Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
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Circle of learning : individual and group processes / Ernest Chang [and] Don Simpson.
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1 of 21 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 5 Number 7February 25, 1997ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Education Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1997, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.The Circle of Learning: Individual and Group Processes Ernest Chang Axia Multimedia Don Simpson Axia Multimedia CorporationAbstract: We present a paradigm for modeling the processes fo und in individual and group learning. Using combinations of two dimensions, the first bei ng whether the learner's activities are By-Oneself or With-Peers, and the second whether th e process orientation is toward the Person as the focus of the learning or toward the Group as the focus, we derive four quadrants in Activity-Orientation learning space. These four quadrants represent: lectures, individua l learning, concurrent learning, and collaborative learning. From these combinations of Activities versus Orientation, we can describe many characteristics of these different learning categories. Table of Contents Introduction


2 of 21 The Activity-Orientation Paradigm Four Distinct Learning Categories Quadrant A: Traditional Lectures Quadrant B: Self-Study Quadrant C: Concurrent Learning Quadrant D: Collaborative Learning Multi-Dimensional Attributes of the Model The Interpersonal Dimension The Learning Environment Knowledge Content Technology Support for Learning Sociological Dimensions The Circle of Learning Discussion Conclusion References Introduction Traditionally, many educators have considered learn ing to be an individual responsibility, with students accepting the burden of acquiring kno wledge and expertise Recently, the notion of collaborative learning has been strengthened, from a number of sources. These include the push in Kindergarten to Grade 12 and colleges to learn t hrough group projects within a classroom (Felder 1995; Johnson & Johnson 1991), and through communicating with other students across a network, such as KidNet from the National Geograp hic Society, or interactive video (Rettinger 1995; McArthy 1995) in the domain of distance learn ing. Digital communications networks such as the Internet Internet (Vetter 1995; Macedonia 19 94), or the use of Lotus Notes, have become the new medium in which group learning is anticipat ed to take place, and many large businesses have already built internal group learning systems using Lotus Notes. Organizations and businesses have increasingly move d to an understanding that in a continuously changing environment, the "learning or ganization" is the high-performance organization (Gordon 1992; Senge 1992). In a knowle dge economy, the organization which adapts best through new knowledge by effective lear ning (Mumford 1993; Vowles 1993) is the one which will take the lead, and maintain it. It is the purpose of this article to explore a simp le paradigm for individual and collective learning that is inclusive of the many shades of me aning in this domain, and will serve to clarify the relationships between the several inter-related concepts. We will then explore the significance of this paradigm in terms of practical implications for future action. The Activity-Orientation Paradigm This is based on the observation that there are two dimensions along which learning takes place: By-oneself vs With-Peers Learning Activity Person-as-Focus vs Group-as-Focus Proc ess Orientation


3 of 21 When taken together, they form a coordinate system with four quadrants: These quadrants represent different approaches to i ndividual and group learning across a number of dimensions. We will now explore these cha racterizations. The Learning Activity Dimension By-Oneself means that the learning process is one i n which the student acts alone, even if physically he or she is with others. Studying by re ading in one's own room or office is the protoypical example of learning By-Oneself. However in an extended learning-by-being-told situation, such as a lecture, or briefing, the stud ent is, in terms of Activity, still By-Oneself. On the other end of this dimension is learning With -Peers, in which learning activities involve extensive or continuous interaction with ot hers. The typical university seminar, most junior grades in high schools, the study group, the conference call, or the computer-supported conference are examples of learning With-Peers.The Process Orientation Dimension We consider learning as a process within a social c ontext, in which more than one person may be present (by process, we mean a sequence of a ctivities directed towards a specific goal). In this context, the process can be oriented either to wards the Person-as-Focus, or the Group-as-Focus. As this process, by definition, inv olves all participants, the orientation is independent of the perspective of the persons invol ved. For example, whether from the viewpoint of the student or the teacher, the process orientat ion in a lecture, in which the teacher stands in front of a class, is that of Group-as-Focus. In oth er words, the teacher's point of view is that the group is being addressed. The student's point of vi ew, in terms of process orientation, is that the teacher is not addressing the student, but the enti re group. A learning process oriented to the Person-as-Focus is the student studying alone, of course. Another is that of an informal study group, or a ty pical internet newsgroup, in which the individuals interact with others, but the process i s based on each person producing their specific contributions and meeting their individual needs. On the other hand, if a learning process involves t he group, in which some external goal or structure has been imposed, such as requiring the g roup to make a decision, or to come to agreement on a position regarding an issue, the pro cess would be Group-as-Focus. Table of Contents


