IMPLICATION OF DIALOGUE MAPPING AS EVALUATION TOOL

IN LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

 

Vinita Singh

INTRODUCTION

Learning is an indispensable capability of human intelligence system, which works in real world environment with complexity and unpredictability. Many methods of learning have been proposed and investigated. However a number of them are within the area of “learning from examples” where static learning examples are laid out in advance and fed into human learning systems. It was proclaimed that learning system, which can behave robustly in real world environment, should exploit more dynamic scheme. In other words, the learning system and environment of human users should be coupled more tightly to make them believe in it.

 

A very powerful communication channel between learning systems and teacher trainees is dialogue with natural language. The question remains as “How effectively dialogue between trainees can be used in understanding learning technology?”  Learning technology is multidisciplinary which includes a range of output of learning process from different fields (educational research, literary criticism, semantic and ontological research areas, cognitive psychology, and instructional design etc.) as well as contextual factors. However, if we are to capitalize on this richness of learning technology, it will be necessary to have a dialogic view of knowledge sharing of the area, along with a mapping of the feedback cognate disciplines. This in turn should lead to a better theoretical underpinning that will allow these diverse cultures to engage with and develop the use of learning technology. (Cook, et al 2002).

 

Dialogic View of Knowledge Sharing

The term dialogue is all about two or more people acquiring a deep understanding of the experiences, emotions and mental models that underline an idea. The dialogue encompasses aspects, as the participants need to be aware of emotions explicit during communication process, since emotions are related to values, mental models and tactic knowledge. (Goleman 1995). But foremost the member of the group has to have the skill of dialogic listening. Dialogic listening is having active listening in which “our” views and the emerging product of the conversation is focused upon. (Stewart & Thomas 1995). Further, as earlier experiences are the basis for understanding new knowledge it prevents learners to accept new concepts easily.  During knowledge creation Ba, is the space for context sharing. (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1998). Therefore, unless participants of dialogue do not question the former experiences related to that subject, the process of comparing, reasoning and accepting becomes difficult. Lastly, during knowledge sharing the recipients need to understand the speaker’s context, analyze it, understand attitudes and feelings using indirect utterances and finally learn how to use this new knowledge in another context. All these aspects are related to context of the speaker and only by remaining conscious the listener can precede with the dialogue.Model of Dialogic View of Knowledge Sharing Retrospective dialogue differs from simple dialogue as it entrails recipient recapturing and telling how they understood each other. It emphasizes the individual and social factors of communication for creation and sharing of knowledge. It is a method that accounts that understanding and judgment of knowledge depends on the specific context. This context is experienced by every participant, yet in sharing knowledge,  one participant needs to be aware of other participant’s experiences, emotions and mental models. (Singh 2006). This paper describes the first step experiment where the dialogue based learning was applied to map acquisition task.             

 

DIALOGUE BASED MAP ACQUISITION

Map acquisition is an important learning task for teacher trainees to exhibit their common thoughts. Dialogue Mapping is a graphical way of organizing knowledge. There are many different forms, but all have in common that concepts or themes or ideas are identified and then related ideas are linked together. Often ideas containing a brief description are drawn to related ideas to form a network. Dialogue maps are sometime called mind-maps or graphical organizers, which are usually limited to hierarchal structures while concept maps allow more complicated linkages. In some maps the lines connecting concepts (the links) are sometimes labeled to convey the nature of the relationship between the concepts. The use of maps in learning and teaching stems from the assimilation theory (new knowledge is assimilated into existing cognitive structures) of David Ausubel. Joseph Novak and others carried out much research on the use of concept maps in teaching science.  Harnisch et al. (1994) identified three ways that concept maps support teaching and learning: for instructional planning, for learning and for assessment. Dialogue Mapping differs in features such as facilitation and mapping (listening!) to Issue Based Information System (questions!), and finally a shared display (interactive shared focus integrated with group memory!). It is about deeply listening to each person … one at a time … until they have been heard. It is authentic dialogue about the mess – not superficial agreement, not voting or brainstorming. It follows the group energy in an ‘opportunity-driven’ way. There are no steps or sequence, just questions. It is a ‘meta-method’  that  integrates with all other methods and tools. It is not about logic or structure. It is about what people are saying. The map of the mess (not “consensus”) is the product. The points of view in the display are depersonalized. It displays detailed group memory of issues, assumptions, decisions and their rationale, supporting and related data, etc. All types of mapping work well under some assumptions and their effectiveness is well defined in different studies. However, the mapping taken up to evaluate the teaching process is never considered. Here, the investigator tries to apply the idea of dialogue based learning to map acquisition task of student teachers’ understanding the procedure as well as evaluating the paradigm of learning technology.

