Developing problem based learning communities in virtual space

Brodie, Lyn and Gibbings, Peter (2007) Developing problem based learning communities in virtual space. In: ConnectED 2007: International Conference on Design Education, 9-12 July 2007, Sydney, Australia.

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[Abstract]: This paper examines the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) to develop learning communities for students undertaking a Problem Based Learning (PBL) university course. The PBL course is offered to both on-campus and off-campus (distance) students. Students use the LMS platform to undertake team based work, including team meetings, team communications, and electronic submission of team and individual assessments.
Statistics have been collected on students’ usage of the LMS, both within a PBL team and by the student body as a whole. This data is analysed, in conjunction with feedback from students, to demonstrate how new communication technology is being used to create learning ‘communities’ in virtual space.
Distance students were able to form effective teams using only electronic communication methods. Despite never meeting face to face, it was found that distance students felt a great sense of ‘community’, which fostered mentoring and collaborative learning. The LMS provided an online learning environment that encouraged reflective thought and dialogue with others, both of which are critical to transformative learning and social constructivism. Interestingly, the LMS was also increasingly used by the on-campus students for virtual meetings in place of traditional face to face meetings.
This contemporary learning environment, made possible due to the creative use of new technology, compels the learner to become an active participant in the learning process. The focus is as much on the process as it is on the content; essentially the process of learning becomes part of the content that is learned. The process allows students to appreciate the value of participation, trust and mutual respect, and diversity, which are essential for effective functioning of teams in a global market place.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Made live 9/1/2008 when no response recvd to copyright permission inquiry.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2008 23:58
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 05:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: Problem Based Learning, PBL, distance education, virtual teams, learning management systems, learning community, higher education research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation

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