Media Debate

Image by Shazia Khokhar

The Magic and Potential of Technology by Shazia Khokhar and Jessica Gemella

Do media influence learning? Clark and Kozma debated this question in 1994 publications. To start, in “Media will never influence learning”, Clark claimed that media do not influence learning under any condition (1994). Clark (1994) contended that media has no learning benefit, and that media only provides efficiency and economic benefits. However, in “Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate”, Kozma (1994) argued that social context will help instructional designers take advantage of media capabilities, instructional methods, and cognitive processes to benefit learning. This debate about media and learning provides relevant perspectives to critique current mass media, press releases and software promotion. For example, Wade (n.d.) of Georgetown University stated that social media enhances learning in “How Social Media is Reshaping Today’s Education System”.

Wade (n.d.) in “How Social Media is Reshaping Today’s Education System” proposed that social media is changing education because media enriches learning for several reasons. First, social media is empowering for students and teachers to share and interact (Wade, n.d.). Second, social media is practical and accessible because students are already immersed in its use, it is part of our lives (Wade, n.d.). Third, social media is fast-paced to match the speed of student lives (Wade, n.d.). Lastly, social media promotes teacher-student relationships (Wade, n.d.). In our opinion, Clark’s response to Wade’s assertions would be to argue that the learning benefits of social media could be achieved by other means. For instance, students and teachers could be empowered to share and interact with print media. Writing is also practical and accessible. Students and teachers could write each other letters to improve relationships. As Clark (1994) contended, media benefits efficiency. Thus, social media is faster than letter writing but does not necessarily improve learning. In contrast, we believe that Kozma’s opinion would differ because of the social context media can provide.

Kozma (1994) considered the conditions under which media will influence learning. Kozma (1994) also suggested that instructional design would be influenced by the goals, beliefs, and knowledge of the users. Thus, it is our view that Kozma would support the suggestion that social media has the potential to enhance learning because the media provides the means for users to express themselves and socially construct knowledge. However, Kozma would draw attention to the importance of instructional methods and the complexity of the learning environment in evaluating Wade’s assertion that media enhances learning. Similar to Wade’s representation of Georgetown University’s media-enhanced learning, software companies are also capitalizing on the notion that technology advances teaching and learning.

CanopyLAB is a Danish EdTech software company that has developed an adaptive, social, and intelligent learning experience platform (LXP) based on artificial intelligence (AI) optimized social network structure (CanopyLab, 2022). According to CanopyLab, their remote and blended learning platform functions and feels like a social network site where users can easily communicate, share information, and build a community. 

In their blog post, “5 Ways in which AI is already Shaping the Future of Learning” CanopyLABS (2022) claims, “…we are already two steps ahead, bringing you the future of education today by combining the best aspects of F2F learning with the magic and potential of technology” (para. 12). CanopyLab explains that their platform is centred on social media because they wanted students to interact and learn from one another. In addition, their technology harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop the first AI Course Authoring Tool, which enables course developers to create individualized learning experiences (CanopyLab, 2022).

Clark would argue that combining the best aspects of face-to-face (F2F) learning with the potential of new media technology would have no impact on student learning, based on his initial claim that media are “mere vehicles that deliver instruction” and that the new artificial intelligence-based learning platform is simply a different “vehicle.” Clark (1994) also states, “we must always choose the less expensive way” (p. 22); if cheaper media can achieve the same goals, we must choose it. Clark would concur that there is evidence that diverse media qualities achieve the same educational objective. Therefore, he would argue that the instructional approach, not the medium, that determines learning. Thus, his view would be that this new technology would not directly result in improved learning for students.

In contrast, Kozma (1994) argued that the use of various new media technologies, each of which possesses its own unique capabilities, has the potential to enhance the learning experience by complementing the learners’ abilities. Kozma (1994) views education as an “active, constructive, cognitive and social process”. Therefore, Kozma would agree that CanopyLABS’ adaptive learning platform provides for interaction and connection where students can learn from one another, with the potential to enhance learning for certain types of learners. This technology could allow for more customized and personalized instruction based on the needs of individual learners.

Does technology have the magic to transform education systems and learning interactions to benefit learning? Clark has us consider that efficiency and cost-effective instructional delivery methods are not a formula that results in learning (1994). While Kozma highlights the complexity of instructional design that involves user needs, interactions, media capabilities, cognitive processes, and the intentions of the designer (1994). Clark and Kozma’s 1994 debate provide contrasting perspectives that are still relevant in seeking answers.


CanopyLAB. (2022, August 6). 5 Ways in which AI is already Shaping the Future of Learning [web log]. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from  

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29. 

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19. 

