Online Group Learning is Deeply Grounded in Shared Knowledge and Space

Marco Bettoni
Steinbeis, Switzerland

Eddie Obeng
Pentacle, United Kingdom

Willi Bernhard
FFHS, Switzerland

Nicole Bittel
FFHS, Switzerland

Victoria Mirata
FFHS, Switzerland


Group learning via a 2D platform (e.g. Moodle or similar) has long been part of daily learning practice. Unfortunately, this solution leads to text-based or rather text-heavy interactions: you need to be able to write well and better still, enjoy interacting by writing and not every student does. Moreover, text-based interactions are good for inquiry tasks, but they are ineffective and inefficient for problem-solving tasks. In fact, experience has shown that the interaction required for collaboration is lacking or inefficient, especially in cases where the main task, like in projects, consists of collaborative problem solving. Therefore, it is not surprising that students use 2D platforms solely as a storage space for documents, quite never for collaboration. There is a lack of online team interaction (Bettoni, 2003) and the question is why. We think that flat platforms do not meet the requirements of rich collaborative interactions online. So, which are these requirements and how can we better support online group learning to fulfil them? For answering these questions, we propose 3 steps: first, clarifying what we mean by collaboration(and its relationship with knowledge), secondly developing a deeper view of the role of space in the process of knowing and thirdly a better understanding of the true potential of 3D platforms.

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