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Title: Learning How to Learn Together (L2L2): Developing Tools to Support an Essential Complex Competence for the Internet Age
Authors: Yang, Yang
Wegerif, Rupert
Dragon, Toby
Mavrikis, Manolis
McLaren, Bruce M.
Issue Date: Jun-2013
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Yang, Y., Wegerif, R., Dragon, T., Mavrikis, M., & McLaren, B. M. (2013). Learning How to Learn Together (L2L2): Developing Tools to Support an Essential Complex Competence for the Internet Age. In Rummel, N., Kapur, M., Nathan, M., & Puntambekar, S. (Eds.), To See the World and a Grain of Sand: Learning across Levels of Space, Time, and Scale: CSCL 2013 Conference Proceedings Volume 2 — Short Papers, Panels, Posters, Demos & Community Events (pp. 193-196). Madison, WI: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: Learning to learn together (L2L2) is a complex competence requiring that all the group members are able to coordinate, regulate and plan the learning task by balancing issues of individual ability, motivation and expectations through constant dialogue. In this paper we report on a project to define the complex competence of L2L2 and to support it with a set of web-based tools and associated pedagogy, the Metafora Project. The system we develop embodies our theory of L2L2 and the results of our design-based research suggest that this system can succeed in making key elements of L2L2 explicit in the talk and actions of groups of learners. Learning how to learn (L2L) is often referred to as the most important knowledge age skill since it equips people to adapt flexibly in a time of rapid change (OECD, 2001; 2004). However, we argue that the reality of Internet mediated learning is more about learning how to learn together (L2L2) with others than about learning to learn as an individual. L2L2 goes beyond L2L because it combines the dimension of task management, (how to organise complex inquiries with multiple stages and strands) with the dimension of social relationships (working with attitudes, expectations and identities in order to participate constructively in learning as a collective accomplishment). In this paper we report on a project that attempts to define the complex competence of L2L2 and to support it with a Metafora system (Wegerif et al, 2012), which includes a planning and reflection tool; a dynamic concept mapping space (Loll et al, 2011) and a chat, and associated pedagogy. In the first part of this paper we characterise L2L2, presenting elements of our design framework for teaching L2L2 and in the second part of this paper we describe design-based research used to test and refine the theory of L2L2 presented in the first part and to develop the working Metafora system. Part 1: Characterising L2L2 Transferable learning skills and competences such as L2L have mainly been understood as the attributes of individuals. L2L2 is different because it is primarily the attribute of a group or collective. We hope that individuals who participate in one group acquire skills and competences that they can take with them when they go to work with other groups. However, these skills and competences are essentially social and do not exist outside of social interaction. Viewed through the analytic lens of the group, L2L2 is about group norms that support distributed leadership, mutual engagement, peer assessment, and collective thinking. Teaching skills and competences to groups can be understood as a form of intentional culture change (Cobb & Bauersfeld, 1995; Wegerif, 2002). This process can be partly understood using a modified version of a commonly used schema in the teaching of individual skills: the process of moving from unconscious incompetence, through conscious incompetence, to conscious competence and on, eventually, to unconscious competence (Howell, 1982). The implicit norms of the culture in a classroom can be changed in a similar way. One important difference between teaching individual skills and changing cultures is that cultures are people plus tools including communications technology. This means that the tools that support communication within a culture are not only scaffolds that will fade away as new skills and competences are learnt but these tools can also be essential enablers of collective thoughts and actions (Pea, 1993). The Metafora system is designed to serve a dual role of supporting the teaching and learning of L2L2 and supporting the continuing practice of L2L2. This means that it provides tools to help make group norms explicit and change the culture but it also provides tools to help groups that are already good at L2L2 work together effectively and creatively. In the first stage of this pedagogy the groups are made aware that they need to coordinate their work together but are not sure how best to do this, this initial stage is called the `challenge' when they are presented with a complex problem. Explicit tools are provided by the Metafora system to support them. These tools, especially icons representing aspects of L2L2 (Table 1), make some of the implicit norms followed by effective groups, explicit. In the full system icons, representing aspects of L2L2, are combined with dynamic concept mapping spaces for discussions (LASAD, see Figure 2), microworlds and a pedagogical strategy. Component Explanation Visual Activity stage Key stages of dialogic inquiry-based learning process, e.g. Explore, Reflect on process
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