Designing "collaboraTTTTive" learning with 4Ts

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Francesca Pozzi
Andrea Ceregini
Donatella Persico


In proposing a method to support the design of CSCL activities, this paper lies at the crossroads between the fields of Learning Design (LD) and Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). In CSCL, notions such as ‘collaborative techniques’ or ‘scripts’ are considered of paramount importance for designing online collaborative learning activities. A number of tools have been implemented to reify these concepts and to visualize them as part of learning designs. However, most of these tools are intended for representing preconceived learning designs that have already taken shape in the designer’s mind; very few, in any, specifically aim to guide and support CSCL designers through the critical initial steps of conceptualizing a design. The work illustrated in this paper addresses this gap by drawing on a model for the design of collaborative activities that is based on the interplay among four essential elements: Task, Teams, Time and Technology. These ‘Ts’ form a conceptual matrix underpinning the decision making that takes place in the process of designing online collaborative activities. The model forms the heart of a specifically-designed multiplayer card game used to engage designer-practitioners themselves in collaborative learning design activities. This tangible card/board game has been successfully tested with 44 practitioner-designers and, as a next step, is due to be enhanced with digital capabilities.

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