Proposal Title

Collaborative and Project Based Learning: Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges in Online Learning

Session Type

Interactive Presentation

Session Location

University Hall, ADP Center 1120

Start Date

30-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

30-5-2019 11:45 AM

Key Terms

high impact practice, online learning, collaboration tools

Brief Abstract

Helping students apply what is learned in coursework to real-world situations is something educators and instructional designers strive for yet many online courses rely on discussion, videotaped lectures and quick knowledge checks and quizzes as their primary approach.

In this presentation, we will explore how educators and instructional designers can use collaborative and project-based learning approaches in online contexts and how to adapt or overcome some of the challenges associated with these approaches in an online learning environment.

Participants will come away with specific strategies and tips on creating an effective collaborative and project-based learning approaches in the online learning context.

Proposal

The benefits of collaborative and contextualized learning are strongly supported by learning theories such as constructivism, social learning models and experiential learning.

However vital we might think these approaches are, in the online learning context they are often perceived as too difficult to achieve and therefore scrapped altogether, despite their value of this approach to learning. Students and instructors often cite negative outcomes such as feelings of isolation, team work challenges, self-regulation issues and lack of motivation (Gomez, 2010; Lin, 2016).

In this presentation, presenters will share examples of collaborative, project-based learning in three very different learning contexts including graduate level coursework as well as a MOOC course, including how these were set up and strengths and weaknesses of each. We will synthesize key challenges and share research supported strategies to overcome them. These include issues and questions such as:

  1. Creating a sense of belonging and individual identity. How do individuals in a group project establish a sense of identity while still a sense of connectedness among group members? “The idea of being an individual is an intrinsic part of human nature. We all have the need to feel as if we belong even as we have a need to be unique” (Leonard A. Annetta, 2010, p. 106)

  2. Self-regulation and group awareness. Just bringing students together does not ensure productive learning. Strategies that promote (or at least make students aware of) the important self-regulation and group awareness, can positively influence group dynamics (Lin, J, 2010, Bodemer & Dehler, 2011).

  3. Providing spaces and tools to work collaboratively. What types of tools, and specifically what features (or ‘affordances’) of these tools, support the visualization and iteration of collaborative work (e.g. write, brainstorm, ideate, and provide feedback on early drafts and representations of ideas)? What types of activities support divergent and convergent thinking (e.g. ideation activities, affinity diagrams, collaborative authoring)?

  1. Maintaining engagement, motivation and volition. While project based learning can initially spark a great deal of enthusiasm, it is harder to sustain that engagement over time, especially in an online context where it may be more difficult to detect and respond to frustration, concerns or communication issues within the project. What are techniques and strategies to keep people on track and engaged and working productively over time?

Each of the questions above will be answered through discussion with audience about their experiences and ideas as well as a set of evidence-based strategies that emerge from the literature. The presenters will also demo a few communication and collaboration tools that have potential to be useful with these approaches.

Participation and engagement

To engage the audience, the presenters will use a variety of techniques including

  • Asking audience to share their experiences and questions

  • Using a storytelling approach including how the presenters experienced each of the cases they are presenting- what they encountered and what they perceived as the primary strengths and weaknesses of each. Visuals and interactives will supplement these cases.

  • Using ‘how might we.. ‘ questions to frame a design challenge, presenters will group audience and emulate a mini-project based learning activity highlighting a few of the strategies that have been discussed.

References:

Annetta, L (2010). The “I’s” Have It: A Framework for Serious Educational Game Design

Bodemer, D. (2011). Tacit guidance for collaborative multimedia learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1079e1086.

Gomez, A, Wu, Passerini (2010), Computer-supported team-based learning: The impact of motivation, enjoyment and team contributions on learning outcomes, Computers and Education, Volume 55, Issue 1, August 2010, Pages 378-390

Hmelo-Silver, C. E., & O’donnell, A. M. (2014). Introduction: What is collaborative learning. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver et al. (Eds.). The International Handbook of Collaborative Learning (1st ed., pp. 27-62 ). New York: Routledge.

