Creating constructivist learning environments on the Web: The challenge in higher education. In R. Corderoy (Ed.) FlexibilITy: The next wave
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AbstractAustralian universities have traditionally relied on government funding to support undergraduate teaching. As the government has adopted the ‘user-pays ’ principle, universities have been forced to look outside their traditional market to expand the undergraduate, post-graduate and international offerings. Alternate delivery methods in many universities have utilised web-based instruction as a basis for this move because of three perceptions: access by the target market is reasonably significant, it is a cost-effective method of delivery, and it provides global access. Since the mid sixties, the trend for both on-campus teaching and teaching at a distance has been to use behaviourist instructional strategies for subject development, which rely on the development of a set of instructional sequences with predetermined outcomes. These models, whilst applicable in a behaviourist environment, are not serving instructional designers well when the theoretical foundation for the subject outcomes is based on a constructivist approach to learning, since the constructivist group of theories places less emphasis on the sequence of instruction and more emphasis on the design of the learning environment. (Jonassen, 1994. p 35). In a web-based environment this proves to be even more challenging. This paper will review current research in design goals for web-based constructivist learning environments, and a move towards the development of models. The design of two web-based subjects will be explored in the context of the design goals developed by Duffy and Cunningham (1996 p 177) who have produced some basic assumptions that they call “metaphors we teach by”. The author seeks to examine the seven goals for their relevance to the instructional designer through the examination of their relevance to the web-based subjects, both of which were framed in constructivist theory. 1.