JUCS - Journal of Universal Computer Science 11(3): 378-393, doi: 10.3217/jucs-011-03-0378
Small Groups Learning Synchronously Online at the Workplace: The Interaction of Factors Determining Outcome and Acceptance
expand article infoStefan Münzer, Bo Xiao§
‡ Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany§ Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Publication and Information Systems, Darmstadt, Germany
Open Access
E-learning at the workplace might be accomplished by synchronous cooperative learning sessions of small groups using net-based communication. This form of learning is suitable both for course-based e-learning as well as for knowledge transfer within the company. The small groups learn self-regulated, i.e. without the guidance of an instructor. However, the learning tasks are pre-defined and a specific learning process is precisely described. In the present study, the goal of the cooperative learning sessions is to deepen pre-existing declarative knowledge. During cooperative learning, group members are required to actively use, acquire, enrich and exchange their knowledge. In a field study carried out in a large software company, a software tool was used which supported the specific process by phase-specific delivering of instructions and learning materials as well as by means of process control (including turn-taking, role assignment, and coordination of task flow). The results of the empirical evaluation demonstrate a high amount of topic-oriented contributions and the realization of the expected learning activities. However, feedback data indicated a low acceptance of the software tool because of its restrictive process control. It is discussed that there might have been a non-optimal interaction between the factors technology and target group in the study.
professional training, workplace learning, computer-supported cooperative learning, quality assurance, empirical study