Online Learning Environments

1.Author– Carol A. Twigg (2003)

Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning

Strengths– The author introduces six characteristics of the course-redesign projects: whole class redesign, active learning, computer-based learning resources, mastery learning, on-demand help, and alternative staffing.

The researcher discusses 5 course-redesign models in higher education institutions: supplemental, replacement, emporium, fully online, and buffet.

Drawbacks– It is likely that not all educational institutions would be able to offer such course-redesign projects to their learners annually.

Citations– “Information technology enables best practices to be captured in the form of interactive Web-based materials and sophisticated course-management software”.

“Faculty can add to, replace, correct, and improve an ever-growing, ever-improving body of learning materials”.

“Sustaining innovation depends on a commitment to collaborative development and continuous quality improvement that systematically incorporates feedback from all involved in the teaching and learning process”.

2. Authors– Rod Sims , Graeme Dobbs & Tim Hand (2002)

Enhancing Quality in Online Learning: Scaffolding Planning and Design Through Proactive Evaluation

Strengths– The researchers focus on an additional dimension to post-development  evaluation processes in proposing proactive evaluation, a framework that identifies critical online learning factors and influences that will better inform the planning, design and development of learning resources.

Drawbacks– Not only evaluation is an integral part of online learning, there are many other significant points that need to be addressed for effective online learning, such as content of the resources, interactive and engaging practice and many other factors that will contribute to achieving educational goals.

Citations– “Using the concept of proactive evaluation, a strategy to enable scaffolding and support for teachers and learners new to online environments, the factors and influences integral to this framework are considered critical to effective online learning”.

“By focusing on the planning and design phases of the development cycle, proactive evaluation addresses the critical issues associated with the creation of learning resources and environments for delivery in an online context to ensure they will have a greater chance of achieving educational outcomes, with both teachers and learners gaining significant value from their online experiences”.

3. Author– Mary Thorpe (2002)

Rethinking Learner Support: The challenge of collaborative online learning

Strengths– The use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as an integral part of the design of distance taught courses raises interesting challenges to our thinking about course design and learner support. The researcher emphasizes that online learning has changed pedagogical aspect of learning and today’s generation is facing completely new online forms of online teaching.

The researcher discusses what learner support is in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and what needs to be implemented or taken into consideration to make online learning more effective and sufficient.

Drawbacks– Not all teachers or tutors can lead the “the technology of conversation” and they need more practice on developing facilitator skill in online learning to provide support and guidance for their learners.

Citations– “The communicative dynamics that can be created through intensive design and build of online learning groups do afford the possibility of greater communication-and greater challenge- for both learners and tutors/ course creators”.

“Learners can and do challenge the pedagogical assumptions as well as the knowledge claims of those in authority within such learning contexts”.

4. Liyan Song & Janette R. Hill (2007)

A Conceptual Model for Understanding Self-Directed Learning in Online Environments

Strengths– The researchers present different perspectives of various scholars on SDL. Three models (Candy’s Four-Dimensional model, Brockett and Hiemstra’s Personal Responsibility Orientation Model) were selected by the researchers for description.

The researchers also introduce a conceptual model for understanding SDL in an online context. This model incorporates SDL as a personal attribute and a learning process; the researchers added a third dimension- the learning context- to indicate the impact of environmental factors on SDL.

Drawbacks– SDL is a suitable online learning tool for adults, not for school learners.

Citations– “Given that the context where learning takes place influences the level of learner autonomy that is allowed in the specific context, as well as how a learner utilizes resources and strategies, and becomes motivated to learn, integrating the learning context in the study of SDL is significant”.

“The study of SDL online can help identify those trans-contextual SDL attributes as well as those unique online-based ones, enabling better online teaching and learning experiences”.

To conclude, the researchers agree that online learning is an effective tool for modern learning and teaching. Many factors nned to be taken into account in order to make online learning engaging and learner-centered. Moreover, teachers and tutors should be skilled enough to address the learning needs of their students and collaborate with them in online learning environment.


Twigg, C. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning. EDUCAUSE review pp.28-38.

Sims, R. et al. (2002). Enhancing quality in online learning: scaffolding planning and design through proactive evaluation. Distance education, vol.23, No. 2.

Thorpe, M. (2002). Rethinking learner support: the challenge of collaborative online learning. Open Learning, vol.17, No. 2.

Song, L. & Hill, J. (2007). A conceptual model for understanding self-directed learning in online environments. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, vol.6, No1.


5 thoughts on “Online Learning Environments

  1. Dear Bakhyt, the issue of sklilled teachers required is also very hot for me personally. The process of application of ICT at schools now is slow due to the low level of computer literacy among school teachers. also, very much depends on the quality of Internet access and computers. The problems of slow ICT introduction deteriorates by inefficient financial support of the Program of implementing ICT to schools


    1. Dear Oxana,
      There are many issues that arise while implementing ICT at school sites. What might change the situation for the better is increasing ICT competency of teaching staff through intensive courses and seminars. It is important for teachers to lead the class while using technology in the class in an effective and confident way. Majority of teachers are interested in becoming an advanced ICT user as ICT skill is a demand of our time.


  2. Bakyt, thank you for posting this blog. I see that you attempted to consider online learning issue from different angles and perspecives.

    Could I ask you – have you ever tried to organize any kind of online learning initiatives in your class to enhance self-directed learning and increase class engagement in discussion? If yes, can you share your experience. If not, after reading these articles and posting online blogs do you get an insight and inspiration to try out alternative forms of interaction with your learners?


    1. Dear Aigerim,
      My students are interested in using online learning as they can independently track their learning, revise the leson materials and interact with peers. Last year “Edmodo” was a useful and effective tool for teaching and learning: I posted the tasks, provided students with theoretical part, gave some instuctions and learners were able to study at their own pace sending me completed tasks and feedback related to the certain topic.
      I should admit, the students and me got engaged in such mode of learning, it was a positive and productive experience for all of us.
      This year I am planning to continue using other online learning resources since my learners benefit from such environment and online teaching has a positive effect on my professional competncy and ICT skill.


  3. Bakyt,

    Your sub-divisions outline your ideas clearly. This is very easy to read and a good outline. I would suggest, however, that in the future you try to incorporate the ideas into organized paragraphs that express the main purpose. This sort of looks like a list. This assignment is partly an exercise in writing logical paragraphs with clear connecting language. Also, most of your citations are direct quotes. Try to avoid directly quoting unless you have a specific reason to do so, for example, paraphrasing would weaken the force of the original (look up the various reasons for paraphrasing rather than quoting). This assignment is practice in paraphrasing and incorporating source references into your own flow of ideas. In any case, don’t forget to provide a page number is you use a direct quote. I don’t see you engaging with the sources by agreeing or disagreeing, for example. I don’t see you pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of online learning, which was part of the assignment. You’re just reporting.

    At the end, all references should be in alphabetical order by author.

    3 out of 5


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