THE ROLE OF THE TUTOR: GUIDING LEARNERS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF COLLABORATIVE LEARNING DRIVEN BY ASSESSMENT

M.A. Doolan

University of Hertfordshire (UNITED KINGDOM)
This paper offers a contribution to the practice of blended learning by highlighting and exploring the role of the tutor in guiding learners through the process of collaborative learning driven by assessment.

This study was undertaken as part of a doctoral thesis in order to clarify the role of the tutor and the impact on the learner experience whilst using pedagogical models that combine the concepts of learner centric, sociocultural and dialogic perspectives on collaborative learning and technology in meeting the needs of learners in the 21st Century. Findings show that the Wiki supported community and collaborative aspects of a sociocultural practice.

This paper highlights the role of the tutor and shows how this was found to be a key in setting, implementing and guiding learners as part of a social constructivist pedagogical practice. The pedagogical approach adopted was to blend face-to-face and Wiki learning experiences and was found to be key in ensuring learner ownership, engagement and the fostering of a learning community. The importance of technology design and use to accommodate collaborative and community aspects was found to be key. It was found that technology is not simply an add-on but rather needs to be planned and considered purposefully by both tutors and learners when used in a blend to supplement learning on campus in higher education.

This study has shown that, for this to happen, academics need to be provided with the appropriate support, knowledge and skills required in developing a blended learning experience using a Wiki supplemented by class contact on campus.