Wade, L. (n.d.). How social media is reshaping today’s education system. Center for Social Impact Communication. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from  

Assignment #1: Introduction to Catherine Cronin

Capturing Catherine’s ideas in her Keynote at OER16 from Bryan Mathers.
Image Credit: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Visual Thinker

25 Years of Ed Tech” by Weller (2020) with “Between the Chapters: OER Podcast” (2021) influenced me to consider how educational technology plays a role in justice. Thus, I will share Catherine Cronin’s significant contributions to the field of educational technology. Catherine Cronin is an open educator focusing on social justice approaches (Cronin, 2022). Cronin’s contributions to educational technology include open-access publications such as; Feminisms, technologies and learning: continuities and contestationsFraming open educational practices from a social justice perspective; and Theorizing progress: Women in science, engineering, and technology in higher education. In addition, Catherine Cronin’s website captures an extensive collection of scholarship and creative works.

Cronin’s open-access approach is necessary to the field of education and technology. First, decades of research show inequities in access to technology (Bali et al., 2020). Poor, minority and female students have less access (Bali et al., 2020). In Cronin’s collaborative research, such as Framing open educational practices from a social justice perspective, Cronin applied feminist thinking and challenged assumptions to promote justice through open education practices (Bali et al.,2020). Second, Cronin contributes to conversations about digital literacies (Cronin, 2022). Recently, Cronin was the keynote speaker for the annual AMICAL (an international consortium of universities) conference (Cronin, 2022). The keynote presentation emphasised the need for critical digital and data literacies so that students can develop agency – as learners, creators, and collaborators (Cronin, 2020). Catherine Cronin has made significant contributions to the field of education and technology. 


Bali, M., Cronin, C., & Jhangiani, R. S. (2020). Framing open education practice from a social justice perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2020(1), 10. http//

Cronin, C. (2022). Catherine Cronin: Independent open educator, open researcher.   

Cronin, C. (2022). Critical digital literacies: Developing agency and sustaining hope in troubled times [Conference presentation]. AMICAL Consortium.  

Pasquini, L. (Host). (2021, January 21). Between the chapters: OER (No. 11) [Audio podcast episode]. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. Transistor.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech. Athabasca University Press.  

Lessons from Education Technology Histories 2002-2011

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No attribution required

This week I continued reading “25 Years of Ed Tech” by Weller (2020). I focused my reading on lessons from educational technology histories from 2002 to 2011. First, the reading influenced me to consider more deeply the potential of connectivism for teaching, learning and research. Connectivism principles accept that knowledge occurs in a diversity of opinions, and learning happens when learners connect to and participate in a learning community (Siemens, 2006). Second, Weller (2020) offered a relevant debate on using videos. In particular, the shift in content delivery as part of a flipped learning concept (learning content outside face-to-face classes). Weller (2020) stated that by 2006 the emergence of the internet shifted the role of internet users from passive to interactive. User-generated approaches in education expanded with blogs, videos, and social media (Weller, 2020). By the late 2000s, connectivism grew as a set of principles for teaching, learning, and research.

I see that connectivism principles have immediate relevance in my work in higher education. For instance, Weller (2020) explained the value of networked identity in achieving scholarly goals and expanding academic communities. As a Curriculum Teaching and Learning Specialist (CTLS), I am working to build research capacity in technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Applied research aims to solve problems by applying new knowledge and technologies to create practical products, services, and processes (Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, n.d.). As expressed by Weller (2020), networked media provides the potential to expand beyond formal university publications with easy-to-read blogs and social media. Accordingly, I see connectivism principles as essential in my work for public engagement and dissemination of research. In addition to blogs and social media, internet capability also connects learning communities with streaming videos to share content (Weller, 2020).

While video provides many benefits for informal learning and sharing, I believe there are conflicts with video use. For example, in my CTLS role to support instructional design, I see many instructors using videos as part of a flipped classroom delivery model. The flipped learning concept means students spend time at home learning concepts before coming together for interactive learning activities (Weller, 2020). There are also conflicts in synchronous video classes because streaming capacity or home/other environments can limit student participation (Pasquini, 2021). Consequently, video use favours students with stable home life (Weller, 2020). In addition, video can also create tensions for educators. According to Weller (2020), educators are not experienced in assessing what makes a good video assignment. Thus, video use as an assessment is used comparatively less than written assignments (Weller, 2020). Lastly, some teachers feel pressured to become broadcasters and performers to make videos with limited support (Pasquini, 2021).


Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. (n.d.). Applied research. Office of Applied Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Retrieved September 11, 2022, from,business%2C%20industry%20and%20community%20partners

Pasquini, L. (Host). (2021, January 28). Between the chapters: talking videos (No. 12) [Audio podcast episode]. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. Transistor.

Siemens, G. (2006). Connectivism. Learning theory or pastime for the self-amused?

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.