4 of 21 Four Distinct Learning Categories The distinct learning processes represented by the four quadrants correspond to distinct categories of learning, as shown below. In much of the literature on learning, they have been discussed in isolation, or in juxtaposition (such a s group versus individual learning (Brown 1991; Carley 1992; Taylor 1992) or lectures versus collab orative learning (Ransbury 1994; Garko 1994; Johnson 1991) without an analysis of their structur al relationships. We will first describe the general characteristics of each learning category, and then discuss the ways in which a number of important attributes differ for each. Quadrant A: Traditional Lectures In a traditional lecture in which a person talks wh ile others listen, the student's activity is By-Oneself, while the orientation of the process is towards the group as a whole, ie, the Group-as-Focus. Although the wish is frequently mad e that students interact more in this process, studies of student questioning (Dillon 1988; Graess er 1994) reported that in the typical lecture situation, the frequency of questions per hour is o nly 3.0. The process dynamics of this learning category is that of a single person addressing the group as an entity, so it is no surprise that this process does not support With-Peers behavior well. Where this learning category demonstrates efficienc ies is that a single person can place the same information within reach of many. This is the time-honored way of utilizing the scarce resources of experts, reaching back to a time when there was only an oral tradition of passing knowledge from one person to others. The lecture also has other potential strengths, inc luding the ability to motivate others to certain behaviors, to inspire them to reflect deepl y, or to perform logical analysis. By example, a lecturer can demonstrate the synthesis of complex i nformation, or the integration of several ideas into a coherent whole.


5 of 21Quadrant B: Self-Study The learning activities in this learning category a re those performed by a person By-Oneself (regardless of whether the person is phy sically alone or not). The process is also oriented to the person as the focus. Thus, solo rea ding, problem solving, individual experiments are typical of this category. However, some learning processes in this category c ould involve more than one person. For example, when a tutor working with a student, t he learning is being done by that student, and all the processes are also focused on the student. It follows, from the above, that the technology sup port for Self-study includes both electronic media as book (for the activity of solo reading), and as electronic tutor. Quadrant C: Concurrent Learning The learning activities in this category are in the character of being With-Peers, in the sense that the activities involve learning together through shared activities in a collegial manner. The processes are oriented around the Person-as-Foc us, in that the goals and outcomes of the social and learning processes are individual in nat ure, rather than focused on the group as a whole. Typical of this model of collaborative learning are group interactions such as study sessions, Internet newsgroups, and ad hoc project g roups, in which peers express and exchange opinions, values, perspectives and some facts, or a ccomplish common objectives that satisfy individual goals. Quadrant D: Collaborative Learning In contrast to Concurrent Learning, this learning c ategory concerns those processes oriented to groups as entities. The perspective is that of the goals and outcomes of the group, using measures which reflect the group as the entit y under consideration. The individual's activities are in the With-Peer framework, in that he or she participates in processes which are highly interactive and collaborative in nature. The differences between Concurrent Learning and Col laborative Learning are the differences between the collection of goals of indi viduals, and the goals of a coherent collective culture, which can be viewed as an entity with its own measurable goals, achievements and outcomes. The behavior of both are based on With-Pe ers activities, in other words, on collegial interactions. With Concurrent Learning, a group of peers interact to achieve their individual learning goals; with Collaborative Learning, a grou p of peers interact to achieve their collective learning goals. This distinction may appear to be based only on the difference between having a stated objective for peer interaction or not, but it is mo re than that. For a group of persons to be oriented to the Group-as-Focus requires an adoption of commo n goals, values and culture that are coherent and persist over time. Table of Contents Multi-Dimensional Attributes of the Model


