TEACHING AND LEARNING IN ONLINE DISTANCE EDUCATION

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CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents a description of the theories and principles that underpinned this study. As this study was positioned in the context of DE the chapter begins by paying attention to the pioneering theorists who have made valuable contributions to the field of DE. Reflecting on the work of these scholars is important as it provides a foundation for what is already known about how teaching and learning happen in a DE context. Establishing this foundation was further regarded as important because the study aimed to look at the manner in which online learning can be used as a vehicle for teaching DE students. In addition to this, some of the work of these theorists has had a direct influence on the theory of transactional distance, which is one of the theories that guided this study.A discussion of the major learning theories as outlined in the literature then follows. This discussion is important because the study dealt with concept of online learning, therefore the fundamental ideas on how learning takes place had to be established. Moreover, a description of these learning theories was regarded as important because these theories include social constructivism, which is the research paradigm that guided this study. The chapter concludes with a discussion on heutagogy and the community of inquiry as its principles, which also guided this study.

PIONEERING DISTANCE EDUCATION THEORISTS

As this study was positioned within the context of DE, it was considered important to discuss the views of the theorists who have shaped the field of DE. Saba (2003:4) proposes that in attempting to differentiate DE from other education offerings, theorists such as Borje Holmberg, Charles Wedemeyer and Michael Moore focus primarily on the student, paying attention to students and their interaction with other stakeholders in the learning process. These theorists highlight the essentiality of positioning the student at the centre, as this centrality, they argue, is what makes DE different from other forms of learning. Other pioneering theorists include Otto Peters and Desmond Keegan, who share a commonality in that they both theorise DE by paying attention to the field itself. Accordingly, they pay attention to structural issues that have an impact on the teaching and learning process (Saba 2003:4).In the following section, the manner in which each of these theorists have theorised the field of DE is briefly described.

Otto Peters: an industrial model of DE

In attempting to define DE, Peters (1967) compared DE to industrial education, a view of education that formed the foundation of DE. In unpacking the rationale for this comparison, Peters takes the principles of industrialisation and compares them to DE. Cleveland-Innes and Garrison (2010:15) point out the industrial model of DE has become a landmark for reflecting on practice in the field of DE. In comparing the principles of industrialisation to DE, Peters(1967) refers to the principles of rationalisation, mass production, division of labour,mechanization, assembly line, preparatory work, planning, organization, scientific control methods, formalization, standardization, change of function, objectification and concentration and centralization as principles that are mirrored in DE. These principles are briefly outline below.

Rationalisation

In DE, the principle of rationalisation is related to the teaching process, which is divided in terms of labour. Various specialists are responsible for different aspects of the teaching process; for example, responsibility for the development and design, production and dissemination of study materials are assigned to different directorates in the institution.Secondly, the use of technical equipment such as machines makes it possible to mass produce study materials, bulk deliver the materials to students and streamline the organisation systems used in DE, thus enabling the teaching to be delivered from the lecturer to a large number of students (Peters 1967). This mirrors a form of mass production that is characteristic of industrialisation. The underlying organisational principles that guide DE and the use of alternative support such as technology that replaces the lecturer in certain areas also point to the rationalisation of DE (Peters 1989). Peters (1967) also points out that should the number of students enrolled for DE far surpass the number of lecturers available, the concept of rational thinking should be able to find ways of dealing with this situation.

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Mass production

Peters (1967) argues that the use of technology and the postal delivery system make it possible to reach a large number of students spanning multiple geographical locations. This has a massification effect on the way certain aspects of the teaching process occur. The production of DE from an economical point of view is also typical of mass production.Accordingly, this mass production of DE makes profitability possible through the registration of and course offerings for large numbers of students.

Division of labour

Peters (1967, 1989) argues that the very nature of DE is characterised by a division of labour. It is this division of labour that makes DE possible. In this regard, there are various departments that are responsible for ensuring that the end goals of DE are realised, as lecturers would not on their own be able to undertake their teaching responsibilities to students. There are thus a number of support functions that make the teaching process as a whole possible.

Mechanization

Peters (n.d.) argues that the nature of DE is dependent on the use of mechanization in the form of machines, ICTs that enable communication and electronic data-processing installations. In this regard mass students are communicated with through ICTs like telephone, e-mail, learning management systems, social media and so forth. The use of machines is also significant in the mass production of study materials.

