1 University of Thessaly (GREECE)
2 Tallinn University (ESTONIA)
3 Virtual Campus (PORTUGAL)
5 University of Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 232-237
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0071
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
One of the biggest challenges in the Covid-19 era is the seamless continuation of learning in formal educational contexts. Billions of learners were forced out of school worldwide because of the pandemic, engaging in eLearning instead of in-class instruction. The continuation of educational offerings is imperative a young generation is in danger of being offered subpar learning experiences with detrimental effects to their own development and society.

In this environment, eLearning has emerged as a potential solution. While eLearning offers benefits in terms of knowledge retention completely foregoing in-class instruction and collaboration opportunities is not desirable as it deprives learners from the social aspect of education. The uncertainty introduced by the Covid- 19 pandemic highlights the need for the development of alternative, blended educational models that facilitate virtual interaction to complement physical presence. Integrated learning may be significantly enriched by technology that simulates face to face communication and promotes co working anywhere, anytime. While eLearning services do exist that allow access to traditional, static digital content such as text, images, and video many of them fail to engage students in highly interactive teamwork that simulates classroom group collaboration. Through most available eLearning platforms students can passively review content or collaborate through asynchronous services such as forums or chats that cannot effectively replace face to face collaboration due to the time lag between student responses and reactions.

This work presents a highly interactive digital collaborative learning platform that allows learners to actively work together in groups in real-time or asynchronously on jointly owned projects through a commonly owned digital workspace. VIE (Virtual presence in Higher Education Hybrid Learning Delivery) project envisions a digital work environment through which students will design solutions to learning challenges through brainstorming and synthesizing by building on each other’s ideas. The VIE solution simulates the way that students work together in a classroom towards solution design by taking notes on a common blackboard that all can see and update at the same time. The VIE digital learning service enables collaborations to take place in a similar manner but on line, for example from home or from the road.

The service functionality includes avatar presence through which participants will be able to recognize their team members in the digital environment; sharing of ideas in the form of building blocks that all can see, review, edit, and combine simultaneously towards building a larger solution from smaller contributions. It further involves project organization that allows the effective management and prioritization of tasks in a visual and engaging manner. Interaction will be supported through both desktop and mobile devices for maximizing access flexibility.

The proposed digital learning intervention creates seamless learning experiences that take place through a combination of physical and virtual presence. To facilitate the adoption of the proposed integrated learning design, the project will further focus on building instructor capacity through proof-of-concept learning activities, supporting content, and good practices.

The work is funded by the VIE project funded by the Erasmus+ program, which is implemented from 2021 – 2023.
Digital, collaboration, hybrid learning, interactivity.