A computer-supported collaborative learning environment in medical education: The importance for educators to consider medical students’ motivation

Willem Koops, Cees van der Vleuten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Objective: In a social-constructivist learning approach, students are considered as active participants who construct knowledge collaboratively. When medical students are dispersed among different hospitals during their elective they are often not able to learn collaboratively. A computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environment could be suitable to medical students to efficiently organize collaborative learning activities. The success of CSCL depends on students’ motivation to participate in the online discourse. Although medical students are commonly considered to be highly intrinsically motivated, the educational approach in medical education is still externally regulated
and highly controlled. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore whether an autonomous CSCL environment is more suitable to support an intrinsically motivated medical student and whether a controlled CSCL environment is more suitable to support an extrinsically motivated medical student.
Methods: In a controlled study design, 52 medical students participated in a discussion task on a forum in either an autonomous or a controlled CSCL environment. Students’ perceptions were asked on their competence to solve the task, on their motivational growth, and on the autonomy support of the learning environment.
Results: Twenty-nine students (56%) were considered as extrinsically motivated.
Students’ pre- and post-scores showed significant differences on their motivational growth in either the autonomous or the controlled CSCL environment.
Conclusion: It is important for educators to consider students’ motivation when planning and delivering education by using a CSCL learning environment. After conducting a scripted task in a CSCL environment, specifically designed to their motivation, extrinsically as well as intrinsically motivated medical students show motivational growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Journal of Medical Education
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Keywords

  • Computer-mediated communication;
  • interactive learning environments
  • cooperative/collaborative learning;
  • selfdetermination theory;

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