Author Topic: Collaborative Learning  (Read 6287 times)

Offline jonty

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Collaborative Learning
« on: September 21, 2006, 04:21:34 PM »
How do we assess this stuff?

Do we assess the individual contribution?
Do we assess the end result?
Do we assess a mixture?
Do we assess process or content?

Who does the assessment????

Offline Kerry

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006, 11:26:52 AM »
Big questions Jonty.  Some interesting bits and pieces been done on this in the HE dance world recently.  Particulalry thinking of a community of enquiry who worked on 'assessing the creative work of groups', using action research.  In a nutshell they came to the conclusion that the best approach in their context was to use self, peer + tutor evaluation within the group context.  Their assessment focused on grading in response to the following questions:
how well the group achieved the task
how well you think you contributed to achieve the group task
how well the group functioned as a group based on your knowledge of group dynamics
how well you think you performed as a group memberbased on your knowledge of group dynamics
This seems to hit some of the responses to your questions.
There's an interesting write up of their process/outcomes in Miell, D & Littleton, K. (2004).Collaborative Creativity - the chapter's by Cordelia Bryan and is entitled Assessing the Creative Work of Groups.
I think this highlights the fact that in pockets of education which are perhaps less 'mainstream' there are lots of different models of teaching/learning which our current state system could benefit a great deal from considering. 
What do you reckon?
Kerry


Offline PeterT

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 04:10:16 PM »
I think this highlights the fact that in pockets of education which are perhaps less 'mainstream' there are lots of different models of teaching/learning which our current state system could benefit a great deal from considering. 
What do you reckon?
Kerry

I think Kerry is right - we need to look at what has worked elsewhere - and document that.

We've started to do that in WikiWorks re different approaches to education and education systems in different countries - but haven't done the next step of looking at what the common themes are (and there are still many approaches etc that we haven't looked at - and would like folk to help us with).

We also started to suggest a way in which Wiki's might be used as part of the process of supporting (and assessing) collaborative work (see Wikied) - though this is only one (maybe crazy) idea.

I think that sorting out assessment (or how we acknowledge/accredit learning) really is the key to sorting out our education system (see 'The assessment problem') and assessment of collaboration (and other skills such as learning to learn, communication, problem solving, etc) are crucial to this.

But - getting back to Jonty's original question - how do we do that? How do we acknowledge and acredit 'process skill' such as collaboration etc?

Offline Anna Craft

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 04:06:52 AM »
Assessing process skills means that assessment itself needs to be more process orientated, documenting engagement in group learning.  This takes time, and enormous sensitivity.  The practices developed in the Reggio Emilia pre-schools in Italy demonstrate this.  See, for example, this link.  http://www.cariboo.bc.ca/ae/literacies/reggio/reggioarticle1.htm 

But is it do-able with older learners?

Offline PeterT

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 10:56:07 AM »
Seems to me that core to the documenting of children's work described in the paper Anna referred to (http://www.cariboo.bc.ca/ae/literacies/reggio/reggioarticle1.htm) key elements were to do with:
  • reflection (mirroring back to children)
  • analysis of what had been learnt - and hence what the next steps should be
  • provision of evidence to demonstrate that learning had taken place


In response to Anna's question ("But is it do-able with older learners?") I would have thought that the answer was a definite yes - indeed it may be easier because the learner can start to take more responsibility for the process (thus reducing the need for others to do it - and in the context of an education system - keeping the staffing costs down).

 ??? What do you think?

Offline jonty

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2006, 08:56:36 AM »
I think this highlights the fact that in pockets of education which are perhaps less 'mainstream' there are lots of different models of teaching/learning which our current state system could benefit a great deal from considering. 

So my last question should have been....

and so how do we then sell this to the mainstream????

Given the recent furore over Coursework and cheating parents and teachers, there is clearly a cynicism about any assessment that is not exam orientated.

Two thoughts: 1. What work has been done of collaborative exams?
2: Is this question sitting at the junction between views of the function of education? Our discussions prioritise education as being about individual/community learning???? Since an assessment is a contextualised, partial snapshot at a moment in time, it provides us with opportunities for developing learning. It is not a final position, but one along the way. Other views prioritise education as guaranteeing skills for the workplace and simplifying worker selection??? From this latter perspective the contextualised, partial snapshot at a moment in time is expected to represent the skills and capabilities of the individual to the outside world.
In the former position, there is more room for trust, in the latter there is more room for mistrust??

