Toward a Theory of Online Learning

Terry Anderson, Theory, Practice of Online Learning, Feb 23, 2004
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Drawing from contemporary and authoritative sources, Anderson looks at four major theoretical perspectives: learner (or learning) centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, community centered learning. He then looks (correctly) at online learning as having as one of its central values increased access to learning. From this perspective, he looks at interaction and its relation to access. As we see below, interaction forms the heart of Anderson's theoretical perspective and forms the basis for what he describes as online presence. In this paper, Anderson looks at traditional accounts of interaction (Moore, Wegner) and crafts the typology that will be the basis of his later work, presented graphiaclly as a model of e-learning. This paper and the other in this volume comprise one of the most accessible accounts of Anderson's approach, and given the strength and internal coherence of this approach, by themselves would make this volume worth while.CRLF
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