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PEGASUS: designing a system for supporting group activity

Maria Kyprianidou (Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Stavros Demetriadis (Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Andreas Pombortsis (Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
George Karatasios (Regional Directorate for Primary and Secondary Education of Central Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 10 April 2009

1173

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the design and first results of the integration of a web‐based system person‐centred group‐activity support system (PEGASUS) in university instruction, as a means for advancing person‐centred learning by supporting group activity. The PEGASUS is expected to help students and teachers in two distinct objectives: enhancing metacognition (students and teachers are supported to identify their learning and teaching preferences, which in turn is used as a framework for reflection), and group formation (the system suggests homogeneous or heterogeneous workgroups, supporting also teacher‐students negotiations of the final group synthesis).

Design/methodology/approach

First, a theoretical framework is built to reflect the process of transforming the principles for learner‐centred learning into a pedagogical model which becomes the basis for defining the PEGASUS specifications. Then, qualitative field evidence is provided from the initial integration of the system into the teaching process to support students' group activity.

Findings

From the pilot testing of PEGASUS it is evident that learning style‐based group formation might not be acceptable to all students in the typical classroom setting where students already know each other. The early implementation data indicate that not every student might accept the theory‐based grouping suggestions of the instructor.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to qualitative and preliminary results from undergraduate as well as postgraduate students.

Practical implications

Systems like PEGASUS can initiate fruitful discussions among students and teachers on the role of learning styles in learning. However, group activity is a complex socio‐cognitive phenomenon that cannot be approached simply on the basis of students' learning styles. Still, such a system can help identify how students' learning styles can be of significance under certain conditions.

Originality/value

The paper describes the development of a web‐based system for personalised learning and system integration in everyday teaching.

Keywords

Citation

Kyprianidou, M., Demetriadis, S., Pombortsis, A. and Karatasios, G. (2009), "PEGASUS: designing a system for supporting group activity", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 47-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504970910951147

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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