25 Years of Ed Tech and Beyond

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In the book “25 Years of Ed Tech”, Weller (2020) provided a compelling argument to dispel the myth that higher education has resisted technological innovation. As described by the author, there is a history of innovation and effective implementation of educational technology (ed tech) in higher education over the past 25 years. The author illuminated one innovation or key technology adopted by higher education per year starting in 1994 and ending in 2018. This week I read the first eight chapters. The writer’s 1994 beginning seemed appropriate as it focuses on the internet as the dominant technology shaping ed tech. I thought two ed tech innovations stood out as significant. First, in 1994 the Bulletin Boards System (BBS) gained popularity by establishing discussion forums as a precursor to social media. Second, in 1998 Wikis exemplified open education. Wikis facilitated collaboration and the construction of knowledge within a respectful space. Thus, becoming a foundation for open education. I now see that the networked participation and openness I aim to enhance in my teaching are based on historical precedent. My response to the 25 Years of Ed Tech retrospective is to wonder and hope for the book’s next edition.

What critical ed tech and pedagogy will be highlighted in the following chapters, from 2019 and beyond? In my opinion, the author’s aim is vital while higher education emerges from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020. Open and flexible education methods have drawn interest due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Naidu & Editor, 2022). Flexibility has been an essential and consistent aspect of innovation in education over the past 40 years (Veletsianos & Houlden, 2019). The pandemic crisis also exposed inequities in higher ed (Veletsianos & Houlden, 2020). For these reasons, if I was to edit the next edition of 25 Years of Ed Tech, I would add flexibility and accessibility as key concepts for future chapters. What would you recommend?


Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (n.d.). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from

Naidu, S., & Editor, E. (2022). Threats and tensions for open , flexible , and distance learning post-COVID-19. Distance Education, 43(3), 349–352.

Veletsianos, G., & Houlden, S. (2019). An analysis of flexible learning and flexibility over the last 40 years of Distance Education. Distance Education, 40(4), 454–468.

Veletsianos, G., & Houlden, S. (2020). Radical Flexibility and Relationality as Responses to Education in Times of Crisis. Postdigital Science and Education, 2(3), 849–862.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.

Assignment 2 Part A: Theoretical Frameworks and Annotated Bibliography

by Jessica Gemella, Heather de Lange, Terry Kent, and Nicole Croft


The three theoretical frameworks discussed below include community of inquiry (CoI), personality theory, and adult learning theory. A plethora of research underpins the use and validity of each framework by highlighting the connection between theory and practice, particularly in the field of learning and technology. Personality theory assists educators in understanding how to best support diverse personality traits and learning styles when developing engaging online pedagogies. Indicators of increased performance, retention rates and student perceptions are examples used to measure and predict learner outcomes. Secondly, CoI, or Community of Practice (CoP) identifies the interdependent relationship between social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence. This collaborative-constructionist framework highlights both the relationship and dependencies each presence has to one another, allowing meaningful reflection and the development of supportive practices leading to increased learner engagement. Lastly, adult learning theory, also known as andragogy, outlines practical and relational attributes that contribute to the success of higher education learning and goals. Motivation, experience, and individual goals are examples of factors used to study adult learning theory, with substantial weight denoted to real-world issues. Though there are major benefits to pedagogies that consider the many theoretical frameworks available, it is good practice to appreciate the different use cases, limitations and implications of each framework concerning learning and technology especially when it comes to online, asynchronous education.

Annotated Bibliography

* denotes secondary research

*** indicates primary and secondary research

Community of Inquiry (CoI); Community of Practice (CoP)

*Cousin, G. & Deepwell, F. (2005). Designs for network learning: A communities of practice perspective. Studies in Higher Education, 30(1), 57-66. 

Cousin and Deepwell’s article has set out to illustrate the implications of Wenger’s communal learning (Community of Practice, CoP) in the design of networked learning environments (NLE) and networked learning. Initially, Cousin and Deepwell discuss at length the various aspects of Wenger’s CoP, including Wegner’s notion that participation, identity, and community, are requirements for learning. Next, they discussed Wegner’s three aspects of CoP (mutual engagement, joint enterprise, shared repertoire), focusing on some challenges shared repertoires may pose for NLEs. Cousin and Deepwell also explored Wenger’s discussions on participation and reification, stating that participation and production are critical aspects of communal learning. After a detailed account of Wenger’s collective learning aspects, Cousin and Deepwell argue that Wenger’s characteristics of communal learning should help lead design for NLEs. They state that the focus should be on constructing NLEs to encourage learner participation, taking special care to consider the engagement elements of mutuality, competence, and continuity. Cousin and Deepwell also discuss other design aspects for NLEs, such as imagination (the ability to explore) and alignment (providing a balance between investigation and expectations). Cousin and Deepwell concluded their article with a list of implications that can facilitate networked learning. 

***Howard, N. R. (2019). Chasing resources: A mixed methods study of a professional learning opportunity. E-Learning and Digital Media, 16(6), 497–510.  

