Literature Review - Effects Of Authentic Context And Cultural Sensitivity On Retention And Knowledge Transfer In Online Leraning

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[Literature Review - Effects of Authentic Context and Cultural Sensitivity on Retention and Knowledge Transfer in Online Leraning]


Literature Review

Authentic context

Authentic learning typically focuses on real-world, complex problems and their solutions, using role-playing exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice. (Dede, 2005) The learning environments are inherently multidisciplinary. They are “not constructed in order to teach geometry or to teach philosophy. A learning environment is similar to some 'real world' application or discipline: managing a city, building a house, flying an airplane, setting a budget, solving a crime, for example. Going beyond content, authentic learning intentionally brings into play multiple disciplines, multiple perspectives, ways of working, habits of mind, and community. (Levy, 2005)

Effects of authentic context on retention and transfer performance

Educational researchers have found that students involved in authentic learning are motivated to persevere despite initial disorientation or frustration, as long as the exercise simulates what really counts—the social structure and culture that gives the discipline its meaning and relevance. (Hart, 2006) The learning event essentially encourages students to compare their personal interests with those of a working disciplinary community: (Jenkins, 2006)

…“Can I see myself becoming a member of this culture? What would motivate me? What would concern me? How would I work with the people around me? How would I make a difference?”… (Downes, 2007, pp45)

Colleges and universities across the country are turning to authentic learning practices and putting the focus back on the learner in an effort to improve the way students absorb, retain, and transfer knowledge. Authentic learning aligns with research into the way the human mind turns information into useful, transferable knowledge. (Bertoline, 2007) Cognitive scientists are developing a comprehensive portrait of the learner. Three principles illustrate the alignment between learning research and authentic learning: (Downes, 2007)

Long-lived attachments come with practice: Concepts need to be “aired” repeatedly and regularly, defended against attack, deployed in new contexts, and associated with new settings, activities, and people. Otherwise, the attachment is broken and the information lost

New contexts need to be explored: The concepts being learned are always part of a much larger “learning event” and are directly linked in the learner's mind with social circumstances—the setting, the activities, the people. (Bertoline, 2007)

Inauthentic instructional context

Over the last few years, researchers have criticized the typical divides between the lower and the higher stages of the mainstream American undergraduate foreign-language curriculum. Roughly speaking, the lower levels are commonly characterized by meaning-focused, sentence-based language instruction with emphasis on oral interaction, whereas the higher levels tend to focus on formal, text-oriented instruction with an emphasis on reading, writing, literature and content-oriented study. (Dede, 2005) This division has clear repercussions for the conceptualization of communication, language, and language learning in the mainstream foreign-language curriculum. One of the most notable consequences is the idea that literature is essentially different from ordinary language, and, therefore, a less 'inauthentic,' 'real-life' form of discourse. (Reeves, 2006)

Effects of inauthentic context on retention and transfer performance

Higher-order thinking requires students to "manipulate information and ideas in ways ...
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