Meaningful Learning from Sustained Online Communication: A Reflection with a Group of Adults
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This case study discusses a model of evaluating a group of adult students learning resulting from using an online social constructivist tool. The study is based on using a discussion board for sharing and co-constructing knowledge. Learning through social interactions and critical thinking is increasingly considered an essential teaching approach and especially for adult students. This approach promotes active learning and leads to better understanding of the subject matter. Online interaction evidently promotes critical thinking, problem solving, and knowledge construction. The literature provides a large set of approaches for evaluating discussion boards. However, their uses are not easily adoptable by faculty who are primarily interested in measuring the quality of online discussion. The authors contend that faculty should not adhere to a single measure but rather to be experiential and to develop their own models of evaluation of the students’ online learning experience. This case study discusses our own model for understanding the students’ learning experience and the authors’ approach to assess an individual’s level of engagement in critical thinking. The study contributes to the body of knowledge on adopting e-learning technologies at institutions in the Arab World for teaching adult students.