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Factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning
 

Factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning

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Earli 2011 presentation

Earli 2011 presentation

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  • Hello everybody, my name is Essi Vuopala and I come fron Learning and educational technology research unit, from the university of Oulu, Finland. I work there as a teacher and this study is part of my PhD-research, which is about students’ experiences on factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning in a virtual course.
  • Several studies have shown that collaborative learning, both in face-to-face and in computer supported situations, can enhance deep learning. Research of collaborative learning, computer-supported collaborative learning and small group research has shown successful results in enhancing learners to reflect their thoughts together with other learners and promote quality learning. Still, students’ experiences about collaboration and collaborative learning is less understood . (e.g. Meyer, 2004; Salmon, 2002.) Defining phenomena studied in this research: Theories of collaborative learning, computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) and small-group research (e.g. Dillenbourg, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006; Stahl, 2006; Van den Bossche, Segers, & Kirschner, 2006)
  • Earlier studies of cscl indicates that there still is a need for qualitative research focusing on student perspectives on the processes, challenges and success factors of collaborative learning especially in cscl environments. It is essential to understand students perspective because this might help designers and teachers to provide specific instructions and support for enhancing the quality of collaborative learning. The aim of this study…
  • Participants: one study group in Finland was international. As background information students were asked to define concept collaborative learning in the beginning of the course to make sure that they are reflecting the same phenomena which I wanted to study. Definitions were coded into three category: high, average and low based on the criterium in which consisted of essential feature of collaborative learning, like 1. reciprocity, 2. interaction, 3. building new knowledge together with others, 4. group members’ commitment to shared goal, 5. equal participation and 6. shared expertice. These festures are baised on the theory of collaborative learning. Student’s definition was coded as ’high’ if respondent mentioned at least 3 of previous mentioned criteria. Definition was coded as ’average’ if respondent mentioned 2 of previous mentioned criteria Definition was coded as ’low’ if respondent mentioned 0-1 of previous mentioned criteria.
  • And here are the results. 56 students’ definitons out of 83 were coded as ’average’. 14 definitons were coded as ’high’ ans 13 as ’low’. So it can be concluded that studetns had quite good understanding about the phenomena.
  • Here is a course design. The course consisted on 5 different phases and the pedagogical structure of the course was aimed at promoting collaborative learning . Each phase lasted for two weeks. First phase was kind of warming up-phase, where students get to know each others and last phase was an evaluation phase. Other three phases were differently structured small-group discussions concerning various course topics. First assignment was loosely structured theme discussion, second was a discussion with functional roles and third assignment was based on problem-based learning. After each two-week phases the students filled in an on-line questionnaire in which they reflected the collaboration in their own small group. Each student had to define whether their collaborative learning was successful or less successful and what factors promoted and hindered collaborative learning during each studying phase. In last questionnaire students also evaluated their group work and re-defined ‘collaborative learning’ in order to fond out, how has their definiton developed during the course and what they have learned about the topic. Amount of responses decreased in the progress of the course. Data was analyzed with content-driven data-analysis. n= moniko opiskelija vastasi ko. lomakkeeseen. Merkitäänkö n vai N? The data consists of on-line questionnaires (n=311)  tämä tieto research designiin Tähän maininta jokaisen jakson pedagogisesta mallista.
  • Each answer was coded into ’meaningful unit’ according to following categories. Individual factors, group factors, environment factors and no category. Each of these main categories includes both promoting and hindering factors. Individual factors included descriptions of how student’s knowledge and skills, motivational issues or use of time affected to collaborative learning. Group factors includes descriptions of how interaction between small gorup members, group members’ participation into collaborative activities, small group’s atmosphere of small group’s structure affected to collaborative learning. Environment factors includes formulation of the learning assignments, schedule issues and factors related to learning material, tutoring and web platform. No category includes responses which couldn’t be placed to any other category without too much interpretation and answers which doesn’t include any information.
  • Then to the results and to the forst ressearch question. It seems that most significant factor promoting collaborative learning is related to study group. Almost equally important factor were the environment. Less significan factors were related to individual student. But then more detailed issues about each of these factors. Results indicate that especially fluent, reciprocal interaction and mutual assistance promoted collaborative learning. Other important factors were active group members and permissive atmosphere in the small-group.
  • Then to the results and to the forst ressearch question. It seems that most significant factor promoting collaborative learning is related to study group. Almost equally important factor were the environment. Less significan factors were related to individual student. But then more detailed issues about each of these factors. Results indicate that especially fluent, reciprocal interaction and mutual assistance promoted collaborative learning. Other important factors were active group members and permissive atmosphere in the small-group.
