Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Herrington, J, Authentic e-learning in higher education: Design principles for authentic learning environments and tasks, World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, Chesapeake, Va, 2006.


With many learners failing to engage with didactic and outmoded instructional methods, and unwilling to use technology that simply replicates the one-way transfer of information from teacher to student, authentic learning designs have the potential to improve student engagement and educational outcomes. This paper argues that online technologies afford the design and creation of truly innovative authentic learning environments. The theoretical foundations of this approach are strong, and they are also explored, together with discussion of the importance of tasks as the focus of authentic activities. Finally, the case is made for a more comprehensive approach to investigating the effectiveness of authentic learning environments through design-based research.

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