Offline Kerry

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2006, 12:26:45 PM »
Going off on a slight tangent here re how we 'sell this to the mainstream', but....  Dance education has spent a huge amount of time trying to advocate for itself and its approaches - with small but increasing success over recent years.  A lot of the time it strikes me that this is about weight of opinion, and frustratingly sometimes, gaining the opinions of the people who can shout the loudest in the right places.  That's why I think the networking part of schome and Aspire is so important and engages with the right kind of people (not only those who can shout loud though!).  Can we as a group try to think about ways of getting those currently 'outside' schome and Aspire 'in the know'. 
We are about to do an e-mailing for the Aspire Pilot to a whole variety of people who have expressed an interest in the ideas/ the community.  Can we as a group of discussants do anything to prepare for their arrival in the forum?  Also, can we think of other ways of getting more people interested and engaged in the forum - could we feature part of the wiki + create actual activity there to draw people in - do you reckon this would work? 
Kerry

Offline dragontears

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 12:03:08 PM »
I am very interested in this thread - one of the things that came out the discussions we had at the schome workshop - for me anyway - was that there is very little trust re education, there are tight reins kept on what is taught, how it is taught and much testing to see whether the info has been absorbed. The teachers don't seem to be enjoying this approach, and I've heard tales of stressed out children when the SATs are looming. And for people who aren't strong academically it must be demoralising.

We are trying to give our kids an alternative by home educating them. The government won't give us any money - same argument as people who use private schools, so we have freedom to choose how to educate them, but tapping resources can be problematic. For instance one of our children wants to spend a couple of days learning practical skills with a blacksmith - wouldn't it be great if we could have a little slice of the taxes we pay to finance this. But of course that isn't going to happen - because the learning he will get will not be measurable and will not fit the criteria for basic/essential skills.

I can see where they are coming from, they are spending taxpayers money - they don't want to be seen to be wasting it, and so they need to measure results. Thing is results can be misleading, as someone mentioned earlier, there is cynicism nowadays over the coursework element of exams, and even the exams themselves are becoming suspect in the minds of the public.

I think eventually it will implode, and things will swing back in the direction of trust. Teachers have to be trusted to teach effectively - one assumes that if they could not, they would not have passed their course. (If I was a teacher I would want cctv in the room, so that instead of writing up notes of what I had done at night - anyone who didn't beleive me could just scan through the video images for that day, wasting their own time doing it, not mine.)

Perhaps one day parents will be trusted to find the best school for their child, with each child having a bounty on their head that travels with them to their preferred school. Parents are good at measuring the quality of their children's education.

We could also trust employers, currently they complain the workforce is dumbing down, it is hard to get young employees with even basic skill, they are having to bet their money on the quality of their staff - so they are very good indicators of the quality of people coming out at the other end of the education system.

Eventually this fad with 'quality assurance' which seems to have spread like a plague since the nineties throughout all aspects of our lives, will be recognised for what it is - just a dressed up version of lies, damn lies and statistics.

Hopefully when this realisation dawns we will switch back to a more human approach - not how many ticks are on this sheet, how many lessons have been delivered to this child, but how does the child, the parent and the teacher feel this child is progressing - in plain english.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the change will come soon, and when it does of course, schome will have some great ideas for making thing better.

end of rant  :)

Offline PeterT

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2006, 05:34:18 AM »
I think this highlights the fact that in pockets of education which are perhaps less 'mainstream' there are lots of different models of teaching/learning which our current state system could benefit a great deal from considering. 

We have started to develop info about some of these approaches in WikiWorks - check out:

We need to develop these further - so feel free to edit any of these pages or to add new ones if there are approaches/thinkers/systems that we have left out ...

Jonty went on to say:
So my last question should have been....
and so how do we then sell this to the mainstream????

I guess my thought about how we help bring these into the mainstream is by:
  • providing evidence that they work effectively
  • doing an analysis across different systems (that have been shown to be effective) and see if there are common elements that might account for their effectiveness (and should thus be included in schome)

So I guess we ought to add sections on 'evidence of effectiveness' to the 'approaches' pages in WikiWorks - if you have any evidence it would be fantastic if you told us about it (either through this forum or by editing relevant pages in WikiWorks) ...

Offline dragontears

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2006, 12:47:57 PM »
Just a quick thought on measuring effectiveness of education

many home ed children are making their way in the world - and doing well. I remember hearing a radio 4 program interviewing some home ed children in their 30s who had all been successful in their jobs. And there are books about it too and updates in the HE newsletters.

Would this be a useful measure of the result of home ed - to see how the person fares in the world once their 'formal educational' years are finished?

Perhaps this would give people more confidence in the effectiveness of other less quantified methods of education?

Obviously you couldn't do a scientific study, it would be a bit immoral really splitting children into two groups for 11 years and them measuring the outcome ;) But at least it may show that when people choose to educate without the checks and measures deemed essential in the school world it can still produce a good result. And this may give it enough credibility to trigger further enquiry.

tjbmumof3

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2006, 02:04:04 PM »
Measuring effectiveness:- there is plenty of evidence albeit anecdotal, of home ed children doing well with GCSE exams.  A few years ago a university student (at Durham I think) did some more exact research on the home ed community through EO, and I think her paper is still available.  There is also a book "where are they now" which looks at the lives of several grown up home ed children.

I wonder about some form of portfolio which children build up through their lives, with annotation about all their achievements and activities.  Not just certificates, although that could be part of it, but things they have produced themselves, evaluating their skills and achievements, giving evidence of what they have taken part in and done in life. I guess some things would need external validation, but self evaluation is important. (I use this alot through my Kumon work)

When my older 2 wanted to move back into mainstream higher education, they didn't really have the right quota of points and exams, but after an interview and session with the schools it was pretty obvious to the admissions tutors that they had the right skills, knowledge and attitude to succeed at the next level of education, so no problem.

Of course the difficulty is the sheer volume, having to meet each individual would be impractical, but don't all children deserve to be treated as individuals?

Offline dragontears

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2006, 10:22:11 PM »
I had another thought about effectiveness today. My husband is a lecturer. His students do a week long course with him. At the end they don't have an exam, its assumed that they understood it, then they go back to their jobs and use the knowldge they gained. Same with me when I was at work, you did your course on databases or program design or whatever and then it went on your CV for later - but there wasn't an exam to test how well you did. So how could they be sure that the course was effective?

Offline PeterT

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2006, 06:45:37 AM »
I wonder about some form of portfolio which children build up through their lives, with annotation about all their achievements and activities.  Not just certificates, although that could be part of it, but things they have produced themselves, evaluating their skills and achievements, giving evidence of what they have taken part in and done in life. I guess some things would need external validation, but self evaluation is important. (I use this alot through my Kumon work)
...
Of course the difficulty is the sheer volume, having to meet each individual would be impractical, but don't all children deserve to be treated as individuals?

I have wondered about the notion of a 'life passport', which would be a short document that documented very briefly things that you had achieved (like a passport documents very briefly trips you have made). In some sense a CV is an index to other evidence - which you need in order to make it manageable for employers to decide who it is worth interviewing. So your CV needs to change to reflect the things you want a potential employer to know about you (maintaining the passport analogy - some folk have several passports cos when they travel to some countries they don't want the autorities to know some of the other countries they have been to - the classic one being that if you are traveling to 'an arabic country' you may not want them to know if you have been to Israel).

The key to the CV - or is it to the evidence that the CV points to - is that folk believe it means something. So exam results are taken as being a useful indicator for example because people (quite wrongly) believe that they provide valid and reliable evidence about your academic competence.
  • As an academic 'peer review' is vital to my career progress - 'esteem indicators' are the key to my success - so it matters how many journal articles I have got, how many PhD students I have been asked to examine, how much money people have trusted me to have for research projects, how many key note lectures I have been asked to give, and so forth. In eBay peer review also plays an important role - I never buy stuff off someone who has got 'too much' negative feedback. So is there some way we could use peer review as evidence - that our 'life passport' points to?
  • My husband is a lecturer. His students do a week long course with him. At the end they don't have an exam, its assumed that they understood it, then they go back to their jobs and use the knowldge they gained. Same with me when I was at work, you did your course on databases or program design or whatever and then it went on your CV for later - but there wasn't an exam to test how well you did. So how could they be sure that the course was effective?
    ??? I suspect that the answer is that the person running the course had credentials that were trusted, which might have included reviews by previous people who had taken the course - and maybe the course was expensive (another indicator of quality - if it wasn't good folk wouldn't keep paying to go on it)

Anyway - seems to me that the killer issue is how to develop credible evidence that can be described concisley. And peer review seems to me to hold out some hope - but how to get that formalised and developed so that people see it as credible is the question ....

PeterT
PS Links with discussion of motivation in the Making information accessible on demand topic

Offline Mark Frank

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2006, 09:24:07 AM »
In the corporate world we mostly still use the Kirkpatrick model of evaluation for training. It is rather pedestrian and much criticised but I think it might be useful in this context. In particular is clear about the difference between:

Assessing learners acquisition of the skills and knowledge planned during the training (level 2).

and

Assessing whether learners use those skills and knowledge in the workplace (level 3).

and

Assessing whether this benefits the organisation that sent the learner on the training (level 4)

As you progress through the levels the evaluation gets more relevant but also there are more confounding
variables. e.g. Maybe the training was just fine but the learner's job was changed immediately afterwards.

Analagously for education. Any sort of passport or similar is at level 3. It is a more realistic measure of the education's true value but it is also subject to confounding variables. Maybe the child was great at medicine but there was an excess of doctors that year or they became ill at the wrong moment in their career. That's why I think you need evaluation at all levels.

1) What was the learning experience like - as seen from the learner's point of view and also from a learning professional's point of view.

2) Did the learner acquire the expected skills and knowledge - which might be an exam or coursework or whatever.

3) Did the learner get to use those skills and knowledge in their life - the CV/passport.

4) Did society benefit - really hard!

Cheers

Offline PeterT

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Re: Collaborative Learning
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2006, 08:31:07 AM »
 8) I think that is very helpful Mark - I've added a section to The assessment problem page in the wiki about this (hope that's OK)