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Viewing Online Learning through the Lens of Perspective Transformation

, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States ; , , University of Georgia, United States

IJET Volume 7, Number 3, ISSN 1077-9124 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


The purpose of this collective qualitative case study was: (a) to describe the learning perspectives of students enrolled in two online graduate-level library media courses, and (b) to explore the theory of perspective transformation as a possible explanation for the changes that occur in those perspectives. The sample consisted of four students who had completed two online courses. Data collection methods included one-on-one interviews with the four participants, focus group interviews with all the class members of the two courses, and document analysis of archived online communications. Data analysis proceeded in a two-phase process of coding, grouping and categorizing the data. The first phase was a within-case analysis of each individual participant, and the second phase was a cross-case analysis of all four participants. The participants expressed three categories of learning perspectives at the start of the first course: learning style preferences, learning environment preferences, and online course expectations. One quarter after the completion of the second course, the participants expressed changes in five categories of learning perspectives: course delivery preferences, learning environment preferences, effective face-to-face learning environments, effective online learning environments, and technology. Three participants experienced revisions in their learning perspectives and one participant experienced a transformation of learning perspective. The 11-phase process of perspective transformation shared similarities with the process by which the one participant's learning perspectives were transformed, but the two processes were more different than alike. The results of this study have implications for the design of transformative learning environments, the use of learner perspectives in online education research, and the direction of future research.


Benson, A., Guy, T. & Tallman, J. (2001). Viewing Online Learning through the Lens of Perspective Transformation. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 7(3), 251-269. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved August 7, 2022 from .



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