The evolution of the Internet has provided new opportunities for storing, sharing, discovering and interacting with information, including the development of online learning environments. According to DEST categorisation, online learning may be:
  • Web-supplemented: Online participation is optional for the student, but information on courses and programs, including course outlines and overviews, assessment information, reading lists and other online resources are made available via the web.

  • Web-dependent: Online participation is required for the program. This participation may involve using course material, which contains major educational content, or by interaction and communication between staff and students or among students, or all of these elements. On-campus, face-to-face interactions remain part of the course.

  • Fully online: No face-to-face, on-campus component with all content, activities and interactions integrated and delivered online.


  • While some conceptualise the Internet as another delivery method (ie an extension of other forms of distance education, in use for many years), others acknowledge the potential for the online environment to not only deliver information but to value-add to the learning experience.

    How can online environments enhance learning?
    There are several ways to answer this question, including:
  • Evaluating the potential of online learning tools to facilitate deep learning

  • Examining student and staff satisfaction and useability factors

  • Evaluating the ability of online learning to facilitate interactions (staff-student/student-student), and

  • Examining the effect of online environments on learning outcomes and student performance.



  • Online learning environments section

    Effect on learning outcomes and student performance

    A number of studies have attempted to measure the impact of online environments on student performance and achievement. The survey of international practice conducted by the Department of Education, Science and Technology (DEST) has found that a mixed ...

    Facilitating deep learning

    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 ...

    Facilitating deep learning - matrix

    The development of deep learning principles using course management software tools Learning principle: Social Evidenced by: The ability to access people anytime/all the time Supported by:

    Facilitating interactions

    Online environments have provided new opportunities for interaction and collaboration. Emerging research demonstrates the value of the online environment for facilitating interactions among students and between students and instructors (both synchronou...

    Strategies for facilitating interactions

    Non-verbal Use of paralinguistic cues (eg emoticons) Expresses attitudes, communicates a vivid, dynamic and graphic impression of the instructor?s feelings Chronemics - timing Manages timing of content...

    Student and staff satisfaction and useability factors

    Some papers describe transformation of "traditional" programs to online modes in terms of the level of student and staff satisfaction with the online learning environment. Farrell and McGrath (2001), Albury (2001) and Talay-Ongan and Gosper (1999) desc...

    On this site

    Go to top