A mixed-method study into how instructors design for learning in online and distance education

Nguyen, Quan; Rienties, Bart and Whitelock, Denise (2020). A mixed-method study into how instructors design for learning in online and distance education. Journal of Learning Analytics (In press).

Abstract

The use of analytical methods from learning analytics research combined with visualisations of learning activities using learning design tools and frameworks has provided important insights into how instructors design for learning. Nonetheless, there are many subtle nuances in instructors’ design decisions that might not be easily be captured using learning analytics tools. Therefore, this study sets out to explore how and why instructors design for learning in an online and distance higher education setting by employing a mixed-method approach, which combined semi-structured interviews of 12 instructors with network analyses of their learning designs. Our findings uncovered several underlying factors that influenced how instructors designed their modules, and highlighted some discrepancies between instructors’ pedagogical beliefs and their actual learning design as captured by OULDI. This study showcased the potential of combining learning analytics with qualitative insights for a better understanding of the complex design process in online distance higher education.

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