Complexity, theory and praxis: researching collaborative learning and tutoring processes in a networked learning community

De Laat, M. and Lally, V. (2004) Complexity, theory and praxis: researching collaborative learning and tutoring processes in a networked learning community. Instructional Science, 31(1-2), pp. 7-39. (doi:10.1023/A:1022596100142)

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This paper explores the complexity of researching networked learning and tutoring on two levels. Firstly, on the theoretical level, we argue that the nature of praxis in networked environments (that is, learning and tutoring) is so complex that no single theoretical model, among those currently available, is a sufficiently powerful, descriptively, rhetorically, inferentially or in its application to real contexts, to provide a framework for a research agenda that takes into account the key aspects of human agency. Furthermore, we argue that this complexity of praxis requires a multi-method approach to empirical investigation, in order that theory and praxis may converse, with both being enriched by these investigations. Secondly, on an empirical level, and as an example that draws upon our theoretical argument about complexity, we present the findings of a multi-method analysis of the learning and tutoring processes occurring in an on-line community of professionals engaged in a Master’s Programme in E-Learning. This investigation is informed by two mainstream theoretical perspectives on learning, and employs computer-assisted content analysis and critical event recall as complementary methodologies. This study reveals the differentiated nature of participants’ learning, even within a highly structured collaborative learning environment, identifies some of the key functions and roles of participants, and provides an indication of the value of such multi-method studies. Future prospects for this approach to research in the field are considered

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:A key paper in the current research programme
Keywords:networked learning, tutoring, theory, praxis, on-line communities, content analysis, critical event recall,
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lally, Professor Victor
Authors: De Laat, M., and Lally, V.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Research Group:Interdisciplinary Centre for Research and Teaching in STEM Education
Journal Name:Instructional Science
ISSN (Online):1573-1952
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2004 Springer
First Published:First published in Instructional Science 31(1-2):7-39
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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