From Research to Practice: The Instructional Design of Online Collaborative Learning
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Synthesizes research findings and provides instructional design recommendations to guide successful Online Collaborative Learning

Synthesizes research findings and provides instructional design recommendations to guide successful Online Collaborative Learning

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  • As participants become more critically aware of their assumptions and expectations, their way of thinking becomes more inclusive, reflective, open, discriminating, and flexible (Mezirow, 2000).

From Research to Practice: The Instructional Design of Online Collaborative Learning Presentation Transcript

  • 1. From Research to Practice:The Instructional Design of Online Collaborative Learning
    Laurie Posey, EdD
    Director of Instructional Technology for the Health Sciences Programs
    The George Washington University
    posey@gwu.edu
    Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning
    October 28-30, 2009
  • 2. Definitions
    Online Collaborative Learning refers to activities that challenge learners in distributed locations to work interdependently to achieve a shared learning goal.
    Goes beyond cooperative learning by emphasizing cognitive diversity, critical dialogue & joint knowledge construction.
    A subset of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (Koschmann, 2002).
    A type of Community of Inquiry (Archer, Garrison, Anderson & Rourke, 2001).
  • 3. Sound Familiar?
    Working collaboratively online is very difficult due to travel and personal schedules.
    Most of us are professionals who work in a team setting. I find these assignments to be completely ineffective learning tools.
    One of our team members was unresponsive, difficult to reach and generally had no contribution to the project.
    The timeframe was too short to sort out personalities, strengths, and weaknesses in addition to understanding, prioritizing and focusing issues.
    I felt like I was helping others get an A on the assignment.
  • 4. Common Challenges
    Student apathy and hostility toward group work
    Difficulties with group selection
    Lack of essential group-work skills
    The free-rider
    Inequalities in student abilities
    Appropriate assessment of individuals within a group
    Roberts, T. S. & McInnerney, J. M. (2007). Seven problems of online group learning (and their solutions). Educational Technology & Society, 10(4), 257-268.
  • 5. Why Bother?
    Dialog and dissonance during OCL foster transformative learning.
    Collaboration competency can be learned through experience and practice.
    The world needs good collaborators.
  • 6. Design Considerations
    Technology Selection
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 7. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    Utility is key. Provide the functions learners need. (Kirschner, Strijbos, Kreijns & Beers, 2004)
    Lack of verbal cues can inhibit relationship building.(Hishina, Okada & Suzuki, 2005)
    Synchronous communications enhance social presence and facilitate trust-building, information seeking, and conflict resolution. (Havard, Du, & Xu, 2008).
    Asynchronous communication facilitates reflection and independent research.(Clark & Mayer, 2008)
    Learners have the capacity to choose communication vehicles wisely.(Thomas & MacGregor, 2005; Cawthon & Harris, 2007)
    Social technologies can provide for more natural conversation and community building than traditional LMSs.(Rollett, Lux, Strohmaier & Dosinger, 2007)
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 8. Design Considerations
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    Technology Selection
    • Provide multiple synchronous and asynchronous communication technology options.
    • 9. Match the technology to the desired learning outcome.
    • 10. Provide education and support to ensure that students (a) know how to use available technologies; and (b) recognize the unique benefits of each as it relates to OCL.
    • 11. Allow and encourage students to choose the best technology for the task at hand.
    • 12. Take advantage of evolving Web 2.0 technologies to support collaboration (e.g., blogs, wikis, instant messaging, social networking, video chat, virtual worlds, etc.).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 13. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    OCL around ill-structured problems promotes critical thinking, evaluation of alternatives, recognition of uncertainties, correction of misconceptions, and information seeking to resolve conflicts (Ge and Land, 2004; Reiser, 2002; Jonassen and Remidez, 2002).
    Designers of OCL must consider the interactions among educational, social, and technology processes, including task ownership, task character, and task control (Kirschner, Strijbos, Kreijns & Beers, 2004)
    Providing advance instructions to prepare students for OCL can contribute to a more successful collaborative process (Ge, Yamashiro, & Lee, 2000).
    Structured assignments including clear instructions and role assignments maximize the benefits of collaborative work and influence learning outcomes(Clark and Mayer, 2008).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 14. Design Considerations
    Technology Selection
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Provide clear, unambiguous goals and guidelines for success.
    • 15. Make the process of collaboration an explicit learning goal.
    • 16. Use complex, inquiry or problem-based activities to promote interdependence.
    • 17. Carefully structure activities to facilitate the collaborative process and keep learners moving productively toward a successful outcome.
