Together is better? Primary students’ and teachers’ experiences of collaborative learning online

Funding year: 
1 year
The South Learning Centre,
School sector
Project start date: 
January 2005
Project end date: 
January 2006
Principal investigator(s): 
Pat Street
Research team members: 
Sandra Williamson-Leadley, Jackie Ott, Anita Record, Caroline Mayo, and Dorothy Haywood
Research partners: 
Christchurch East Primary School, Waltham Primary School, and Ultralab South

Project Description

This project undertook to research the use of the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) online learning environment to teach a collaborative unit involving three classes in two primary schools.

There has been much research on collaborative learning at various levels of the school sector (e.g., Brown & Thomson, 2000; Holloway, 2003; Holmes, 2003; Holzer, 2004; Lourdusamy, Myint, & Sipusic, 2003; Peel & Shortland, 2004; Whatley & Bell, 2003). However, the use of online environments for collaborative work is a new and largely under-researched area for primary school teachers, as most studies in this area have involved the secondary or tertiary sector (Chih-Hsiung & Correy, 2003; Hakkinen, 2003; Hron & Friedrich, 2003; Neo, 2003). This project helps to address this gap in the research literature.

Research support was provided to encourage the participating teachers to develop as critical professionals reflecting on their practice, using action research. In particular, the project had teachers use a “hybrid” model (mixture of online and face-to-face environments) to deliver part of their classroom teaching and learning programme and reflect on this process (Collison, Erlbaum, Haavind, & Tinkler, 2000; Draves, 2002; Ko & Rossen, 2001).