Web-Based Collaborative Learning: Communication Between Learners Within a Virtual Tactical Operations Center
Interim rept. Nov 2001-Jan 2003
ARMY RESEARCH INST FOR THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES ALEXANDRIA VA
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In 2001,the U.S. Army Armor School designed a blended course for reserve officers with both distributed learning and in-residence components. The distributed portion consisted of an asynchronous phase, where officers completed lessons on their own time, and a synchronous phase, where they used a virtual tactical operations center VTOC simultaneously but from different locations. One primary method of communication during synchronous VTOC training was computer-based text messaging. The text messages for five teams consisting of seven to nine members were recorded. The analysis of these text messages revealed that a majority of the communication was related to the operational task. The second most frequent type of text messaging was social in nature, and this type of communication peaked during the initial training sessions and during the final session. The least frequent type of communication was technology-related text messages, those where the user was having difficulty with the system and asking for help or a person replying to a help query. Technology-related communication occurred modestly during the initial sessions, but tailed off dramatically as sessions progressed. The students, instructors, and course designer all took part in interviews about their opinions on the distributed learning components of the course. The overall ratings of the distributed-learning portion of the course were positive.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Computer Programming and Software
- Computer Systems