  • Then to the results and to the forst ressearch question. It seems that most significant factor promoting collaborative learning is related to study group. Almost equally important factor were the environment. Less significan factors were related to individual student. But then more detailed issues about each of these factors. Results indicate that especially fluent, reciprocal interaction and mutual assistance promoted collaborative learning. Other important factors were active group members and permissive atmosphere in the small-group.
  • Then to the environment factors in more detailed. The results indicate that the most significant environment factor was the formulation of the learning task. Students experienced very strongly that assignment has to require every group member’s involvment and input. Tutoring was experienced quite important too: studetns experienced that tutor has to be visible and also available, but not too active.
  • Then to the environment factors in more detailed. The results indicate that the most significant environment factor was the formulation of the learning task. Students experienced very strongly that assignment has to require every group member’s involvment and input. Tutoring was experienced quite important too: studetns experienced that tutor has to be visible and also available, but not too active.
  • Individual factors in general weren’t very significant, byt most often mentioned individual factor was student’s own feeling about commitment to the collaborativre activities.
  • Individual factors in general weren’t very significant, byt most often mentioned individual factor was student’s own feeling about commitment to the collaborativre activities.
  • Individual factors in general weren’t very significant, byt most often mentioned individual factor was student’s own feeling about commitment to the collaborativre activities.
  • Individual factors in general weren’t very significant, byt most often mentioned individual factor was student’s own feeling about commitment to the collaborativre activities.
  • Which factors hindered collaborative learning? Again, the most important hindering factor was related to group ans secondly to environment factors. The role of indivudual factors was more significant as a hindering than promoting factor. Now, let’s take a deeper look to the group factors. Students had in this course quite a much difficultien in the use of language. Course language was English, which wasn’t anybodies home language and that fact made collaboration more dufficult. Noteworthy is that group structure, mainly group members’ heterogeneous background, was quite significant hindering factor.
  • Which factors hindered collaborative learning? Again, the most important hindering factor was related to group ans secondly to environment factors. The role of indivudual factors was more significant as a hindering than promoting factor. Now, let’s take a deeper look to the group factors. Students had in this course quite a much difficultien in the use of language. Course language was English, which wasn’t anybodies home language and that fact made collaboration more dufficult. Noteworthy is that group structure, mainly group members’ heterogeneous background, was quite significant hindering factor.
  • Which factors hindered collaborative learning? Again, the most important hindering factor was related to group ans secondly to environment factors. The role of indivudual factors was more significant as a hindering than promoting factor. Now, let’s take a deeper look to the group factors. Students had in this course quite a much difficultien in the use of language. Course language was English, which wasn’t anybodies home language and that fact made collaboration more dufficult. Noteworthy is that group structure, mainly group members’ heterogeneous background, was quite significant hindering factor.
  • Formulation of learning assignment was experienced to be one of the most significant environmental factor which hindered collaboration. Some of the tasks were experienced to be more co-operative than collaborative. Compared to promoting factors, web platform was experiences quite strongly as a factor which hinder collaborative learning. Students were missing multiple tools for both synchronous and asynchronous interaction. They felt that discussion board and on-line chat are not sufficient tools for collaboration.
  • Formulation of learning assignment was experienced to be one of the most significant environmental factor which hindered collaboration. Some of the tasks were experienced to be more co-operative than collaborative. Compared to promoting factors, web platform was experiences quite strongly as a factor which hinder collaborative learning. Students were missing multiple tools for both synchronous and asynchronous interaction. They felt that discussion board and on-line chat are not sufficient tools for collaboration.
  • Which factors hindered collaborative learning? Again, the most important hindering factor was related to group ans secondly to environment factors. The role of indivudual factors was more significant as a hindering than promoting factor. Now, let’s take a deeper look to the group factors. Students had in this course quite a much difficultien in the use of language. Course language was English, which wasn’t anybodies home language and that fact made collaboration more dufficult. Noteworthy is that group structure, mainly group members’ heterogeneous background, was quite significant hindering factor.
  • Lack of time and motivation were two most mentioned individual factors hindering collaborative learning. This refers to students who didn’t have time to participate in collaborative activities or motivation to collaborate.
