Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How the Mind Makes Meaning in e-Learning

Hi everyone! Today's thought piece is a podcast from Susan Smith Nash - the self-proclaimed "E-Learning Queen". Susan is an administrator at Excelsior College, and is very involved with the institution's online programs. She is a prolific blogger and podcaster - see her website at:

The original poscast "Text Representation and Cognitive Processes: How the Mind Makes Meaning in e-Learning" was published on 27 December 2005 at:

In the shownotes, Susan wrote:

"Since e-learning relies still relies heavily on text-based learning, it is very helpful to have a basic idea of how the mind makes meaning from discourse. Understanding how the various forms of textual representation operate will help one design more effective instructional materials, activities, and assessments. According to discourse theorists, written language has the following aspects or components in the text itself, which consist of Surface Code, Textbase, and Situated Text. It also helps to understand the factors that influence how an individual processes that language. Finally, the mechanisms used for comprehension matter a great deal when one is trying to achieve uniform learning outcomes."

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan at the Sloan-C annual conference in Orlando, FL, in November 2005, and hearing one of her conference presentations. She clearly is a leader in the e-learning field, and we're all fortunate that she is sharing her thoughts in this area through her podcasts.

As always, the orange title above has a link to the mp3 file with the podcast, and you can subscribe to the RSS feed for "Burks' Selections" using the address on the orange XML icon in the right column on the page.

Best regards,



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The E-Learning Queen explores all manner of online and distributed training and education, from instructional design to the construction and implementation of entire e-learning solutions. She finds real-world e-learning issues and applications particularly intriguing; in higher education, military, K-12, and corporate and humanitarian / not-for-profit realms.



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