Instructional Technology

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Authentic learning in online education is feasible with intentional instructional strategies and appropriate educational technologies, yet as a learning approach, barriers to implementation still exist. We argue that authentic learning in online education can be successfully supported when the characteristics of authentic learning are (a) intentionally applied and (b) supported through research-based tools that facilitate the learning process seamlessly for students. To address this challenge, we developed a research-based online application that supports authentic learning. In this article, the theoretical foundations and empirical support for the tool are described, along with critical design decisions that support suggested characteristics of authentic activities. The authors overview formative research conducted during a four-year development process. Several case studies conducted at research-intensive universities are provided to describe how student motivation, metacognition, and strategic behaviors were facilitated through the tool and to encourage readers to apply similar research-based strategies in their own authentic learning contexts.

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