Fostering a web 2.0 ethos in a traditional e‑learning environment


  • Marie Martin
  • Michaela Noakes


learning management systems, Web 2.0 ethos, case study, learning by wandering, sage at the side, transformative e-learning


As technology continues to flatten the world and as Web 2.0 changes the way knowledge is created and shared, tertiary education institutions are turning increasingly to e‑learning to extend access to students globally as well as to improve the quality of their learning experience. Learning Management Systems (LMS) currently dominate the delivery of e‑learning at this level. Though these systems have extended functionality by including some Web 2.0 tools, they are generally perceived as a walled garden, essentially embodying the traditional transmission paradigm of teaching and learning rather than the philosophy of Web 2.0. This is leading, particularly in the blogosphere, to calls to break down the walls of the LMS and to explore more open online courses. There is, however, an emerging view that Web 2.0 ideals can be realised within an LMS environment, provided the environment is aligned with these ideals. This paper supports that view. It presents a case study of an eight‑week e‑learning course based on this premise, offered first in spring 2011, with a second iteration in spring 2012, as part of a doctoral programme in Instructional Technology by Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA, and designed and delivered within an LMS by an instructor living in Northern Ireland. The course is underpinned by the concept of learning by wandering. The pedagogy is aligned with the fundamental Web 2.0 philosophy. Within broad parameters, it is flexible, student‑centred and, from an early stage, student‑led. Students are encouraged to use a variety of Web 2.0 tools, according to their preferences, to collaborate in preparation for their leadership role and as a language to express their ideas and to share their learning. The teachers role is identified as sage at the side. This case study is intended to contribute to the provision of a framework for transformative e‑learning through fostering a Web 2.0 ethos within a traditional learning environment.



1 Aug 2012