The Zones of Proximal and Distal Development in Chinese Language studies with the use of wikis

Esyin Chew, Seong Lin Ding

Abstract


Educational practitioners in the higher education institutions of the UK have increasingly promoted the use of wikis. The technology enhanced learning experience of the UK was transferred to a local higher educational agency in Malaysia through a collaborative research project called WiLearn. By examining a student cohort enrolled in Chinese language studies, WiLearn explores the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the Zone of Distal Development (ZDD) with regard to the use of wikis in peer reviewed group coursework. With the goal of informing higher education researchers and practitioners, the problematic use of wikis was discussed according to the following three dimensions: (a) the process of group work; (b) social presence; and (c) the outcome of group work. The findings reveal that more critical reflection is evident when retrieving peers’ comments through WiLearn, but less critical discourse is evident among the participants. The difference between the ZPD and the ZDD lies not in the functional use of wikis but in the degree of openness and social presence of the students from Chinese language studies. A pedagogical change in critical peer review and discourse regarding the use of wikis is suggested. This paper concludes with constructive and disruptive lessons that were learned through a series of insights that provide a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities with regard to learning and teaching with wikis for Chinese language studies.

 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.180