  • Then to the second research question: How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course? ’ First it can be concluded that factors related to gorup processes and group structure decreased in the progression of the course. On the other hand, the significance of environment issues increased. There were no significant variation in the role of individual factors. If we look the variation of group factors in more detailed we can make a conclusion that especially factors related to group interaction and group structure were experienced more importans in the beginning of the course.On the other hand the role of active participants came more important promoting factor in the progression of the course. KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • From environment factors the role of factors related to learning assignment came more important in second and third studying phase. In the beginning of the course the role of tutoring was experienced to be more critical than in the later phases. KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • If we then look at the variation of hindering factors we can notice that group factors were experienced to be major hindering factor especially in the beginning of the course but and less important in second and thirs phase. In the second phase, which was discussion with functional roles, the most significant hindering factor was related to learning environment. There was no significant variation in the individual factors. KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • If we look closer the variation of group factors we can conclude that factors related to hetegenous group and course atmosphere hindered collaborative learning especially in the beginnig of the course. In the end of the course the most significant factor was passive group members. KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • Environment factors, especially discussing witk functional roles, hindered most significantly collaborative learning during studying phase two. KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • KUVATEKSTIT PUUTTUU
  • Main factors both promotnig and hindering collaborative learning were related to group processes and group structure. Fluent interaction between group members, participants activity and confidential group atmosphere promoted collaborative learning. On the other hand problems in communication and passive group members hindered collaborative learning. Also heterogeneous group structure was experienced as a main factor which hindered collaborative learning, especially in the beginning of the course. However, the role of group factors was more significant in the beginnig of the course. Factors related to environment were almost as significant than group factors. Especially formulation of learning assignment was experiences essential: learning task has to require students to work together. In this course more than half of the students experienced that course assignments promoted collaborative learning and third experienced assignments more as hindering factors. Related to environment, web platform was experienced as important factor which hindered collaborative learning in this course. In general, the significance of environment factors growed during the course. The role of individual factors was insignificant; individual factors more hindered than promoted collaborative learning. - Especially lack of time and motivation hindered participation on collaborative activities.
  • Positive group processes are essential requirement for successful collaborative learning  positive group processes can be supported by pedagogical structuring, by paying special attention to grouping process in the beginnig of the course and by applying well functioning wed platform. A little bit surprising result in this study was that although the environment factors were important, students didn’t experience the role of tutoring very important during their studying process. This might be because most of the students had earlier experiences of collaborative learning and studying in virtual environment. Also, tutor’s role was more active before the course start (so it focused on scripting the collaboration), which mightt have an affect to the minor need for tutoring. Respondents didn’t experience the of individual factors very important requirement for collaborative learning. That might be because self regulation processes are difficult to recognice, especially if they are functional. Individual factor were more often experienced as hindering factor, which also support this conclusion. Next step of this research is to deeper into studetns’ experiences by analysing the learning diaries which they have written during the course and also analysing the interview data.
  • Positive group processes are essential requirement for successful collaborative learning. This study indicates that especially fluent interaction and students’ equal participation are essential requirements for successful collaboration. Also earlier studies supports these findings  positive group processes can be supported by pedagogical structuring, by paying special attention to grouping process in the beginnig of the course and by applying well functioning wed platform. A little bit surprising result in this study was that although the environment factors were important, students didn’t experience the role of tutoring very important during their studying process. This might be because most of the students had earlier experiences of collaborative learning and studying in virtual environment. Also, tutor’s role was more active before the course start (so it focused on scripting the collaboration), which mightt have an affect to the minor need for tutoring. Respondents didn’t experience the of individual factors very important requirement for collaborative learning. That might be because self regulation processes are difficult to recognice, especially if they are functional. Individual factor were more often experienced as hindering factor, which also support this conclusion. The role Future questions: What are the reasons for variation of promoting and hindering factors during the course? (structuring, familiarity between group members etc.) Next step of this research is to deeper into studetns’ experiences by analysing the learning diaries which they have written during the course and also analysing the interview data.

Factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning Factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning Presentation Transcript

  • Factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning – Students’ experiences from a virtual course Essi Vuopala Learning and Educational Technology Research Unit (LET) Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education University of Oulu, Finland
  • Overview
    • Background and aim of the study
    • Reseasrch questions
    • Method
    • Research design
    • Data analysis
    • Results
    • Conclusions
  • Background of the study
    • Several studies have shown the benefits of collaborative learning
      • Research on collaborative learning and computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) (e.g. Dillenbourg, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006; Stahl, 2006) ,
      • Small-group research (e.g. Van den Bossche, Segers, & Kirschner, 2006)
      • Earlier studies concerning requirements for successful collaborative learning (e.g. Biasutti, 2011; Chan & Yuen-Yan, 2011, So & Brush, 2008) .
    • Still, students’ experiences about collaboration and collaborative learning is less understood (e.g. Seddon & Biasutti, 2009; Webb, 2009).
