IU IST P540 - Blog Reflection Paper



Reflection Paper #3: Blog Journal

IU P540 – Spring 2006

By: Jennifer Maddrell

Submitted: March 27, 2006

Instructor: Bonk



Assignment Summary: The Blog Journal is prepared as a subset of articles reviewed for P540 within a personal blog regularly maintained to collect information and reflect on themes related to Instructional Systems Technology. Articles reviewed for the Blog Journal project are referenced in the last section of this report, along with the Blog Journal article summaries. The following sections highlight the learning outcome of this assignment, including the opportunity to:

  • Explore education information resources and learning themes during the article selection process,
  • Prepare personal reflections on the learning theories and educational design principles proposed in the articles, and
  • Provide and receive peer feedback.


Article Selection:

The article selection process provided an opportunity to explore both the education information resources available to distance students, as well as diverse learning themes.

  • Resources: The article selection process led to various learning and education resources for distance students, including.


Online Library Resources: The Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) Library offers a wealth of online resources for distance students who are unable to physically access the IU Library system. Several articles in the Blog Journal project were retrieved from the databases at IUB Libraries, including the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) and the Educational Full Text (Wilson Web) database in which several full journal articles were used.


Industry and Trade Associations (Web Sites and Journals): Publications from Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), Educause, ASTD, and The Sloan Consortium were used.


Internet Searches: Internet searches led to many article review options available on the Internet (including those bookmarked here). Many publications on college and university School of Education web sites provided good options, as did the full text journal articles available on Google Scholar.



Themes: Three major themes emerged within the chosen articles. This pattern was noted early on in peer feedback from Kenneth K. Taken in whole, the themes within the articles center on:




Online Learning


Learning Across Generations


Based on the major themes of 1) constructivism, 2) online learning and 3) learning across generations, the following highlight important reflections regarding each theme.

(1) Constructivism: While articles were not selected for their assessment of specific learning theories or strategies, constructivism became a pervasive theme. Many of the articles provide support for constructivism in both online and adult learning and focus on the importance of creating and supporting:

  • personal ownership and reflection throughout the learning process,
  • social interactions,
  • flexibility and options,
  • communities of practice, and
  • learning communities.

(2) Online Learning: Constructivist approaches are presented in the articles that address (a) design and support strategies for online learning and (b) media options to facilitate online learning.

Design and Support: Goa, Baylor and Shen (2005) propose improved design to provide: (1) social structure (shared context) and (2) collaboration (knowledge construction) in an online learning environment. Designer and teacher support for learning in an online learning environment focuses on the importance of establishing and encouraging interaction with peers, teachers, the institution and the course interface as noted by both Swan (2004) and Bray (2004).

Media: Technical innovations have created numerous tools to support online learning. Alexander (2006) provides an excellent media review of many Internet based tools which allow discovery learning, collaboration, learner reflection and practice, as well as peer and teacher feedback.


(3) Learning Across Generations: Several articles raise questions about learning across generations, including: Is there a difference in how students within different generations learn, especially when media and technology facilitate learning? What are the key strategies to motivate learners in different generations? How can knowledge from one generation be shared and transferred to other generations (shown to be an important concern in corporate training)? The articles and blog reflections highlight aspects of the Net Generation, Adult Learners Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer that address these questions.


The Net Generation: There is much discourse about engaging or motivating learners in the so-called “Net Generation” or those who were raised in an age of the Internet and other interactive media. McNeely (2005) suggests the need to “edu-tain” these learners that are used to fast paced and highly interactive entertainment. Prenske (2005) notes in his article that education (in this era of the Xbox and the iPod) needs a complete overhaul in order to engage students so that they are no longer "bored" with school.

However, there are problems with these arguments: 1) members of all generations can become “bored” when learning, 2) learners need to work very hard to stay engaged and challenged, regardless of the learning environment, and 3) education should never be confused with entertainment as the goals are completely different.

