Citation and use of concept papers: The content of these papers is owned by the RIDLR team and may not be duplicated, printed, or posted in any form, digital or non-digital, without permission. You may provide a link to them from your own site. In citing this work please use the following citation (you may modify the format based on your publication style):
Author(s). (2016). Paper title (Concept paper). Retrieved from: https://ridlr.syr.edu/concept-paper/
Generative learning theory and its application to learning resources
Wilhelm-Chapin, M. K., & Koszalka, T. A. (2016). Generative learning theory and its application to learning resources (Concept paper). Retrieved from: https://ridlr.syr.edu/concept-paper/
Generative Learning Theory (GLT) suggests that learning occurs when learners are both physically and cognitively active in organizing and integrating new information into their existing knowledge structures. The process of generating relationships among new and existing knowledge leads to meaning-making that leads to deeper understanding of content. Thus, incorporating GLT principles into learning resources should prompt learners to engage more deeply with instructional content. This paper provides an overview of GLT theoretical perspectives, research, and practices, summarizing points for the design of learning resources.
Cognitive flexibility theory and its application to learning resources
Cheng, J., & Koszalka, T. A. (2016). Cognitive flexibility theory and its application to learning resources (Concept paper). Retrieved from: https://ridlr.syr.edu/concept-paper/
Cognitive Flexibility Theory (CFT) suggests that deep learning requires learners to engage with new content from multiple perspectives and in flexible ways of thinking. Research on CFT-informed learning environments suggests that flexible thinking during learning activities supports the development of higher order thinking skills (e.g. problem solving) and prompts positive changes in the learner’s affective domain. Thus, incorporating CFT principles into learning resources should prompt learners to engage deeply with instructional content. This paper provides an overview of theoretical, research, and practice CFT principles, summarizing points for learning resources design.
Level of engagement and its application to learning resources
Yang, T., & Koszalka, T. A. (2016). Level of engagement and its application to learning resources (Concept paper). Retrieved from: https://ridlr.syr.edu/concept-paper/
The level of engagement (LoE) at which learners attend to instructional activities can determine the depth at which content learning occurs. Engagement at higher levels of learning suggest deeper learning. Learning outcomes have traditionally been defined in three domains, cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Cognitive represents progressively varying levels of mental or thinking skills. Affective represents progressively varying levels of feelings and emotions. Psychomotor represents progressively varying levels of physical skills. Each level of learning provides a foundation for the next higher level. Focusing instruction to engage learners at the appropriate level(s) of learning suggests the need to identify expected learning domain outcomes. Thus, the more learners successfully engage at the higher domain levels, the deeper the learning of content. Incorporating LoE principles into learning resource design thus, may ensure that learners engage at desired LoE to reach desired learning outcomes. This paper provides an overview of theoretical, research, and practical LoE principles, summarizing points for learning resources design.
Reflection and its application to learning resources
Koszalka, T. A. (2016). Reflection and its application to learning resources (Concept paper). Retrieved from: https://ridlr.syr.edu/concept-paper/
Reflection is a process of engaging intellectually and affectively in situations, activities, or resources to develop deep understandings and appreciations of one’s experiences. It involves considering observations during or after an experience to affect future practices. Reflection theories suggest that learning is supported when learners explore and monitor their own knowledge, when they think about how the meaning and application of new knowledge was used in their recent experiences, and when they explore application of their new knowledge to other contexts, beyond their immediate experiences. Thus, incorporating reflection principles into learning resources should prompt learners to engage more deeply in instructional content by supporting self-assessment, meaning-making, translating learning experiences into future practices, and testing implications and transfer of these concepts to new situations. This paper provides an overview of theoretical perspectives, practices, and research on reflection, summarizing points for the design of learning resources.
Wang, L. (2022). Validity and reliability of a learning resources rubric [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study was supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka. Instructional designers (IDs) often consult with university faculty and other educators to create learning resources and platforms in universities to support student learning. As technology emerges, there are promises that learning resources better prompt or enhance learning. However, the resources are designed without consideration of proven or evidence-based learning principles, thus, can result in learning inhibited. Therefore, working with faculty and educators to build and choose effective learning tools that stimulate deep learning in effective and efficient ways presents a challenge for IDs. This is even more challenging for novice IDs. To aid them, a newly developed rubric was created based on principles from three established learning theories: generative learning theory, cognitive flexibility theory, and reflective thinking. The purpose of this study was to establish the content validity and reliability of the learning resources rubric (LRR). Novice IDs (n = 13) were sought from existing social media groups focused on instructional design practices. Quantitative and qualitative data collected during the 3-phase design process resulted in LRR, comprising 10 items on a four-point response scale. A combination of observations, interviews, and online document analysis was used to validate and cross-check findings during the 3-phase design process. Results indicated that LRR’s reliability and validity were found to be satisfactory. The pedagogical and educational contributions of LRR were also explored.
