Collaborative Networked Learning: A Guide/Introduction/Advanced
New Age of pervasive connectivity
A collaborative networked learning environment is one promising response to the learning demands of the new age of pervasive, wireless connectivity. In this new age of connectivity, the human value-added is in the ability to learn quickly and constantly in the face of rapid change.
One might begin the journey by focusing on how to facilitate and support the learning process in an on-line collaborative networked environment. Not only does one need to turn the traditional model of learning upside down to construct a new model of collaboration but also a new model of learning as construction. It is a model of drawing out and drawing together ideas and participants rather than a model of memory and recall of existing accepted knowledge to fill in the tabla rasa.
The key characteristics of communication go beyond simple data and information transmission to the symbolic communication necessary for value-added learning to occur in today's workplace and other physical and virtual learning space.
Value-added learning involves both intra-personal and interpersonal communication processes.
Facilitation occurs within the framework of a group communication model. The model and knowledge shared can serve as the basis for developing guidelines for facilitators of collaborative networked learning. It is important to focus on the following summary statements as guidelines: learners form concepts based on perceived similarities and differences among examples, e.g. data and information from the work environment, sufficiently rich data and information is available on-line from co-workers and co-learns and external databases to aid learning and knowledge creation, socio-emotional messages can establish and maintain a context where members trust one another, mutual trust supports learning and encourages the personal risk taking necessary to share ideas, articulate tentative constructs, and test out hypotheses about the world, representational tools and strategies that facilitate intra-personal message formulation need to be available for on-line interpersonal communication in order for the learner to validate personal constructs.
Communication strategies and tools which facilitate interpersonal message sharing need also to create and provide access to a record of group messages, a group database, as an aid to memory and an additional source of examples for other learners from other networks, and communication norms and a messaging structure which elicit and process feedback from participants are necessary to validate learning in the real world.
Performance platforms can be created to support on-line collaborative learning, not as a substitute for effective human communication but as tools to enhance and augment human intelligence in the workplace or adult learning spaces. Learning platforms might be supported through tools in the following categories: personal construct elicitation, personal information management tools such as hyper information and information management with intelligent linkages, and visualization and modeling tools to facilitate externalization of constructs. Features of groupware might be used to support on-line interpersonal communication. The features include: knowledge worker tools which help groups share ideas and compare conceptual linkages, context building features of groupware, sharing feedback and refining ideas such as voting and annotation and simultaneous sending and receiving of feedback, hyper information for group concept formation, and sharing personal constructs with others in a network.
All of these features taken together help us visualize how to support learning in a collaborative networked environment. The knowledge about software support for intra-personal and group learning form the basis for design of present and future electronic learning environments. Together they begin to call attention to design features which could enhance and support learning. In the current age of wireless, pervasive connectivity, we challenge ourselves and our models to support just in time learning anywhere, anytime.
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