Computer-Mediated Collaborative Learning: An Empirical Evaluation
National commissions and scholarly reports on the status of contemporary higher education have frequently been critical of the college experience; the emphasis on transmitting fixed bodies of information and a failure to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills have been cited as serious weaknesses in higher education systems. Colleges and universities have additional reasons to redevelop central pedagogies for students. Individuals need to learn at higher rates of effectiveness and efficiency than ever before because of rapidly growing bodies of relevant information and the escalation of knowledge and skill requirements for most jobs. Recent developments incomputer hardware, software, and communication technologies create exciting new opportunities for the educational use of these technologies. The objective of this study is to go beyond the traditional classroom instructional modesl (e.g., lectures and class discussions) to develop and evaluate computer-supported pedagogical approaches. More specifically, this study investigates whether the use of a group decision support system (GDSS) in a collaborative learning process enhances student learning and evaluation of classroom experiences. The findings of a study involving 127 MBA students indicate that GDSS-supported collaborative learning leads to higher levels of perceived skill development, self-reported learning, and evaluation of classroom experience in comparison with non-GDSS supported collaborative learning. Furthermore, the final test grades of the group of students who were exposed to GDSS-supported collaborative learning were significantly higher than those of the other groups of students who participated in the experiment.
|Keywords||Computer-mediated learning, cooperative learning, computer-supported team learning, educational technology|