Designing Authentic Learning Activities to Train Pre-Service Teachers About Teaching Online
Online learning is increasingly being used in K-12 learning environments. A concomitant trend is found towards learning becoming authentic as students learn with tasks that are connected to real-world occupations. In this study, 48 pre-service teachers use an online environment to engage in authentic practice as they developed online learning experiences for their future students. Using a design-based research methodology, the researchers were involved in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating the higher education class across two macro cycles. An authentic learning framework was utilized in the development of the class. Findings explicate the design of the course and how it aligned to the authentic learning framework. It appears that web-based tools were beneficial as the pre-service teachers designed their own K-12 online classes. Findings show that the pre-service teachers’ comfort increased when using the using online web building applications in the authentic environment. Furthermore, a high level of engagement in reflective and collaborative learning was uncovered during the activities. This research acts as a springboard for educators who are interested in designing online higher education courses incorporating authentic learning experiences.