E-journaling: Fostering transformation through interdependent learning
Hayes, Mary Denise
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1850
The aim of this research was to investigate e-journaling as a strategy to develop interdependent learning. In examining interdependent learning there were several elements, this study focused on; promotive interaction within cooperative based learning groups, with a particular interest in sharing together and learning alone. In order to investigate this phenomenon a traditionally solitary activity, the reflective journal was created in an e-learning environment, as an e-journal, where students could participate in both self reflection and peer discussions. This qualitative interpretive research was organised as a case study with three groups of learners and one group consisting of their tutors. Three groups of learners were invited to take part from three faculties that utilised journaling. In order to examine the effectiveness of the two strategies the participants were invited to reflect on their experiences of the traditional journaling and e-journaling and compare the two. Data was gathered through interviews, focus groups and online observations. Data gathered from the learners was validated by the tutors’ experiences of teaching and observing learning through traditional journaling and e-journaling. This project revealed that when a climate of positive interdependence is encouraged, e-journaling is an effective teaching and learning strategy in developing a critical dialectic that fosters transformation. Nevertheless, e-learning does not suit all learners, this depends on the context and content of journal. This finding is significant in terms of developing e-learning courses. Therefore, care and consideration must be taken during the decision making process, the development and design of online courses. In the initial stages of course development educators need to consider whether the e-learning environment reflects the philosophies that underpin professional practice. This research provides evidence that even those learners who did not visibly participate online were still learning through reading, observing and reflecting on peers’ experiences and interactions, still participating in the learning process.