Assembly line

Peters (n.d.) relates DE to the nature of the assembly line with specific reference to study materials. In this regard, the study material is developed by the lecturer, and thereafter passes through various areas of responsibility for approval and despatch. When the students receive the study material they complete the necessary assessments and sent it back to the university.Once again the assessment passes through various areas of responsibility to record the students’ performance. The teaching and learning process therefore occurs without the student and the institution needing to make contact, yet the desirable result is achieved. This effect resembles that of the assembly line.

CHAPTER 1 ORIENTATION TO THE STUDY
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND 
1.3 RATIONALE AND MOTIVATION 
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.5 PROBLEM STATEMENT 
1.6 RESEARCH AIMS 
1.7 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
1.7.1 Research paradigm
1.7.2 Research approach
1.7.3 Research design
1.7.4 Research methods
1.7.4.1 Data sources
1.7.4.2 Selection of participants
1.7.4.3 Data collection
1.7.4.4 Data analysis
1.7.4.5 Trustworthiness
1.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.9 OPERATIONAL CLARIFICATION OF TERMS 
1.10 CHAPTER DIVISION 
1.11 SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 INTRODUCTION 
2.2 PIONEERING DE THEORISTS
2.2.1 Otto Peters: an industrial model of DE
2.2.1.1 Rationalisation
2.2.1.2 Mass production
2.2.1.3 Division of labour
2.2.1.4 Mechanization
2.2.1.5 Assembly line
2.2.1.6 Preparatory work
2.2.1.7 Planning
2.2.1.8 Organization
2.2.1.9 Scientific control methods
2.2.1.10 Formalization
2.2.1.11 Standardization
2.2.1.12 Change of function
2.2.2 Borje Holmberg: theory of guided didactic conversation
2.2.3 Charles Wedemeyer: the student as an independent agent in DE
2.2.4 Moore: theory of transactional distance
2.2.4.1 Structure
2.2.4.2 Dialogue
2.2.4.3 Autonomy
2.2.4.4 Relationship between structure, dialogue and autonomy
2.2.4.5 Rationale for selecting the theory of transactional distance for this study
2.2.5 Desmond Keegan: reintegration of the teaching acts
2.2.6 Relating the work of Peters, Holmberg, Wedemeyer, Moore and Keegan to this study
2.3 LEARNING THEORIES 
2.3.1 Behaviourist views of learning
2.3.1.1 Behaviourist theorists
2.3.2 Cognitive views of learning
2.3.2.1 Information-processing models
2.3.2.2 The link between metacognition, cognitive views of learning and online learning environments
2.3.3 Constructivism
2.3.3.1 Jean Piaget
2.3.3.2 Lev Vygotsky
2.3.4 Social constructivism
2.3.4.1 Rationale for the use of social constructivism to guide this study
2.4 HEUTAGOGY
2.4.1 The progression from pedagogy to andragogy to heutagogy
2.4.2 The link between online distance environments and heutagogy
2.4.3 The rationale for selecting heutagogy for this study
2.5 COMMUNITY OF INQUIRY 
2.5.1 The social presence
2.5.2 The cognitive presence
2.5.3 The teaching presence
2.5.4 The rationale for selecting the CoI for this study
2.6 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
3.1 INTRODUCTION 
3.2 NATIONAL POLICY OVERVIEW
3.2.1 White Paper for Post-School Education and Training
3.2.2 Policy for the Provision of Distance Education in South African Universities in the. Context of an Integrated Post-School System
3.2.3 National Development Plan: Vision for 2030
3.2.4 South Africa’s Broadband Policy
3.2.5 National e-Skills Plan of Action
3.3 DEFINING DISTANCE EDUCATION
3.3.1 Generations of distance education
3.3.1.1 First generation: correspondence study
3.3.1.2 Second generation: broadcasting
3.3.1.3 Third generation: open universities
3.3.1.4 Fourth generation: teleconferencing
3.3.1.5 Fifth generation: computer and internet-based virtual classes
3.4 TEACHING AND LEARNING IN ONLINE DISTANCE EDUCATION CONTEXTS 
3.4.1 Access to information
3.4.2 Multimedia Integration
3.4.3 Collaboration