6 of 21 The four learning categories: Lectures, Self-Study, Concurrent Learning and Collaborative Learning can be further described by a number of co mmon attributes, which serve to additionally characterize them. From these attributes we can dra w a number of observations of a practical nature, concerning their inter-relationships and th eir implementations. The attributes that will be used are: the interpersonal dimension the learning environment the knowledge content technology support sociological dimensions The Interpersonal Dimension The four learning categories described above differ significantly in the way in which the learner is involved with oneself and others. In Lectures, the individual is listening to the lec turer, in a passive rather than interactive way; the listener is the recipient, the lecturer is the active dispenser of knowledge. The listener is apart from others who may also be present, and in a n interpersonal sense, they may as well not be present. The lecturer often is the source of author ity that validates the process. Self-Study is usually an individual activity, focus ed on internal cognitive processes. These learning activities often take place in the isolati on of one's own room, office or laboratory. Where others are present, such as in a library, special s ocial and interpersonal rules are established which provide virtual isolation. The primary motiva tor for the Self-Study process is usually the student. A special situation of Self-Study in which another person is involved in a meaningful way, is that of the Tutor who works one-on-one with a st udent. The learning activities are all directed at the student's needs, and fit into the Person-asFocus definition; there are no peers interacting with the student, and therefore the process orienta tion is also By-Oneself. The interpersonal relationship with the tutor is an interactive one, where the tutor is in a sense, a dynamic extension of the knowledge to be acquired, providing guidelin es, highlights, key strategies and motivation. Concurrent Learning describes situations in which a learner is interacting with peers, but the learning activities are individualized, rather than having a group focus. The nature of the interactions with others is that of exchanges of fa cts, opinions and values. There may often be a set of individual goals, rather than a common learn ing goal. Among common examples of Concurrent Learning are the seminar, classroom disc ussion, hallway or coffee chat at work. Included in this category are distributed interacti ons such as electronic forums, Internet newsgroups and bulletin boards. Thus, the style of interpersonal relationships may be competitive, confrontational or collegial, rather t han consensus-reaching. It is not unusual for Concurrent Learning situation s to have either formal or ad hoc referees, who facilitate the interactions and maint ain them at a reasonable level of focus, interest and civility. Electronic forums and bulletin boards use formal facilitators, while informal discussion groups find individuals taking on the ro le of the facilitator from time to time. The legitimacy of Concurrent Learning sessions are imbu ed as much in the general sense of acceptance of the process by the individuals, as in the existence and activities of the facilitators. The Collaborative Learning category describes situa tions in which a group of persons share common learning goals, and work together to achieve them. In a broad sense, achieving any shared goal is a learning experience. For example, agreeing on a new design for an engine part requires the contributions and assent of different members of the group, each representing


7 of 21different aspects of manufacturing, materials and o perations. The end result is that each person comes away with new knowledge of the topic, interac tion process and of the participants. There is of course a narrower sense in which a group of p ersons cooperate to achieve specific learning goals, such as a group of high-school students stud ying the composition of soil, and writing a joint report. From our point of view, the interpersonal dimension s are the same. The flow of activity and thought is not directed by any individual; each person offers contributions to the group, and interacts with the group as a whole rather than wit h other individuals. The difference between Concurrent Learning and Collaborative Learning, in the interpersonal dimension, are characterized by differences in group process. Conc urrent Learning is a forum of individuals; Collaborative Learning is an environment in which e ach person attempts to be a coherent part of a whole, synthesizing with one another a shared und erstanding of values as well as facts. The personal behaviors required of each person in such a setting are not necessarily intuitive or natural, and it is not uncommon for Collaborative L earning to be mediated and orchestrated. For example, Robert's Rules of Order is a very formal s et of rules that represents one highly structured way of achieving group consensus, among a whole spectrum of other approaches that are available to help a group act and learn collabo ratively. The important point is that Collaborative Learning, like the other learning categories, is characterized by specific interpersonal behaviors w hich arise from differences in Learning Activity (by-oneself or with peers) and Process Ori entation (individual as focus or group as focus). To summarize, the characteristics of the four learn ing categories in terms of the interpersonal dimension are: Lectures listen ing Self-Study focused on own thoughts Concurrent Learning participatory Collaborative Learning cooperative Table of Contents The Learning Environment These categories also differ in the environments th ey provide within which learning takes place. In a Lecture, a person is subjected to a con tinuous stream of information, with little time to reflect on any specific part of it, at the risk of losing what follows. The Lecture environment constrains the listener to conform to the tempo of the lecturer's delivery, and to diverge from that sequence of ideas minimally. Learning in the Self-Study category is quite differ ent. The student is in complete control of what is done next, mentally and physically. There i s freedom to contemplate the relationship between two concepts, to explore a thought associat ion, to work out something that was not being well understood. This self-directed environme nt requires discipline and focus, and for some persons who do not have this rigor, is an inef ficient way of spending time and effort in learning. The Concurrent Learning category is one in which th e learning process is individually focused, while the activity is with peers. This env ironment is one in which many participants express their individual opinions, beliefs, and arg uments, in an open forum in which the competing ideas of the persons involved shift into and out of focus. The stimulation of receiving many different perspectives from others is offset b y the inability to think much about any one


