Vol. 31 No. 2 (2016)
Research Articles

Strengthening Deeper Learning Through Virtual Teams in E-learning: A Synthesis of Determinants and Best Practices

Joyline Makani
Dalhousie University
Martine Durier-Copp
Dalhousie University
Deborah Kiceniuk
Dalhousie University
Alieda Blandford
Dalhousie University
Published October 15, 2016
  • e-learning,
  • online education,
  • distance education,
  • virtual teams,
  • deeper learning,
  • instructional design
  • ...More
How to Cite
Makani, J., Durier-Copp, M., Kiceniuk, D., & Blandford, A. (2016). Strengthening Deeper Learning Through Virtual Teams in E-learning: A Synthesis of Determinants and Best Practices. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education / Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 31(2). Retrieved from https://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/967


Globally, e-learning is gaining popularity as its potential contributions to economic and social development are recognised. However, its full potential has not been realised, as most e-learning practices merely replicate traditional existing teaching methods and have not fully exploited the interactive and social components of peer learning. Recently, there has been an increased focus on deeper learning in higher educational settings, in particular, a focus on the skills and knowledge that reinforce each other and together promote deeper learning (Chow, 2010). In other words research shows that to be successful all students must have access to educational opportunities that foster deeper learning. Virtual teams (VT) are said to foster "deeper" learning, but have not been empirically studied in the academic sphere, and little is known about their effectiveness as a learning mechanism in e-learning. In this paper the findings of a systemic review and interpretive synthesis of the body of literature on e-learning and VT are presented. The objective of the study was to identify the core skills and knowledge from research that reinforce each other and together promote deeper learning. The results from this study will strengthen e-learning program planning and delivery within higher education centres that are already engaged in e-learning, as well as convey important best practices for learning centres at the beginning stages of e-learning development.  Presented is an e-learning framework, which may serve as the foundation of future empirical studies in e-learning.Résumé

Renforcer l'apprentissage plus approfondi en passant par des équipes virtuelles dans l'apprentissage en ligne : Une synthèse des déterminants et des meilleures pratiques

À l'échelle mondiale, l'apprentissage en ligne gagne en popularité puisque ses contributions éventuelles au développement économique et social sont reconnues. Cependant, son plein potentiel n'a pas été réalisé, car la plupart des pratiques d'apprentissage en ligne ne font que simplement reproduire les méthodes d'enseignement traditionnelles existantes et n’ont pas pleinement exploité les composantes interactives et sociales de l'apprentissage par les pairs. Récemment, il y a eu une focalisation accrue sur l’apprentissage plus approfondi dans des milieux d'enseignement supérieur, en particulier, l'accent sur les compétences et les connaissances qui se renforcent mutuellement et, ensemble, favorisent un apprentissage plus approfondi (Chow, 2010). Autrement dit, la recherche montre que pour réussir, tous les étudiants doivent avoir accès à des possibilités éducatives qui favorisent un apprentissage plus approfondi. Les équipes virtuelles (EV) sont dites de favoriser l'apprentissage « plus approfondi », mais elles n'ont pas été empiriquement étudiées dans la sphère académique, et on en sait peu sur leur efficacité en tant que mécanisme d'apprentissage en apprentissage en ligne. Dans cet article, les résultats d'une revue systématique et d’une synthèse interprétative de la littérature sur l'apprentissage en ligne et les équipes virtuelles sont présentés. L'objectif de l'étude était d'identifier les compétences de base et les connaissances issues de la recherche qui se renforcent mutuellement et, ensemble, favorisent un apprentissage plus approfondi. Les résultats de cette étude permettront de renforcer la planification de programme et la livraison d’apprentissage en ligne dans les centres d'enseignement supérieur qui sont déjà impliqués dans l'apprentissage en ligne, ainsi que de transmettre d'importantes meilleures pratiques pour les centres d'apprentissage qui en sont aux premiers stades du développement de l'apprentissage en ligne. On présente un cadre de référence d'apprentissage en ligne, qui peut servir de base à de futures études empiriques en apprentissage en ligne.


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