Otto Borchert from North Dakota State University won the Best Paper Award at eLEOT 2014, the 1st International Conference on e-Learning e-Education and Online Training. We talked with him about the conference, his application (CIRCLE), and how it can create benefits to the e-learning field.
What are your impressions about eLEOT 2014? What were, in your opinion, the most innovative issues presented at the Conference?
I really enjoyed my experience at eLEOT 2014. Despite it being the first conference in the series, we already felt like a tight-knit group of individuals with a common goal. I was especially impressed by the scripted animation and implementing peer review in MOOCs papers. Bringing quality education to a wider audience is important for the future of the world.
Your paper won the Best Paper Award at eLEOT 2014. What do you think is the main contribution of you research to the field of e-learning?
Teaching students how to create classification structures is a difficult problem. CIRCLE offers a fresh technological perspective on this old process. Integrating advances in areas like collaboration and gamification into the creation of the CIRCLE offers added evidence of their effectiveness and can encourage others to apply these techniques in their own projects.
Your application, CIRCLE (Classification, Identification, and Retrieval-based Collaborative Learning Environment), focuses on cooperative learning. In what ways can this type of learning provide benefits to students?
Learning theory hypothesizes that students construct their knowledge through their experiences and interactions with the world. Interacting with other students in a cooperative environment allows students to gain new perspectives and challenge each other to learn and grow from each other’s insights.
In a well-designed cooperative environment, students need to help each other in order for the group to succeed. This is in contrast to competitive or even individually focused environments, where the ones who don’t succeed start to lose motivation and become discouraged from further learning.
In which direction should researchers move according to the future developments of e-learning?
Identifying and scaling up a set of best practices for developing mobile collaborative learning environments is an important problem as our world becomes more connected through tablets, phones, and wearable technology. I think it will also be important to identify ways to improve communication in these platforms. While video, audio, and text offer common modalities for communicating, integrating other non-verbal cues or offering in-context assistance will help learners as well.