8 of 21thing before either getting another, or taking some action oneself. The environment is characterized by debate, and the validation or refu tation of the arguments and supporting facts of the participants is very different from Lectures an d Self-Study. In the Collaborative Learning paradigm, both learni ng focus and activity are oriented to the group. The individuals in the group work together t o achieve common learning goals, arriving at consensus. The environment is characterized ideally by sharing, openness, acceptance of the contribution of others, and the development of a co hesiveness in which each person becomes aware of the shared achievement of all. In this sen se, successful Collaborative Learning among team members in a company is "organizational learni ng", with the organization having learned if its members have acquired shared knowledge and valu es in both a self-aware and a group-aware way. In summary, the learning categories provide differe nt learning environments: Lectures cons trained to cognitive tempo of the lecturer Self-Study selfdirected internal and external processes Concurrent Learning open forum for competing priorities and values Collaborative Learning consensus s eeking based on common goals Table of Contents Knowledge Content What is being learned in each learning category? Al though one could argue that anything can be learned in any of these processes, and this in fact occurs all the time, we believe that their characteristics lend themselves to different kinds of knowledge. There is therefore a sense in which the learning category has a primary knowledge function. As we have observed, there is a stream of informati on that flows from the speaker in the Lecture situation, so that the learner is constrain ed to follow the sequence and tempo of the lecturer. This reduces the opportunity for extended reflection and integration of new knowledge, while facilitating the introduction of facts, conce pts, relationships, values, etc. in a more superficial way. The Lecture is better-suited for g uiding the learner to appreciate the framework of a subject, its key concepts and highlights, rath er than to a detailed understanding. This is not to say that a lecturer is unable to lea d the student, through a clear sequence of steps, to a more profound and deeper understanding of a specific concept than the learner could achieve by him/herself. Rather, the constraints of the leader-follower relationship lend themselves to the lecturer imparting knowledge to t he listener. When there is a group in attendance, the lecturer will tend to address the c ommon level of understanding of the audience, which in general reduces further the complexity of the delivery. In Self-Study, the learner follows his or her own p ersonal initiative in working with the material. Whether reading a book, watching a video, doing exercises, writing, listening to a tape, the learner is in full control of what next to do o r think about. If a concept is not well understood, or sparks a link to a new idea, the learner can cho ose to pursue the issue further, to whatever extent is desired. This personally directed, potent ially non-linear flow of internal events means that the learner can seek to achieve a mastery of t he subject matter, in a way that is not possible in the Lecture or the other interactive group-focus ed categories. The kind of knowledge that is realizable is therefore not only factual, but also the associations, relationships, and use of these facts in linkages to the learner's existing knowled ge contexts. For this reason, Self-Study, which includes reflection, assimilation, integration and association of new concepts, as directed by the learner, is essential to furthering a person's lear ning in most domains.


