Moving From Theory to Practice in the Design of Web-Based Learning From the Perspective of Constructivism

Elizabeth Murphy
Memorial University


This paper describes the design of a web-based learning module according to a framework drawing on constructivist theories. The aim was to operationalize concepts such as authenticity, collaborative knowledge sharing, sense-making and viewing multiple perspectives as they relate to the design of e-learning opportunities. The prototypical module was designed for practitioners such as teachers and structured around interpreting and responding to a problem. The module consists of a problem model and relies on use of a discussion forum and a shared workspace to support negotiation of interpretation and experience. Also included are 60 streamable video segments presenting multiple perspectives on the problem. Results of the design process provide insight into ways in which constructivist principles and concepts can be translated into practical solutions for the provision of e-learning content. The module illustrates a way in which learning experiences can inform and be informed by practice.

About the Author(s)...

Elizabeth Murphy is Assistant Professor of Educational Technology and second-language learning at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. Her work focuses on the design of web-based learning for practitioners and in higher-learning. Current funded projects include a study of collaborative learning supported by online asynchronous communication in university-based courses, a study of users’ interactions in a context of synchronous communication supported by electronic tools, and an evaluation of the MusicGrid project which pioneers large-scale broadband music education in three Canadian provinces. Dr. Murphy can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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