“We are so excited and the award was very unexpected. It has been a great month for research. Martine Durier-Copp and I have been celebrating along with our co-researches, Deborah Kiceniuk and Alieda Blandford. Our paper “Strengthening Deeper Learning through Virtual Teams in E-learning: A Synthesis of Determinants and Best Practices” which appeared in Vol. 32, No. 2, 2016 received the IJEDE Best Paper award for 2016 that was announced at the CNIE conference May 18, 2017 in Banff, Canada.
After several years of e-mail exchanges, Joyline Makani and I met for our first face-to-face conversation during my brief visit to Halifax in May. It was a celebration meeting. The prestigious IJEDE Best Paper Award seeks out cutting-edge research that responds to current realities. “Strengthening Deeper Learning…” offers an e-learning framework, one that could serve as the foundation of future empirical studies in e-learning. This is indeed exciting news!
Martine and I are passionate about e-learning. We see this as a global movement. E-learning is gaining popularity. Everyone recognizes the potential contributions to economic and social development offered via this delivery system. But we have yet to fully realize e-learning’s possibilities. Here is the main issue: most e-learning practices merely replicate traditional existing teaching methods and have not fully exploited the interactive and social components of peer learning.
The objective of our study was to identify the core skills and knowledge from research that reinforce each other and together promote deeper learning. We believe that the results from this study will strengthen e-learning program planning and delivery within higher education centres that are already engaged in e-learning, as well as convey important best practices for learning centres at the beginning stages of e-learning development.
Why is this important? Our research revealed that in 2012, an estimated 875,000 and 950,000 registered online students at colleges and universities in Canada take a purely online course at any one time (Contact North 2012 Report). In the same year, the U.S. had over 6.7 million students taking at least one online course, an increase of 570,000 students over the number reported in the previous year (Allen & Seaman, 2013). These are significant numbers. Martine and I believe there is a growing need for a stronger understanding of e-learning that encompasses the examination of ways in which e-learning promotes deeper learning. We need to uncover and pursue fresh e-learning strategies.
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