Lessons Learned in the Development of a Collaborative Learning Environment Designed to Educate Students on the Creation of User-Generated Classification Structures

By Otto Borchert, Brian Slator and Guy Hokanson.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

CIRCLE (Classification Identification, and Retrieval-based Collaborative Learning Environment) is a new web-based application designed to teach students how to identify and classify real world objects including trees, birds, rocks, or any other object amenable to classification (Borchert and Slator 2014). Students gather multimedia representations of specimens using their mobile devices, collaborate to determine appropriate observations and experiments to perform on the specimens, identify the specimens based on these elaborations, and create classification trees of the co-constructed knowledge. These classification trees are then used to populate context-independent game templates, which students play to solidify their knowledge using retrieval learning concepts (Karpicke and Blunt 2011). In this study, two separate groups used CIRCLE: a group of Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics Education (STEM Ed) experts and a group of undergraduates enrolled in a General Ecology course. Comparisons of perceived usability were conducted using the System Usability Scale (Brooke 1996). Experts found the system more usable than novices in general. These successful first steps provide important lessons for future development.

Keywords: Collaborative Learning, Mobile Application, Design-Based Research

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 9, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 778.006KB).

Otto Borchert

Lecturer, Computer Science Department, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, USA

Dr. Borchert is interested in the development of educational technology solutions, including immersive virtual environments, collaborative technologies, and user-generated content for increasing student motivation.

Dr. Brian Slator

Professor and Department Head, Department of Computer Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Dr. Slator is interested in immersive virtual environments for education, authentic instruction, scenario-based assessment, and changing education in our schools.

Guy Hokanson

Programmer/Analyst, Department of Computer Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Mr. Hokanson is interested in the development of immersive virtual environments (IVE) and content creation tools for improving student education, motivation, and critical thinking.