Enabling Idea Generation through
Computer-Assisted Collaborative Learning
Andrei NICULESCU1,2, Gisli THORSTEINSSON3
1 Spiru Haret University,
13 Ion Ghica Street, Bucharest 3, Romania
2 I C I Bucharest
(National Institute for R & D in Informatics)
8-10 Averescu Blvd.
011455 Bucharest 1, Romania
3 University of Iceland,
v/Stakkahlid, 101, Reykjavik, Iceland
Abstract: This article puts forward a three related case study series, using a Virtual Reality Learning Environment (VRLE) with a view to supporting the development of students’ ideation skills in conventional primary and secondary education. Since this learning environment is fairly new it is necessary to examine its educational uses and determine if the new learning environment will meet teachers’ expectations. Therefore, the overall goal for this research was twofold: a) to explore the ways in which idea generation was developed during students’ work in an enjoyable environment b) to assess the way VRLE affects students’ ability to generate new ideas and pass on knowledge. The data collected was qualitative and the analysis was based on grounded theory principles and an interpretive paradigm.
Keywords: Idea generation, collaborative learning, computer-assisted learning, Virtual Reality Learning Environment, pedagogy, ideation process.
CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Andrei NICULESCU, Gisli THORSTEINSSON, Enabling Idea Generation through Computer-Assisted Collaborative Learning, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 20(4), pp. 403-410, 2011.
Computer-Assisted Collaborative Learning (CACL) is commonly described as a situation in which two or more people learn or work together, usually aiming for dissimilar goals (Dillenbourg, 1999; Chiu, 2000). Students involved in Computer-Assisted Collaborative Learning benefit from one another’s resources and skills. This can include assessing each other’s ideas, asking one another for information and observing each other’s work (Chiu, 2000). CACL can, furthermore, be described as computer-based network systems that upkeep group work for a joint purpose and provide a shared interface for a team to work with (Ellis et al., 1991; Stahl et al., 2006).
In CACL, computers are used within an educational setting to facilitate and support collaborative group learning processes. The main purpose is to support students in learning together effectively, for example, communicating ideas, accessing information and providing feedback on problem-solving activities (Stahl et al., 2006).
The paper reports three case study series which took place in several elementary and secondary school classes (six to sixteen-year-old students; various groups of volunteers, from the seventh class onwards, took part in the research). The background of the VRLE is described and the overall aims, objectives and research questions stated. Idea generation is defined and a specific model for idea generation demonstrated. The research methods are explained and findings reported. Subsequently these findings are discussed and conclusions drawn.
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