E-courses and Learning Theories

Ortiz, Amy


Afifi, M.K. &  Almari, S.S. (2014). Effective principles in designing e-course in light of learning theories. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education. January 2014; 15(1), 128-142.

This was a study performed by Mahammad Afifi at the University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. The study explored the design of e-courses in light of current learning theories. There is a tremendous increase in distance learning as more and more colleges and universities offer e-courses. There is much more that goes into the design of these courses than simply putting course content on a website. The research revealed several shortcomings of e-course offerings, which included lack of support and feedback to learners, poor site design, absence of real-time interactivity, and poor communication. The author seeks to address these shortcomings by integrating educational theories into the specific design of e-courses. The author sites several educational theories including behaviorism and constructivism. The preferred approach to address the lack of interactivity in online courses is an active constructivist approach. Learners will engage actively with one another and make decisions regarding their own learning in order to achieve desired learning outcomes. I found this article particularly useful because Afifi went into very basic and succinct discourse about behaviorism, constructivism, cognitive-knowledge, and cognitive-perceptual educational theories. This was extremely helpful for me because I am not a teacher and I needed a basic introduction to these paradigms. The author’s explanations were clear and concise, even to a lay person like myself. Findings described the necessity of incorporating educational theories in response to the special conditions of online learning. The design quality of e-courses is distinct from the methodologies used to design traditional curriculum. 

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