The concept of collaborative learning, the grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of achieving an academic goal, has been widely researched and advocated throughout the professional literature. The term “collaborative or peer-to-peer learning” refers to an instruction method in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. The students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own. The shared learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers (Totten, Sills, Digby, & Russ, 1991).
According to Vygotsky (1978), students are capable of performing at higher intellectual levels when asked to work in collaborative situations than when asked to work individually. Group diversity in terms of knowledge and experience contributes positively to the learning process. Bruner (1985) contends that cooperative learning methods improve problem-solving strategies because the students are confronted with different interpretations of the given situation. The peer support system makes it possible for the learner to internalize both external knowledge and critical thinking skills and to convert them into tools for intellectual functioning.
The peer-to-peer learning environment provides an interoperable, pervasive, and seamless learning architecture to connect, integrate, and share three major dimensions of learning resources: learning collaborators, learning contents, and learning services (Chang, & Sheu, 2002; Cheng, et. al., 2005; Haruo, et. al., 2003). Peer-to-peer learning is characterized by providing intuitive ways for identifying right collaborators, right contents and right services in the right place at the right time based on learners surrounding context such as where and when the learners are (time and space), what the learning resources and services available for the learners, and who are the learning collaborators that match the learners’ needs (Ogata, & Yano, 2004; Zhang, Jin, & Lin, 2005; Takahata, et. al., 2004). As a result, the effectiveness and efficiency of peer-to-peer learning heavily relies on the surrounding context of learners.
On an online environment the human factor is different that in an in person interaction. In order to create efficient online peer-to-peer learning application Johnson & Johnson proposed the following six steps: Encourage Participation, Maintaining Social Grounding, Support Active, Learning Conversation, Support Promotive Interaction. Now that we got the roadmap to online peer-to-peer learning application we need to find a suitable fit for this application.
Invisible interfaces are a powerful tool for observational learning because the interface appears only when needed reducing the cognitive load, reducing the investment required to learn the application, and making it easier for the user to focus on the task at hand. In this thesis, I will create a tutorial like peer-to-peer application with an invisible interface following Mark Lepper’s instructional design principles for intrinsic motivation and Johnson & Johnson concepts for developing effective peer-to-peer applications.
- Build collaborative knowing knowledge building or knowledge creation.
- Learners need to be able to think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions as a team.
- Strijbos, Kirschner and Martens illustrate that multiple collaborative environments exist and learning, interaction, support and technology should be aligned: they shape – to a varying extent
- Each CSCL environment requires a specific set of tools and pedagogy
- Typical learning services for collaboration in virtual learning communities are content, access of certain learning subjects; making studying notes and annotation on learning subjects; group discussion, brainstorming for knowledge creation and sharing.
- The Collaborative Learning Model identifies the characteristics exhibited by effective learning teams, namely participation, social grounding, performance analysis and group processing,application of active learning conversation skills, and promotive interaction. This model provides Intelligent Collaborative Learning System developers with a framework and set of recommendations for helping groups acquire effective collaborative learning skills.
Disadvantages of P2P Learning in Online Learning Environments
- Lack of immediate feedback.
- Collaboration tends to reduce the flexibility of distance education (Kreijns, 2004).
- During collaboration coordination conflicts are more likely to occur in asynchronous CMC settings compared to face-to-face settings (Benbunan-Fich & Hiltz, 1999).
- For any collaboration to develop it is essential that students feel the need to engage in sustained interaction (which implies that they respond to messages by other students in an asynchronous communication format) before we can even expect that the students engage in an effective knowledge building discourse.
- How to make P2P Learning effective in Online Learning Environments: Encourage Participation, Maintaining Social Grounding, Support Active Learning Conversation, Support Promotive Interaction
Definition of Terms
- Peer-to-Peer Learning or Collaborative Learning or ubiquitous Learning:
- An instruction method in which students work in groups toward a common academic goal.
- Critical-thinking Items:
- Items that involve analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the concepts.
- Drill-and-Practice Items:
- Items that pertain to factual knowledge and comprehension of the concepts.