Scaffolding critical thinking in wikibook creation as a learning task
Nari Kim, Indiana University, United States
Indiana University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to investigate how to use wikibooks, which emerged through informal learning contexts of Web 2.0 technologies, as a scaffolding tool to improve critical thinking skills in formal learning contexts. Two research questions examined the degrees of participation and critical thinking in wikibook creation under instructional guidance. This study was executed as a mixed-method study incorporating multiple-case study and computer-mediated discourse analysis. Two cases of creating a wikibook as part of a scaffolded learning task were selected: (a) POLT, an enhanced scaffolding wikibook project, and (b) WELT, a minimal scaffolding wikibook project. Results showed that the use of enhanced scaffolds to promote critical thinking were an important factor in wikibook creation. In terms of online participation, the enhanced scaffolding POLT case displayed more expert-like writing patterns, which reduced time and effort related to technical difficulties of wikibooks. The minimal scaffolding WELT case showed novice-like writing patterns, indicating a need for more trial and error on the part of the students when figuring out how to create a wikibook. In addition, the enhanced scaffolding case presented higher levels of critical thinking skills regarding the ratios of the analysis units. More interactions with the instructor in the POLT may have enriched the reflections of individuals, particularly novices in academic writing, as well as helped them adopt new ways of thinking after receiving the instructor's scaffolding and perspective as a mentor. Interestingly, however, more active peer editing (an optional task of the course) was observed in the minimal scaffolding WELT case. During participant interviews, it was revealed that the quantity and quality of peer wikibook chapter editing behaviors, after removing the scaffoldings, were related to several other factors, including (a) motivation for taking the course, (b) understanding the culture of wiki-based communities, and (c) prior knowledge about and experience with the topics of the chapters as well as general academic knowledge.
Kim, N. Scaffolding critical thinking in wikibook creation as a learning task. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University.
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