In this article, Howard used a mixed method research approach to find connections between Wenger’s definition of Community of Practice (CoP) and online Personal Learning Networks (PLN). Howard also suggested that online communities for educators can have several benefits for their professional development (PD). Howard relies on Wenger’s CoP definition and framework, restating that CoP’s principal idea is learning through participation and involves four major components: meaning, practice, community, and identity. Howard conducted research using Twitter as a PLN network to illustrate the components of CoP. In addition to Wenger’s CoP criteria, Howard’s PLN study also identifies four themes concerning CoP: beyond borders through meaning, encouragement, and practice, standing the gap with community, and chasing resources and identity. These themes illustrate similarities between traditional CoP and online PLNs but also identify several discrepancies. Howard notes that further research is needed regarding the resilience and long-term effects of PLNs. Howard’s research concludes that online PLNs have the potential to assist both new and veteran educators with their practice by providing self-directed, global communal learning opportunities while practicing key aspects of traditional CoP.

***Rolim, V., Ferreira, R., Lins, R. D., & Gǎsević, D. (2019). A network-based analytic approach to uncovering the relationship between social and cognitive presences in communities of inquiry. The Internet and Higher Education, 42, 53–65.

The theoretical framework described by Garrison et al, labelled community of inquiry (CoI), is a deeply researched social constructivist model, best used in blended and online learning platforms. The framework defines the learning experience through social, cognitive, and teaching presence consequently providing an opportunity for instructors to enhance the learning experience for students (2010). These “presences” highlight behaviour and engagement opportunities to reflect and amend customary education standards such as passive lecturing (Garrison, 2018). This study uses epistemic network analysis (ENA), a graph-based analysis to bring both quantitative and qualitative insights into the CoI framework. Benefits of using ENA include exploring the relationship between social and cognitive presences, measuring the impact of teaching interventions and looking at the progression of the interdependency between social and cognitive presence when applied to CoI model. This paper analyzes data collected from online asynchronous discussions. It offers feasible suggestions to enhance student learning outcomes including providing timely feedback, improved course design based on the opportunity to understand both quantitative and qualitative inputs granted by ENA, and furthermore, provides suggestions to optimize students’ experience in asynchronous learning environments within the structure of the CoI framework.

*Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Communities of Practice: A brief introduction.,better%20as%20they%20interact%20regularly

Wenger-Trayner’s purpose for writing this article is to provide a brief overview of the Community of Practice (CoP) learning theory and to illustrate examples of various communities that find CoP useful in learning and education. The article commences by defining CoP as a group of people who share an interest in a common topic and learn from each other by participating regularly. Wenger-Trayner then provides a list of three characteristics of CoP (domain, community, and practice), each with a brief description of its importance. Wenger-Trayner provides examples of how groups evolve their practice using CoP through various activities. They discuss the origin of CoP, initiating from learning theory and initially coined by researchers Lave and Wenger. Challenges of CoP are also noted, specifically for government and education. The article concludes by dispelling several CoP myths and provides a list of resources for further reading. Wenger-Trayner’s article relates CoP to learning and technology, specifically CoP’s ability to enable educators and learners to manage knowledge, create links between learning and performance, and be unlimited by formal systems. These characteristics of CoP illustrate a different approach to knowledge management that focuses on group learning and can prove beneficial to online communities.

Personality Theory

***Abe, J. A. A. (2020). Big five, linguistic styles, and successful online learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 45, 1–9.

This article deals with both the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality and linguistic styles. The FFM is divided into five dimensions: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and neuroticism. Linguistic styles are typically analyzed by processing writing samples with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a computerized text analysis program. From these findings, Pennebaker and colleagues created an algorithm for assessing individual differences in cognitive styles, called Analytic Thinking. Individuals who score high think logically, and those who score low think intuitively. The participants were recruited from six sections of fully online asynchronous undergraduate classes in personality psychology at a public comprehensive university. The assessment methods were the big five inventory, linguistic analysis and word count, quiz average, online discussions, and grade on final paper. This study showed that people who are talkative, sociable, and outgoing do not have an advantage over introverts in a fully online asynchronous learning environment. Students who have depressed mood or anxiety are not positively or negatively affected from a totally online and asynchronous course format. The results showed that conscientiousness, analytic thinking, and openness to experience are associated with successful online learning, the same as face-to-face learning.

***Bhagat, K., Wu, L., Yufeng & Chang, C. (2019). The impact of personality on student’s perception of online learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(4), 98-108.

In this article, the researchers examine the impact of personality traits on the perception of students toward online learning. The study is framed by personality theory. The writers claim that personality plays an essential role in students’ learning experiences because how a person thinks, feels and behaves influences how the person interacts with their environment. Thus, the writers explain the importance of personality theory to online course design to improve student success regarding grades and retention rates. Since there are many personality theories, the researchers focused their study on a widely accepted and applied model named the five-factor model of personality (FFM). The FFM model separates personality traits into extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and intellect/imagination. The researchers predicted measures of student engagement as; instructor characteristics (caring, helpful, and accommodating traits), social presence (developing a sense of community), instructional design (planning objectives, instructional strategies, evaluation and selecting media), and trust (believing in success). The researchers recommend using personality tests during enrolment so that online courses can be customized to guide instructors in selecting effective teaching methods. In addition, online courses should incorporate adaptive learning models to match learner personalities. In sum, personality theory can inform effective online course design to influence student learning experiences to support success. 

