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Online collaborative learning by James Samson and Svetlana Lupasco

Page history last edited by Svetlana 6 years, 2 months ago

EDUC 70050

James Samson & Svetlana Lupasco


Online collaborative learning:

teacher’s role and instructional supports


1.           Introduction


          With the advances in technology and Social Media, the field of distance education undergoes a paradigmatic shift from the independent learning model (Moore, 1989; Wedemeyer, 1971 in Ke & Carr-Chellman, 2006), in which learners mainly interacted with the content and the instructor, towards social-constructivist and collaborative models, in which learner to learner interaction (Moore, 1989 in So and Brush, 2008) becomes the key to acquiring higher order thinking and learning skills (Zhu, 2012). It has been widely accepted that students learn best when they collaborate with others (Cole, 1996; Johnson & Johnson, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978 in Ke & Carr-Chellman, 2006) and that through social interactions student develop effective cognitive learning strategies (Zhu, 2012; So and Brush, 2008). In the online collaborative model of learning, students “are encouraged and supported to work together to create knowledge: to invent, to explore ways to innovate, and, by so doing, to seek the conceptual knowledge needed to solve problems rather than recite what they think is the right answer” (Bates, 2014).


      Consequently, an expanding variety of both asynchronous and synchronous means of communication are being designed to facilitate group interactions in online learning environments. Technologies that support group interaction online offer more than just means to supplement classroom learning; whole new educational environments are developed online (Kiesler, 1992; Witmer, 1998 in Brandon & Hollingshead, 1999). Fostering collaboration among learners in an online environment is regarded as a challenging instructional strategy (Koschmann, Hall, & Miyake, 2002 in So and Brush, 2008) requiring sound pedagogical practices “in order to overcome the psychological gap among distance learners working on collaborative task” (ibid: 320).  In this literature review, we will be exploring the complexity of the teacher’s role in stimulating effective collaboration among distant learners in online collaborative learning environments.


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