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Collaborative learning amongst distance learners of mathematics
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Professor Sugata Mitra
Philip K, Mitra S
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
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This paper describes the effects of collaborative support on groups of distance learners of General Certificate of Secondary Education mathematics. Two experiments are described. In each case, learners were provided with teleconferencing with peers, experts and mentors in addition to structured study materials. No improvements were noticed in course completion rates and the learners were seen to disengage from the teleconference over time. When provided with a virtual learning environment, learners were, once again, found not to use the practice or support features of the system. The results from our experiments are intriguing in that they seem to indicate that scaffolding in the form of structured material, collaborative environments, and a virtual learning environment does not seem to affect performance in any way other than an improvement in revenue realisation.
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