This book is about the past and future of research on the effectiveness of learning networks (also known as "e-learning" or "online learning" or "Web-based learning"). Learning networks are groups of people using computer technology, communicating and collaborating online to build knowledge together. Over the past decade there has been an explosion not only of online courses, but also of studies on them.
In Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks, leading researchers in the field use an integrated theoretical framework, which they call "Online Interaction Learning Theory," to organize what past research shows and where future research is going. It models the variables and processes that are important in determining the relative effectiveness of online learners working to reach a deeper level of understanding by interacting with each other and with the texts under investigation.
Now that there have been hundreds of studies and thousands of courses offered online, what does the empirical evidence show? This book addresses the question directly by presenting what is known from research results about how to design and teach courses effectively online, ranging from the organizational context and characteristics of students to learning theories and research design methods. It also provides a research agenda for the next decade.
Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks is both a textbook for graduate students and a professional reference for faculty teaching online, researchers conducting studies, and graduate students taking courses about learning technologies who need to know the state of the art of research in the area of online learning.
"The chapters provide a coherent and cogently argued overview that is and, although reviewing recent research, provides a framework for looking at the future."
"This book is distinguished by its focus on a particular mode of online instruction, the use of asynchronous learning networks (ALNs), which focus on achieving effective learning through interaction and collaboration….highly recommend this book. The issues raised provide a comprehensive set of topics for graduate students to investigate and will stimulate many hours of debate and further investigation….the book also provides a thoughtful and insightful synthesis for scholars, synthesizing a range of knowledge for those new to the field and providing critical insights to those already working in this area."
—AIS SIG-HCI Newsletter
"Hiltz and Goldman have brought together an impressive collection of research from expert sources….the field of online learning would benefit from more works such as 'Learning Online Together'…encourage Hiltz and Goldman to follow up with another volume as the discourse progresses."
"Hiltz and Goldman and their collaborators have produced a comprehensive overview of what is known about research and theory in the educational use of asynchronous learning networks. This is a book you will refer to often-for ideas, theories, and references."
British Open University; Co-author, The Connecticon: Learning for the Connected
"This much needed volume provides an overview and synthesis of leading edge models and research in online education. It is a valuable resource for instructors, a timely reference for policymakers and scholars, and an excellent text for students. Books like this also advance the field to help face-to-face classroom models evolve to include learning distributed across space and time."
Harvard Graduate School of Education
"…the best collection of information about learning networks that I have seen….The chapters are timely and useful. This [is a] benchmark publication."
—John R. Bourne
Contents: Preface. Part I: Foundations of Research on Learning Networks. S.R. Hiltz, R. Goldman, What Are Asynchronous Learning Networks? R. Benbunan-Fich, S.R. Hiltz, L. Harasim, The Online Interaction Learning Model: An Integrated Theoretical Framework for Learning Networks. J. Fjermestad, S.R. Hiltz, Y. Zhang, Effectiveness for Students: Comparisons of "In-Seat" and ALN Courses. J.B. Arbaugh, S.R. Hiltz, Improving Quantitative Research on ALN Effectiveness. R. Goldman, M. Crosby, K. Swan, P. Shea, Qualitative and Quisitive Research Methods for Describing Online Learning. Part II: Learning Networks: What We Know and What We Need to Know. J.B. Arbaugh, R. Benbunan-Fich, Contextual Factors That Influence ALN Effectiveness. S.R. Hiltz, P. Shea, The Student in the Online Classroom. C. Dzuiban, P. Shea, J.B. Arbaugh, Faculty Roles and Satisfaction in Asynchronous Learning Networks. M. Alavi, D. Dufner, Technology-Mediated Collaborative Learning: A Research Perspective. R.E. Rice, S.R. Hiltz, D.H. Spencer, Media Mixes and Learning Networks. K. Swan, P. Shea, The Development of Virtual Learning Communities. R. Goldman, S.R. Hiltz, Asynchronous Learning Networks: Looking Back and Looking Forward.