טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentLevin-Peled Rachel
SubjectLearning and Assessment in Web-Based Environments: Design
Principles for Hybrid Courses in Higher Education
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisors Professor Yael Kali
Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Hybrid courses, which combine face-to-face with online instruction, have the potential of promoting learner-centered instruction. In spite of this potential learning in many hybrid courses remains traditional.

The goal of this research was to formulate design-principles that translate knowledge about socio-constructivist learning into general guidelines for designing course-websites. To meet this goal, three hybrid courses that took place at the Department of Education in Technology and Science at the Technion were investigated. Each course was taught between three to eight times during the years 2004-2007, with a total of 385 students, constituting a representative sample of students in the Department.

Research tools and data sources included: (a) student artifacts from the different courses, (b) Likert-type questionnaires, (c) reflection questionnaires, (d) retrospective interviews, and (e) researcher’s reflective journal. In addition, the design principles database (DPD) was used. The DPD served as an infrastructure for publishing new design principles and features that came-up in this study, and for refining and contributing to design principles that were already in the DPD.

Five design principles that can support socio-constructivist learning in higher education were articulated and explained: (a)“Engage learners in peer instruction” (b)“Involve learners in assessment processes” (c)“Reuse student artifacts as resource for further learning” (d)“Employ multiple social activity structures (e)“Encourage social recognition of individual contribution”

The findings from the variety of data sources indicated that employing these design principles with features in each one of the three courses contributed to the development of deep understanding of theoretical ideas in the courses. This understanding was manifested in the quality of the artifacts that the students had created, which demonstrated students’ higher order thinking skills, such as question posing, problem solving, analysis, drawing conclusions, reasoning, self assessment, and peer assessment.

The conclusions of this research enrich the body of knowledge dealing with the processes of learning, instruction, and assessment in higher education in general and the effect of design principles on these processes in hybrid courses in particular. The research proposes a new method for systematic analysis of learning environments while utilizing the design principles approach.

A practical contribution of the research is the set of design principles and features that were articulated, refined and published in the DPD. Higher education course designers and instructors will be able to benefit from these design principles and features by employing them in new courses that support socio-constructivist learning and encourage the development of thinking skills among learners.