***Seyal, A., Siau, N., & Suhali, W. (2019). Evaluating Students’ Personality and Learning Styles in Higher Education: Pedagogical Considerations. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 18(7), 145-164. /view/541/545

This article looks at students’ personality traits in relation to learning styles in institutions of higher learning (IHL) while highlighting specific pedagogical considerations regarding applying rewarding outcomes for student learning by leveraging personality theory. In the study presented, ninety surveys were collected and analyzed using quantitative and random sampling techniques. The correlation between dominant personality traits and learning style were studied using personality theory and learning styles. The results showed strong relationships between “openness and agreeableness” personality traits to several learning styles; however, the overall conclusion suggests that effective pedagogies are developed by knowing, understanding, and adapting teaching methods to students’ unique learning styles. The author articulates limitations to the study including non-response bias that can be improved upon by increasing the survey sample size as well as controlling for gender which may illuminate additional relationships. The main strengths of this study bring forward practical and clear recommendations for educators in IHL including professional development to gain knowledge around the variety of personality types and support educators in creating a balanced curriculum that aims to address a range of personalities. Lastly, the author suggests measuring outcomes using formative and summative assessments is expected to lead to more positive performance and increased productivity.

Adult Learning Theory

*Knowles, M. (1973). The adult learner: A neglected species. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED084368.

Knowles adopted the term andragogy to define an approach to adult learning. Knowles’ adult learning theory emerged in the mid-century when education theory was based on how children learn (pedagogy) and animal laboratory studies. Andragogy highlights how adults are motivated to learn: adult learners are independent with the capacity for self-direction; adult learners have life experience so experiential techniques can build on this experience; adults are goal-oriented and engage in learning with goals and interests with a pursuit for mastery; adult learners are intrinsically motivated and ready to seek knowledge; and adult learners are eager to apply what is learned, therefore oriented toward problem-solving and project learning. Adult learning theory can enhance learning with technology by creating authentic learning (about real-world issues) experiences and social learning (opportunities to learn from one another). Effective adult education strategies include inquiry-centered curricula (guided by students’ questions and curiosity) and problem-centered learning sequences rather than subject-centered units. In contrast to pedagogy, the adult educator’s role in transmitting knowledge is diminished. Educators act as role models, supporters, and facilitators. Adult learning theory encourages educators to connect learning to real-world issues and to learners’ experiences to motivate adults to learn.

*Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New directions for adult & continuing education, 1997(74), 5-12. 

This article aims to define and explain transformative learning (TL) and connect it to adult learning. Mezirow claims the goal of TL is to create independent, responsible thinking. Mezirow commences the article by defining TL as a process of effecting change in a person’s frame of reference (FOR). He states that FORs are experiences that define our lives. He then expands on FOR’s various components and dimensions (habits of mind and point of view (POV). Mezirow also states that controlling the environment is critical for learning and expands on several processes to help with this. Next, Mezirow discusses the importance of discourse, meaning evaluating evidence, information and different POVs to encourage learning. He then discusses four learning processes in relation to transformative learning, concluding with the notion that adult learning through the lens of transformation theory needs ideal conditions and mentions several methods that act as learning guidelines. The link between transformative learning and technology is in its premise: creating autonomous responsible thinking by questioning our biases and POV. Online communities can create places of discourse and allow for analysis and critical thinking incorporated in transformative learning. 

*Slagter van Tryon, P. J., & Bishop, M. J. (2009). Theoretical foundations for enhancing social connectedness in online learning environments. Distance Education, 30(3), 291–315.

The research study is framed by social learning theory. According to social learning theorists, learning occurs when students can construct ideas and meaning in interactive environments. Social learning theory supposes that learners develop networks of communication to combine their own experiences with multiple perspectives of others. In other words, peer learning plays a central role in the learning process. The authors suggest that in face-to-face environments, beneficial group social structure happens more seamlessly than in online learning environments. Therefore, the authors convey that attrition rates remain higher for online learning and those students report feelings of social disconnectedness. Social learning theory can inform online course design to help students make sense of the online social environment. To connect social learning theory with online course design and delivery, the researchers encourage online educators to design introductory activities that reveal participants’ personalities and characteristics. Additionally, educators can ease communications by facilitating the establishment of group norms and roles. Also, a stronger group bond and student engagement can be enhanced by frequent discussions. In summary, educators can facilitate the formation of social structures for learning through the design of social activities, establishing communication norms and providing opportunities for frequent discussions.

Principles of Adult Learning to support effective instructional design

Malcolm Knowles adopted the term andragogy for adult learning theory. Andragogy provides a set of assumptions about how adults learn. Understanding adult learning principles can improve the educational experience for adult learners.

  • Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
  • Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.
  • Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.
  • Adult learning is problem-centred rather than content-oriented.
Self-directedLearning at one’s own pace in one’s wayHave learners set goals, involve learners in the planning and provide opportunities to self-evaluate
TransformationalLearning can change your perspective on the world and vice-versaProvide experiences to shift the learner’s perspective; new information becomes applied and retained.
ExperientialFocuses on developing life experience or “hands-on” learningParticipate physically in the learning environment and include reflection afterwards.
MentorshipLearning from an outside mentor (established figure) in a fieldConnect with mentors and take learning outside the classroom or the usual training environment. Apprenticeship and summer work experience are examples.
Orientation to (or of) learningAdults need to reframe their emotions and assumptions around the experience and value of learning.Adapt lessons to include real-world situations, which helps students retain information.
MotivationIn contrast to children that must attend school, adults often have internal motivation.Typically, adults have internalised motivation. Leverage this motivation by connecting to what learners need.
Readiness to learnAdults are fully developed and must rely on experience or life changes to build a renewed readiness to learn.Renew readiness to learn. Adults often need a situational trigger. What skills do learners need to master?
The above chart is adapted from The University of Phoenix (2022) at


Knowles, M. (1973). The adult learner: A neglected species. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED084368.

The University of Phoenix. (2022). 7 adult learning theories and principles to enhance your education.

What makes a good research question?

Pixabay License. Free for commercial use. No attribution required

A good research question should be clear and focused. A good question should also provide opportunities to discuss and analyse multiple sources of information to offer a unique understanding of a significant program, issue, or phenomenon (Virginia Commonwealth University, n.d; Royal Roads University, n.d.). Virginia Commonwealth University (n.d.) suggested the following checklist to guide the development of a research question;

“Is the research question something I/others care about? Is it arguable?

Is the research question a new spin on an old idea, or does it solve a problem?

Is it too broad or too narrow?

Is the research question researchable within the given time frame and location?

What information is needed?”.

Additionally, George Mason University (n.d.) recommended that a good research question should be clear, focused, concise, complex (not answerable by a simple yes or no), and arguable (open to debate rather than accepted facts).

After developing a research question, a thesis statement is designed to answer the question (Virginia Commonwealth University, n.d.). Most likely, the thesis will be refined through the research and writing process (Virginia Commonwealth University, n.d.). In summary, a good research question will guide the writing of a valuable research paper (Virginia Commonwealth University, n.d.).


Virginia Commonwealth University. (n.d.). What Makes a Good Research Question? [Handout]. Thompson Writing Program. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

George Mason University. (n.d.). How to Write a Research Question. The Writing Centre. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

Royal Road University. (n.d.). Master’s thesis process. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

Paper vs Digital

Unit 4 – Activity 1: Reading and taking notes in class: Paper vs Digital

As part of our course for the MALAT program at Royal Roads, our group, Ed Logan, Patrick Guichon, and I have looked at the effectiveness of note taking and reading with paper with digital media. The following charts summarise the impacts of digital learning on reading and note taking. 

Taking notes

Advantages of each medium:

Easier to Annotate [1]Better searching [1]
Easy to navigate [1]Easier to modify [1]
Help you master learning linguistic correctness [17]Easy to duplicate [1]
Easier to include drawings and diagrams [14, 20]Easy to proofread (spell checking) [1]
Encoding especially factual [15]Faster typing speed 33wpm (than handwriting 22wpm)/detailed notes [14,15, 17]
Intuitive (no tech to learn) [8,18]Write longer/accurate [17] 
Often preferred for note taking [8,19]Speech to text [17]
Sensory-motor integration benefits brain development and learning  (larger involvement of senses along with precise hand movements) [20].Built in grammar and supports [17]
Can quickly animate a process or record a visualisation [21, 22, 23]
Remote collaboration [24, 27]
Portable, easy to carry tools, share, publish or convert notes and drawings  [25]
Digital pens or stylus can integrate handwriting and drawing teaching and  learning strategies  [28]   

Which is better for comprehension, i.e. does note taking differ with the different media? According to [14,19], yes. Due to the increased speed of taking notes on a laptop, it was observed that more notes could be taken at the same time. This led laptop note takers to paraphrase less and synthesise less than paper note takers. This longhand paper note taking was better for recall during review sessions than laptop note taking. 

In contrast, Askvik at al., (2020) [20] found handwriting and drawing is vital in a learning environment to optimise learning because they strengthen cognitive development and learning effectiveness.Osugi st al. (2019) [29] suggested that writing with a digital pen may improve learning relative to the use of an ink pen. 


Advantages of each medium:

People prefer paper for reading (no eye strain) [2,4,9]View animations, movies, or sound [2,5,9]
Easier to carry [2,6]Can be interactive [4,9]
No need for electricity [3]Searchable [5,10]
Less expensive [3,6]Errata can be automatically updated [5]
Easier to make notes, highlight [4,10]Can include hyperlinks within book or to external content [5,6,9,10,11]
Faster page turning/efficient/ [5, 7]Text-to-speech ability [5]
Intuitive (no tech to learn) [6,10,11]Less physical storage space required [10]
Deep reading (single book or article) [7, 10] Metacognition Shallow reading (switching across books, articles) [6,10, 16]
They like the feel of paper [6]Enables the use of computer-assisted test analysis (CATA) software to analyse readings [24]
No screen flicker, better viewing angle [6]

Does the media, paper vs digital affect comprehension and reading speed?

