By ‘actual theory' are you looking at the research focusing on e-learning and pupil participation, collaboration and academic achievement? These are all areas that have been highlighted in the literature. Are you trying to link e-learning with specific learning theories?
The first E-librarian question below, which you may have already seen, gives an overview of the role of VLEs and some of the research highlighted in our response should be useful. The second question relates to multimedia and learning theory.
BECTA and Futurelab have done a number of case studies and research reports on this topic and these will highlight the background of VLEs and learning technology in education along with links to learning theory. You may also find the Teachers TV programme below useful if you haven't already seen it?
You may want to look more broadly at the role of ICT and technology as a whole in the learning process and you will find literature that links this with learning theories - see examples below. I have included some examples of research from the BEI and ERIC along with the keywords I used.
As always this is only a sample of what is available but I hope it will be a start.
Virtual Learning Environments
Multimedia approach Learning - our response also provides a number of further information sources for you to look at.
Secondary ICT - Personalised Learning with ICT 1: Managing Information and Content
The Rhetoric of ICT and the New Language of Learning: a critical analysis of the use of ICT in the curricular field
Futurelab Literature Review in Thinking Skills, Technology and Learning
14-19 and Digital Technologies: A review of research and projects It is a review of research and projects and uses four cases studies to illustrate and inform its conclusions. It identifies that digital technologies have a broad and pervasive impact upon the 14-19 agenda through an approach that particularly concentrates upon learning theory including constructivist, cognitivist and social approaches.
Report on Learning and Technology World Forum
Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: A review of the policies, literature and evidence
Institute of Education library catalogue
Dissolving boundaries through technology in education [electronic resource] : making a difference with ICT. Quirke-Bolt, Nigel. Publisher:[Dissolving Boundaries],Publication date:2008.
Learning and teaching using ICT in secondary schools. Woollard, John. Publisher:Learning Matters, Publication date:2007. ISBN:9781844450787.
British Education Index
NOTE: For information about accessing full text articles please read this TTRB article: Access to full text journal articles
KEYWORDS: virtual learning environments; computer uses in education; information technology; computer assisted learning; learning theories;
Teenagers connecting their digital literacy practices in Schome Park, a virtual worlds project, with school experiences. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester, 2-5 September 2009, pp. 12. Gillen-Julia, Twining-Peter.
"This exploratory, work-in-progress paper examines a specific aspect of digital literacy practices in the Schome Park Programme (SPP): - a thirteen month virtual worlds project. We are using sources of data both external and internal to the project to illustrate the meanings teenagers made in contrasting and comparing their learning activities from within the SPP with their school literacies and learning. We draw on a currently proposed definition of digital literacies as the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies. Working with and understanding of learning as involving changing patterns of participation we explore some of the sources of data available to the project to investigate how the participating teenagers compare and contrast their experiences with those they are familiar with in a school setting and how effective learning occurs within the project in relation to connections with school. We are finding multiple connections, both for students who participated effectively in the project and indeed to help explain those who did not. In the project some students drew upon the diverse resources, formed relationships with others and developed boundary-crossing learning opportunities for themselves. However if positive relationships do not develop quickly and/or boundary-driven learning opportunities are not sustained these will rapidly deter participation. Early findings lead us to support Barrons (2006) suggestion that reaching understandings of how learning takes place across settings, and of the possible synergies involved and obstacles, may be useful to educators especially if they are interested in finding ways to supplement or extend school-based opportunities (author abstract)."
Designing a web-based learning environment using weblogs and prodcasts. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-long Learning, 2009, vol. 19, no. 2-3, p. 179-190, ISSN: 1560-4624. Salam-Sharifah, Wang-Qiyun.
Managing uncertainty and promoting ownership over learning in D&T students using an interactive learning environment. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, June 2008, vol. 13, no. 2, p. 27-36, ISSN: 1360-1431. Ehiyazaryan-Ester.
Teachers developing practical theories of the contribution of information and communication technologies to subject teaching and learning: an analysis of cases from English secondary schools. British Educational Research Journal, June 2006, vol. 32, no. 3, p. 459-480, ISSN: 0141-1926. Deaney-Rosemary, Ruthven-Kenneth, Hennessy-Sara.
Why use information and communications technology? Some theoretical and practical issues. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 2001, vol. 10, no. 1-2, p. 7-18, ISSN: 0962-029X. Cloke-Chris, Sharif-Sabariah.
Communal constructivist theory: information and communications technology pedagogy and internationalisation of the curriculum. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 2001, vol. 10, no. 1-2, p. 117-134, ISSN: 0962-029X. Leask-Marilyn, Younie-Sarah.
KEYWORDS: virtual classrooms; educational technology; information technology; computer assisted learning; web based instruction; learning theories
GEARS a 3D Virtual Learning Environment and Virtual Social and Educational World Used in Online Secondary Schools. Electronic Journal of e Learning, 2009, vol. 7, no. 3, p. 215-224, pp. 10, 13 refs., ISSN: 1479-4403. Barkand-Jonathan, Kush-Joseph.
"Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming increasingly popular in online education environments and have multiple pedagogical advantages over more traditional approaches to education. VLEs include 3D worlds where students can engage in simulated learning activities such as Second Life. According to Claudia L'Amoreaux at Linden Lab, "at least 300 universities around the world teach courses and conduct research in Second Life." However, to date, VLEs have been very limited in use for K-12 education. One option for secondary schools was developed by Game Environment Applying Real Skills (GEARS) and can be used in online or traditional schools. The 3D VLE is named ARC: The Impending Gale. This program has been used successfully for over a year as part of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum. ARC allows students to create their own custom avatar and enter the educational environment. The actual content of the game differs depending on the subject the student is taking. Current courses include earth science, geography, pre-algebra, and spanish. The 3D VLE experience is designed to serve as a reinforcement of the concepts learned in the traditional lessons. The game environment itself has been very well received by students primarily because many of the continued development features were derived from student suggestions. One unique feature that was most requested was the inclusion of voice chat. Voice chat was only added as part of the ARC headquarters where students were able to meet before going out into the game world for their own specific content. The students are also highly motivated to progress through the content. ARC has been a great success for Lincoln Interactive and its parent company the National Network of Digital Schools. The social aspect of ARC was limited, and the ARC Headquarters prompted a plan to create a 3D Virtual Social and Educational World (VSEW) for the 15,000 students that had access to the Lincoln Interactive curriculum in 20 With the inclusion of a social component, the concept of an online community was evaluated. Garrison's et al. (2000) Community of Inquiry framework is used to explore the Lincoln Interactive Community. The VSEW contains a 3D social space with custom avatars, chat, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communication, social objects in the form of community musical instruments, and a tutor zone for teachers. In 2009 four educational games are included in the VSEW. These educational games focus on basic concepts in the three disciplines of math, social studies, and language arts. Garrison et al, (2000) Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence are each explained in regards to the VSEW. Both ARC and the VSEW are implemented, and as of November 2009 they are currently being used by students. While there is still much to learn and explore in regards to 3D VLEs and Social Worlds, practical application by GEARS in an online secondary school has been positively accepted by faculty and students. National Network of Digital Schools: < http://nndsonline.org/ > Lincoln Interactive Curriculum: < http://www.lincolninteractive.com/> Game Environment Applying Real Skills: http://gears.nndsonline.org/> 3D Virtual Social and Educational World: http://www.learnwithfriends.com/> (Contains 5 figures.)"
Transparency in Cooperative Online Education. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Jun 2009, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 22, 45 refs., ISSN: 1492-3831. Dalsgaard-Christian, Paulsen-Morten-Flate.
"The purpose of this article is to discuss the following question: What is the potential of social networking within cooperative online education? Social networking does not necessarily involve communication, dialogue, or collaboration. Instead, the authors argue that "transparency" is a unique feature of social networking services. Transparency gives students insight into each other's actions. Cooperative learning seeks to develop virtual learning environments that allow students to have optimal individual freedom within online learning communities. This article demonstrates how cooperative learning can be supported by transparency. To illustrate this with current examples, the article presents NKI Distance Education's surveys and experiences with cooperative learning. The article discusses by which means social networking and transparency may be utilized within cooperative online education. In conclusion, the article argues that the pedagogical potential of social networking lies within transparency and the ability to create awareness among students. (Contains 4 figures and 4 tables.)"
Constructing a Successful Cross-National Virtual Learning Environment in Primary and Secondary Education. AACE Journal, Apr 2006, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 103-128, pp. 26, 34 refs., ISSN: 1551-3696. Ligorio-Maria-Beatrice, van-Veen-Klaas.
"Virtual environments are more and more used in primary schools. One of the most interesting potentialities of these environments is to foster cross-national applications. Yet, this specific feature is not fully exploited. This paper presents a successful virtual learning environment for primary education involving two European countries and concerning multidisciplinary contents. Theoretically the project is inspired by the concepts of learners and virtual community, and refers to computer-supported collaborative learning and knowledge building. The virtual environment is composed by three-dimensional software able to generate virtual worlds and a discussion forum. Four Italian and three Dutch classrooms at different primary school grades participated. The virtual world built, called Euroland, is composed by several cultural houses. The qualitative description of the building process of the cultural houses proves virtual environments can be successfully introduced in primary education and fosters cognitive and social skills. Such success is due to the capability of the virtual environment to conjugate a playful dimension, the development of innovative content, and a real collaboration at a distance. The article ends with some conclusions and a reflection on some structural conditions at the school level, which are necessary for successful implementation in schools of such projects. (Contains 2 tables, 5 figures, and 1 note.)"
Theory into Practice