Lin Lin


This paper connects an online learning model to the rights to education that the online educational environments can provide. The model emerges from a study of ninety-two online learners and is composed of three kinds of inquiries, namely, independent inquiry, collaborative inquiry, and formative inquiry towards expert knowledge. Online learners naturally pursue and undertake these inquiries when they are equipped with communication channels and technologies. This model provides a thinking tool for integrating new media and technologies in an online learning environment in order to help students achieve their full rights to education.


Learners’ Rights,Online Learning Environments,Self-directed Learning,Independent Inquiry,Collaborative Inquiry,Formative Inquiry towards Expert Knowledge

Full Text:



Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 26:

a. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

b. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

c. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Freire, P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press, 1970.

McClintock, R. Toward a place for study in a world of instruction. Teachers College Record 73(2): 161–206, 1971.

Candy, P. C. Self-directed Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991.

Brookfield, S. Self-directed learning as a political idea. In G. A. Straka (Ed.), Conceptions of Selfdirected Learning: Theoretical and Conceptional Considerations. Berlin: Waxmann, 2000b.

Knowles, M. S. Self-directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge, 1975.

Merriam, S. B. The New Update on Adult Learning Theory. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2001.

Merriam, S. B. & R. S Caffarella. Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.

Tough, A. The Adult’s Learning Projects: A Fresh Approach to Theory and Practice in Adult Learning. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1979.

Brookfield, S. Lifelong Learning: Education Across the Lifespan. London and New York: Routledge/Falmer, 2000a.

Bates, A. W. Technology, E-learning and Distance Education (Studies in Distance Education) (2 ed.). Routledge, 2005.

Bourne, J., J. C. Moore, J. Sener, F. Mayadas & L. F. Ettinger. Increasing Access in Online Higher Education. JALN, 10(3): 2006.

Garrison, D. R. Quality and access in distance education: theoretical considerations. In D. Keegan (Ed.), Theoretical Principles of Distance Education, 9–21. London, New York: Routledge, 1993.

Gilbert, S. W. If it ain't broke, improve it: Thoughts on engaging education for us all. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 8(1): 2004.

Holmberg, B. Theory and practice of distance education. London; New York: Routledge, 1989.

Milliron, M. D., & M. Prentice. Anytime, anyplace and the community college: Ten emerging insights. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 8(1): 2004.

Moloney, J. F., & B. Oakley, II. Scaling online education: Increasing access to higher education. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 10(3): 2006.

Berge, Z. L., & M. Collins (Eds.). Computer mediated communication and the online classroom. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 1995.

McConnell, D. Implementing computer supported cooperative Learning. Nichols Publishing Company, 1994.

Moore, M. G., & W. G. Anderson. Handbook of distance education. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

Sherry, L. Issues in Distance Learning. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications 1(4): 337–365, 1996.

Swan, K. Learning effectiveness: What the research tells us. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality Online Education, Practice and Direction, 13–45. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium, 2003.

Lin, L., P. Cranton & B. Bridgall. Psychological type and asynchronous written dialogue in adult learning. Teachers College Record 107(8): 1788–1813, 2005.

Duffy, T. M. & J. R. Kirkley. Learner-centered theory and practice in distance education: Cases from higher education. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Garrison, D. R. Self-directed learning and distance education. In M. G. Moore & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of Distance Education, 161–168. New Jersey, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

Harrison, N. How to Design Self-directed and Distance learning: A Guide for Creators of Web-based Training, Computer-based Training, and Self-study Materials. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Levine, S. J., & Making distance education work: Understanding learning and learners at a distance (1st ed.). Okemos, MI:, 2005.

Moore, M. Self-directed learning and distance education. Journal of Distance Education 1(1): 7–24, 1986.

Garrison, D. R., T. Anderson & W. Archer. Critical thinking, cognitive presence and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education 15(1): 7–23, 2001.

Garrison, D. R., T. Anderson & W. Archer. A theory of critical inquiry on online distance education. In M. G. Moore & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of Distance Education, 113–127.

New Jersey, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

McLoughlin, C. & J. Luca. Cognitive engagement and higher order thinking through computer conferencing: We know why but do we know how? Teaching & Learning Forum 2000. Curtin University of Technology, Australia, 2001.

Meyer, K. A. Face-to-face versus threaded discussions: The role of time and higher-order thinking. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 7(3): 2003.

Rourke, L., T. Anderson, D. R. Garrison & W. Archer. Assessing social asynchronous text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(2): 50–71, 1999.

Cunningham, S., S. Tapsall, Y. Ryan, L. Stedman, K. Bagdon & T. Flew. New Media and Borderless Education: A Review of Convergence between Global Media Networks and Higher Education Provision. AGPS, Canberra, 1997.

Dede, C. J. The evolution of distance learning: Technology-mediated interactive learning. Journal of Research on Computers in Education 22: 247–264, 1990.

Daniel, J. S. Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education. London: Biddles Ltd., 1996.

Keegan, D. The Competitive Advantages of Distance Teaching Universities. Open Learning 9(2): 9–36, 1994.

Pea, R. A. Seeing what we build together: Distributed multimedia learning environments for transformative communications. Journal of the Learning Sciences 3(3): 285–299, 1994.

Brookfield, S. Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1986. 40. Bohm, D. On Dialogue. London: Routledge, 1996.

Cole, M. Culture in Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Gadamer, H. Truth and Method. London: Sheed and Ward, 1979.

Buber, M. & M. Friedman. The Knowledge of Man. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

Buber, M. I and Thou (2nd ed.). New York: Scribner, 1958.

Vygotsky, L. S. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Koschmann, T. Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): Theory and Practice of an Emerging Paradigm. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1996.

Salomon, G. No distribution without individual’s cognition: A dynamic interactional view. In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed Cognitions: Psychological and Educational Considerations, 111–138.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Sorenson, E. K. & E. S. Takle. Distributed collaborative learning across disciplines and national borders. In C. M. Hoadley & J. Roschelle (Eds.), Proceedings of the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 1999 Conference, 600–610. Palo Alto, CA. Stanford University, 1999.

Prietula, M. & H. Simon. The experts in your midst. Harvard Business Review 67(1): 1989.

Bransford, J., J. Pellegrino & M. Donovan. How people learn: Bridging research and practice. Washington, DC: National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1999.

Lave, J. & E.Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

van Manen, M. Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.

Spiegleberg, H. The Phenomenological Moment: A Historical Introduction (3rd ed.). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982.

Cranton, P. No One Way: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Toronto: Wall & Emerson, 1998.

Cranton, P. Becoming an authentic teacher in higher education. Melbourne, FL: Krieger, 2000.

Jung, C. Psychological Types. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971. (Original work published 1921.)

Lin, L. How Adults Learn through Online Asynchronous Written Dialogue. Unpublished dissertation, 2006.

Pelto, P. J. Snowmobiles: Technological revolution in the arctic. In H. R. Bernard & P. J. Pelto (Eds.), Technology and Social Change (pp. 207-243). IL: Waveland Press, 1987.

Deibert, R. J. Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communication in World Order Transformation. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Eisenstein, E. L. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. London: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Teilhard de Chardin, P. Le Phénomène Humain. Seuil, Paris, 1955. (Translated as: The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.)

McClintock, R. The education manifesto: Renewing the progressive bond with posterity through the social construction of digital learning communities, 1999. Retrieved January 20, 2008 from


Copyright (c) 2019 Lin Lin