Taxonomy of collaborative e-learning
Janet Elizabeth Salmons, Union Institute and University, United States
Union Institute and University . Awarded
The study proposed a Taxonomy of Collaborative E-Learning and refined it based on interviews with research participants. The value of teaching collaboration skills is affirmed by the established theories of collaborative advantage and of discursive collaboration. The theory of collaborative advantage states that positive outcomes can be attained through collaboration that could not be attained by the participants acting independently. The theory of discursive collaboration asserts that conversation and collective identity provide the basis for achieving such outcomes. The study explored patterns of communication and group activity that participants associated with achieving collaborative advantage in the e-learning classroom. Phenomenological research methodology provided a structured approach for inquiry into the perceptions of success factors for collaborative e-learning of a purposeful sample of twelve experienced online educators who teach courses on leadership topics. The Taxonomy of Collaborative E-Learning provided a flexible conceptual framework and visual language. Participants were able to describe the design and outcomes of their teaching methods within the vocabulary it provided. While related work in scholarly literature focuses either on the discipline of education or on that of business, this study generates new insights for theory and practice by exploring the interdisciplinary nexus of those two fields. Substantial refinements to the Taxonomy of Collaborative E-Learning strengthened the taxonomy's relationship to the theoretical foundations, and reflected the experience and analysis of the research participants. The refined version is presented as a set of materials comprising: (1) The Levels of Collaboration; (2) A Typology of Learning Milieux and (3) A Typology of Collaborative E-Learning Assessment. Study results provide both a theoretical framework for future research into collaborative e-learning and a practical model to support teams that learn and work together. While these materials will evolve with future research and development, present versions can introduce educators to collaborative e-learning methods and practices.
Salmons, J.E. Taxonomy of collaborative e-learning. Ph.D. thesis, Union Institute and University.
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