Introduction to Online Learning

Introduction to Online Learning

Foundations and History of Online Learning

In 1993 with the debut of the first Internet web browser, created by the University of Illinois, online learning began to flourish. In 1998, the first fully online programs were founded: New York University Online, Western Governor’s University, the California Virtual University.  (Miller 2014) Based on an instructivist approach online learning was less interactive and presented no opportunities for students to have independent thought. As the popularity of online learning increased constructivism theories emerged techniques such as collaborative learning, cognitive scaffolding, and cognitive apprenticeship.

Miller, G. E. (2014). Leading the e-learning transformation of higher education: meeting the challenges of technology and distance education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC. doi:

Theories and Models of Online Learning

There are many theories and approaches to online learning, but for adult learners the design of a distance learning environment requires; the development of suitable learning objectives, an understanding of the learners, what they bring, and their expectations. As well as knowledge of the tools deemed suitable by the instructional designer to bridge the gap from the learner’s entry condition to the exit condition. (Rovai, Ponton, and Baker 2008)

Rovai, A. P., Ponton, M. K., & Baker, J. D. (2008). Distance learning in higher education: a programmatic approach to planning, design, instruction, evaluation, and accreditation. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.