Int. J. of Learning Technology   »   2012 Vol.7, No.3

 

 

Title: Evaluating automatic group formation mechanisms to promote collaborative learning - a case study

 

Authors: Carine G. Webber; Maria de Fátima Webber do Prado Lima

 

Addresses:
Information Technology Centre, University of Caxias do Sul, Rua Francisco Getúlio Vargas, 1130, 95070-560 Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil.
Information Technology Centre, University of Caxias do Sul, Rua Francisco Getúlio Vargas, 1130, 95070-560 Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil

 

Abstract: Group work is an important resource that educators have in order to promote collaborative learning situations. In several domains it has been exploited as a valuable teaching strategy. In technical domains, such as logic programming, results on the effect of collaborative activities on learning remains still uncertain. In this sense, this paper intends to contribute with one main research questions: can an automatic group formation mechanism be able to form consistent and successful groups for learning activities? In order to answer this question, we have prepared an experiment with students from computer programming undergraduate course. Students were asked to work individually and in automatically formed pairs. Our conclusion is that group work can help and bring benefits to most learners. We demonstrate in this paper that automatic techniques can produce coherent results regarding group formation.

 

Keywords: automatic group formation; clustering techniques; collaborative learning; group work; computer programming education; undergraduate courses.

 

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2012.049193

 

Int. J. of Learning Technology, 2012 Vol.7, No.3, pp.261 - 276

 

Available online: 23 Sep 2012

 

 

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