Towards an understanding of the learning processes that occur in synchronous online seminars for the professional development of experienced educators

Abstract

The National College for School Leadership (now the National College) exists to serve the development needs of school leaders in England. The College has begun to use web conferencing in several areas of its work including its professional development programmes, strategic initiatives and support and networking opportunities. Web conferencing tools offer a range of modes of interaction including audio, chat, text, desktop sharing, presentations and video conferencing. It thus has the potential for multi-process learning. The research reported here investigated the ways in which multi-process learning using these tools can be understood. It asked ‘What insights can be gained into the learning processes occurring in synchronous online seminars involving experienced educators? A literature review was carried out to provide background on the current thinking about learning through web conferencing and to explore factors that might be essential for the collective construction of knowledge in this context. Recorded internal and external NCSL web conferences were chosen as case studies; these provided the data for independent qualitative analysis by each of the researchers. From this analysis a model of the learning processes, identified in the data, was developed and related to the current literature. The major findings and model were further reviewed, in the light of their own web-conferencing experiences, by a large number of expert College educators. The resulting ‘model of multi-process learning in web conferencing’ identifies the part played by social, informational, individual internalisation and co-construction stages in multi-process learning.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    OfSTED is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Amongst other things, it is responsible for inspecting schools in England

  2. 2.

    Similar seminars are continuing.

References

  1. Amirian, S. (2002). Pedagogy and videoconferencing. USA: Conference presentation, Montclair State University.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ballagas, R. (undated). Media Multitasking is not always Multitasking http://www.stanford.edu/group/multitasking/memos/Ballegas_MultitaskingMemo.pdf Accessed 8th June 2011.

  3. Bannister, F., & Remenyi, D. (2009). Multitasking: the uncertain impact of technology on knowledge workers and managers. The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, 12(1), 1–12. Available online at www.ejise.com Last accessed 17th June 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Basiel, A. (1999). Applied Formative Evaluation in the Web-based Environment. Middlesex University

  5. Basiel, A., & Hatzipanagos, S. (2008). Online pedagogy for web-based videoconferencing: guidelines of good use. http://www.elearning.mdx.ac.uk/research/Skip_StylianosV4a.doc. Accessed 5th June 2011.

  6. Beatty, B., & Allix, N. (2005). Being there: Exploring extending and enriching distance education in real time with WebEx. Paper presented at the Paper presented at the ODLAA Conference, Adelaide 2005, 2005

  7. Belenky, M., Clinchy, B., Goldberger, N., & Tarule, J. (1986). Women's ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: HarperCollins/Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Collison, G., Elbaum, B., Hassvind, S., & Tinker, R. (2000). Facilitating online learning: effective strategies for moderators. Madison: Atwood Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Dix, A. (1995). Human computer interaction. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fruchter, R., Ponti, M., Jungbecker, A., & Alfen, H. W. (2007). A scalable working model for cross-disciplinary global teamwork education pp769-777 http://itc.scix.net/data/works/att/w78-2007-118-143-Fruchter.pdf Accessed 7th June 2011.

  11. Garcia-Horta, J. B., & Guerra-Ramos, M. T. (2009). The use of CAQDAS in educational research: some advantages, limitations and potential risks. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 32(2), 151–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Greenberg, A. (2004). Navigating the sea of research on videoconferencing-based distance education. http://www.wainhouse.com/files/papers/wr-navseadistedu.pdf. Accessed 12th June 2011.

  13. Grenfell, M., & James, D. (1998). Bourdieu and Education: acts of practical theory. London: Falmer Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hassan, A. Z. (2003). An action research study in an Arab context of the application of social constructivism and information communications technology in supporting the learning of pre-service teachers on a technology of education course. Exeter: University of Exeter.

    Google Scholar 

  15. James, D., & Biesta, G. (Eds.). (2007). Improving learning cultures in further education: London, Routledge.

  16. Johnson, J. T. (2006). Tech’s next wave is the dashboard. computerworld Canada. LexisNexis. http://www.itworldcanada.com/news/techs-next-wave-is-the-dashboard/99423. Accessed 6th June 2011.

  17. Kaptelinin, V., & Nardi, A. (2006). Acting with technology: activity theory and interactional design. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kelly, V. (2006). Adapting the Theories of Online Education to Online News Sites. Kent State University. Available at www.personal.kent.edu/~vkelly/masters/val_kelly_12_07_06.pdf,

  19. Ku, H., & Lohr, L. L. (2003). A case study of Chinese student attitudes towards their first online learning experience. Education Technology Research and Development, 51(3), 94–102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Mayr, U. (undated). What we know: Multiple sources of multitasking costs in the laboratory http://www.stanford.edu/group/multitasking/memos/Mayr_MultitaskingMemo.pdf. Accessed 4th June 2011.

  21. McElroy, M. W. (2003). The new knowledge management: complexity, learning, and sustainable innovation. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Morris, D. (2010). Are teachers technophobes? Investigating professional competency in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 4010–4015.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. OfSTED (2004). ICT in Schools: The Impact of Government Initiatives - Secondary Science. London: Office for Standards in Education.

  24. Perry, W. G., Jnr. (1970). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. . New York: Holt.

  25. Seddon, K., & Postlethwaite, K. (2007). Creating a model for self-evaluation and facilitation of co-construction of knowledge through online interaction. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 16(2), 177–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Semin, G. R., & Smith, E. R. (2002). Interfaces of social psychology with situated and embodied cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 3. http://www.cratylus.org/people/uploadedFiles/1118486135642-3656.pdf. Accessed 13th June 2011.

  27. Slowinski, J. (2000). Promoting Virtual Collaboration Via the WWW, TechKnowLogia, September/October 2002 http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_active_pages2/CurrentArticles/main.asp?IssueNumber=7&FileType=PDF&ArticleID=178. Accessed 9th June 2011.

  28. Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (Eds.). (1997). Grounded theory in practice Thousand Oaks. CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Tiwana, A. (2000). The knowledge management toolkit: practical techniques for building a knowledge management system. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society: the development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Wallis, C., & Steptoe, S. (2006). Help! I’ve Lost My Focus. Time Magazine, 167, 42–47.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Wick, C. (2000). Knowledge management and leadership opportunities for technical. Communicators Technical Communication Fourth Quarter, 2000, 515–529.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Keith Postlethwaite.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Seddon, K., Postlethwaite, K., James, M. et al. Towards an understanding of the learning processes that occur in synchronous online seminars for the professional development of experienced educators. Educ Inf Technol 17, 431–449 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-011-9166-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Web conferencing
  • Multi- process learning
  • Adult learning
  • Distance learning
  • Human multi-tasking