Peer Learning thru Wiki & Discussion Board

As the socio-constructivists believe, better learning process occurs when expert learners help the novice ones to accomplish a task. The advance of ICT has provided the opportunities for learning to take place not only in the classrooms but also through computer-mediated communication (CMC). The technology has also enabled students to learn not only from their teachers, but also their peers. As Ohta (2001) maintains, true peers have different strengths and weaknesses. The peer-learning will mutually reduce the weaknesses and improve the strengths.

This paper shares and discusses an experience on how students learn from their peers through CMC. The discussion is based on the findings of a small research done to a group of 40 university students having a project with wiki and online discussion forum. In this project, the students are given access to create and modify a wiki, a collaborative website whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to it. The topic of the wiki is general linguistics. In addition, the discussion will also cover the negotiations of meaning occurring in an online discussion forum. In this non-synchronous discussion, students share their success and difficulties in writing an essay. Both the wiki and the online discussion forum are hosted for free at http://www.pbwiki.com/ and http://www.quicktopic.com/. These two channels of learning are made in addition to the weekly classroom sessions.
Both the benefits and the potential problems will be elaborated so that language or linguistic teachers can anticipate and plan for better projects.

The full paper is available here.

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