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A framework for interaction and cognitive engagement in connectivist learning contexts
Wang, Zhijun · Chen, Li · Anderson, Terry

PublishedApril 2014
JournalThe International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning
Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 121-141
Original PublicationInternational Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
EditorsMcGreal, Rory and Conrad, Dianne

Interaction has always been highly valued in education, especially in distance education (Moore, 1989; Anderson, 2003; Chen, 2004a; Woo & Reeves, 2007; Wang, 2013; Conrad, in press). It has been associated with motivation (Mahle, 2011; Wen-chi, et al., 2011), persistence (Tello, 2007; Joo, Lim, & Kim, 2011), deep learning (Offir, et al., 2008) and other components of effective learning. With the development of interactive technologies, and related connectivism learning theories (Siemens, 2005a; Downes, 2005), interaction theory has expanded to include interactions not only with human actors, but also with machines and digital artifacts. This paper explores the characteristics and principles of connectivist learning in an increasingly open and connected age. A theory building methodology is used to create a new theoretical model which we hope can be used by researchers and practitioners to examine and support multiple types of effective educational interactions. Inspired by the hierarchical model for instructional interaction (HMII) (Chen, 2004b) in distance learning, a framework for interaction and cognitive engagement in connectivist learning contexts has been constructed. Based on cognitive engagement theories, the interaction of connectivist learning is divided into four levels: operation interaction, wayfinding interaction, sensemaking interaction, and innovation interaction. Connectivist learning is thus a networking and recursive process of these four levels of interaction.

Keywords cMOOCs · cognitive engagement · connectivism · connectivist learning · interaction · theory building

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