Building a Profile of the Young Web-Based Learner

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The Web is a culturally valued cognitive tool with the potential to transform the learner in ways not yet  recognised.  Whilst  the Web has proved  to have  significant  impact on  forms of communication and methods of distributing and accessing  information,  less  is understood of how its unique characteristics may  impact upon  individuals –  their approach  to  learning and  the skills and attributes required to successfully participate.

In  order  to  gain  such  insight  through  structured  research  an  integrated  theoretical approach  to examining Web-based  learning  is presented  in  this paper.   This  integrated approach underpins a qualitative research study aimed at understanding more about  learners as  they participate  in Web-based  environments.   This  integrated  theoretical  approach  to Web-based  learning  also  enables analysis of  this unique and complex environment by examining multiple elements  – society,  tool, activity and individual – thus permitting an in-depth exploration of the phenomena.

The study presented in this paper is a case-study of five competent young Web-users.   It relies on research methods of observation,  think-aloud protocols  and post-activity  interviews, which have been  used  to  gain  an  insight  into  the  learning  taking  place  in Web-based  environments.   Initial analysis of these data has resulted in the development of a profile of the Web-based learner in terms of  the  learner  ‘roles’ which  are  required  and/or  promoted  in  this  environment.   This  paper will explore  the  theoretical underpinnings guiding  the  study,  the  research methods employed and  the subsequent Web-based learner profile.

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Learning communities, Web 2.0, Web-based learning and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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