9 of 21 Concurrent Learning describes an environment in whi ch individuals pursue their own learning goals while interacting with one another. The pace and tempo of this interaction is not determined by any one person, and therefore reflect ion and self-directed thinking is not the order of the day. Rather, the learner has the opportunity to weigh a number of positions, opinions and arguments proferred by others, and in turn to const ruct and propose his or her own contributions. This open forum of competing rhetoric provides the learner with a unique kind of learning, in which one's own knowledge is seen in the perspectiv e of others, and in which one can appreciate the same topic from several points of view. In orde r to participate, the learner has to generate coherent knowledge structures dynamically, which re flect linear traces (because voice and written language is linear) through the internal ne twork of concepts and relationships. The dynamic coherence of this output, relative to the p eer-based demands of the current conversational context, is a reflection of the faci lity with which a person has conscious mastery of specific knowledge. In fact, the dynamic creatio n of such coherent structures is a generator of expertise. In Collaborative Learning, individuals work togethe r to achieve common learning goals, which are often declared formally, but may also be implicitly assumed in the process. The consensus that leads to group decisions are based a s much on an understanding of shared values as on the set of facts and rational constructs thro ugh which these values find expression. This shared awareness is in a very real sense group lear ning, and is one of the keystones of organizational learning. To summarize, the learning categories differ in the types of knowledge that are acquired: Lectures sp eaker imparts knowledge to the recipient Self-study se lf-directed reflective integration of subject Concurrent Learning generate own knowledge in perspective of others' Collaborative Learning group con sensus based on shared values Table of Contents Technology Support for Learning There is general concern that traditional learning approaches may be inadequate in the face of many pressures: the increasing quantity and qual ity of learning demands, the increasing diversity of the student group, and the decreasing amount of time available for learning needed to address changing situations. What technology suppor t offers to each learning category is the opportunity to individualize or make more effective the mechanisms through which learning takes place. Lectures are limited in physical size by room space and in audio-visual space by the audibility and legibility of the lecturer's voice a nd visuals. These can and have been enhanced in many ways: amplification, screen projectors, live v ideo into several rooms, live video over a broadcast, satellite or private network, and record ed video and notes for distance learning in one of its modes. Self-study is a learning process in which students work at their own pace to acquire, reflect upon and integrate knowledge. Technology support fo r this learning process enhances this in a number of ways. It can provide the student with mor e powerful representations of knowledge, such as sounds, videos, and images. More important, learners have the freedom to move in this multimedia knowledge space that is almost as powerf ul as the freedom of self-directed thought. Facts, ideas, opinions are no more than a few keyst rokes or mouse-clicks away. Most of all, technology support can provide an interactive envir onment in which the learner can find support,


10 of 21guidance, and responsiveness that is close to what a human tutor offers. In this way, a learner is able to focus on personal learning goals through a supportive, adaptive and guiding process, that is at the same time highly personalized. This kind of technological support for learning in the Self-Study process is highly empowering, promising large potential gains in learning effectiveness and efficiency. The technology support for Concurrent Learning has been directed at increasing the scope and power of the open forums in which these learnin g processes take place. To increase the numbers of persons involved, video conferencing or computer conferencing can be used. The storage and processing power of the computer makes it possible for conferences to be either synchronous (at the same time) or asynchronous (whe never one gets to it). The messages between persons can either be documents, text, voic e or full video. Many of these conferences are moderated by a coordinator, but this does not n ecessarily improve their usefulness, depending on one's point of view. Many distance education pro grams use technology support of this kind as the backbone through which information is dissemina ted, and discussions are held. As an example, the Center for Innovation and Management o f Athabasca University uses this technology, through Lotus Notes, for all of its MBA program, delivered and implemented through distance learning. Collaborative Learning is an environment in which a group of persons participate in a learning process that has common goals. The technol ogy support that has been developed in support of these processes has been called Group De cision Support Systems (GDSS). Typically, a computer network supports a group of persons who sit in a face-to-face environment, each person their own computer display and keyboard also in front of them. Through the system, individuals move through a structured but flexible series of interactions that serve to highlight the issues involved, the values that are expressed, and provide processes for resolving differences and coming to consensus (Watson 1988, Nunamaker 199 1). The four categories of the Activity-Orientation mod el of learning differ in their characteristics. Not surprisingly, the need for, an d the nature of the technologies that support these learning categories vary: Lectures s imulcasting; recorded videos Self-Study in teractive multimedia Concurrent Learning computer conferencing Collaborative Learning group de cision support systems Table of Contents Sociological Dimensions By this attribute, we refer to the relationships be tween the learner and the elements of the learning process in two ways: first, the basis for the interactions in terms of social validation, and second, the nature of the learning categories in te rms of group dynamics. For the learning process to be effective, the learn er needs to believe that the process is a valid one. This validation is based on the student' s relationship to the process, and these relationships are: Lectures authority Self-Study self-respect Concurrent Learning mutual respect Collaborative Learning shared values


