What Do We Mean by Cyberlearning: Characterizing a Socially Constructed Definition with Experts and Practitioners

February 1st, 2013 | RESEARCH

The term 'cyberlearning' reflects a growing national interest in managing the interactions of technology and education, especially with respect to the use of networking and information technologies. However, there is little agreement about what the term means. Such disagreements reflect underlying differences in beliefs about the purposes of education. These disagreements are problematic for anyone interested in evaluating cyberlearning practices. This study used surveys and interviews to investigate how practitioners and experts in the field of cyberlearning define it, how they implement it and what they believe its purpose to be. Little agreement was found among participants in terms of their definitions of cyberlearning, which was supported by the wide variety of practices labeled 'cyberlearning.' Although most participants emphasized the purpose of cyberlearning as a form of content delivery, an often-passionate minority argued for the potential of cyberlearning to encourage a shift away from content-delivery paradigms. The participants' spoke from a variety of perspectives about cyberlearning including as educators, designers, activists, and policymakers, which led them to construct diverse narratives about the purposes and problems facing education and education policy. While the differences in embodied in these narratives remain an important consideration, some emerging points of convergence are identified.


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Team Members

Delvin Montfort, Author, Washington State University
Shane Brown, Author, Washington State University


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1007/s10956-012-9378-8
Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 1059-0145

Publication: Journal of Science Education & Technology
Volume: 22
Number: 1
Page(s): 90

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EBSCO Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Computing and information science | Education and learning science | General STEM | Technology
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media