How does collaborative practice facilitate learning? processes involved in a Wiki-mediated collaborative writing task

Cullen, R. and Wild, C. (2018) How does collaborative practice facilitate learning? processes involved in a Wiki-mediated collaborative writing task. In: Jones, C., ed. Practice in Second Language Learning. Cambridge University Press. pp. 228-253 ISBN 9781107131224

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This chapter investigates some of the processes involved in the practice of on-line collaborative learning. Collaborative practice, in this environment, is defined as the ways in which learners interact with one another through a wiki in order to complete a group writing task. The processes involved in this practice are amenable to investigation through a qualitative analysis of the learners’ wiki postings.

The learners in this study comprise two groups of student teachers from Malaysia studying on a B.Ed. TESL programme in a university in the UK. The investigation seeks to shed light on the collaborative processes involved in completing the task, with particular reference to how they make use of the wiki technology to support each other in the writing process, and how the ensuing collaboration contributed to task achievement.

Features of collaborative practice revealed through the analysis included: (a) a strong ‘social presence’ in each group, which is seen as a contributory factor to successful task completion and student participation; (b) high levels of equality and ‘mutuality’ of student participation; and (c) the use of scaffolding and peer feedback, in the interests of both formal accuracy as well as style of writing, with students adopting the roles of critical friends and ‘teachers-in-waiting’. The collaboration appeared to be enhanced by the medium of the wiki, which both groups used as a discussion board, rather than an editing suite, and which allowed students’ time to give reflective, considered feedback to one another.

The study suggests that giving students autonomy to develop their own method of working on collaborative writing tasks on a wiki helps provide beneficial conditions for collaboration. However, effective collaborative practice also needs training directed at helping students develop their proof-reading skills, as well as their confidence, ability and willingness to comment on their own and each other’s work in the wiki environment.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Language Studies and Applied Linguistics
Depositing User: Mrs Carol Wild
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 13:40
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2018 13:40

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00