22 SES 09 A, Advanced Approaches in Learning
Argumentation, critical thinking, and reasoning are important for students in higher education due to the importance of discourse in the acquisition of scientific knowledge and its application in handling complex and societal issues in the third millennium.With the rapid growth of information and communication technology and widespread accessibility of the WorldWideWeb, it is inevitable that we will face global problems and complex issues.These complexities call for appropriate specialization of domain knowledge in which qualified professionals from different disciplines need to learn how to critically analyse the situation, build, consider, and weigh arguments and counter-arguments, test, enlighten, and clarify their uncertainties, and thus achieve understanding about complex ill-structured problems.This reality has consequences for higher education, especially for providing students with ample experience working in learning groups.Well-designed educational settings have the potential to prepare and train students in higher education to become capable and qualified professionals, who can analyse, conceptualize, synthesize, and cope with complex and authentic problems.Therefore, it is a necessity for students in higher education to acquire the skills of argumentation and critical thinking to be able to manage today’s complex issues.
Various approaches have been proposed to help students of higher education acquire the skills of argumentation and critical reasoning for actively participating in the knowledge society.The most prominent recent approach is the use of digital learning modules such as online argument awareness representations, computer-supported collaboration scripts, and digital dialogue games to scaffold collaborative argumentation and support the building, representing and sharing of arguments with the aim of learning(see Kollar et al., 2006; Noroozi et al., 2012, 2013; Weinberger & Fischer, 2006).Specifically, in the past 10 years, computer-supported collaboration scripts have received much attention among learning scientists.
The underlying purpose for using scripts in digital learning modules is to help students follow a desired mode of interaction and argumentation. Scripts provide students with pre-defined roles and activities that can stimulate argumentation. Scripts can provide explicit guidelines for students to clarify what, when, and by whom certain activities need to be executed (Kollar et al., 2006; Weinberger & Fischer, 2006). Scripts have often been realised through the use of prompts (Baker & Lund, 1997) which can take the form of sentence openers (McAlister et al., 2004; Nussbaum et al., 2004; Ravenscroft, 2007) or question stems (Ge & Land, 2004). Prompts allows for enacting of scripts that provide learners with guidelines, hints, and suggestions.
Most of these scripts have involved challenging intellectual tasks, prompting and supporting students in arguing and debating issues without regard for the students’ entertainment, motivation, and enjoyment. This is striking since in real educational settings, motivational factors and willingness to argue play a key role for engaging students in argumentative discourse activities in these technology-enhanced learning environments.Whilst it is clear that there is widespread interest in the potential of digital learning environments such as scripts, there is a need for further research to explore the effectiveness of such scripts in promoting domain-specific knowledge gain as well as students' satisfaction and motivation with the learning experiences and its outcomes. Given the nature of digital learning environments, where student contributions are open to all students and staff, this is a particularly important aspect, both from a pedagogical and an motivational perspective.The goal of this study is to determine the extent to which students’ argumentative discourse activities and domain-specific knowledge gain can be improved using scripts in digital learning modules.In addition, the extent to which the use of such scripts is appreciated by students in terms of their satisfaction with the learning experience and its outcomes is studied.
Baker, M., & Lund, K. (1997). Promoting reflective interactions in a CSCL environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 13(3), 175-193. Ge, X., & Land, S.M. (2004). A conceptual framework for scaffolding ill-structured problem-solving processes using question prompts and peer interactions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(2), 5-22. Kollar, I., Fischer, F., & Hesse, F.W. (2006). Collaboration scripts-a conceptual analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 18(2), 159-185. McAlister, S., Ravenscroftw, A., & Scanlon, E. (2004). Combining interaction and context design to support collaborative argumentation using a tool for synchronous CMC. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(3), 194-204. Noroozi, O., Weinberger, A., Biemans, H.J.A., Mulder, M., & Chizari, M. (2012). Argumentation-based computer supported collaborative learning (ABCSCL). A systematic review and synthesis of fifteen years of research. Educational Research Review, 7(2), 79-106. Noroozi, O., Weinberger, A., Biemans, H.J.A., Mulder, M., & Chizari, M. (2013). Facilitating argumentative knowledge construction through a transactive discussion script in CSCL. Computers and Education, 61(2), 59-76. Nussbaum, E.M., Hartley, K., Sinatra, G.M., Reynolds, R.E., & Bendixen, L.D. (2004). Personality interactions and scaffolding in on-line discussions. Educational Computing Research, 30(1-2), 113-137. Ravenscroft, A. (2007). Promoting thinking and conceptual change with digital dialogue games. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23(6), 453-465. Weinberger, A., & Fischer, F. (2006). A framework to analyze argumentative knowledge construction in computer-supported collaborative learning. Computers and Education, 46(1), 71-95.
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