Collaborative learning: PyramidApp


Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) is a pedagogical approach, focusing on how technology bring students together to learn collaboratively. In contrast to individual learning, CSCL is characterized by social learning phenomena, in which learning occurs socially through group interactions among students. Besides providing avenues for knowledge co-construction, collaborative learning activities also offer chances for students to engage in elaborative talk which helps them to better recognize their knowledge. It is also shown that working in groups may increase students' learning and pro-social attitudes while solving problems with others, agreeing or disagreeing to different points of views at the same time giving or by receiving help from peers. In CSCL social interactions among students are being effectively mediated using computers, facilitating synchronous or asynchronous learning in the classroom and online learning environments.

The workshop introduces a set of well-known collaborative learning activity design strategies. A detailed explanation on each of these strategies and underlying principles will be discussed while providing guidance for teachers on how and when to adopt these different strategies in the classroom collaborative sessions. After describing these strategies teachers will also be made aware of important design elements associated with those strategies which required to be given attention during the design of collaborative learning sessions.

Then, the workshop will focus on one of the techniques: the Pyramid pattern. To study this technique we will use the online tool ‘PyramidApp’. In the context of CSCL PyramidApp support educators in the design of Pyramid-shaped collaborative learning activity implementation in classroom contexts. By participating in the workshop teachers can make themselves familiar with this easy to use tool. Further, a step-by-step guidance towards teachers to author their own collaborative learning designs using PyramidApp will be provided. A detailed description of associated learning design elements, how to decide values for those learning design elements will also be explained. Further, the deployment of authored activity in the classroom context in real time for students will be described.

Hence by participating in this workshop, educators will obtain a comprehensive knowledge on how to design and author collaborative learning activities in the classroom context. Further, the workshop provides spaces for teachers to share their ideas on difficulties faced when conducting collaborative learning activities in classroom context as well as to exchange best practices adopted by others in similar situations.


The ideal format for the workshop is two sessions of 90 minutes or 2 hours each.

  • Activities included in the first day of the workshop:
    • A brainstorm session: Identify and discuss problems associated when designing collaborative learning activities in the classroom context.
    • Explanation about the critical elements to consider in the design of collaborative learning activities. Introduction to well-known collaborative learning techniques.
    • Introductory session for PyramidApp tool.
    • Hands-on experience to author collaborative learning activities using PyramidApp.
  • Activities included in the second day of the workshop:
    • A reflection session: Teachers share their experiences of using PyramidApp tool to conduct collaborative learning activities in their own classrooms.
    • Teachers were introduced to the advanced PyramidApp functionalities.
    • A co-design session: Teachers work in groups to co-design PyramidApp activities that take advantage of the advanced features of PyramidApp.

Links to tools/resources/projects

Main goal: Helping Teachers to be familiar with PyramidApp tool and it’s usage in classroom collaborative learning activities.

Audience: Teachers. Applicable to all levels but most relevant for secondary, high school/higher education.

Question/s related to the workshop:

  • What are the critical elements that need to be considered when designing for collaborative learning?
  • How to design collaborative learning activities using PyramidApp?
  • How to enhance student’s collaborative learning experience via enhancing existing functionalities of the PyramidApp?

Competencies/Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge on various collaborative learning design strategies: Provides the ability towards teachers to decide which strategy best adapts to day-today classroom collaborative learning sessions
  • To learn new user-friendly tools that facilitate easy collaborative learning activity setup: Teachers are required to constantly update their knowledge regarding new technological tools that facilitates easy implementation of collaborative learning sessions as well as to incorporate these new technological tools in their teaching practices
  • Ability to design effective collaborative learning activities: Teachers are required to carefully choose learning designs and associated parameters for collaborative learning activities. This requires choosing not only the initial learning design elements e.g., time, group size but also  anticipation of possible real-time issues that might occur during collaboration enactment and identification of alternate strategies to manage effects of those issues