Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning and Assessment: A Strategy for Developing Online Learning Communities in Continuing Education

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning and Assessment: A Strategy for Developing Online Learning Communities in Continuing Education

Joyce W. Gikandi (Mount Kenya University, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0420-8.ch019

Abstract

This chapter focuses on re-interpreting the findings of a recent study based on collaborative learning perspectives. The study utilized a case study design in which two online postgraduate courses were investigated as a collective case study. Online observations, analysis of the archived course content and interview transcripts were used as data collection techniques. The data from multiple sources were triangulated. Qualitative techniques were used in data analysis and descriptive statistics were integrated to extend the meaning of qualitative data. The findings of the study suggest that social interactivity is pivotal to facilitating meaningful learning in formal online education. The findings further illustrate that development of productive communities in continuing (in-service) education is a gradual process that evolves through four stages starting from community of interest to community of practice.
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Introduction

Online and blended learning have become common place in 21st century higher education. In reviewing related literature, Gikandi (2012) indentified that computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) continues to be recognized as an important pedagogical approach in formal education. In particular, CSCL has been identified as one approach that can promote flexible thinking and learning skills, which are important in supporting learners to engage in higher-order learning and robust knowledge building (Hämäläinen & Häkkinen, 2010; Mukama, 2010; Wegerif, 2006). In the light of this, the purpose of this chapter is to re-interpret the revisited study with the aim to draw some insights that can inform online pedagogical strategies, especially in the context of continuing education. In the following sub-section, a brief review of the literature on CSCL is provided in order to highlight its key role in higher education.

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