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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 1, No. 2 (2005) open journal systems 

Towards appropriate methodologies to research interactive learning: Using a design experiment to assess a learning programme for complex thinking development

Jean Botha, Rand Afrikaans University
Duan van der Westhuizen, Rand Afrikaans University
Estelle De Swardt, Rand Afrikaans University

In this paper, we contend that the most appropriate way to research the effectiveness of online learning is the use of Design Experiments. We present an exemplar of a recent design experiment that was completed at a university in Johannesburg, South Africa. During this study, the researchers wanted to explore the extent to which Complex Thinking skills can be facilitated in online learning environments. A design experiment was engineered in which a learning programme was designed and developed for Masters students. Specific instructional methodologies were employed in the learning programme, and activities were required that facilitate the use of Complex Thinking skills. The extent to which these skills were evident in student online activities could easily be detected by using comprehensive checklists and rubrics that were generated. A rigorous framework for analysis was developed. The findings were integrated with theoretical perspectives on instructional strategies for Complex Thinking development and new, unique criteria for online learning design were yielded.

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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556