11 of 21 In terms of the dynamics of the group (or individua l) process, reflect on how the individual is empowered relative to the process. The categorie s can be characterized as follows: Lectures autocracy Self-Study autonomy Concurrent Learning democr acy Collaborative Learning commun ity The structural relationship of the student to the l earning category is therefore along two dimensions. The first is based on social validation which leads to the second, based on empowerment. The Lecture, for example, is a learning process in which the student's basis for validation is the authority of the Lecturer; this leads to the gr oup dynamics of an autocracy. For Self-Study to be effective, the student's must believe that it is a valid process for learning. This validation is based on self-respect. To the extent that the student has a strong sense of self-respect, the effort spent in Self-Study is associated with positive expectations; this leads to highly autonomous behaviors on the part of the s tudent (as opposed to highly dependent behaviors for learning, in which the person only wo rks if directed by the teacher or the group). Concurrent Learning, at its most positive, facilita tes individual learning through an appreciation of the perspectives of others, which l ead to growth in one's own values, methods, goals and even concepts. For this to happen, mutual respect must be present; the group dynamics that reflect mutual respect is that found in democr acies. On the other hand, Collaborative Learning is succes sful when group-decision making is adaptive and leads to increased cultural coherence. This depends on individuals having, not just mutual respect, but a common membership in the coll ective culture, which we represent in the term "shared values". The type of group dynamics fo r people who have shared values are those of communities, in the sense that reside in the word communitas"....a group of people who have shared values and behave coherently, as a group. Table of Contents The Circle of Learning These attributes of the Activity-Orientation model of learning can be summarized in the following diagram, in which the characteristics, as listed below, are shown as layers of the model: Sociological Dimensions Technology Support Knowledge Content Learning Environment Interpersonal Dimensions


12 of 21 Figure 1. The Activity-Orientation Paradigm Discussion The four learning categories developed above origin ate from a two-dimensional paradigm, which as always is a simplification of situations f ound in reality. The purpose of the paradigm is to isolate and bring into relief typical characteri stics of the learning categories, so that learning processes can be more easily understood within the complex environment in which everyday activities exist. However, within a specific learning event, bounded by a particular group of people and a particular interval of time, it is very likely that a mix of the processes described in the four learning categories will occur. These will vary in intensity as well as in their order of appearance, depending on the characteristics of the learning ev ent. The following are examples of the application of the paradigm to learning scenarios. Figure 2 shows the processes that would be expected in a typical classroom today in North Amer ica, where most of the learning transactions are through the lecture process, and a certain amou nt of reflective thinking goes on for individuals who disengage from the lecture or group process. The class may include a significant amount of collaborative learning, in which discussi on takes place among students, or students


13 of 21work in groups, either mediated by the teacher as f acilitator or independently. Some of the collaborative activity may be in the form of exchan ge of perspectives between students or student and teacher, but the group or sub-groups may also b e working toward shared goals, as in the creation of a single project report, or the develop ment of a common strategy for a business. Figure 2. Classroom Session It is quite easy for a classroom in today's school to move fluidly between Lecture and group learning processes. In many schools, formal lecture s are being replaced to varying extents by cooperative learning in small groups, which might b e a situation as shown in Figure 3. There may be an element of Lecture, in which the te acher provides the frame of reference for group activities. Most of the activities are in the With-Peers mode, divided between processes oriented to the self and group objectives. An examp le of the former is each student discussing his or her research on different parts of a problem; an example of the latter is coming to agreement on the conclusions of an experiment they conducted jointly. There is, within this environment, opportunity for a person to step back from group ac tivities to work or think alone. However, the group usually exerts pressure to limit the amount o f time-alone that has not been agreed upon.


14 of 21 Figure 3. Cooperative Learning in Classroom In Figure 4, we show the processes that would be fo und in a typical informal discussion session. Most of the overall effort is in the exchange of pe rspectives with an individual orientation. There may be some engagement in individual thinking durin g the session, and in the pursuit of overall group objectives or consensus.


