The Open UniversitySkip to content

The negotiation and co-construction of meaning and understanding within a postgraduate online learning community

Littleton, Karen and Whitelock, Denise (2005). The negotiation and co-construction of meaning and understanding within a postgraduate online learning community. Learning, Media and Technology, 30(2) pp. 147–164.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (216kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


There is an increasing development of courses and course components taught through teaching and learning dialogues online yet there is little secure knowledge regarding the educational quality and outcomes of these dialogues. Drawing on contemporary socio-cultural research, this paper adapts a well-established analytical framework (see Mercer, 1995) that has been developed to understand face to face educational dialogues to the new context of asynchronous electronic conferencing. The work reported is derived from an in-depth case study of a tutorial group of 11 students enrolled on a course within the Open University's MA in Open and Distance Learning. The course was taught on-line to an international cohort of students from wide-ranging academic backgrounds. The analyses of electronic conference archives presented here focus on understanding the students’ on-line collaborative work and the ways in which they constructed meaning, negotiated shared understanding and supported each other in the process of learning at a distance. The implications of the findings for educational practice are considered.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2005 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1743-9884
Keywords: educational dialogue; asynchronous electronic conferencing
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 6524
Depositing User: Denise Whitelock
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2018 15:41
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU