When Group Work Leaves the Classroom Does Group Skills Development Also Go Out the Window?
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In moving towards what Lemke (1996) terms the 'interactive learning paradigm', higher education has adopted two key principles consistent with group learning technologies: 堬earning is always mediated by and occurs through language (Falk, 1997; Gee, 1997); and 堬earning is distributed across a range of other people, sites, objects, technologies and time (Gee, 1997). A third and relatively recent principle to emerge on the higher education scene that seems to 'contradict' accepted views of group learning technologies is that: 堭any universities now choose to offer 'learning resources' online. This paper asks whether Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are 'robust' enough to support, sustain and address industry, employer and government calls for greater attention to group skills development in university graduates. Data features an examination of respondent feedback (n=171) in an 'ICT-rich' group work setting, and the subsequent ratings of group skills development over a 13-week period. This discussion offers an account of learner outcomes by adopting Kirkpatrick's (1996) four levels of evaluation of learning as a classification scheme for determining learner satisfaction (Level One), the effectiveness of learning transfer (Level Two), its impact on practice (Level Three) and the appropriation of learning behaviours by participants (Level Four). The contrasting patterns of ICT use between female and male users in the data are discussed in relation to building social presence and producing social categories online. Differences reported here indicate that ICT group work is moving forward, but opportunities to challenge rather than reproduce.
British Journal of Educational Technology
© 2005 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at [www.blackwell-synergy.com.]