Wu, Q. (2022). A longitudinal study exploring levels and patterns of social presence in asynchronous online discussions [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study, supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka, was a longitudinal study exploring learners’ social presence behaviors in asynchronous online discussions (AODs). The data were collected from the same cohort of graduate students who took two consecutive online courses over two semesters. Students’ actual social interaction and social presence patterns were observed beyond the self-reporting survey. Content analysis using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework and social networking analysis were used to map out these interactions and relationships among the peers. The findings from this study suggested that AOD instruction stages, student previous relationship, and instructor involvement were all factors that might influenced student social presence in online environment. Ultimately, these findings provided insight for instructional designers and educators on possible instructional techniques to evoke student interaction and social presence in online settings.
Niu, Z. (2022). A longitudinal observation of students’ interaction, cognitive engagement, and content learning in asynchronous online discussions (AODs) [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study was supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka. It was a longitudinal observation in the context of asynchronous online discussions (AODs). Students construct content knowledge during AODs. Discussion postings show student interactions, cognitive presence (CP) phases, and levels of content learning (CL). The purpose of the RAP was to investigate the distribution, dynamics, and relationships of these interactions, CP and CL variables for the same cohort of graduate students within and across AODs during two consecutive courses, over two semesters. Visualizations were created based on social network analysis and content analysis to analyze student interactions and examine their CP phases and CL levels. Descriptive and correlational statistics were used to triangulate and confirm observations. The results indicated that the CP exploration phase dominated the AODs with a greater number of lower-levels than higher-levels of content learning during AODs. All three variables fluctuated over time, but not all were significant fluctuations.
Melese, F. M. (2022). Collection and analysis of national ICT policy plans of selected countries around the world with Dr. Jing Lei and doctoral student Yang Liu [IDDE Department Project]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
Given the diversity of societies in various countries and regions around the world, this project aims to identify educational technologies that are being used at the national level.
Melese, F. M. (2022). Re-design and development of online resources for the "College Learning Strategies (CLS 105)" course with Dr. Rob S. Pusch [SUPA Project]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
CLS 105 is the study and application of strategic approaches to learning. Using currently available resources that are made for a flipped classroom setting, Fasika Melese and Rob Pusch are redesigning the course as an independent online course as part of the Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) educational program. Articulate Storyline and Rise are used to author and publish the course.
Salim, Z. (2021). Tenured faculty's instructional decisions and the factors influencing their decision-making [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study, supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka, was a pilot study on instructional decision-making. Instructional decision-making is a complex "mental dialogue" of identifying learning goals, creating instructional activities, determining the flow and sequence of content, selecting instructional tools and resources, designing assessment strategies, and flexibly modifying these decisions as needed during the implementation of the instruction. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted conventional instruction, requiring many faculty to adapt their instruction from face-to-face to online or hybrid mode. A grounded theory approach was used to investigate factors influencing award-winning faculty’s choice of instructional strategies and tools during this shift in instructional modality. Ten interviews were conducted with three award-winning faculty members in Spring 2021. The findings suggest that participating award-winning faculty decisions were influenced largely by personal factors, followed by instructional and organizational factors when designing instructional strategies and choosing technological tools. Factors that influence faculty decision-making include approaches to teaching and learning, perceived value of the instructional choice, their prior teaching, and learning experiences, and research and service experiences, student demographics, student participation and feedback, digital eco-system, peer, department, and university’s influence to inform their instructional choices. Based on this preliminary study, faculty developers might more strongly consider questions around faculty’s personal, organizational and socio-cultural factors, when designing faculty professional development on instruction.
Pavlov, Y. (2021). Investigating expressed emotions in collaborative asynchronous online discussions: A pilot study [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study, supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka, was a pilot study on expressed emotions in text. Research has focused on how students’ positive and negative emotions may have differential effects on learning. However, the role of expressed emotions in asynchronous online discussions (AODs) has not received much attention. Drawing upon the circumplex model of core affect and using content analysis, this pilot study documented naturally expressed emotions in AODs and investigated potential relations between emotions and surface/deep learning. The preliminary results indicated that 30% of all student sentences contained emotional expressions. The students produced mostly neutral sentences (71.43%); positive (22.03%) and negative expressed emotions (6.53%) were less frequent. Positive emotions were interpreted as the degree of evaluative judgements of new information, and negative emotions were interpreted as the degree of integration of new course content into personal experiences. The expressed negative, but not positive, emotions seemed to be related to deep learning.
La Point, G. (2021). The design of synchronous on-line class sections and their impact on depth of learning: A case study comparing faculty of record and adjunct synchronous sessions [Unpublished manuscript]. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States.
This research apprenticeship practice (RAP) study, supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Koszalka, was a descriptive case study. It examined the similarities and differences of two or more online graduate course sections of the same class that consists of an asynchronous component and a synchronous component. In this environment every student reviewed the exact same asynchronous materials. The only difference between the sections was the faculty facilitating the synchronous component. In one section the instructor was the faculty of record who had designed and created the course and all the course materials. An adjunct faculty was the instructor in the other section. This RAP investigated if: (a) there was a difference in the types and frequency of social interactions that took place and what type of learning was demonstrated by the student (i.e., surface learning, higher-order learning); and (b) there are different strategies observed that demonstrate greater social interactions and higher-order learning that could have instructional design implications. This research is accomplished through coding of synchronous class discussions.