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Articulating collaboration in a learning community

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A common computer-based collaborative learning approach is to simply introduce contemporary computermediated communication technology into the classroom to support prescribed learning activities. This approach assumes that all students collaborate in similar ways and that presentday technology is sufficient to accommodate all collaboration forms. This view is superficial and limiting. Students collaborate in different ways at different levels on different learning activities. A more detailed articulation of collaboration in learning is crucial to understanding and extending the pedagogical capabilities and usefulness of collaborative technologies. A model is presented for a more finely articulated form of analysis that enumerates types of collaborative learning activities and evaluates how these activities may be supported through different design options. The analysis is based on actual classroom scenarios and the collaboration requirements that emerge from them. The authors have successfully applied this analysis model in the design of a computer-based collaborative learning environment for science education.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Information Sciences and Engineering, Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA 2: Computer Science Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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