Examining the nature of reflective learning in an online MBA; a dialogic approach

Goumaa, Rasha
Examining the nature of reflective learning in an online MBA; a dialogic approach. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The debate around the relevance of management education to practice is a long standing one. Critics argue that conventional, lectured-based teaching does not attend to practitioners’ needs and their complex realities. Critical management education has been held up as an alternate teaching pedagogy that speaks more adequately to practice. A starting point for a critical pedagogy may be a social constructivist approach where students actively construct their own knowledge and meanings rather than passively receive information. The essence of critical management education is to create more spaces to promote a questioning attitude towards practice and theory and help management students to become active, reflective learners. So far, investigations of criticality seem to have largely drawn on exploring management students’ perspectives about their learning experience. Little evidence is available on what becoming more or less critical entails for management students from within practice. There is no mention of a rigorous framework that would offer insights about what to look for in investigating reflective learning from within its natural setting. As an area that appears to be under developed in critical management education research, the nature of reflective learning evoked in classroom dialogue is considered, and a framework is devised based on Bakhtin’s dialogism to help identify and conceptualize reflective learning. The availability of online courses has grown strongly over the past two decades. A number of commentators consequently see that online management learning is becoming a mainstream aspect of higher education. Yet, serious reservations against the nature of learning that an asynchronous, text-based learning environment can offer management students have been raised. Therefore, an online MBA classroom is chosen as the site of this study. Data is collected through a combination of observations of online classroom conversations and document analysis. The proposed framework is used is to carry out a relational analysis of online, text-based classroom conversations. It is not the asynchronicity of the setting that is inherently problematic in stimulating reflective, emancipatory learning. The potential of online management classrooms to engender dialogic, reflective learning amongst management students responds to the wider critiques of the status of learning in management classrooms. A critical approach to online teaching, which is not underpinned by a critical curriculum, is proposed. There is an urgent need to attend to the role of online tutors and their influence on the nature of learning, which occurs in their conversations with students in virtual classrooms. The study opens up the scope for assessing online management learning as a “dialogical construction of meaning” and offers insights into the online setting beyond the passive portrayals of learners.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-03 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Reflective Learning, Reflexivity, Management education, Online Learning, MBA
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2015 15:58
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:14
DOI: 10.17638/00019513
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/19513