THIS PAPER discusses the development of a new instructional design model based on socioconstructivist learning theories and distance education principles for the design of online wisdom communities and the efficacy of the model drawing on evaluation results from its implementation in Fall 2002. The model, Final Outcome Centered Around Learner (FOCAL), aims to facilitate transformational learning by fostering three dimensions: the development of a Wisdom Community, Knowledge Innovation, Mentoring and Learner Support, in an online learning environment. The theoretical framework for the FOCAL model is grounded in socioconstructivist learning theories that focus on the link between cognitive and social processes in understanding learning.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Charlotte N. (Lani) Gunawardena is a Professor of Distance Education and Instructional Technology in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. As Principal Investigator she is currently researching and evaluating a federally funded Web-based math and science teacher professional development project. Her recent research examines the social construction of knowledge in online communities and evaluation of distance education systems. Dr. Gunawardena, an international consultant, has worked as a World Bank Consultant in Sri Lanka, and consulted in Brazil, Mexico, Norway, and Turkey.
Barbara Jennings is a doctoral student in the Distance Education Program in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program in the College of Education, at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Jennings is also a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico where she has developed distance education tutorials and online classes for High Performance Computing users. She is also a part-time faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute where she teaches introductory computer science courses. Ms. Jennings’ research interests include online education development and using these techniques and activities to enhance traditional classroom learning.
Ludmila C. Ortegano-Layne is currently a PhD candidate in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program at the University of New Mexico and an Aggregate Professor at Simon Rodriguez University in Caracas, Venezuela. Her research interests include instructional design and distance education, which has been one of her primary activities as a faculty member at Simon Rodriguez. In 1998, she was responsible for developing the training materials, both printed and those delivered by satellite TV, used for training election officials for the presidential election in Venezuela. For her degree program at the University of New Mexico, she has been focusing on the use of concept maps to enhance and measure collaborative learning within the online distance education context.
Casey Frechette is a doctoral candidate in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program at the University of New Mexico. He is also the Project Assistant for NETtrain, a project that falls under the Navajo Education Technology Consortium and the Education Technology Improvement Project. Mr. Frechette is investigating the relationship between interactivity in a computer-based learning environment and spatial visualization skills for his dissertation.
Kayleigh Carabajal is the Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI) and Project Director for the community college’s Department of Education Title V grant aimed at strengthening the college’s capacity to serve minority and low-income students. Her responsibilities include evaluating programs designed to increase student retention and academic progress and serving as a mentor for faculty new to teaching online courses at TVI. She also serves as a Quality Examiner for community colleges nationwide, participating in the Continuous Quality Improvement Network initiative. Her doctoral research examines interaction patterns among online learners in support of collaborative learning.
Ken Lindemann is a full-time faculty member of Business Occupations at the Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute. He is also pursuing his doctoral degree in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program at the University of New Mexico. His doctoral research centers on distance education and the much-needed element of learner support in distance education, including mentoring as one form of learner support. Mr. Lindemann is a research assistant for a federally funded Web-based math and science teacher professional development project.
Julia Mummert is a recent graduate of the Master’s Program in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology Program at the University of New Mexico. Before pursuing her MA, she was an elementary classroom teacher in both public and private schools in New Mexico and Louisiana. She serves as a Project Assistant for a federally funded Web-based math and science teacher professional development project.
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Gunawardena, C.N., Jennings, B., Ortegano-Layne, L.C. et al. Building an online wisdom community: A transformational design model. J. Comput. High. Educ. 15, 40–62 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02940929
- instructional design model
- learner support
- online learning environment