Designing optimal peer support to alleviate learner cognitive load in Learning Networks

Amy Hsiao, Francis Brouns, Peter Sloep

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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    Abstract

    In Learning Networks, learners have to engage in social interactions for sharing knowledge to achieve their personalized learning goals. When working on complex tasks, self-organized knowledge sharing imposes too much cognitive load and this is detrimental to learning. According to pedagogical guidelines of cognitive load theory, learning environments should not only avoid activities that distract learner attention but also focus learner attention on relevant activities that contribute to learning. This paper applied these guidelines in two studies, both meant to explore how to design an optimal peer support system. Study 1 aimed to alleviate learner cognitive load by using an automated peer tutor selection system. However, the results could not support our assumption that finding available peers for those who need knowledge sharing alleviates learner cognitive load. Study 2 explored how to support the interaction process of knowledge sharing by enhancing different competencies, namely content knowledge and tutoring skills. The results showed that supporting learners with different competencies alleviates cognitive load on different dimensions. Interestingly, students supported with content knowledge felt significantly more frustrated than those with tutoring skills. Our future research aims to design an optimal peer support system by 1) alleviating learner cognitive load through refining selection criteria to find suitable peers for knowledge sharing and 2) optimizing interaction process by designing support structures based on content knowledge and tutoring skills during knowledge sharing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the IADIS International Conference Web Based Communites and Social Media 2012 Collaborative Technologies 2012
    EditorsPiet Kommers, Pedro Isaías, Nik Bessis
    PublisherIADIS Press
    Pages73-80
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)978-972-8939-72-4
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2012
    Event9th Web Based Communities and Social Media International Conference (part of the IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems 2012) - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 19 Jul 201221 Jul 2012
    Conference number: 9
    http://www.iadisportal.org/previouseditions/WBC_2012.pdf

    Publication series

    SeriesComputer Science and Information Systems Series

    Conference

    Conference9th Web Based Communities and Social Media International Conference (part of the IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems 2012)
    Abbreviated titleICWBC - SM 2012
    Country/TerritoryPortugal
    CityLisbon
    Period19/07/1221/07/12
    Internet address

    Keywords

    • Learning networks
    • cognitive load
    • peer support
    • peer tutor selection
    • peer tutor competencies

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