Facilitating Group Learner Interactions using Intelligent Agents to Improve Group Knowledge Construction in Collaborative M-Learning: Case of Higher Learning Institutions in Kenya
Njenga, Stephen Thiiru
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This research study aimed to improve the levels of group knowledge construction by providing intelligent-based facilitations to learner group interactions in a collaborative mobile learning environment. The interactions are in form of group participation and cognitive conflicts. Participation in group discussions is of primary importance for active group knowledge construction through interaction with others. However, grouping members together does not give a surety of their participation in those online discussions. Facilitating group participation can motivate members to participate effectively in group discussions leading to enhanced levels of group knowledge construction. Group cognitive conflicts occur when a learner in a collaborative mobile learning environment becomes aware of a discrepancy between his/her existing cognitive framework and new information or experience. The cognitive conflicts stimulate the learning process by making an individual to move from his/her learning sphere and participate with others in the learning process. However, there is a big challenge on how students handle and resolve conflicts during collaborative learning. Intelligent agents were used in this research study to provide support for group interactions by both facilitating group participation and regulating the group cognitive conflicts. This research study uses an experimental design with four experimental studies. Experimental study 1 investigated the effect of facilitated group participation on the level of group knowledge construction. The participants were grouped into discussions groups of three members each, and then randomly assigned to three treatment groups. Experimental study 2 investigated the effect of regulated group cognitive conflicts of the level of group knowledge construction. It also used an experimental design with one control group and two experimental groups. The participants were grouped into discussion groups and then randomly assigned to the three treatment groups in a repeated measures study. Experimental study 3 investigated the moderating effect on the task complexity on the relationship between the facilitated group participation and the level of group knowledge construction while experimental study 4 investigated the moderating effect of task complexity on the relationship between the regulated group cognitive conflicts and the level of group knowledge construction. The results from experimental study 1 showed a difference in knowledge construction among the participants in different groups as a result of using different facilitations for group participation. Experimental study 2 results showed a difference in knowledge construction among learners using the regulated group cognitive conflict features and those not using it. Experimental study 3 results showed that the presence of group participation was not the only determinant on the level of group knowledge construction. Task complexity significantly predicted level of group knowledge construction. The results of experimental study 4 showed that both regulated group cognitive conflicts and task complexity significantly predicted level of knowledge construction. From both experimental study 1 and 2, it was concluded that the use of both facilitated group participation and regulated group cognitive conflicts improved the level of group knowledge construction. The conclusion from experimental study 3 is that task complexity has a moderating effect on the relationship between the facilitated group participation and the level of group knowledge construction. Experimental study 4 concluded that task complexity has a moderating effect on the relationship between the regulated group negotiation and the level of group knowledge construction. The research recommends the use of intelligent agents for effective collection and analysis of group interactions to encourage participation and dynamically regulate the group discussions.
CitationDoctorate of philosophy in information systems
University of Nairobi
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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