No, comprehension and reading speed seem generally unaffected by media (paper vs digital) [6, 7(speed), 12,13]. Many educational environments currently use digital or electronic (paperless) media instead of books. Different reading and annotation strategies need to be considered to facilitate the shift from paper to digital media. For example students may benefit from using computer-assisted text analysis [24].

Adaptations to make digital better and closer to paper:

  1. Digital touch screens with styluses for drawing and annotations [1].
  2. E-book readers to make reading screens easier, lighter and more like books [3]. Monochrome screens reduce battery consumption, decrease eye strain, and increase readability [5]. 
  3. Pressure sensitive digital pens can make the digital writing and drawing experiences similar to paper [28].


  1. Guimbretière, F. (2003). Paper augmented digital documents. 16th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, Vancouver, Canada. 
  2. Grudin, J. (Ed.). (2001). Integrating paper and digital information on EnhancedDesk: a method for realtime finger tracking on an augmented desk system. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 8(4), 307-322. 
  3. Wilson, R. (2003). Ebook readers in higher education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 6(4), 8-17. 
  4. Merga, M. K. (2014). Are teenagers really keen digital readers?: adolescent engagement in ebook reading and the relevance of paper books today. English in Australia, 49(1), 27-37. 
  5. Siegenthaler, E., Wurtz, P., & Groner, R. (2010). Improving the usability of e-book readers. Journal of usability studies, 6(1), 25-38. 
  6. Dillon, A. (1992). Reading from paper versus screens: A critical review of the empirical literature. Ergonomics, 35(10), 1297-1326.
  7. Clinton, V. (2019). Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of Research in Reading, 42(2), 288-325.
  8. Steimle, J., Brdiczka, O., & Muhlhauser, M. (2009). CoScribe: integrating paper and digital documents for collaborative knowledge work. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 2(3), 174-188. 
  9. Cesário, V., Freitas, P., Pimentel, D., & Nisi, V. (2016). Children’s Books: Paper VS Digital, What Do They Prefer? Proceedings of the The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Manchester, United Kingdom.
  10. Larhmaid, M. (2018). The Impact of Print vs. Digital Resources on Moroccan University Students’ Reading Habits, Uses, and Preferences.
  11. Rodriguez, F. S., Saleem, K., Spilski, J., & Lachmann, T. (2021). Performance differences between instructions on paper vs digital glasses for a simple assembly task. Applied ergonomics, 94, 103423.
  12. Çınar, M., Doğan, D., & Seferoğlu, S. S. (2021). The effects of reading on pixel vs. paper: a comparative study. Behaviour & Information Technology, 40(3), 251-259. 
  13. Inie, N., Barkhuus, L., & Brabrand, C. How Interaction Influences Academic Reading—a Comparison of Paper and Laptop. Available at SSRN 3864769. 
  14. Luo, L., Kiewra, K. A., Flanigan, A. E., & Peteranetz, M. S. (2018). Laptop versus longhand note taking: effects on lecture notes and achievement. Instructional Science, 46(6), 947-971. 
  15. Morehead, K., Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2019). How much mightier is the pen than the keyboard for note-taking? A replication and extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014). Educational Psychology Review, 31(3), 753-780.
  16. Uther, M., Ross, K., Randell, J., & Pye, R. (2019, July). Digital vs. hard copy? A preliminary study of reading style in children using touch screens and paper books. International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 495-502). Springer, Cham.
  17. Dahlström, D., & Boström, B. (2017). Pros and Cons: Handwriting versus digital writing. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 12(4), 143-161.
  18. Mosleh, M. A. A., Baba, M. S. B., Malek, S., & Alhussein, M. A. (2016). Challenges of Digital Note Taking. In Advanced computer and communication engineering technology (pp. 211-231). 
  19. Artz, B., Johnson, M., Robson, D., & Taengnoi, S. (2020). Taking notes in the digital age: Evidence from classroom random control trials. The Journal of Economic Education, 51(2), 103-115. 
  20. Ose Askvik, E., van der Weel, F. R., & van der Meer, A. L. (2020). The importance of cursive handwriting over typewriting for learning in the classroom: A high-density EEG study of 12-year-old children and young adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. 
  21. Roehr, A. (2020, November 8).Online Teaching Increases Enthusiasm to Draw. Off Screen Studio [Blog]. 
  22. Mills, K. & Unsworth, L. (2018). iPad animations: Powerful multimodal practices for adolescent literacy and emotional language. Journal of Adolescence and Adult Literacy. 61(6), pp. 609-620.
  23. Gregorus, R. (2010). Good Animation: Pedagogy and Learning Theory in the Design and Use of Multimedia.Enhancing Learning with Online Resources, Social Networking, and Digital Libraries (pp. 167-190). DOI: 10.1021/bk-2010-1060.ch010 
  24. Landay, J. (1999). Using note-taking appliances for student-to-student collaboration FIE’99. Frontiers in Education. 29th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference. Designing the Future of Science and Engineering Education. Conference Proceedings ( pp. 12C4/15-12C4/20 vol 2). DOI: 10.1109/FIE.1999.841640 
  25. Wang, V. and Wang, D. (2021) The Impact of the Increasing Popularity of Digital Art on the Current Job Market for Artists. Art and Design Review, 9, 242-253. doi: 10.4236/adr.2021.93019
  26. Klobucar, A. & O’Neil, M. (2021). Reading and Collaboration: Developing Digital Reading Practices With Computer-Assisted Text Analysis Tools. IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5849-2.ch008
  27. Lee, B. (2017). Analysis of Digital Art Content Created through Collaboration. Archives of Design Research, 30(4), 17-25.
  28. Osugi, K., Ihara, A., Nakajima, K., Kake, A., Ishimaru, K., Yokota, Y. & Naruse, Y. (2019). Differences in Brain Activity After Learning With the Use of a Digital Pen vs. an Ink Pen—An Electroencephalography Study. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 13:275. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00275  

