The Design of Computer-network Collaborative Learning Environments


Proposed as an operational system and a set of concepts under development


A computer-network, learning environment and information presentation method

The goal is to translate, to computer-network access, all of the elements that make up the educational experience:

  • the materials, (textbooks, maps and charts, lesson plans, etc.),
  • the tools (the blackboard, notebooks, calculators, etc.),
  • and the processes (lectures, discussions, question and answer, etc).

    By utilizing the full potential of information technology to modularize learning, using multimedia and other means, learners can enter the curriculum where they need to, move through it at their own pace, and actively pursue their learning at a time and place that suits them.

    The challenge is to relate computer-based, individualized instruction to the overall learning objectives of traditional, collaborative groups. Learning environments must provide learning tools that are similar in many ways to productivity tools in the workplace. We endevor to restructure the computer-based, teaching machine into an interactive, learning tool.


    Using exploration, generation, and navigation of knowledge as the collabrative learning process will promote:

  • learning to find information independently, as an important part of the learning process.

  • learning the relationships within information, by generating mental models of the knowledge, occuring through the computer-network, navigational process.

  • exploration of the content and range of the knowledge domain, as well as the organization [and relationship] of the knowledge by the interactive selections through the content.

  • learning by discovery and interaction, through the restructuring of information elements into a more meaningful form that elicits authentic understanding.

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