Thesis Outline Expanded
Information technology and social networks are transforming practically all the aspects of the world we live in including interactive design and education. As Edwin Schlossberg, author of Interactive Excellence: Defining and Developing New Standards for the Twenty-first Century, said, “True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it’s about encouraging communication” (Schlossberg 1998). We live in an era of communication; thanks to the boom of social media and the advancements of technology learning has moved from the classroom to an online environment.
An online learning environment allows learners to get an education that work with their busy schedules. Online learning allows learners to connect from any place in the world and learn something new. But are online learners taking advantages of the full learning experience? Has the transition from the classroom into online environment effectively replicate all the important aspects of learning?
A proven beneficial aspect of the learning process is the ability to learn from your peers without the pressures of a teacher-student interaction. 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).
- Thesis statement/Abstract:
Traditional online learning environments grew out of administrative management of courses and, thus, leave much to be desired in skills-based learning. However, by designing invisible interfaces to re-frame the environments around learning by doing, they can be just as effective as traditional on-ground learning experiences.
On-ground experience offer multiple aids for students when dealing with skills-based learning. Face-to-face collaborative learning revealed numerous benefits: better performance, better motivation, higher test scores and level of achievement, development of high level thinking skills, higher student satisfaction etc. (Johnson et al., 1981;Dansereau, 1983; Slavin, 1987; Sharan, 1990). More recent research on computer supported collaborative learning has confirmed these benefits and has shown that they can be enhanced even further through adequate technological support (e.g. Alavi, 1994; Hiltz, 1995; Huynh,1999). By designing invisible interfaces, as a user interface compatible with the cognitive process involved in learning by doing, web mediated collaborative learning environments can be just as effective as traditional on-ground learning experiences.
Invisible interfaces help students focus on what is really important to them by minimizing the cognitive distance between the task goal and the human actions needed to accomplish this task.
- Problem: Effectively creating peer-to-peer learning in an online environment.
Steward Ehly in his book Peer-Assisted Leaning defines peer-to-peer learning as “the acquisition of knowledge and skill through active helping and supporting among status equals or matched companions” (Ehly, 1). If we analyze this definition in an online education environment we could see that the current tools available do not allow this acquisition of knowledge to occur since it will need at least two parties to active participate through the whole process. Current online education environments offer discussions boards, forums and blogs among other tools of one way communication. For example: when an online student creates a post in a discussion post there is not immediate interaction; the interaction is created when another student post a response.
But as current peer-to-peer learning application show this acquisition of knowledge can occur without a ‘real’ peer in the other side. Computer based learning application are revolutionizing the education world.
- Characteristic of effective peer-to-peer learning in conventional environments
- Problems of current online implementations
There are several peer-to-peer learning systems out there. KHAN Academy is a well know example of the peer-to-peer systems that exist. But in why way my approach is different interface and reaction. I personally tried one of the exercises and was stuck for a long time without being able to get out of the system or get hints until the view solution button appeared. Systems like Code Academy are a little more advance. In Code Academy the feedback is a little better, but its missing that hand holding value. The characteristics that Murray’s describe can be implemented in invisible interfaces to create effective peer-to-peer learning.
- Why peer-to-peer learning works
In the case of peer tutoring, a recent review identified 28 previous reviews and meta-analyses of evaluation research (Topping, 1992). Sharpley and Sharpley (1981) and Cohen, Kulik, and Kulik (1982) found strong evidence of cognitive gains for tutees and tutors and some evidence for improved attitudes and self-image (which are, of course, more difficult to measure). They also found that training improved outcomes, structured procedures improved outcomes, and that same-age tutoring was as effective as cross-age tutoring. (Ehly, 3).
- Murrad & Leppard’s theories on peer-to-peer learning
A cognitive apprenticeship supports learning in a domain by enabling students to acquire, develop, and use cognitive tools in an authentic activity. Cognitive apprenticeship methods try to enculturate students into authentic practices through activity and social interaction in a way similar to craft apprenticeship.
Similar to a traditional apprenticeship, a learner works under a teacher who models the behavior in a real-world context as well as explains the thought processes and actions behind those behaviors. As the cognitive apprentice listens, observes, and models those same behaviors, he or she identifies the relevant behaviors and develops a conceptual model of the processes involved. The apprentice is then given an opportunity to rehearse those behaviors and obtain feedback from the teacher, who provides coaching, tips, and pointers. The idea is that the apprentice learns to solve problems in the context that produced them. (Murrad, 33).
- Lepper Instructional Design Theories
Mark Lepper, a researcher from Stanford University, proposed a series of design principles for promoting intrinsic motivation in instructional activities to avoid having to rely on extrinsic motivational techniques. Lepper lists four principles:
- Control - Provide learners with a sense of control over the learning activity
- Challenge – Create an activity that is continually challenging to learners.
- Curiosity: Appeal to the learners’ sense of curiosity.
- Contextualization: Use an authentic context and environment to stress the utilitarianism of the learning.
- Johnson & Johnson’s approach to peer-to-peer online-learning
- Advantages of combining Murrad and Johnson’s approaches.
- Approachable and have insights into learning difficulties.
- Master of the subject may have difficulties seeing the novices’s obstacles.
- They call for independent preparation and critical thinking.
- Immediate feedback
- Definition of peer-to-peer learning
- Describe how peer-to-peer learning works
History of peer-to-peer learning
Project description (details)
- Encourage Participation
- Maintaining Social Grounding
- Support Active Learning Conversation
- Support Promotive Interaction
Reception of your project