A window into learning: case studies of online group communication and collaboration
The two case studies presented explore the potential offered by in-depth qualitative analysis of students’ online discussion to enhance our understanding of how students learn. Both cases are used to illustrate how the monitoring and moderation of online student group communication can open up a ‘window into learning’, providing us with new insights into complex problem-solving and thinking processes. The cases offer examples of students’ ‘thinking aloud’ while problem-solving, showing how and why they arrived at particular outcomes and the underlying thought processes involved. It is argued that these insights into students’ learning processes can in turn offer us the opportunity to adapt our own teaching practice in order to achieve a better pedagogical ‘fit’ with the learning needs of our students; for example, through a more precise or more timely intervention. It is also suggested that looking through this ‘window’ enables us to concentrate our assessment more closely on the process of task completion, rather than focusing solely on the end product.