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A Post-Positivist Framework for Using and Building Theory in Online Instructional Design

A Post-Positivist Framework for Using and Building Theory in Online Instructional Design
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Author(s): Bucky J. Dodd (University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK, USA), Charles E. Baukal Jr. (University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, USA) and Lynna J. Ausburn (College of Education, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA)
Copyright: 2016
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Pages: 18
Source title: International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design (IJOPCD)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Chia-Wen Tsai (Ming Chuan University, Taiwan) and Pei-Di Shen (Ming Chuan University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2016100104

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Abstract

Theories are critical components of research and are widely used tools among online course development researchers and practitioners. However, enhanced knowledge about how theories are developed and change over time is a strategic need in the field of online education design and delivery. This article examines a set of theory analysis and development tools, focusing particularly on post-positivist frameworks and perspectives. Building from prior work in theory development, this paper makes several novel contributions to enhancing understanding of theory development processes and their use in online teaching and course design. Two unique theory analysis and development tools are proposed. The theory development diagnostic matrix is proposed as a tool for evaluating essential characteristics of theories and how theories may be appropriately used. The Theory-Innovation Cycle is introduced as a model for explaining how theories are created, developed, and changed over time and the influence these processes have on theory use in online education research and practice. Implications and recommendations for using these tools are also presented and discussed.

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