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Autoethnography as an authentic learning activity in online doctoral education: An integrated approach to authentic learning

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2020
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)570–580
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Under the constructivist learning paradigm, which emphasises authenticity as a required condition for learning, distance educators have been striving to create authentic learning environments that reflect the real world. However, it is inevitably challenging to make an online learning environment authentic for learners when it is ultimately separated from their real-life contexts. Particularly, in online doctoral education, given the diversity among online learners, even defining “what is real and to whom” is a difficult task. This paper argues that the epistemological approach to authentic learning, based on the constructivist learning paradigm, is not sufficient to make online learning “authentically” meaningful. The paper introduces an alternative, ontological approach stemming from the transformative learning paradigm, and suggests autoethnography as one authentic learning activity that can effectively integrate the epistemological and ontological approaches to authentic learning in online doctoral education. Such a comprehensive conceptualisation of authentic learning, as an integrated process of both knowing and becoming, allows each doctoral student to become a more authentic self across their learning and living environments.