Fostering group autonomy through collaborative learning in an online environment
Zhong, Dr. Qunyan ( Maggie)
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Citation:Zhong, Q.M. (2021). Fostering group autonomy through collaborative learning in an online environment. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 12 (1), 79-91. doi:10.37237/120106
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5279
Learner autonomy is recognised as being associated with effective and successful learning. Whilst significant scholarship has focused on individual learner autonomy, a review of the literature indicates that the interdependence and social dimension of learner autonomy are largely under-researched. The primary objective of this study is to examine how learners engaged in a collaborative inquiry outside the classroom utilising an asynchronous online discussion forum and to what extent the collaborative task fostered group autonomy. Employing thematic analysis, postings of 20 students in a peer-moderated online discussion forum were analysed. The results revealed that the process of knowledge co-construction advanced and deepened the learners’ understanding of the subject matter. Furthermore, the collaborative inquiry helped establish a community of learning whereby students supported each other emotionally and cognitively, and they wanted to achieve well collectively. The study concluded that a well-designed collaborative task is key to fostering the social and interdependent dimension of learner autonomy.