An Evaluation of Low Versus High-Collaboration in Online Learning

David Wicks, Baine B. Craft, Donghun (Don) Lee, Andrew Lumpe, Robin Henrikson, Nalline Baliram, Xu Bian, Stacy Mehlberg, Katy Wicks


Researchers in a recent study found that online students’ ability to self-regulate led to more focused attention and time on task, and in turn, these skills could lead to better learning. Given the need for more theoretical work in this area, as well as the potential practical benefits from the use of these pedagogical strategies, we sought to compare differences between high- versus low-collaboration teams in an online assignment to determine if higher levels of student-to-student collaboration led to higher levels of self-regulation or learning presence (forethought and planning, monitoring, strategy use, and reflection). Specifically, we explored how the use of high-collaboration technologies, such as Google Docs and Google Hangouts, impacted the level of learning presence students demonstrated while participating in a small group project. The low-collaboration group made minimal use of an asynchronous discussion forum for collaboration. Differences in collaboration were measured using student grades, peer evaluations, pre- and posttests, and community of inquiry surveys. In addition, quantitative content analysis and social network analysis were used to assess collaboration by examining learning presence in the two groups.


Online Learning, Community of Inquiry, Learning Presence, Collaborative Learning, Self-regulated Learning

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