Vol. 36 No. 1 (2021)
Research Articles

Exploring Teachers’ Cognitive Processes and Web-Based Actions During a Series of Self-Directed Online Learning Sessions

Pamela Beach
Queen's University
Elena Favret
Queen's University
Alexandra Minuk
Queen's University
Published July 16, 2021


This exploratory study used screen-capture technology and a cued retrospective think aloud called the virtual revisit think aloud to understand teachers’ self-directed online learning (SDOL) experiences. Three elementary teachers were involved in a series of in-depth one-on-one SDOL sessions where they informally used the Internet for their professional learning. Nine think aloud transcripts and three interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative methods. Additionally, nine 20-minute screen-capture recordings were analyzed using a time sampling observation analysis in which participants’ web-based actions were tallied in 10-second intervals. The analyses led to four main themes related to participants’ cognitive processes as well as overall trends of participants’ web-based actions. Additionally, findings from this study provide preliminary insight into the feasibility and value of SDOL over time.


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