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Collaborative trails and group profiling within an e-Learning environment

Keenoy, K., Levene, M., de Freitas, S., Montagne, L., Emans, B., Schooneveldt, J., Pernin, J-P, Eyssautier, C., Jones, A., Brasher, A., Waycott, J., Turcsányi -Szabó, M. and Bodnar, E (2004) Collaborative trails and group profiling within an e-Learning environment. EU Kaleidoscope Trails Deliverable 22.4.2

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In recent years in the field of education there has been much attention given to work around Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). The basic idea is that learners profit from working together and learning together, as this invokes a deeper learning, and computers and the Internet provide just the tools needed for communication and collaboration to enable this kind of learning.

The idea of collaborative trails was introduced in Kaleidoscope deliverable D22.2.1 (Schoonenboom et al., 2004), an earlier deliverable from the TRAILS project. This deliverable seeks to explore further the different forms that collaborative trails can take, how such trails can be usefully analysed, and how systems can support learners in creating and reflecting on the trails they take. It should be noted that not all collaborative trails come from collaborative learning – collaborative trails can emerge from a collection of individual paths through learning materials of learners who never meet or communicate with one another at all. The focus in this deliverable, however, is mainly on the trails created by learners when they work together on some common learning goal, in a CSCL context.

The document is structured as follows: Section 2 gives a brief overview of the theoretical background to the development of CSCL, looking at constructivism, cooperation and collaboration. Section 3 looks at ways in which these theories can be put into practice in a computer supported environment. Three pedagogical models for achieving this are considered, and the section concludes with an assessment of how trails can be supported in such scenarios. Section 4 then moves on to look in more detail at the design of environments to support CSCL and at the techniques of collaborative filtering and conversational analysis that can be used to recommend items to learners and to help reflection on collaborative activity respectively. Section 5 reports on some of the existing research systems and state-of-the-art collaborative learning systems currently available, and categorises them into a taxonomy proposed by Jermann et al. (Jermann, Soller and Muehlenbrock, 2001), and concludes with a look at some of the main ongoing research issues in collaborative learning. Section 6 considers the new dimension added to collaboration via technology when the technology is mobile, and considers the occurrence of collaborative trails in mobile learning. Section 7 takes a look at how much support for collaboration is provided by current commercial e-learning systems, and we conclude in Section 8 by describing some learning scenarios that show where we think support for collaborative trails may be going in the next few years – they are futuristic, but quite possible with the technologies being currently developed.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: EU Kaleidoscope Trails Deliverable 22.4.2
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