Unit 3 Readings: Reflection

Teaching Crowds, 2022

Unit 3 readings identify the structures and critical elements of successful digital learning environments (DLE). Dron and Anderson (2014) created a social learning model to explain DLE structures and the learning potential of connecting. Groups are hierarchically structured learning environments such as a school class, sets are part of a group with a shared interest or purpose, and nets are the connections. Together, groups and sets form communities or collectives. As well, (Garrison et al., 2000) presented the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework recognizing vital features of successful higher education experiences; cognitive, social, and teaching presence.

Two notions from these social learning models of particular interest to me are teaching presence and transactional distance because both influence my role and identity as a teacher. Teaching presence recognises that learning can come from any interaction within the DLE (Veletsianos, 2016). Transactional distance refers to the gap between the learner and teaching presence (Dron & Anderson, 2014).

My teaching practice is based on my industry work experience and higher education practices. This means I am accustomed to hierarchically structured communications within small groups. The readings influenced me to think about my teaching identity more abstractly. I will consider the DLE context and teaching presence more deeply as I continue to develop my digital identity and presence.


Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. In Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. Athabasca University Press.

Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher educationThe Internet and Higher Education2(2–3), 87–105.

Teaching Crowds. (2022). Transactional distance in groups, nets and sets [Blog].

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital Learning Environments. In The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology (pp. 242–260). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Visual Network Mapping

How am I connected with others?

In the course Unit 3 readings, Dron and Anderson (2014) introduced an informal and formal social learning model. The model shows three elements of collective intelligence: sets, groups and nets. Groups are the most common form—for example, a school class in a learning group. My network map shows the hub of my school group connection is a learning management system (LMS). The LMS links to open educational resources and social media. Sets are part of groups with a shared purpose or interest (Dron & Anderson, 2014). My map shows involvement in sets, such as a student team member, within a class group. My teams mainly connect with Google Docs, Padlet, Instagram and Twitter. As Veletsianos (2016) suggested, hashtags are a way to build networks and share information. In addition, hashtags can provide learners support and opportunities to collaborate on a common topic. For example, I use hashtags to connect, or form sets of people interested in environmental education, conservation, and restoration. 

As part of describing a digital model for social learning, Dron and Anderson (2014) related E.O. Wilson’s studies. Wilson was a Harvard biologist who researched the communications and behaviour of ants. The reference leads me to draw on a natural system as an image for my network.

Tree-mycorrhizal fungus interaction networks (Beiler et al., 2015).

The image above depicts the interaction network of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir trees) and Rhizopogon spp. (mycorrhizal fungus). The symbiotic association improves the survival of trees. The fungal hyphae extend beyond tree roots to connect entire forests underground. The mycorrhizal fungi provide trees with increased access to water and nutrients and protection from root pathogens in exchange for carbon and energy from the trees (Beiler et al., 2015). “Trees share water and nutrients through the networks and also use them to communicate. They send distress signals about drought and disease, for example, or insect attacks, and other trees alter their behavior when they receive these messages” (Magazine, 2018).

Veletsianos (2016) suggested instructional designers can provide learners with opportunities to engage beyond the learning management system and course activities. As modelled by Douglas Fir trees and mycorrhizal fungus, I aspire to build symbiotic learning relationships and comprehensive connections to extend my instructional design into far-reaching networks.


Beiler, K. J., Simard, S. W., & Durall, D. M. (2015). Topology of tree-mycorrhizal fungus interaction networks in xeric and mesic Douglas-fir forests. Journal of Ecology, 103(3), 616–628.

Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press.

Magazine, S. (2018, March 1). Do trees talk to each other? Retrieved May 8, 2022, from

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.