Web Based Learning in Worldview Studies

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Søren Nielsen
The work of this extended essay centres on web based evangelism considered as a learning situation. The aim is to contribute to an overall reflection on web based learning in worldview studies by describing and defining the concept of worldview as knowledge and to give some guidelines to construct and evaluate internet evangelism. The section Background has the aim to clarify concepts and ideas to secure common understanding of the fundamental concepts used in the essay. The section contains descriptions and definitions of worldview and evangelism, the internet as medium and e-learning as a concept. Essential for the following sections is the definition of worldview as the human assumptions of life and its meaning. Evangelism is defined as activities aiming to spread the Gospel challenging people to accept Jesus Christ as their saviour and inviting them to the Christian church. The concept and historical practice of evangelism is explored under inspiration from professor of missiology David J. Bosch and his book Transforming Mission. In the section on Theory I focus on three approaches; Theory of science, learning theory and computer rhetoric. First, to maintain the implied thesis that evangelism can be considered as a learning situation, it is necessary to define the worldview as knowledge and thereby as object for learning. The main argument for holding worldview as knowledge is the contribution from Bruce H. Tiffney who defines belief knowledge and research knowledge as two valid kinds of knowledge depending on respectively personal revelation and scientific observation. Second, maintaining that worldview is knowledge, I focus on learning theory. Main theorist on learning is Knud Illeris and his theory on three dimensional learning. In addition to this I refer to episodic (first hand) and semantic (second hand) knowledge, and the theory on Multiple Intelligence. Third, defining worldview as assumptions and evangelism as challenge, I found it interesting to explore computer rhetoric to see if this could contribute with guidelines in the question on how to construct web based worldview learning. The primary insight is that reflections on computer rhetoric can improve websites making them more convincing and reliable. The theoretical insight is used in a heuristic model for evaluating and constructing Internet based worldview learning, considering all three theoretical approaches. The model consists of five heuristics formulated as questions which are to be answered in the positive if we are to talk about efficient web based worldview learning. The questions focus on the possibility of reflection, connection between episodic and semantic knowledge, how many intelligences that is addressed (the activist, the reflector, the theoretic and the pragmatic), worldview based (e.g. apologetic) and technological (Computer rhetoric) argumentation and finally the classical rhetorical composition. The analysis contains two existing American evangelistic websites; www.everystudent.com and www.womentodaymagazine.com. The analyses are based on the developed heuristic model for web based worldview studies. The analyses locate a number of problems that can be solved to improve the websites. The section Reflections contains some reflections on two specific strategies for online evangelism motivated by the theory and practical use of the heuristic model, reflections leading me to the overall Conclusion, that the heuristic model for constructing and analysing web based worldview learning is usable, and that there can be located two different strategies for online evangelism; the gospel presentation and the bridge-strategy. The gospel presentations holds the Gospel as episodic knowledge, the bridge-strategy holds the human feelings, experiences and life situations as the episodic knowledge whereto the Christian worldview finds its relevance.
Publication date2005
Number of pages88
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 6979043