July 24, 2010
-- Online courses are powerful instructional tools that can easily incorporate the goals of constructivist learning. In fact, based on their research findings, experienced online instructors and practitioners, Collision et al. (2000), Palloff and Pratt (2001), and Salmon (2001) recommended that the main indicator of success with online learners is a well-designed course that fosters interactivity through the creation of a virtual learning community. In other words, the online course room can provide a community for collaborative learning. A goal of the constructivist model is that the community of learning, including social interaction with people or the environment, fosters potential development in collaboration with peers Huang, 2002). In support, Salmon (2001) suggests that technology in online learning enables the instructor to create socialization through appropriate course design (p. 28).
In addition to interactive collaboration, the text-based learning is also a component of the online course room. The text-based design allows students to reflect, pause, and think about what is written as compared to the classroom discussion of immediate responses to the questions or comments posted by the instructor or classmates. This can be done at the learner’s own pace.