The Application of Cognitive-Developmental or Mediated Cognitive Learning Strategies in Online College Coursework



This research article explores the active use of cognitive-developmental or mediated cognitive learning strategies in undergraduate online courses. Examples and applications are drawn from two online sessions integrating online interaction, essay and discussion assignments, as well as a variety of multimedia components conducted during the spring of 2008. While focus on the interaction among students remains an important aspect of the online discussion environment, particular attention is given to the interaction between the student and the instructor. This paper argues that while online learning environments are ultimately student-controlled, they should be teacher-centered. The findings of this research suggest that students are more directly influenced by an instructor's intentional effort to mediate the learning process than by the course objectives, material, or subject matter. Successful use of online technologies requires deliberate action on the part of the instructor to integrate various mediated cognitive learning strategies: (a) student participation and response is significantly increased, and (b) student motivation and morale is dramatically influenced.