What teaching and learning functions can the WWW provide for what educational setups? Before we answer that question let's have a closer look at ``learning'' and ``teaching'':
What is learning? In short:
For the Psychologist, learning is a complex phenomenon AND there are several types of learning. Learning needs external ``conditioning'' (behaviorism); it is related to active problem solving; it involves integration, construction and compilation of new content (cognitivism) is constrained by human cognitive capacities (e.g. how much hypertext can we handle?). There are several kinds of learning: e.g. Factual information, Concepts, Reasoning, Procedures, Problem Solving,...) One does not learn by browsing, we need a variety of learning tasks, not just exploration (see [Kearsley et al., 1993]).
Teaching can be characterized by 2 aspects:
(1) Teaching ``setups'': e.g. Distance Teaching, Open Learning, Semi-Distance Teaching, Traditional Class room teaching, etc. Each of those setups needs different instructional strategies and tactics.
(2) Instructional processes that can be looked at from many points of view. Let's have a short look at normative instructional design theory: What is the optimal sequencing of course-ware and how is it related to various types of learning? Gagné suggests nine universal steps of instruction (cf. [Gagné, 1985] or [Aronson et Briggs, 1983]) which should be found in any instructional context:
Instructional Design Theory provides a detailed prescription on how to organize teaching and learning at the global (curricula), lesson and task level. Most work is also grounded in some learning theory. The practical use of those approaches (despite or maybe because their level of detail) is often debated. Some argument against reading much instructional design theory is that a good teacher with good practice intuitively knows and uses things like Gagné's steps. Most people agree that instruction needs principles, however some researchers feel that instructional theory should not just be grounded in learning theory but BE applied learning theory and implement optimal learning conditions according to what we know about learning. This is the way most research in Advanced Learning Systems operates.