15 of 21 Figure 4. Informal Discussion Session Figure 5 shows the learning processes that we would expect to encounter in a computer-mediated asynchronous conference over a period of time, such as occurs in the use of Lotus Notes to support courses. While most the effort goes into th e exchange of perspectives and opinions (and possibly facts) between students, a good deal of re flective thinking and integration by individual students is made feasible by the fact that messages are read and replies originated off-line. Therefore, this session differs from informal discu ssion in that more Self-Study processes occur, in which knowledge integration is achieved through reflective thinking.


16 of 21 Figure 5. Asynchronous Conferencing Figure 6 shows the mix of processes that might be f ound in a typical business meeting, in which peers interact to reach consensus on specific organ izational goals. Some didactic information-giving typically starts the meeting off and then a significant amount of exchange of perspectives occurs as part of the meeting. Members of the group may mentally move into reflective thinking during parts of the meeting, en gaging in reading parts of the report. Most of the effort is spent in reaching consensus. Although the meeting occurs over a period of hours, the time-scale for organizational learning is significantly longer. If the organizati on is said to learn, then that learning is expresse d in the behavior of the organization, which is visib le as the changes in decisions over time. Clearly these changes are more apparent over a seri es of decisions rather than within a single meeting. Thus the time-scale for organizational lea rning is significantly longer than the hours during which a meeting takes place.


17 of 21 Figure 6. Business Meeting Table of Contents Conclusion We believe that the debate between individual and c ollaborative learning is based on a false paradigm, that the two are on opposite ends o f a spectrum. Instead, we have presented a model of individual and group processes in learning that reflect the singularity of the learning process as well as its orientation to the self or t he group. From this model, we arrive at four learning categories, representing different mixes o f process activity and orientation. They are: Lectures, Self-Study, Concurrent Learning, and Coll aborative Learning. These learning categories are not mutually exclusiv e or superior or inferior to one another. Rather, they represent different approaches to indi vidual and group needs and roles, addressing different stages in the integration of information into knowledge for the learner as an individual, and as a member of a social group. In actual learni ng situations, individuals and groups can and do move between the processes described for each le arning category. Specific patterns of these process mixes are evident in a number of examples o f typical learning situations. It is our belief that with this understanding, we c an view the resource allocation and technology support issues of education and learning not as taking from Peter to pay Paul, but that these learning categories are all essential and int er-dependent. The questions should not be how we replace one by the other, but how we best use th em most appropriately, both as strategies and as processes within learning situations, and ensure that learners are given the opportunity to benefit from each as needed. A further benefit that we have gained from the mode l is that it has given us explicit guidelines to follow in the design of new learning products, both in who and what processes are


18 of 21being targeted, as well as what factors must be tak en into account for them to be effective. This understanding spans the spectrum of learning system s as they currently exist, to new learning systems as they evolve, catalysed by developments i n communications and information capabilities. What we hope to achieve from this und erstanding is a set of learning approaches and tools that span the entire Circle of Learning, and are integrated in ways which reflect the different processes and needs in each quadrant.ReferencesBannon LJ. 1995. Issues in computer supported colla borative learning. In C. O'Malley, editor, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning volume 128 of NATO ASI Series, Series F, Computer and Systems Sciences. Springer Verlag, Ber lin. Brown JS, Duguid P. 1991. Organizational learning a nd communities of practice. Organization Science 2(1):40-57. Carley K. 1992. Organizational learning and personn el turnover. Organization Science 3(1):20-46.Dillon JT. 1988. Questioning and teaching: A manual of practice Teachers College Press: New York.Felder R. 1995. We never said it would be easy. Chemical Engineering Education 29(1):32-33. Fjuk A. 1995. Towards an analytical framework for C SC distance learning. In J. L. Schnase and E. L. Cunnius, editors, Proceedings of CSCL '95: The First International Co nference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning. Lawerence. Garko MG, Kough C et al. 1994. Myths about studentfaculty relationships: what do students really want? Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 5(2):51-65. Gordon J. 1992. Performance technology: blueprint f or the learning organization. Training 29(5):27-36.Graesser AC, Person NK. 1994. Question asking durin g tutoring. American Educational Research Journal 31(1):104-137. Spring, 1994. Johnson DW, Johnson RT, Smith KA. 1991. Active learning: cooperation in the college classroom Interaction Book Company, Edina, Minnesota. Johnson DW, Johnson RT. 1991. Cooperative learning: increasing college faculty instructional productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4. George Washington University. Kaye A. 1992. Learning together apart. In A. Kaye, editor, Collaborative Learning Trough Computer Conferencing: The Najaden Papers volume 90 of NATO ASI Series, Series F. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Macedonia M, Brutzman D. 1994. Mbone provides audio and video across the internet. Computer 27(4):30-36. April 1994. McArthy V. 1995. Desktop videoconferencing: still a rough cut. Datamation 41. May 15, 1995.