 

OBJECTIVES

1. To investigate whether there is a difference on performance between these groups of trainees in putting across their thoughts in dialogic mapping.

2. To investigate whether there is a difference between the cognitive structures of these groups concerning Dialogue map.

3. To investigate whether students’ misconceptions in learning technology are clarified by the process of dialogue mapping.

4. To investigate whether there is a correlation between concept mapping ability of students and their performance in dialogic thinking exists.

 

DESIGN AND PROCEDURES

This study adapted qualitative approach and the design of this research is divided into two sections as follow:This study focused upon a community of 80 student teachers of different disciplines in order to find out how content delivery through dialogue had affected their knowledge of learning. This community consisted of graduate as well as postgraduate level trainees as with teaching experience. These teachers were divided into eight groups according to their subject discipline [2 groups from Bioscience, Chemistry, Mathematics, Civics, Social studies, English and Hindi]. Once groups formed, teachers were made to sit in groups and take up dialogue on questions related to course content. Other methods were also included along with dialogic thinking. These group members were also introduced to exhibit the groups viewpoint through mind maps or concept-maps and directed to use them when designing learning activities, and personal reflection. Later this skill of Mapping was used as feedback cognate disciplines. Four dimensions of teachers’ knowledge of dialogic practice (1) teaching activity design, (2) learning content design, (3) implementation in practical teaching, and (4) reflection of teachers followed by evaluation of Learning paradigm will be discussed in the rest of this research.

 

The condition of the study

Members of the learning technology were graduate student teachers enrolled in Faulty of Education, Banasthali Vidyapith. The project focused on continuous training and improvement of teachers’ expertise as well as the completion of the course. The group had experienced as well as novice graduate as well as post graduate teachers from every discipline. The dialogic group members were divided into eight groups including four teachers. The dialogic interaction sessions were carried out regularly during 45 minutes class for five months. Student teachers in the sessions discussed about teaching knowledge, and felt mix-up in their learning of teaching. Therefore, the investigator introduced the dialogic mapping method to help them in clarifying  their confusion and in solving problems.

 

Researcher’s Role

The investigator was the facilitator of the learning technology through dialogic thinking. At the same time, the investigator also attended sessions of the community with student teachers and perform as a participatory observer.

 

Data collection

There data collection procedures were: observation, face-to-face interviews, and interaction at the sessions, documentations, and open-ended questionnaires.

 

FINDINGS

1 Teaching Activity Design

Findings I : Dialogue maps method was helpful in clarifying mazy thoughts and easy to capture the objective of activity with less intervention. Student teachers can design a clear sequence of teaching activities and choose proper assessments quickly.

Findings II: Discussing the linkage of the map with other group members helped student teachers integrate their thoughts after repeatedly generating dialogue maps several times. For example, teachers tend to design teaching content, assessments, and teaching methods individually at the beginning of the process. However, after many dialogic sessions, they constructed the cross-connected line of the map, and considered  content, assessment, and method as a whole and start to move towards systematic design.

 

Findings III: Student teachers often forgot to state the linkage between ideas when they start to construct the map. It is difficult for them to state the relationship of two ideas, especially for future teachers and initial teachers. However, teachers agreed that the relationship among concepts were like bridges to connect and combine different levels of ideas, and to make teaching procedure smooth.

 

2 Learning content designs

Findings I: Creating dialogue map for the learning content design and later assessment of pedagogy of learning process helped student teachers to organize and reconsider the levels of learning concepts in order to match up with their prior knowledge. Teachers discovered this phenomenon by discussing the misconceptions between nodes.

 

Findings II: Teacher designed learning content reflected their mental models and habit for easy content acquisition at the beginning. The group members of mathematics, chemistry, one of the bioscience group and English group performed better than the ones from Social sciences, civics, biology and Hindi. However, after discussing with each other and implementing teaching in practice, they soon changed their view of thinking.

 

Findings III: Teachers present deep interest in the context of the learning content (here methods of teaching) especially in the sequence of learning experiences. After discussions, they found that the sequence was depending on students’ prior knowledge and the objective of course content.

 

3. Implementation in Practice

Findings: Teachers tried to use dialogue map for evaluating technique of learning. Yet some groups members especially senior subjects could recognize its application in the class to make the content clear when they teach multiple formulas in one unit. They agreed that dialogue maps strategy is useful in integrating students’ thinking and reduce their confusions. They found that students reconstructed what they had learned and made that learning meaningful.

 

4 Reflection of Student Teachers

Findings: Reflection with dialogue map forced members of different group to constantly check their maps step by step, and discovered their defects easily. They modify their displayed ideas quickly through the map and improved the results of evaluation.

 

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