Collaborative technologies, higher order thinking and self-sufficient learning: A case study of adult learners

Clare S. Johnson


The inclusion of online elements in learning environments is becoming commonplace in Post Compulsory Education. A variety of research into the value of such elements is available, and this study aims to add further evidence by looking specifically at the use of collaborative technologies such as online discussion forums and wikis to encourage higher order thinking and self-sufficient learning. In particular, the research examines existing pedagogical models including Salmon’s five-stage model, along with other relevant literature. A case study of adult learners in community-based learning centres forms the basis of the research, and as a result of the findings, an arrow model is suggested as a framework for online collaboration that emphasises the learner, mentions pre-course preparation and then includes three main phases of activity: post, interact and critique. This builds on Salmon’s five-stage model and has the benefit of being flexible and responsive, as well as allowing for further development beyond the model, particularly in a blended learning environment.

(Published: 28 July 2017)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2017, 25: 1981 -


critical thinking; self-sufficient learning; technology; adults; Salmon’s five-stage model; arrow model

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