Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Constructivist education and epistemological development in online and face-to-face higher learning environments
by Pruitt, Rebecca J., Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2011, 251; 3495991
Abstract (Summary)

Scope and Method of Study. This study examined two sections of a course in child development, one online and one face-to-face, to determine similarities and differences between the two related to constructivist education and constructivist processes. Course documents, instructor reflections, online discussion forum text, student-instructor electronic communication, and participant interviews were data sources. Participant data was divided into two groups (face-to-face student data and online student data) for separate analysis and then brought together for comparison. The study was grounded in the theory of constructivism as postulated by Piaget (1970) and informed by the framework for women's epistemological development created by Belenky, et al. (1997) entitled Women's Ways of Knowing.

Findings and Conclusions. Constructivist education themes included attending to the individual, facilitating inquiry, facilitating meaningful investigations, facilitating dialogue, and introducing disequilibrium. Constructivist process themes included interest, questioning, thinking about thinking, social interaction, cognitive disequilibrium, sense making, and theory building. Themes for each course section were more similar than different, indicating that the online environment does not preclude the use of constructivist education principles. The lens of the Women's Ways of Knowing (Belenky, et al., 1997) framework revealed additional implications for teaching from a constructivist perspective that include the assessment of epistemological development as a way to inform the type and quality of the application of constructivist education principles in both online and face-to-face learning environments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Castle, Kathryn
Commitee: Brown, Pamela U., Lane, Mona, Wang, Hongyu
School: Oklahoma State University
Department: Education (all programs)
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-A 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Early childhood education, Teacher education, Educational technology, Education philosophy
Keywords: Constructivism, Epistemological development, Face-to-face education, Online, Online education
Publication Number: 3495991
ISBN: 9781267200792
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