Adult Learners: Dobrovolny (2003) and Thoms (2001) support constructivist approaches for adult learners and suggest that adult learners benefit from a learning environment that:


encourages past experiences


is collaborative between instructor-student and student-student,


provides options to explore the material, and


incorporates “experiential activities” that allow reflection and are based on authentic experiences.


Drawing on adult learners’ relatively greater level of “experience” is shown by both authors to be an effective adult learning strategy. Adults are motivated to participate when learning activities support their prior experiences and are relevant to their current job or future objectives. Adults draw on those experiences, compare and contrast, and tie the pieces together to create context when constructing knowledge.

Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer: Harris (2006) highlights ways in which one generation of workers can assist in the training and development of the generations of workers that follow. Suggestions include constructivist approaches, such as embracing communities of practice and mentorship programs. Similar recommendations are made by Choi (2006) as part of an alternative learning model for corporate training.


Partner Feedback:

Partner feedback was a valuable part of the Blog Journal project. Kenneth K. made interesting article selections and created insightful commentary in his blog, while also providing thoughtful peer feedback. Kenneth’s article selections focused on entirely different themes providing an opportunity for personal reflection and feedback on topics such as Bandura, Skinner and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).


Kenneth’s peer feedback provided insight to the adult and online learning themes via his experience as an adult online learner in the Indiana University distance Masters program, as well as his experiences as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher. Within his comments as a reviewer, he:


challenged the idea of being able to create a “community” within an online learning environment, as well as the necessity to create one,


shared that, as an adult leaner, he draws on life experiences in his process of learning and sees the same when he teaches adults,


supported the “constructivist” approaches regarding communities of practice as a learning model for corporate training, but notes elsewhere that some adults (for example, Japanese adults in EFL) may prefer a more teacher-centered approach,


questioned if a model for younger learners would be similar to adult learners, and


disputed the argument that education should “entertain” in order to engage learners.




Alexander, Bryan. (2006). Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning?. EDUCAUSE Review Articles. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/666?ID=ERM0621

Bray, M., Carter-Wells, J., Glaeser, B, Ivers, K, Lee, J., Street, C. (2004). Discovering the Meaning of Community In An Online Master's Degree Program. Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Washington, DC. Presented at Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 27th, Chicago, IL. October 19-23, 2004. Retrieved from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2b/c9/6b.pdf

Choi, M. (2006). Communities of practice: an alternative learning model for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology v. 37 no. 1, 143-6. Retrieved from http://bert.lib.indiana.edu:2079/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790ea68bbb02843eb01b4421e31986c821a8c7e962ad725376b822f19e4b062ce49c&fmt=H


Dobrovolny, Jackie (2003). Learning Strategies. Learning Circuits. Retrieved from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/oct2003/dobrovolny.htm


Gao, H., Baylor, A. L., & Shen, E. (2005). Designer Support for Online Collaboration and Knowledge Construction. Educational Technology & Society, 8(1), 69-79. Retrieved from http://ritl.fsu.edu/papers/gao_baylor_shen.pdf


Harris, Paul. (2006). Beware of the Boomer Brain Drain. T+D v60 n1, 30-33. Retreived from http://store.astd.org/product.asp?prodid=3663


McNeely, Ben. (2005). Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing. Educating the Net Generation. EDUCAUSE E-book. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/UsingTechnologyasaLearningTool,NotJusttheCoolNewThing/6060


Prensky, Marc. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me: What Today’s Learners Demand. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 5 (September-October 2005): 60–65. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm0553.asp


Swan, Karen. (2004). Relationships Between Interactions and Learning in Online Environments. Report for The Sloan Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/books/interactions.pdf


Thoms, Karen. (2001) They're Not Just Big Kids: Motivating Adult Learners. Presented at the Annual Mid-South Instructional Technology Conference (Murfreesboro, TN, April 8-1-, 2001). 11. Retrieved from http://www.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed01/22.pdf