The Design of Computer-network Collaborative Learning Environments


The advent of the computer-based, educational and workplace environments, and all of the change that it entails, seems inevitable within technological society. The access to electronic information and technology has brought unprecedented opportunity and challenges to our personal lives, industry and education.

The computer-network collaborative learning environments project (CCLEP) is a necessary element of the distributed learning environment, where students and instructor(s) interact via digital, computer networks from different places and at a convenient time for each participant. We envision it as a computer-based, network-centric area, linked by telecommunications, where the elements of learning, teaching and analysis may be available to persons, at their leisure, interest and contributions.

If computers are to become sophisticated learning environments, their software programs must fulfil criteria set according to known learning principles. These principles are to be found within the behavioural sciences and are based on a long established body of teaching experience and empirical research. Technology will not be the salvation of personal education - creativity in developing learning environments for exploration and discovery, may well be.

The CCLEP is a three year plan that focuses on both teacher training in technology, and on the development of an advanced curriculum through the development of Computer-network Collaborative Learning Environments Projects(CCLEP). Community programs, access centers and public libraries are included in this project to enhance the use of learning and educational technology throughout the region. This program is in direct support of Goals 2000, the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), and the USDOE, Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program.


The CCLEP, Computer-network Collaborative Learning Project will: (1) increase the district's technology infrastructure; (2) provide staff development opportunities to teachers related to the use of technology across the curriculum; (3) improve student outcomes through an increased use of technology; (4) create an extensive bank of teacher-developed and critiqued, technology-enriched learning activities; and (5) support the development of multimedia electronic portfolios by all students in the district. CCLEP responds to President Clinton's Technology Literacy Challenge by promoting curriculum reform, maximizing student achievement, and using technology to enhance teaching and learning.


Requirements and purpose of computer-network, collaborative learning environments

  • inform and expand the understanding of computer-based, knowledge and information access, analysis and creation.

  • recognize the requirement to engage the person as well as teach the content.

  • understand the importance of the social context of learning through interactive collaboration.

  • allow participants to collaborate and affect the development and organization of the instructional activities, conducted in the networked, learning environment.

  • transition to the computer-based, information workplace environment, within a society that has already become one of information workers.

    Organizing to develop successful instruction and learning, via computer-based networks, requires careful consideration of the unique attributes and dynamic nature of the networked, computer medium.

    Copyright, 1998/99 W.E.R., Lexington, Ky
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