Developing a Collaborative Virtual Learning Environment Between Students in Cross Disciplines in the Built Environment.Articles
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AbstractIntegrated Project Delivery is a rapidly developing approach to Design and Construction.This approach uses business structures, new technologies, and newly developing practices to collaboratively utilise the talents and contributions of all participants in the Design and Construction process.This project replicated this approach by creating a collaborative project between the School of Construction and the School of Real Estate and Construction Economics. The term “collaborative learning” refers to a method of delivery in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups towards a common goal. The students were responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own. The objectives of this collaborative project were to: Promote interaction between students from different but related courses. Enhance student’s ability to think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions as a team. Evaluate the benefits of using a Virtual Learning Environment for teaching, learning and assessment. Examine the benefits of BIM as a tool for feedback. There were a number of benefits to this project with an emphasis given to the interaction of the students. The collaborative learning approach provided a format for the students to interact, including; giving and receiving help, exchanging information and resources and giving and receiving feedback, challenging and encouraging each other, and jointly reflecting on progress. The other main benefit was in the use of a Virtual Learning Environment and associated technologies. This study used a qualitative methodology, using focus groups, reflective journals, and interviews to gather data. The study included sixty students from the two schools in question who were divided into groups of four. The students worked together on a common project, collaborating to achieve a common goal. The findings were that students were very supportive of using wikis. They enjoyed working with students from a different course, and found that working in a collaborative manner improved their learning. They were supportive of using 3D models and acknowledged the importance of Building Information Modelling (BIM) going forward. On the downside, they felt that timetabling within the two schools restricted the options for meeting. They also felt that formative feedback on a more regular basis would be helpful.
Citation InformationMcDonnell, F.P. and Hayden, R. Developing a collaborative virtual learning environment between students in cross disciplines in the Built Environment. Irish journal of academic practice, june 2013.