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Social Media, e-Learning & Online Instructional Design

Online Learning Design That Fosters Student Support, Self-Regulation, And Retention, Campus-Wide Information Systems : The International Journal of Learning and Technology, (2005) Volume: 22 Number: 2

Authors Mercedes Fisher, PhD. Derek E. Baird, M.A.

Purpose: Investigating the social structure in online environments helps us design for and facilitate student (user) support and retention. Provides data showing how design and use of social media networking technologies provided collaborative learning opportunities for online students.

Design / Methodology / Approach: A study of computer-mediated groups that utilized social networking technologies and a web-based collaborative model in an online learning program. Participants were put into groups and observed as they used both online dialogue (synchronous and asynchronous) and social media technologies, such as blogs, as tools to support their learning.

Findings: The integration of web-based learning communities and collaborative group assignments into the course design has a positive influence on retention in online environments.

Research limitations / implications: The research was limited to the online student population at Pepperdine University, and did not include data or research from similar online programs at other universities. Future research should include data collected from students outside the U.S. to find out what role cultural mores, attitudes, and gender play in online learning.

Practical Implications: Provides curriculum design strategies that foster community, utilize social / participatory media, and support online student learning and retention through effective course design.

Originality / value: Current research on distance learning curriculum has focused on the instructor’s perspective. We feel that research from the student’s perspective can also yield some valuable insights for online course design.

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