19 of 21Mumford A. 1992. Individual and organizational lear ning: the pursuit of change. Management Decision 30(6):143-148. Nunamaker J, Dennis AR, et al. 1991. Electronic Mee ting Systems to Support Group Work, Communications of the ACM 34(7):40-61. Ransbury MK, Harris SA. 1994. Study abroad: the rea lity of building dynamic group learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 5(2):97-107. Rettinger LA. 1995. Desktop videoconferencing: tech nology and use for remote seminar delivery. Master's Thesis, Dept. Computer Engineeri ng. North Carolina State University. Senge PM. 1992. Building learning organizations. Journal of Quality and Participation 15(2):30-38.Taylor S. 1992. Managing a learning environment. Personnel Management 24(10):54-57. Turoff M, Hiltz SR. 1982. Computer support for grou p versus individual decision decisions. IEEE Transaction on Man, Machine and Cybernetics 30(1):82-91. Vetter R. 1995. Videoconferencing on the internet. Computer 28(1):77-79. January 1995. Vowles A. 1993. Gaining competitive advantage throu gh organizational learning. CMA Magazine 67(3):12-14. Watson R, DeSanctis G, et al. 1988. Using a group d ecision support system to facilitate group consensus: Some intended and unintended consequence s. MIS Quarterly 12(3):463-478. Table of Contents About the AuthorsErnest JH Chang, MD PhD Ernie Chang is the Executive Vice-President of Axia Multimedia Corporation, which he founded in 1993 to commercialize innovations in int eractive multimedia learning strategies that he created and patented, while at the Alberta Resea rch Council, where he was Department Head of Advanced Computing & Engineering from 1987 to 19 93. This Department become Canada's largest applied artificial intelligence group, and has performed more than $20 million of research, development and contract activity in all areas of a rtificial intelligence and robotics, including intelligent tutoring systems and expert systems. At Axia, he was the Executive Producer of five cons umer CD-ROMs, four in the Axia "Know Your Birds" series, and the highly rated "Kno w Your Combat Jets." Presently his responsibilities are in the areas of learning strat egies and health care products. His current research and technical interests are in technology-based learning strategies, cognitive technologies, and applications of compute r-based interactive multimedia. He has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and an MD from UBC. Prior to joining the Alberta Research Council, he was an Associate Profe ssor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Victoria.


20 of 21 Don Simpson, PhD Dr. Don Simpson is currently Chief Mentor of the AX IA Innovation Mentoring Unit (AIMU), a business unit of the AXIA Multimedia Corp oration. Simpson has been involved in innovative organizatio nal development work in over 60 countries. Included in this work has been his invol vement in the design, development, and operation of a number of breakthrough institutions concerned with social, economic, and education issues. He has worked at all levels of th e education system and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontari o. In addition to his role as an educator, he has been a researcher, a consultant, and an entrepr eneur who created and ran two consulting businesses, as well as founding and managing a numb er of nonprofit organizations. In 1991, he created the International Institute for Innovation (the Triple i), a global network which has the competence, flexibility, and entrepreneurial flair to assist a wide variety of organizations in Canada, Europe, and Asia to survive and thrive in t hese difficult times. The Mentoring Unit of the Triple i joined with AXIA Multimedia Corporatio n in January 1996.Copyright 1997 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona Stat e University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. (602-965-2692). T he Book Review Editor is Walter E. Shepherd: The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Andrew Coulson Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Marshall University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Richard M. Jaeger University of North Carolina--Greensboro


21 of 21 Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Rocky Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education William McInerney Purdue University Mary P. McKeown Arizona Board of Regents Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson Arizona State University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers University of California at Davis Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois--UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education Robert T. Stout Arizona State University


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