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Seminar series on Researching Dialogue and Communities of Enquiry in Elearning in Higher Education Learning through online communication: Findings and implications from second language research

By Carol A. Chapelle


The potentials of elearning are likely to be explored for many years to come in view of some of its obvious logistical benefits for learners and apparent financial incentives for institutions. One would hope that such exploration of teaching practice would have a parallel research program to investigate the nature and effects of dialogue and communities of enquiry in elearning in higher education. The common sense approach to this issue is to compare outcomes of elearning with those of classroom learning, but this approach has proven to be too simplistic to satisfy those attempting to understand the characteristics and potentials of elearning. As Garrison and Anderson (2003) put it, “Why would we expect to find significant differences if we do exactly the same thing [in the two modes of learning]…? ” (p. 6). They conceptualize the changes prompted by elearning as more radical than what can be captured through assessment of outcomes and comparisons with outcomes from classroom learning. At the core of the issue, in their view, is that education is about ideas not facts, and that elearning provides more than access to information; it affords opportunities for communication and interaction. But how does one assess how well learners are formulating ideas throug

Year: 2004
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