Carmean and Haefner (2002) attempt to provide a pedagogical basis for the use of online learning materials.
According to the authors, course management software (CMS), integrated with best practices for deeper learning, allows for a synthesis of appropriate, engaging and student-centred experiences.
Deeper learning is defined as "engaged learning that results in a meaningful understanding of material and content." (Carmean and Haefner, 2002).
Synthesising the work of others (Brown; Chickering and Ehrmann; Marchese; Bransford, Brown and Cocking; Merrill), Carmean and Haefner categorise deep learning as social, active, contextual, engaging and student-owned.
They then attempt to describe how online learning tools and strategies can support the deep learning experience.
Although their work does not attempt to provide research-based evidence for the efficacy of online tools, it does provide a matrix through which deep learning principles can be conceptualised in the online environment.

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