Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 579-588

First online:

Online learning environments in higher education: Connectivism vs. dissociation

  • Sasha A. ReeseAffiliated withIndiana University of Pennsylvania Email author 

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Over the last decade online education has emerged as a way for students and faculty to collaborate more freely, attain greater flexibility, and utilize new media to learn. The burning debate lies in whether online educational options are harmful to traditional education or offer endless benefits necessary to accommodate a 21st century learner. Supporters of virtual learning environments suggest that 21st century learners require the construction and creation capabilities offered through Web 2.0 to succeed while critics suggest that asynchronous interactions are not engaging and rigorous enough for higher education. A balanced online environment should provide a blend of both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities, which promote communication and collaboration among classmates and instructors.


Distance learning Connectivism Hybrid Synchronous Asynchronous Blended learning Web 2.0 New media Virtual learning 21st century skills