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Understanding the experience of instructional design with course management systems in higher education


Understanding the experience of instructional design with course management systems in higher education

Zhang, Dai (2009) Understanding the experience of instructional design with course management systems in higher education. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
NR63380.pdf - Accepted Version


This study takes a qualitative approach to investigate the design and development of online learning environments in various contexts. It employs a multiple case study strategy and Activity Theory as a research framework. The thick descriptions of three cases suggest that: First, while dealing with ill-structured problems, the instructional designers articulated solution ideas early in the process without conducting a thorough analysis and defining problems. They tended to adhere to the early solutions and to explore alternatives within their original plans. The early solutions addressed some key issues of online teaching and learning. They were used to guide the design and the development while being revised. Second, although the Course Management Systems facilitated constructivist learning to various extents, their capacity of creating an intuitive learning experience was weak. Such weakness resulted in additional work for the designers. To create an effective online learning environment, the designers needed to have the knowledge and skills for the pedagogical use of technologies. Such knowledge and skills help them link pedagogy with technology while envisioning the course delivery and generating early solutions. Therefore, current CMSs were considered a tool for experienced designers. As a design tool, they acted as a shared workplace to construct shared objects and understanding in collaborative instructional design. Third, in addition to the use of CMS, online delivery policies and the choice of a course development model (how to collaborate with faculty) shaped the design decision-making. By using a CMS, the designers may unconsciously take a technology-driven approach in their design, the impact of which requires more exploration. Fourth, Activity Theory is a valuable framework to examine the complexity of instructional design in a systematic manner. Although the framework is far from perfect and too sophisticated for a novice, it contains various tools to map the activity of instructional design and illustrate the transformation of an online learning environment. Using the principles of Activity Theory, scaffolding can be erected to understand how various tools and rules mediate the design decision-making and the collaborative practice of design.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Zhang, Dai
Pagination:x, 286 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Educational Technology
Thesis Supervisor(s):Shaw, S
ID Code:976453
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:26
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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