Online Bounded Learning Community Using Universal Design and Adult Learning
Researchers long argued for the potential of online courses to foster learning. Although online learning holds promise, the barriers inherent in these environments discourage many participants, as reflected by the stubbornly-high attrition rate in online classes. The challenge for online instructors is to understand the learning barriers of these environments and develop pedagogical accommodations to address them. The authors designed and delivered a course in a preservice teacher program at a major university using the principals of Adult Learning (AL) and Universal Design of Instruction (UDI). The course re-design focused on creating a blended online learning community, based on tenets of AL and UDI, to support Communities-of-Practice (CoP). However, since CoPs are spontaneous and informal in nature, Wilson (2004) suggests the development of Bounded Learning Communities (BLCs), a CoP formally created by expectations of participation and time, in response to guidance provided by instructors and supported in the confines of a “bounded” online community, such as course management systems (e.g., WebCt). Researchers collected and analyzed the online discourse from this course for analysis to determine if the blend of technologies and pedagogy created an effective BLC. This work will identify effective strategies of UDI and AL in blended online environments.
Keywords: Blended Online Environment, Adult Learing, Universal Design of Instruction, Bounded Learning Communities
Linda E. Robinson
Doctoral Student, Educational Leadership (Adult Learning), University of Connecticut
Dr. Robert D. Hannafin
Associate Professor, Instructional Technology, University of Connecticut