books.” There certainly is a balanced between incorporating new technology in creative teaching methods yet still helping the student stay focused on what we present knowing we simply cannot learn everything at the click of a button. I see this in my classes again, where students try to get the easy way out by using Google Translate to translate their writing assignment from English to French instead of LEARNING how to do it themselves. Sadly, they are not training their brains on how to “think” in French but are relying on the Internet–a source that isn’t always 100% accurate. Plus with Spelling Check and AutoCorrect, we’re not even needing to know how to spell anymore. (They are great inventions but are not training our minds to be used to the capacity in which they could be used). Check out the example below:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 14.19.20

As you noticed I made a spelling mistake which has changed the translation to mean something that doesn’t even make sense!!!

Now, look at the original quote:


See the difference? (First sentence is in English while the third sentence (properly translated) is in French).

Here’s an excerpt from the article geared towards online learning:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 14.29.27

And one of the diagram: “Heutagogy as an Extension of Andragogy”:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-02 à 14.30.38









Finally, my post for this week would be on the following topic: “Learning French (or any language) outside of the Classroom“. This could be presented early on in the semester or at the end.

Before you watch my presentation, look at the way the same information could be presented using the learning theories we discovered this week:

Capture d’écran 2013-04-03 à 12.45.05

Now watch my Prezi:


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4 Responses to Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory
Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory avatar

  1. Hi Rachèle – thanks so much for your extensive post on this week’s topic. I love your Prezi, especially since I am thinking that I must learn German. I have never studied it at all and I have been invited to do some work in Vienna next year, so I think I must know the language a bit! I was interested to see the reference to the article about how learning a new language can delay Alzheimer’s. Another good reason for learning another language 🙂

    You have said that you have had a hard time figuring out ‘what type of instructor’ you are. I agree with you that although we might have a preference for one, we are likely to be influenced by all the learning theories. For me it’s a question of determining how they can inform different aspects of my practice and to what extent they inform different aspects of my practice.

    I like the way you have tried to relate your Prezi presentation to the three different learning theories. In terms of Constructivism, how might the students change their ideas by watching your presentation – When I was teaching science I would always try and do some sort of pre-test/activity, so that we would know what our existing ideas were before being introduced to new ideas – so in the case of learning a language I might ask them first to think about/tell each other what strategies they already have for learning a new language, and then show them the Prezi. Hope this makes sense!

    In terms of Connectivism, one of the key ideas is that knowledge is co-created. I’m wondering how your students might combine their research to create some sort of artefact together.

    Thanks Rachèle. I am certainly going to make good use of your Prezi 🙂

  2. Avatar Ralene says:

    Hi! I loved your post — full of visuals and movement and choices. Your Prezi really demonstrated your creativity. I posted words words words this week . . . and as I re-re-visited my post, I made a promise to never do that to my students. Add color, add sound, add some type of activity. Thanks for a great post that reminded and reinforced me in that direction! I enjoyed it very much.

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