  • Aim of the study Based on earlier studies : The aim of this study is to improve understanding of students’ experiences of collaborative learning in the context of CSCL. There is a need for qualitative research focusing on student perspectives on the processes, challenges and success factors of collaborative learning especially in CSCL environments (e.g. Song et al., 2004; Vonderwell, 2003). Understanding students’ perspective is essential because this helps designers and teachers to provide specific instructions and support for enhancing the quality of collaborative learning.
  • Research questions These questions are answered through a case study of high-school students participating in a virtual course. 1. Which factors promoted and hindered collaborative learning in a virtual course? 2. How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
  • Method
    • Context: International CSCL – course (Optima environment)
    • Participants: Students (N=86) from five Finnish, one Norwegian and one German universities
      • 8 small groups (mixed groups)
      • Background information:
        • Educational background: Educational sciences (66%), computer sciences (10%), other (23%).
        • Majority of respondents had earlier experiences on collaborative learning (62%) and studying in virtual course (61%).
        • Preliminary understanding about collaborative learning (definitions in the beginning of the course)
  • Method
    • Context: International CSCL – course (Optima environment)
    • Participants: Students (N=86) from five Finnish, one Norwegian and one German universities
      • 8 small groups (mixed groups)
      • Background information:
        • Educational background: Educational sciences (66%), computer sciences (10%), other (23%).
        • Majority of respondents had earlier experiences on collaborative learning (62%) and studying in virtual course (61%).
        • Preliminary understanding about collaborative learning (definitions in the beginning of the course)
  • Research design Qualitative content-driven data analysis
    • Background information
    • Defining collaborative learning
    - Which factors promoted and hindered collaborative learning during 1) the whole course and 2) each studying phase?
    • Re-defining collaborative learning
    • Evaluation of group –work
  • Data analysis
    • Each ’merkityksen sisältävä yksikkö’ was coded into following categories:
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256) Figure II: Factors promoting collaborative learning: Group factors (%, n=129)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256) Figure II: Factors promoting collaborative learning: Group factors (%, n=129)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256) Figure III: Factors promoting collaborative learning: Environment factors (%, n=114)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256) Figure III: Factors promoting collaborative learning: Environment factors (%, n=114)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Student’s commitment to course activities Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Student’s commitment to course activities Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors promoted collaborative learning during the course Figure I: Factors promoting collaborative learning (n= 256)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure V: Factors hindering collaborative learning: group factors (%, n=126) Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure V: Factors hindering collaborative learning: group factors (%, n=126) Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255) Figure VI: Factors hindering collaborative learning: environment factors (%, n=86 )
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255) Figure VI: Factors hindering collaborative learning: environment factors (%, n=86 )
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • Results: Which factors hindered collaborative learning during the course
    • Lack of time
    • Lack of motivation
    Figure IV: Factors hindering collaborative learning (n= 255)
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
    Significance of factors related to interaction and group structure decreased. Factors related to participants’ activity incresed.
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
    Factors related to assignment increased. Factors related to tutoring decreased.
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
    Factors related to hetegenous group and course atmosphere hindered collaborative learning especially in the beginnig of the course. In the end of the course the most significant factor was passive group members.
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
    During phases II and III especially formulation of assignment hindered collaborative learning .
  • How did factors promoting and hindering collaborative learning varied during the course?
    • Promoting factors (%, n=256)
    • Hindering factors (%, n=255)
  • Main findings
    • Main factors both promoting and hindering collaborative learning were related to group processes and group structure.
    • Factors related to environment were almost as significant as group factors.
    • Individual factors were experienced more hindering than promoting collaborative learning.
  • Conclusions The aim of this study is to improve understanding of students’ experiences of collaborative learning in the context of CSCL.
  • Conclusions
    • Positive group processes are essential requirement for successful collaborative learning  positive group processes has to be supported (e.g. Biasutti, 2011; Loh & Smyth, 2010; Merlot, 2010)
    • Insignificant role of tutoring (e.g. Kim, Kwon, & Cho, 2011)
    • Insignificance of individual factors  Making students more aware of self regulation processes. (e.g. Jones & Issroff, 2005)
    • Future questions: What are the reasons for variation of promoting and hindering factors during the course?
    • Next step  student interviews and learning diaries
    The aim of this study is to improve understanding of students’ experiences of collaborative learning in the context of CSCL.
  • Thank you!
    • Contact information: [email_address]
    • Learning and Educational Technology Research Unit (LET), www.let.oulu.fi
      • Supervisor, Prof. Sanna Järvelä: [email_address]