Michael Buerger and
Informationswissenschaft Universität Konstanz
K3, work in progress, an acroncym for Kollaboration (collaboration), Kommunikation (communication) and Kompetenz (competence),
will provide a knowledge management software that supports collaborative knowledge production in learning environments.
The underlying hypothesis is that collaborative discourse conciliates information as well as communication competence
in a better way than traditional methods of instruction. The collaborative, communicative paradigm of K3 is supported by
asynchronous communication tools as a means of constructivist learning methodology.
In summer semester 2003 the course "Communicative paradigm of knowledge management" was applied as a first case study of
K3's didactic concepts in teaching with the help of traditional communication software such as an electronic communication forum,
but also by using the online collaborative dictionary ENFORUM (www.enforum.net). The conceptual design of the lecture
was based on blended learning and a variation and combination of behaviouristic teaching methods like traditional lecturing
and constructivist teaching methods in collaborative group work orders and individual glossary work assignment (using ENFORUM).
The students' evaluation of this lecture provided some important clues, concerning the further development of K3.
Basic findings are: Individual concept oriented work is bound to high learning skills as a prerequisite.
Skills that could be learned stepwise i.e. with the help of clear cut group work orders.
Clear and specific working guidelines as well as immediate rating feedback are seen as very important orientation guides.
Within these constraints students rate s f determined collaborative work and autonomous individual work very high and inspiring.
To measure the success in learning within this paradigm is still a challenge, because permanent intellectual evaluation of
students' entries in the forum and the dictionary is very costly whereas automatic rating processes with its limited quality
control is not well accepted by students so far. Altogether participants judged learning success when achieved by
collaborative and electronically supported techniques as least as high than success achieved when lectures where
the primary means of teaching. In general, the students' feedback with regard to the didactical course concept was
completely positive. On the software part, in particular with respect to the electronic communication forum,
there was some complaint that available orientation means (so far mainly based on the thread paradigm) were unsufficient, but,
nevertheless, in general, asynchronous communication software as a basic means for knowledge sharing was assessed as
useful as long as the negative effects of cognitive overload can be avoided. Therefore one of the major challenges for K3
is the development of adequate methods for structuring communication forums and the visualization of knowledge and discourse
structures in collaborative work.
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