Essential design features of online collaborative learning

Hyo Jeong So, Wei Ying Lim, Jennifer Yeo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


With the goal of working towards a paradigm shift from delivery-centered to participation-centered pedagogy in mind, this chapter presents a set of essential design features that readers need to consider for designing online collaborative learning environments. Meaningful interaction and collaboration in online environments need the consideration of design elements as well as the understanding of the affordances of interactive learning technologies. This chapter presents a 3-dimensional design activity - social structures, tools, and learner diversity - as the fundamental elements that educators and instructional designers need to consider. It is important to note that the combination of these essential features is not prescriptive, but rather, is situational dependent on the learning context to achieve the "goodness of fit" for the desired learning outcomes. To demonstrate the design and enactment of the 3-D design features, the authors present a case example of a problem-centered learning environment designed for secondary learners' science learning. In conclusion, the authors suggest that while the pedagogical advantages of collaborative learning have been well-supported, more research is needed to better understand the complex nature of designing collaborative learning in online settings, especially through the mediation of emerging technologies such as Web 2.0 technology tools.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDistance Learning Technology, Current Instruction, and the Future of Education
Subtitle of host publicationApplications of Today, Practices of Tomorrow
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781615206728
StatePublished - 2009


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