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Instructional theory for using a class wiki to support collaborative learning in higher education

, Indiana University, United States

Indiana University . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to develop an instructional theory for using a class wiki to support collaborative learning in higher education. Although wikis have been identified in theory as one of the most powerful emerging technologies to support collaborative learning, challenges have been revealed in a number of studies regarding student motivation, group dynamics, assessment, and class culture. To bridge the gaps between theory and practice, the researcher developed a close collaboration with two expert practitioners; and she used the design-based research approach (DBR), a methodology known for studying educational innovations in technology-supported environments, to guide the theory development process.

The design-based research method was combined with heuristic task analysis (HTA) in the three-stage research design: theory development, implementation in two case studies, and theory refinement. Data collection and analysis involved literature reviews, multiple individual interviews with experts before and during implementation, weekly class observations, focus-group interviews with students during implementation, content analysis of class wikis, document analysis, and focus-group interviews with experts for theory refinement.

The results of the study included a refined instructional theory (grounded in theoretical work, expert practitioners' heuristic knowledge, and local effectiveness) with three descriptive models (including theoretical implications and an in-depth analysis of heuristics underlying instructional methods). The dissertation contributed to theory and practice by proposing and discussing the relevant literature, validated instructional methods, and design principles for scaffolding group processing, fostering a culture of sharing, and increasing student motivation and participation in collaborative knowledge construction on wikis. The instructional theory aims to enhance the effectiveness of using wikis to support educators and transform student learning from the traditional teacher-centered paradigm to a student-centered, collaborative paradigm. To continue pursuing the development goal, other DBR studies are needed to increase the scope and generalizability of the theory by collaborating with more practitioners in higher education.


Lin, C.Y. Instructional theory for using a class wiki to support collaborative learning in higher education. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University. Retrieved April 22, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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