Using Distance Education technology is the best way to offer your corportate training. Contact us to find which solution works best for your particular business. E-learning is fast becoming the best way to offer training at an affordable cost.
Group Work and Collaboration
The great promise of CMC (Computer Mediated Communication) is that it gives distance students similar opportunities for collaboration and synthesis of information to those that face-to-face students have. Furthermore, it provides a means of shifting the focus from teacher-centred teaching to student-centred learning.
However, many first time CMC instructors design their online events more like homework assignments than collaborative events. Rather than using CMC for many-to-many interactions, they use it for one-to-one communication, much like email.
One of the most common ways to initiate interaction in the classroom is to ask a question. Then, by taking answers one at a time and inviting critique of those answers, a discussion develops. The same can be done in CMC. However, all students now have the opportunity to answer the question. There may be many good answers to the question, but discussion of those answers may not take place. Even if students are required to comment on each others answers, there is the potential for having one comment per answer. This is still not discussion, and therefore no real collaboration and synthesis is taking place. There is more information about types of discussion threads in the Student Behaviour section of the site.
One way to stimulate discussion is to have a debate rather than just asking a question. Divide the class into two or more groups. Assign some groups to answer the question(s) and the other groups to critique their answers. Though not foolproof, this approach can stimulate lively discussion, as each group defends its position. The instructor moderates the discussion to keep it on track and correct faulty reasoning or incorrect conclusions.
There are many other ways to use group work in CMC and at iCare we can help you decide what is best for your organization.