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Designing for deep conversation in a scenarios-based e-learning environment

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3 Author(s)
Siegel, M.A. ; Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN, USA ; Ellis, S.E. ; Lewis, M.B.

While synchronous and asynchronous applications such as chat and email effectively foster casual communication, such applications are less successful in facilitating deep, insightful conversation. This is a particular challenge when asynchronous threaded discussion forums are used in e-learning settings. This paper examines the implementation of discussion forums in the context of WisdomTools Scenarios™, an e-learning tool which exploits case-based narrative to provide authentic contexts for asynchronous, collaborative persistent conversations. An analysis of usage from two independent scenarios, one used in an academic context and the other in a corporate context, shows that embedding forums within narrative scenes encouraged learner involvement and focused conversation. At the same time, we identify directions for improving the interaction design of these forums, including the ability for learners to join and "catch up" in ongoing conversations, tools to view summarization postings and track learner participation, and the use of social proxies. Ultimately, our goal is to understand how narrative-based e-tools may lead to deeper learner insights, smarter strategies, and better judgments.

Published in:

System Sciences, 2004. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 Jan. 2004