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Volume 25 / Issue 12

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-025-12-1554


STEM Oriented Online Platforms Embracing the Community of Practice Model: A Comparative Study and Design Guidelines

Olga Fragou (Hellenic Open University, Greece)

Christos Goumopoulos (University of the Aegean, Greece)

Christos Tsompanos (University of the Aegean, Greece)

Abstract: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is a strong case of a multidisciplinary teaching and learning process, apt for transforming the conventional instructor based courses into ones, where the syllabus focus is on problem solving and discovering exploratory learning. In this context the adoption of the Community of Practice (CoP) model can enhance the learning process. Although existing web portals provide STEM educational material and teamwork tools to active members they fall short to support state of the art trends in science education. To advance STEM education a fusion of diverse tools like learning management systems, computer-supported collaborative learning, online CoP management and contemporary technological platforms (e.g. Internet of Things, mobile and pervasive computing technologies) is advocated. This paper first identifies the common features required to build CoP enabled online platforms to support STEM education and classifies them in seven axes to form an evaluation framework for this domain. A comparative analysis of fifteen (15) STEM oriented web based platforms is conducted, based on features of the defined evaluation scheme. A critical presentation of their design characteristics is highlighted by exploring tools and services on the technology viewpoint and underpinning learning theories on the education viewpoint. Important findings presented in this paper form a generic framework of design guidelines for building STEM oriented online platforms that embrace the CoP model.

Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT), STEM education, community of practice (CoP), comparative analysis, design guidelines, web based platforms

Categories: L.3.0, L.3.5, L.3.6