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 18. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    When given a choice, students are likely to team with friends from similar backgrounds (Roberts & McInnerney, 2007)
    Mixed groups of active and reflective learners engaged in more critical discourse than homogenous groups (Lee, 2008).
    Heterogenous groups of introverted an extroverted learners exhibited higher conflict and lower task sharing than homogenous groups, with no notable difference in team performance (Hsu, Chou, Hwang & Chou, 2008).
    Diversity within teams creates a tension that can either support or inhibit the collaborative process (Posey, 2007).
    Small teams of 3-5 students are more cohesive and most productive (Williams, Duray & Reddy, 2006; Colwell & Jenks, 2004; Clark and Mayer, 2008).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 19. Design Considerations
    Technology Selection
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Promote natural heterogeneity, motivation, and cohesion within groups by allowing choice of topics or projects, rather than choice of teammates.
    • 20. Encourage learners to become aware of, and reflect on, the personality and/or learning style make-up of group members and its influence on group process.
    • 21. Use small group sizes (3-4 students per group).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 22. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    Regular interaction among team members contributes to trust, community building and team performance (Bulu & Yildirim, 2008, Orvis & Lassiter, 2007; Thomas & MacGregor, 2005).
    Diversity of both personality and abilities can have a positive impact on group creativity and judgment; personality differences can cause conflict and cohesion problems (Levi, 2001).
    Perceived inequities in ability and level of trust negatively impacts trust and team cohesion (Posey, 2007; Cawthon & Harris, 2007); can be overcome when teams share a mutual definition of collaboration and common sense of purpose (Havard et al, 2008).
    Providing team members with pre-defined, functional roles can contribute to individual accountability and positive interdependence within collaborative teams (Kirschner et al., 2004).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 23. Design Considerations
    Technology Selection
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Build time and a process for team socialization into the collaborative activity.
    • 24. Provide education and guidance related to team process and role development.
    • 25. Emphasize the importance of frequent, regular interaction among team members.
    • 26. Specify a process for mediation and resolution of interpersonal/teamwork problems (e.g., personality conflicts, lack of participation).
    • 27. Require evidence of participation and specify consequences for non-participation.
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 28. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    Instructors can play an important role in moving students beyond socialization and resource sharing by facilitating critical discourse, co-construction of meaning, and ill-structured problem solving (Murphy, 2004; Littleton and Whitelock, 2005, Ge and Land, 2004).
    New online learners may need guidance in the development of group process skills (Resta & Lafierriére, 2007, Brooke 2007); and using communication technologies effectively (Bulu & Yildirim, 2008).
    Up front observation of effective communication skills and examples of effective collaboration can improve OCL outcomes (Cawthon & Harris, 2007; Rummel & Spada 2005).
    Structured technology-based systems that making the process of collaboration explicit can improve collaboration (Lee & Kim, 2005; Kirschner et al, 2004).
    Requiring students to categorize their posts did not impact knowledge gains and reduced the number of challenges to arguments (Jeong & Juong, 2007).
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 29. Design Considerations
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    Technology Selection
    • Understand the collaborative process and make it explicit to students.
    • 30. Provide teams with a structured set of prompts and questions designed to stimulate elaboration and critical thinking and guide collaborative problem-solving.
    • 31. Provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice collaboration in advance of more formal OCL.
    • 32. Be a guide on the side; monitor team processes and intercede only when input is needed to help move students toward deeper levels of collaboration.
    • 33. Integrate structured checkpoints and feedback into the OCL process.
    • 34. Be an advocate for collaboration; emphasize its educational benefits.
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 35. Design Considerations
    KEY FINDINGS
    Technology Selection
    Requiring students to submit their contributions for individual evaluation promoted greater levels of participation.(Macdonald, 2003) .
    “Collaborative assignments should be assessed collaboratively” integrating self, peer and instructor evaluations (Palloff, Pratt & Palloff , 2007).
    Peer grading can help to motivate all participants to complete their share of the work; students need guidance in providing appropriate, valuable feedback (Colwell & Jenks, 2004).
    Collaborative exams can increase interaction among students and positively impact perceived learning (Shen, Hiltz & Bieber, 2006)
    Formative assessment of collaboration in the form of group portfolios can support student reflection and improve learning outcomes (Van Aalst & Chan, 2007)
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 36. Design Considerations
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    Technology Selection
    Use formative assessment to reveal opportunities for facilitation and scaffolding.
    Take a 360 degree approach to collaborative learning assessment, integrating individual, peer and instructor evaluations.
    Consider using collaborative assessments as a teaching and learning activity, rather than just for evaluation.
