This week we read about different online learning tools that can be implemented to enhance and assist in learning. It was interesting to see different tools from the resources and what other students posted. A common theme I found with many of these tools is collaborative learning plays an important role in how it is applied into the curriculum. Discussion tools that may have a video element are used to create better sense of community between learners. In online learning environments, the idea of community can be felt by some as a missing element compared to face to face learning environments. These tools bring in a new an approach on how learners and instructors can interact and engage with one another.
Utilizing tools such as VoiceThread or Flipgrid for online discussions and group collaboration have received positive feedback from students. Using this application method for group interaction increased the feel of community between learners compared to older online methods.
I believe if peer reviews and group work plays a major role with assignments, it helps to interact in more ways than just your basic text discussion boards. Being able to put a face and voice to a person you are interacting with helps you to realize you are dealing with an actual person and gives a more human emotional connection to the discussions you will have. Also with feedback being so important in learner success, using applications where you can see each other and hear their voice helps to put what they say into better context. That is something I have felt can get lost by only using simple text only discussion boards. We learn from one another, so using tools that can help bring us together and connect will only help to improve learning success.
Ching & Hsu. (2013). Collaborative learning using VoiceThread in an online graduate course. Knowledge Management & E-Learning, Vol.5, No.3. Sep 2013
Hsu, Ching & Grabowski (2014). Web 2.0 Applications and Practices for Learning Through Collaboration.