Child development instructors' and undergraduates' perspectives and experiences in online education through second culture acquisition and cognitive load lenses: A mixed methods study
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The educational landscape of higher education is shifting to include more online education courses. This shift has produced successes and struggles for instructors and undergraduates. The purpose of this study was to explore child development instructors' and undergraduates' perspectives and experiences in online education through the theoretical lenses of second culture acquisition and cognitive load, and the discipline of child development. These lenses were used to explain online teaching and learning as one acquiring a second culture and ways to decrease the negative experience of transition shock. This research study employed an exploratory mixed methods design. Quantitative data, consisting of an online researcher-created questionnaire, were collected from 268 participants (12 instructors and 256 undergraduates). Qualitative data consisted of 15 instructor interviews, six undergraduate focus groups (n=14), and researcher's reflexive documents. The total number of particpants was 297. Quantitative data were analyzed for relationships, predictive value, and group differences. Qualitative data analysis was analyzed using a 4-level coding system. Findings revealed strong relationships between transition shock reduction and (a) motivation to acculturate into the new environment and (b) confidence of educational technology skills. The current online teaching and learning culture can be viewed as a pidgin language and has emerged as the interlanguage of the traditional teaching and learning and technology cultures. This new culture is in the process of acquiring Discourse with a unique language, rules, roles, responsibilities, and customs. Instructors and undergraduates both experienced a transitional experience, which can resolve either positively or negatively. The data showed instructors were beginning to have more experiences and Discourse development than the undergraduates, which allowed them to emerge as expert users of the culture. Child development instructors incorporated a variety of child development strategies to provide an active learning environment and scaffold undergraduates' learning.