3.4.4 Constructivism and online learning
3.4.4.1 Student-centred learning environments
3.4.4.2 Knowledge-centred learning environments
3.4.4.3 Assessment-centred learning environments
3.4.4.4 Community-centred learning environments
3.5 DEFINING ONLINE LEARNING
3.5.1 Affordances of online learning
3.5.2 Challenges of online learning
3.6 EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES FOR ONLINE LEARNING IN INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
3.6.1 Asia
3.6.2 North America
3.6.3 Europe
3.6.4 Australia
3.6.5 Africa
3.6.6 Cross-continental research
3.7 CONCLUSION . 
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
4.1 INTRODUCTION 
4.2 RATIONALE FOR EMPIRICAL RESEARCH 
4.3 RESEARCH PARADIGM
4.3.1 Ontological assumptions
4.3.2 Epistemological assumptions
4.3.3 Methodological assumptions
4.4 RESEARCH DESIGN 
4.5 RESEARCH APPROACH 
4.6 RESEARCH METHODS
4.6.1 Research site
4.6.2 Selection of participants and sampling procedures
4.6.3 Data collection
4.6.3.1 Document analysis of institutional policies and online module sites
4.6.3.2 Semi-structured questionnaires
4.6.3.3 Semi-structured one-to-one interviews
4.6.3.4 Triangulation
4.7 ANALYSIS OF THE DATA PERTAINING TO THE QUESTIONNAIRES AND THE  INTERVIEWS 
4.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.8.1 Access to the research site
4.8.2 Informed consent
4.8.3 Avoidance of harm
4.8.4 Confidentiality and anonymity
4.8.5 Role of the researcher
4.8.6 Releasing the findings
4.9 TRUSTWORTHINESS
4.9.1 Credibility
4.9.2 Transferability
4.9.3 Dependability
4.9.4 Conformability
4.10 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
5.1 INTRODUCTION 
5.2 ORGANISATION OF THE DATA 
5.3 POLICY OVERVIEW
5.3.1 Curriculum Policy
5.3.2 Assessment policy
5.3.3 Tuition policy
5.3.4 Implementing the Curriculum Policy
5.3.5 Open Distance Learning Policy
5.3.6 Framework for the Implementation of a Team Approach to Curriculum and Learning Development
5.4 FINDINGS OF THE DOCUMENT ANALYSIS (DATA SET A) 
5.4.1 Student centeredness
5.4.1.1 Student support
5.4.1.2 Student context
5.4.2 Communication
5.4.3 Broad skills set
5.4.4 Critical thinking
5.4.5 Technology as part of pedagogy to improve learning
5.4.6 Characteristics of student learning
5.5 FINDINGS EMANATING FROM THE QUESTIONNAIRES, INTERVIEWS AND DOCUMENT ANALYSIS OF THE ONLINE MODULE SITES (DATA SET B)
5.5.1 Overview of questionnaires
5.5.2 Overview of interviews
5.5.3 Overview of document analysis: online module sites
5.5.4 Themes emanating from the Interviews, Questionnaires and Document Analysis
5.5.4.1 Content-centred approach
5.5.4.2 Support
5.5.4.3 Pedagogic choices
5.5.4.4 Low participation
5.5.4.5 Pedagogical strategies
5.5.4.6 Preparing students for the working environment
5.5.4.7 The digital natives versus digital immigrants conundrum
5.5.4.8 ICT support
5.5.4.9 Let’s connect
5.6 REFLECTION ON THE FINDINGS OF THE DOCUMENT ANALYSIS OF POLICIES AND QUESTIONNAIRES, THE INTERVIEWS AND DOCUMENT ANALYSIS OF ONLINE MODULE SITES
5.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 INTRODUCTION 
6.2 SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW
6.3 SUMMARY OF THE EMPIRICAL STUDY
6.4 SYNTHESIS OF FINDINGS
6.5 RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS
6.5.1 How are lecturers currently integrating online learning in distance education?
6.5.2 What are the opportunities and challenges regarding the integration of online learning?
6.5.3 What are best practices for integrating online learning in distance education?.
6.5.4 How can online learning be Integrated in distance education?
6.5.4.1 Overview of Framework
6.5.4.2 Student awareness
6.5.4.3 Institutional Awareness
6.5.4.4 Lecturer Awareness
6.5.4.5 Operationalising student, institutional and lecturer awareness
6.6 LIMITATIONS 
6.7 RECOMMENDATIONS
6.7.1 Institutions
6.7.2 Lecturers
6.8 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.9 CONCLUSION
REFERENCE LIST 

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