Today there is a demand on information systems to provide a new paradigm for learning that expands opportunities, facilitates effective delivery of content, better communication within a collaborative environment and integration with diverse set of technologies. As a result the use of collaborative and network based learning is becoming common. Recently many educational institutions have developed learning tools that combine various forms of media of which web-based learning management systems are widely used ie. WebCT, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn. In order to full understand the concept, it is important to define the analogies that make up the term “Collaborative and Networked Management Learning”.
Collaborative Learning is a form of teaching where students work together to reach a consensus by completing group tasks, projects or by negotiating (McAlpine, 2000). It is important to differentiate collaborative learning from cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is basically the summation of each individual’s work into a project whereas collaborative is the mutual engagement of the students in the learning process. The emphasis is on differences in knowledge and skills that are used to negotiate a common understanding. This focus ensures that the teacher’s role is minimized and that sharing knowledge and expertise will build a vibrant learning community (Slavin, 1995).
Collaborative form of instructional method has led to applications where computer networked management learning models are required. Hodgson and Watland describe this best as:
“By networking management learning we mean learning by managers that is supported by information and communication technologies used to connect learners with, in particular, other people (learners, teachers/tutors, mentors, librarians, technical assistants etc.) as well as to learning resources and information of various kinds and types” (Hodgson and Watland, 2004).
Influence of Information Systems and its Challenges
With the rapid advancement in information and communication technologies (ICT), it is apparent that the traditional form of learning is not effective in sharing knowledge, experience and learning resources. There is also an increased demand on the education sector to support more students and provide ongoing education for workers. Carr & Dhariwal (2003) claims that “experienced managers in the workforce environments have low technology skills and underestimate their future needs. To decrease this gab collaborative practices which provide more appropriate coaching, mentoring, and team-building exercises plus hosted technologies will foster such improvements.” The simultaneous growing demand for education and the pace of ICT has therefore played a major influence in the shift towards networked management learning due to its ability to erase boundaries by distance learning, improved forms of interactivity and integration of various learning resources.
However, it is...