    Use tiered rubrics to guide and measure student achievement of expectations.
    Activity
    Design
    Group
    Formation
    Team
    Building
    Scaffolding & Facilitation
    Learner Assessment
  • 37. Closing thoughts…
    Research is limited, varied and evolving.
    Recommendations are not rules…consider your unique educational goals and context, and evolve your own approaches through experience and reflective practice.
    Questions?
  • 38. References
    Alfonseca, E., Carro, R. M., Martín, E., Ortigosa, A. & Paredes, P. (2006). The impact of learning styles on student grouping for collaborative learning: A case study. User Modeling and User - Adapted Interaction, 16(3-4), 377.
    Archer, W., Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T. & Rourke, L. (2001). A framework for analyzing critical thinking in computer conferences. Paper presented at EURO-CSCL 2001, Maastricht, Netherlands.
    Ashcraft & Treadwell (2007). The Social Psychology of Online Collaborative Learning: The Good, the Bad, and the Awkward. In K. L. Orvis, & A. L. R. Lassiter (Eds.), Computer-supported collaborative learning: Best practices and principles for instructors (pp. 141-161). Hershey, PA: IGI.
    Brooke, S. L. (2007). The case method and collaborative learning. In K. L. Orvis, & A. L. R. Lassiter (Eds.), Computer-supported collaborative learning: Best practices and principles for instructors (pp. 66-88). Hershey, PA: IGI.
    Bulu, S. T. & Yildirim, Z. (2008). Communication behaviors and trust in collaborative online teams. Educational Technology & Society, 11(1), 132-147.
    Cawthon, S. W. & Harris, A. L. (2007). Developing a community of practice in an online research lab. In K. L. Orvis, & A. L. R. Lassiter (Eds.), Computer-supported collaborative learning: Best practices and principles for instructors (pp. 41-65). Hershey, PA: IGI.
    Clark, R. C. & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
    Colwell, J. L. & Jenks, C. F. (2004). Using peer evaluations and teams in online classes.
  • 39. References
    Cox, B. & Cox, B. (2008). Developing interpersonal and group dynamics through asynchronous threaded discussions: The use of discussion board in collaborative learning. Education, 128(4), 553.
    De Laat, M. & Lally, V. (2004). It's not so easy: Researching the complexity of emergent participant roles and awareness in asynchronous networked learning discussions. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(3), 165-171.
    Gardner, D. B. (1998). Effects of conflict types and power use among health professionals in interdisciplinary team collaboration. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, George Mason University.
    Gardner, D. B. (2005). Ten lessons in collaboration. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 10(1). Retrieved July 10, 2005, from http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin/topic26/ tpc26_1.htm.
    Garrison, D. R. (2003). Cognitive presence for effective asynchronous online learning: The role of reflective inquiry, self-direction and metacognition. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of quality in online education: Practice and direction (pp. 47-58), Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium.
    Ge, X. & Land, S. M. (2004). A conceptual framework for scaffolding ill-structured problem-solving processes using question prompts and peer interactions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(2), 5-22.
    Ge, X., Yamashiro, K. A., & Lee, J. (2000). Pre-class planning to scaffold students for online collaborative learning activities. Educational Technology & Society 3(3). Retrieved September 16, 2006, from http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_3_2000/b02 .html
  • 40. References
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    Jeong, A. & Joung, S. (2007). Scaffolding collaborative argumentation in asynchronous discussions with message constraints and message labels. Computers and Education, 48(3), 427-445.
    Jeong, A. & Lee, J. (2008). The effects of active versus reflective learning style on the processes of critical discourse in computer-supported collaborative argumentation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(4), 651-665.
  • 41. References
    Heinemann, G. D. & Zeiss, A. M. (Eds.). (2002). Team performance in health care: Assessment and development. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
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    Koschmann, T. (2002). Dewey’s contribution to the foundations of CSCL research. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Computer support for collaborative learning: Foundations for a CSCL community. proceedings of CSCL 2002 (pp. 17-22). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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    Mandle, H. & Kraus, U. (2003). Learning competence for the knowledge society. In N. Nistor, S. English, S. Wheeler & M. Jalabeanu (Eds.), Toward the virtual university: International online perspectives (pp. 65-86). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
  • 42. References
    Meyer, K. A. (2003). Face-to-face versus threaded discussions: The role of time and higher-order thinking. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(3), 55-65. Retrieved July 20, 2005, from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v7n3/pdf/v7n3_meyer.pdf
    Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning to think like an adult: Core concepts of transformation theory. Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress (pp. 3-34). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
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