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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/396

Authors: Miyashita, Hiroshi
Supervisor(s): Dr. Debra Hoven (Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Dr. Agnieszka Palalas (Athabasca University)
Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary)
Dr. Roswita Dressler (University of Calgary)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: asynchronous forums
blended learning
content analysis
dynamic assessment
English as a foreign language (EFL)
higher order thinking
sociocultural theory
Issue Date: 29-Nov-2022
Abstract: One of the major challenges in the field of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) at high schools in Japan is that English classrooms tend to lack learning activities to develop higher order thinking due to the dominant test-oriented practice. The purpose of this action research study is to explore an extracurricular blended learning (BL) program that I created to develop the higher order thinking of EFL learners at a public high school in Japan. This study drew on two theories: ecological constructivism for program design and sociocultural theory for mediation. In this one-month BL program, 16 participants engaged in online synchronous and asynchronous activities with English as a medium of instruction and communication while being supported by in-person face-to-face sessions conducted in Japanese. Qualitative data were collected via three methods: asynchronous forums, a post-survey, and my observation notes. Participants’ interactions posted in forums were transformed into quantitative data using three existing content analysis instruments: the Interaction Analysis Model, Cognitive Dimension of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Krathwohl’s Affective Domain. Then, the quantitative data were triangulated with qualitative data. To investigate my mediation as an instructor in this project, one original framework was created, employing an inductive approach. Coding results indicated that in forums, in which I used various mediation strategies, participants demonstrated higher order thinking to a certain extent overall; however, learner-learner interaction was not as highly activated as expected mainly due to limited social interaction within the learning environment explored in the study. This study suggests that constructivist asynchronous forums can be utilized to develop the higher order thinking of EFL learners in K-12 settings with appropriate program design, instructor mediation, and content. The recommended design includes a purposeful in-person face-to-face meeting at the beginning, organic mixture of interaction and reflection, asynchronous interaction followed by synchronous gatherings, and developmental organization of multiple forums. Implementing interventions to develop higher order thinking in successive action research cycles is expected to be a first step to achieve an ultimate goal of building a healthier society by nurturing mature citizens.
Graduation Date: 2022
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/396
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