Lin, J.-W., & Tsai, C.-W. (2016). The impact of an online project-based learning environment with group awareness support on students with different self-regulation levels: An extended-period experiment. Computers & Education, 99, 28–38.

Presenter Website

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VfV1MS3lZsJGMGQZ8zyPSblu7yRgsOqfIpD9JXVxyNo/edit?usp=sharing

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May 30th, 11:00 AM May 30th, 11:45 AM

Collaborative and Project Based Learning: Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges in Online Learning

University Hall, ADP Center 1120

The benefits of collaborative and contextualized learning are strongly supported by learning theories such as constructivism, social learning models and experiential learning.

However vital we might think these approaches are, in the online learning context they are often perceived as too difficult to achieve and therefore scrapped altogether, despite their value of this approach to learning. Students and instructors often cite negative outcomes such as feelings of isolation, team work challenges, self-regulation issues and lack of motivation (Gomez, 2010; Lin, 2016).

In this presentation, presenters will share examples of collaborative, project-based learning in three very different learning contexts including graduate level coursework as well as a MOOC course, including how these were set up and strengths and weaknesses of each. We will synthesize key challenges and share research supported strategies to overcome them. These include issues and questions such as:

  1. Creating a sense of belonging and individual identity. How do individuals in a group project establish a sense of identity while still a sense of connectedness among group members? “The idea of being an individual is an intrinsic part of human nature. We all have the need to feel as if we belong even as we have a need to be unique” (Leonard A. Annetta, 2010, p. 106)

  2. Self-regulation and group awareness. Just bringing students together does not ensure productive learning. Strategies that promote (or at least make students aware of) the important self-regulation and group awareness, can positively influence group dynamics (Lin, J, 2010, Bodemer & Dehler, 2011).

  3. Providing spaces and tools to work collaboratively. What types of tools, and specifically what features (or ‘affordances’) of these tools, support the visualization and iteration of collaborative work (e.g. write, brainstorm, ideate, and provide feedback on early drafts and representations of ideas)? What types of activities support divergent and convergent thinking (e.g. ideation activities, affinity diagrams, collaborative authoring)?

  1. Maintaining engagement, motivation and volition. While project based learning can initially spark a great deal of enthusiasm, it is harder to sustain that engagement over time, especially in an online context where it may be more difficult to detect and respond to frustration, concerns or communication issues within the project. What are techniques and strategies to keep people on track and engaged and working productively over time?

Each of the questions above will be answered through discussion with audience about their experiences and ideas as well as a set of evidence-based strategies that emerge from the literature. The presenters will also demo a few communication and collaboration tools that have potential to be useful with these approaches.

Participation and engagement

To engage the audience, the presenters will use a variety of techniques including

  • Asking audience to share their experiences and questions

  • Using a storytelling approach including how the presenters experienced each of the cases they are presenting- what they encountered and what they perceived as the primary strengths and weaknesses of each. Visuals and interactives will supplement these cases.

  • Using ‘how might we.. ‘ questions to frame a design challenge, presenters will group audience and emulate a mini-project based learning activity highlighting a few of the strategies that have been discussed.

References:

Annetta, L (2010). The “I’s” Have It: A Framework for Serious Educational Game Design

Bodemer, D. (2011). Tacit guidance for collaborative multimedia learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1079e1086.

Gomez, A, Wu, Passerini (2010), Computer-supported team-based learning: The impact of motivation, enjoyment and team contributions on learning outcomes, Computers and Education, Volume 55, Issue 1, August 2010, Pages 378-390

Hmelo-Silver, C. E., & O’donnell, A. M. (2014). Introduction: What is collaborative learning. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver et al. (Eds.). The International Handbook of Collaborative Learning (1st ed., pp. 27-62 ). New York: Routledge.

Lin, J.-W., & Tsai, C.-W. (2016). The impact of an online project-based learning environment with group awareness support on students with different self-regulation levels: An extended-period experiment. Computers & Education, 99, 28–38.

https://digitalcommons.montclair.edu/eldc/2019/Thursday/8