Area / Task Research on Education and Training
Contract Number ERBSOE2CT972017
Title (Computer-Supported) Collaborative Learning Networks
Clusters Innovation in Education and Training via technology
Keywords best practice, education, ICTs, case studies, teachers, secondary schools, primary schools, action research, collaborative learning, collaborative learning networks, learning methods, communication protocols, motivation, cognitive studies
Description The central objective of this project is to investigate the cognitive and didactical aspects of computer-supported Collaborative Learning Networks (CLNs). CLNs are learning environments in which educational technology is used to help create a community of learners who build knowledge together. CLNs are the learning contexts in which equipment, information networks, but also teachers, learners and learning methods are included. The central question of the project is: How can effective knowledge building in CLNs be supported in European primary and secondary education? The project will study the educational use of different kinds of CLNs which support individual and collaborative learning from a cognitive point of view. Brief Description of the research project The research is characterized as ecologically valid action research. Action research is an approach to research in which teachers and students in their everyday context play an important role. Researchers "act as participants" in the schools while collecting data. Teachers and students become researchers and research-assistants instead of subjects of research in the traditional sense. Three kinds of methods will be used. Protocols of communications between students and between students and teachers will be analysed in terms of the number and kinds of communications taking place. Moreover, qualitative aspects will be studied (what kind of inputs are students giving; which thinking types are used; how relevant are communications; how much knowledge building is taking place). Case studies and small-scale, informal comparative experiments (action research) will help to identify best practices. By looking at the protocols longitudinally, developments in communication and learning patterns over time will be studied. An analytical approach will be used to obtain information on the advantageous long term effects of CLNs and to determine optimal balances between self-regulation and teacher-/ technology control. Tests that measure the cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational effects of CLN's will be used. Small questionnaires and interviews with teachers and students will be used to find out which tools, support structures and manuals function the best and what changes are needed in the materials developed. At some sites future challenges will be explored to allow collaborative learning with mixed topics and study areas, using different types of scenarios.
Coordinator Prof. Robert-Jan SIMONS
Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen
Department of Educational Sciences - Faculty of Social Sciences
NIJMEGEN6500 HEThe Netherlands
Tel. +31-24-361-25-14
Fax. +31-24-361-59-78R.

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