A Framework for Collaborative and Convenient Learning on Cloud Computing Platforms

A Framework for Collaborative and Convenient Learning on Cloud Computing Platforms

Deepika Sharma (Jagannath University, Jaipur, India) and Vikas Kumar (School of Business Studies, Sharda University, Greater Noida, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2017040101
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The depth of learning resides in collaborative work with more engagement and fun. Technology can enhance collaboration with a higher level of convenience and cloud computing can facilitate this in a cost effective and scalable manner. However, to deploy a successful online learning environment, elementary components of learning pedagogy must be embedded in the technology framework. A cloud computing technology based learning platform built on the proven learning pedagogies will be most successful attempt to facilitate collaborative and convenient learning. Such platform will support the learners to connect and coordinate the online resources in a more efficient, effective and practical way. This paper proposes a new theoretical framework for collaborative and convenient learning on cloud computing technology by reviewing various learning theories and integrating them with the technology framework. Architectural details of the framework have been presented with suitable examples for a better understanding. The work has a lot of significance for deploying cloud computing based collaborative learning solutions in the educational institutions.
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Group-learning gives opportunities for participation and interaction to the students as well as teachers in a social learning environment (Brindley et al., 2009). It helps the students to work and learn in collaboration, develop critical thinking skills, self –reflection, and co-construction of knowledge. Collaborative learning is carried in small group, focus on learning process, and monitor the individual progress with their learning outcomes (Huang et al., 2013). Pfahl et al. (2004) indicated that collaborative learning improves the learning effectiveness. The learning content, learning methodology, facilities for collaboration and communication among learners, and technical infrastructure are elements of collaborative learning processes in e-learning environment (Helic, 2006). Integration of technology in learning opens up new opportunities that improve teaching and learning (OECD, 2010; Oliver, 2002). According to Moore & Kearsley (1996), technology provides new exciting roads in which teacher can freely put the information and communicate with the learner community. Technology is more successful in education, when it provides convenience in learning to the learners. The learning platform based on technology delivers flexibility in learning that assists in independent learning of students along with motivating them for learning(Moore & Kearsley, 2011; Brindley et al., 2009). In virtual learning platform, students find convenience of working and learning at their own pace (Raghupathi, 2013). The virtual learning platform provides the collaborative learning beyond the classroom boundaries (Groff, 2013) and allows the students to learn at any time, any place, using any path and with any pace.

Collaborative learning empowers students and teachers, who are physically isolated from each other through online chats, discussion or face to face lectures (Kumar & Sharma,2016). According to the Hernandez et al. (2005), the computer supported collaborative activities offers functionalities desired by the teachers, student and pedagogy experts that can participate in collaborative learning process. Computer supported collaborative platform delivers the self-regulated learning capabilities. In self-regulated learning, individuals can freely choose their goals and develop own strategies for monitoring, regulating, and controlling various aspects that influence learning process and evaluating or analyzing their actions (Azevedo et al., 2010). According to Azevedo (2005), self-regulated learning tools promote the individual motivation, interaction and social elements in learning. This self-regulated collaborative activities made in online platform is referred as virtual collaborative learning. The virtual collaborative learning assists in deep learning, where learner can apply knowledge, analyze and synthesize knowledge and evaluate information (Chapman et al., 2005). Students can view participation as a component for their progress in virtual learning environment (Harasim et al., 1998). Each student can contribute their part of knowledge in the group, hence the virtual collaborative environment engages and motivates the students to contribute and participate during the learning. According to Anderson et al. (2000), the impact of social values and learning environment affects the individual motivation.

Collaborative learning is achieved by forming learning group setting, learning objectives by communication, cooperation and collaborative knowledge (Huang & Liu, 2014).

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