Classes in which students participate in discussion force them to go beyond merely plugging numbers into formulas or memorizing terms (National Research Council, 1997).On the other hand, the networked nature of the Internet allows traditionally isolated distance-education students to be brought into a community of communicating peers through the use of bulletin boards, chat areas, and shared workspaces.Until now, there has been little research reported explaining available tools for telelearning and the nature of multisite collaboration.From a social constructive perspective, the central question about the role of computers is how do they fit into, alter, and support the collaboration between teachers and learners that carries the development of understanding in the classroom.In modern learning theories, the old assumptions have been modified to incorporate the belief that knowledge is constructed by the learners through collaboration with the teacher and the peer group (Bruffe, 1993).
However, according to social constructivism, although students' thoughts and opinions are private, their concepts are public (Matthews, 1994).
It involves face-to-face interaction by all students, heterogeneous teams, structured goal interdependence, individual accountability, and an emphasis on practising social and communicational skills.
In her work with a variety of students in small groups at the computer, Anderson (1989, as cited in Sharon, 1994) found that putting children together to work at the computer is not enough.
Collaborative learning is an instructional approach in which students work together in small or large groups to accomplish a common learning goal or a well-defined learning task.
Although collaborative learning does involve students working in small groups and sharing materials, it is much more than that.