Delivering on the e-learning promise: a case for a learning environment that enables Collaborative Online Problem Solving (COPS)

Research spanning the last thirty years confirms that people learn better by active enquiry, collaboration and experimental problem solving than by passive reception and acceptance of information. Empirical evidence, as well as the pressing demands of pervasive social and technological change, requires learning and teaching approaches that combine problem-centred learning and collaborative learning, and open up possibilities for equitable participation in real-world learning. This paper mounts a theoretical and pedagogical case for such an approach, by examining the developmental work being conducted in this area at QUT-Queensland University of Technology (QUT, 2003). It argues for a Collaborative Online Problem Solving environment (known colloquially as COPS) that will combine the problem-centred and collaborative dimensions of learning. The developmental work of COPS seeks to go beyond current online learning and teaching resources, offered by most learning management systems, to provide a framework and system, in order to create and deploy environments, where teams of student learners can collaborate, engage, grapple with, and seek to make sense of, authentic problems, within an online environment. It seeks to do so by creating problem-centred ‘learning designs’, that can be integrated with face to face teaching, to bridge the gap between the classroom and real world experience.

Article originally published in ‘JLD – Journal of Learning Design’, V. 2 (2007), n. 1, pp. 25-36, the only accredited archive of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the JLD and the author.

Reprinted with permission.

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