Online Collaborative Learning in Pre-Service Teacher Education: A Literature Review

Online Collaborative Learning in Pre-Service Teacher Education: A Literature Review

Elif Nagihan Gokbel (Coastal Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0119-1.ch016

Abstract

Technology-enhanced collaborative learning has become attractive in higher education. Teacher education programs have made extensive efforts for meaningful use of online technologies for collaboration and communication. This review aims to synthesize a comprehensive literature review on PSTs' collaborative learning with online tools. First, the review revealed that the number of articles published has increased especially in the last five years with contributions from researchers around the world. Second, there were three types of online technologies used mainly for collaboration in PST education: Asynchronous, synchronous, and social media tools. Third, online tools for collaboration were reported as mainly beneficial in PSTs' education contexts. Forth, while there are notable exceptions, challenges to integrate online collaboration tools in PSTs' education programs were scant. Finally, there were various instructional practices where educators integrated online collaborative tools for learning. Future research directions are elaborated.
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Introduction

In the last two decades, the use of the technology to support learning in higher education has increased worldwide. This growth enabled new forms of technology-enhanced communication and collaboration for learning. There are many emerging online tools for collaboration, and they can notably vary from each other. Emails, blogs/microblogs, wiki, discussion boards, voice over internet protocol, web conferencing systems, real-time collaborative editing, shared spaces, text messaging, instant messages or chats are examples of online means that support collaborative learning.

Technology-enhanced collaboration in higher education settings has attracted a rapidly increasing number of research studies investigating various aspects of learning from theoretically diverse perspectives (Resta & Laferriere, 2007). To date, there are also a number of studies examining the effectiveness of instructional technologies in teacher education programs and how students learn to use such technologies. However, there is no consolidated picture on how online collaboration occurs in preservice teachers’ (PSTs) education and what online tools are used for professional development. Also, research on technologies in teacher education has mostly investigated student learning about technologies rather than learning with them (Baran, 2014). This review aims to synthesize a comprehensive literature review on PSTs’ collaborative learning with online technologies. There are previous literature reviews researching web 2.0 technologies in higher education (Conole & Alevizou, 2010); mobile technologies in pre-service and in-service teachers’ development (Baran, 2014); and internet-based technologies for collaborative learning in higher education (Resta & Laferriere, 2007). However, there is no recent systematic research has been conducted on online collaboration tools and implementation strategies of those tools to promote learning and student engagement in pre-service teacher education programs. Comprehensive description and evaluation of tools and strategies is a necessary step, then, to guide researchers, administrators, and educators.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Asynchronous Collaboration: A type of collaboration in which the exchange of ideas/knowledge and interaction among users occur as schedules permit rather than connecting both the sender and receiver in real time.

Web 2 Technologies: A collective term used to describe a variety of web-based technologies for creating/sharing information, communication, and collaboration.

Active Learning: An instructional method that enabling students take active roles in the learning process.

Online collaboration: A technology-enhanced activity that allows a group of learners to work together to achieve a shared learning goal.

Social Networking: A practice of establishing online communities by making connections through social media sites.

Collaborative Learning: An educational strategy that involves groups of learners working together to create a product, complete a task, or solve a problem.

Synchronous Collaboration: A type of collaboration in which the exchange of ideas/knowledge and interaction among users occur in real time.

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