Postgraduate students' knowledge construction during asynchronous computer conferences in a blended learning environment: A Malaysian experience

Kian-Sam Hong, Julia Ai Cheng Lee


Blended learning, using e-learning tools to supplement existing on campus learning, often incorporates asynchronous computer conferencing as a means of augmenting knowledge construction among students. This case study reports findings about levels of knowledge construction amongst adult postgraduate students in six asynchronous computer conferences in a blended learning environment. The aim is to document and understand the kinds of task related postings in asynchronous computer conferencing that foster knowledge construction. The tool for analysis is an adaptation of the model by Veerman and Veldhuis-Diermanse (2001). Data were collected fromQuickplace, the e-learning system at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, with 22 adult postgraduate students enrolled in the Masters of Science in Human Resource Development who were attending a 14-week course on Cognition and Learning. The results showed that the students were active in constructing knowledge but limited to seeking and giving opinions among peers and knowledge telling. The prevalence of low level knowledge construction points to the need for the e-learning facilitator to encourage the students to go beyond regurgitating facts of what they have learned. More guidance should be given to the students to refrain from mere knowledge telling. Results suggest that there are blended learning benefits for these students as they are given improved opportunities to learn outside the classroom.

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