The communication infrastructure during the learning process in web based collaborative learning systems

author: Cathleen M. Stuetzer, Dresden University of Technology
published: July 19, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 3513


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As people adopt lifelong learning as a key strategy to succeed in the modern knowledge society and conventional teaching styles of classroom lecturing are supplemented by computer-supported collaborative distance learning opportunities, traditional roles of learners and educators may change. The identification and meaning of actor roles and their embeddedness in social systems have a long tradition in social sciences [Freedman 2004; Simmel 1984]. In education sciences, learning is traditionally conceptualized as an adaptive knowledge construction process [Bruner and Piaget 2009]. this view has started to be extended by also taking the network structure and group dynamics during the interaction process of teachers and learners into account [Gergen 1985]. Based on this theoretical background, in this research teacher and students are examined by their embeddedness in different communication networks in macro and micro perspective in remote e-learning communities. By performing structural analysis on the relational data we identified the role structure of actors with three common communication roles, and five emergent network roles of actors as well as the relationship between network structure and learning processes. The results of the study put us in a position to describe the impact of actor positions for the communication behaviour in the digital knowledge process in collaborative learning communities.

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