Collaborative learning and critical thinking in technology-enhanced environments : an instructional design framework

Godat, Meredith (2012) Collaborative learning and critical thinking in technology-enhanced environments : an instructional design framework. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The nature and characteristics of how learners learn today are changing. As technology use in learning and teaching continues to grow, its integration to facilitate deep learning and critical thinking becomes a primary consideration. The implications for learner use, implementation strategies, design of integration frameworks and evaluation of their effectiveness in learning environments cannot be overlooked. This study specifically looked at the impact that technology-enhanced learning environments have on different learners’ critical thinking in relation to eductive ability, technological self-efficacy, and approaches to learning and motivation in collaborative groups. These were explored within an instructional design framework called CoLeCTTE (collaborative learning and critical thinking in technology-enhanced environments) which was proposed, revised and used across three cases. The field of investigation was restricted to three key questions: 1) Do learner skill bases (learning approach and eductive ability) influence critical thinking within the proposed CoLeCTTE framework? If so, how?; 2) Do learning technologies influence the facilitation of deep learning and critical thinking within the proposed CoLeCTTE framework? If so, how?; and 3) How might learning be designed to facilitate the acquisition of deep learning and critical thinking within a technology-enabled collaborative environment? The rationale, assumptions and method of research for using a mixed method and naturalistic case study approach are discussed; and three cases are explored and analysed.

The study was conducted at the tertiary level (undergraduate and postgraduate) where participants were engaged in critical technical discourse within their own disciplines. Group behaviour was observed and coded, attributes or skill bases were measured, and participants interviewed to acquire deeper insights into their experiences. A progressive case study approach was used, allowing case investigation to be implemented in a "ladder-like" manner. Cases 1 and 2 used the proposed CoLeCTTE framework with more in-depth analysis conducted for Case 2 resulting in a revision of the CoLeCTTE framework. Case 3 used the revised CoLeCTTE framework and in-depth analysis was conducted. The findings led to the final version of the framework.

In Cases 1, 2 and 3, content analysis of group work was conducted to determine critical thinking performance. Thus, the researcher used three small groups where learner skill bases of eductive ability, technological self-efficacy, and approaches to learning and motivation were measured. Cases 2 and 3 participants were interviewed and observations provided more in-depth analysis.

The main outcome of this study is analysis of the nature of critical thinking within collaborative groups and technology-enhanced environments positioned in a theoretical instructional design framework called CoLeCTTE. The findings of the study revealed the importance of the Achieving Motive dimension of a student’s learning approach and how direct intervention and strategies can positively influence critical thinking performance. The findings also identified factors that can adversely affect critical thinking performance and include poor learning skills, frustration, stress and poor self-confidence, prioritisations over learning; and inadequate appropriation of group role and tasks. These findings are set out as instructional design guidelines for the judicious integration of learning technologies into learning and teaching practice for higher education that will support deep learning and critical thinking in collaborative groups. These guidelines are presented in two key areas: technology and tools; and activity design, monitoring, control and feedback.

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ID Code: 61878
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Watters, James & Nykvist, Shaun S.
Keywords: critical thinking, deep learning, learning approach, eductive ability, technological self-efficacy, collaboration, technology, ICT, metacognition, higher order thinking, mixed method research, case study
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 16 Aug 2013 06:26
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2015 02:42

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