The Critical Features Of Constructivism Education Essay


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Originally, wikis emerged as social tools but wikis have become the recent interesting learning tools in higher education. Because wikis present themselves as powerful tools for constructivist learning with collaborative features, (Notari, 2006). Constructivism is approached from a variety of perspectives in wiki including cooperation, collaboration and social constructivism, (Parker & Chao, 2007). In this section, we will explain the critical features of constructivism and describe a range of behaviors that characterize cooperative/collaborative learning.

4.2.1. Constructivism

Constructivism holds that "learners actively construct knowledge by interpreting new knowledge base on their prior knowledge" (Kuiper & Volman, 2008). Parker and Chao, (2007) defined that constructivism means "constructing knowledge as well as meaning rather than given".  Constructivism itself is not just a particular pedagogy but rather describes how learning happens. Constructivist learning provides students with opportunity to participate in authentic activities which are required to interact with their environment and create their own understanding (Jonassen, Carr, & Yueh, 1998). Constructivist teaching makes students to involve in not only constructing knowledge but also in critically thinking, reflecting, and using the knowledge (Tynjal, 1998). In constructivist classroom, students have opportunity to learn through social, collaborative activities that allow them to make connections between their existing experiences and new experiences, to share ideas, negotiate problems and discuss solutions (Willis, Stephens, &Matthew, 1996). In these students-centered approaches, instructors guide students in their constructing knowledge as facilitators. Learning that is socially constructed by "competent participation in the discourse, norms and practices associated with particular communities of practices" is known as social constructivist learning, (Kuiper & Volman, 2008, p. 244).

4.2.2. Cooperative/Collaborative Learning

In cooperative learning, students work together in groups to accomplish their goals by supporting the learning of their individual members (Parker & Chao, 2007). In addition, the group of researchers states that "Cooperative learning leads to positive interdependence of group members, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, and appropriate used of collaborative skills", (Schaffert et al., 2006). The fundamental elements of Cooperative Learning that Johnson et al. (1998) defined are as follow;

Positive Interdependence: Positive interdependence exists when group members shares a common goal, (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1998). The success of each person is affected by the actions of others. Positive interdependence includes sharing resources, role and task which are overlapping each other's, (Johnson & Johnson, 1996).

Promotive Interaction: Promotive interaction exists when individuals support, encourage, and facilitate each others' effort to complete tasks in order to achieve their goals, (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). The individuals of group members must help each others to work efficiently and effective, and work together as individuals, (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1998).

Individual and Group Accountability: Individual and group accountability is required when the performance of individual member and overall performance of the group are assessed. It also exists when the results are given back to individual and the group to compare against the standard of performance. When the in individual is taken responsible by group members for contributing his/her fair share to the group's success again individual accountability exists (Johnson & Johnson, 1996).

Interpersonal and Small Group Skills: In cooperative learning, an interpersonal and small group skill is required when the group need to work effectively with each other and function as part of group. The greater the teamwork skills, the higher the quality and quantity of learning will be achieved (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). Communicating, supporting and resolving conflicts each other are essential within the group (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1998).

Group Processing: Group processing required when group members discuss how they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships within the members, (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). Group processing is important for maintaining good working relationship and providing feedback for each another (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1998).

Cooperation and collaboration are closely related to a number of learning theories and can be used as interchangeable terms. "Collaborative learning, rooted social constructivism, centers on the process of knowledge construction and promotes learning through group interaction and collaborative activities which are the same as cooperative activities" (WikEd, 13th oct, 2010). In this context, collaborative learning includes two or more people communicating each others to construct knowledge by contributing information and resources on the university-based wiki and editing or posting information.

4.3. Previous Research on Wikis in collaborative learning

Several researchers examined students' perception and benefit of wikis use in collaborative learning. (Deters, Cuthrell & stapleton, 2010) studied the student perception of wiki use in online instruction and potential uses of wiki in collage level classroom. They found that no matter what students had initial hesitation a learning a new technology, overall experience regarding the wikis use was positive, and students also accepted wikis as a great collaboration tool (Deters, Cuthrell & stapleton, 2010). Moreover, (Augar et al & Naish , 2006) stated that use of wikis was as an icebreaker for online group work. Then, they also found out that wikis technology could support to enhance social interaction among students online, and to build information repositories.

However, when (Hughes & Narayan, 2009) explored the students who used wikis to develop, share, and edit project assignments, they found that students perceived wikis as not supporting collaboration. They also noticed that students had modest perception of the wikis supporting their learning and engagement and supporting the development of high-quality assignment product (Hughes & Narayan, 2009). In the paper of (Judd, Kennedy & Cropper, 2010), they suggested that wikis was not inherently collaborative and that additional components are required to promote participation and collaboration among students.

The main purpose of this paper is to clarify students' perception of wiki in the process of collaborative learning .Wikis are more popular and useful for students' collaborative learning when they perform their projects or assignments. We want to take more educational research to make clear the specific benefits from wikis so that we can contribute to the collaborative learning in relative to education. To inquiry in this area, our study will conduct for the purpose of exploring student's perception regarding the usability and effectiveness of wikis use, and it will also examine the benefit of collaboration in wikis for student content learning, by observing the wiki use in group project among postgraduate students.

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