Educational Psychology & Counseling Publications and Other Works

“Am I making sense here?”: What blogging reveals about undergraduate student understanding.

Trena M. Paulus, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Rebecca Payne
Lisa Jahns


Educational researchers are interested in whether what is learned in the classroom is transferred to new situations. This qualitative case study explores how computer-mediated communication, specifically web logs (blogs), can extend learning and facilitate transfer of learned concepts. Participants blogged for seven weeks about concepts related to nutrition. Data included blog posts and comments and interviews. These data were analyzed inductively for emergent themes addressing our research questions. Four themes were identified: (a) concepts contextualized to participants' daily lives; (b) barriers to applying learned concepts; (c) sources of "expert" knowledge; and (d) unanswered questions revealing gaps in understanding. Implications for using blogs to support actor-oriented learning environments are presented, along with directions for further research.