Peer Learning Network

A Taxonomy of Learning Through Asynchronous Discussion

A Taxonomy of Learning Through Asynchronous Discussion

Knowlton, Dave S. Journal of Interactive Learning Research16. 2 (2005): 155-177.

The taxonomy is framed by a constructivist view of asynchronous discussion. Offered within each level of the taxonomy are discussion participants’ likely perceptions of three central tenets of constructivism:

  • (a) the educational utility of the environment
  • (b) collaboration
  • (c) knowledge construction
  • PASSIVE
    • ENVIRONMENT
      • Lack knowledge of environment logistics
      • Uncomfortable with text-based nature of discussion
    • VIEWS OF COLLABORATION
      • Do not understand collaboration, group culture and/or values
      • Collaborate with small groups of classmates
    • VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION
      • Do not view themselves as constructors of knowledge
      • Adopt a product – not process – view of participation
  • DEVELOPMENTAL
    • ENVIRONMENT
      • View discussion as a novelty, not a serious educational tool.
    • VIEWS OF COLLABORATION
      • Focus on morale building and creation of community
      • View of collaboration in terms of the need for reciprocity
    • VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION
      • Exemplify information to determine their own comprehension
      • Struggle with articulating theory/practice connections
  • GENERATIVE
    • ENVIRONMENT
      • Understand the environment as a tool for the communicating with the instructor.
    • VIEWS OF COLLABORATION
      • Emphasize their own ideas through monologue
      • Begin developing communal trust
    • VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION
      • Respond to prescriptions from instructors
      • Construct knowledge through the act of writing
  • DIALOGICAL
    • ENVIRONMENT
      • Understand the environment as a tool for increasing clarity and maximizing interaction with other participants
    • VIEWS OF COLLABORATION
      • Emphasize community among participants
      • Acknowledge the situated cognition of other participants.
    • VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION
      • Attempt to alleviate cognitive dissonance created by discussion.
      • Understand knowledge as being solely internalized.
  • METACOGNITIVE
    • ENVIRONMENT
      • View the environments potential for promoting personal transformation.
    • VIEWS OF COLLABORATION
      • Search for extensions of strategies for expressing ideas.
      • View others as a mirror for “seeing” themselves.
    • VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION
      • Explain how they constructed knowledge through participation in discussion.
      • Understand the knowledge as distributed among participants.
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