Page: 314-329 Author: POLÁČEK, J. Key words: communication barrier, group learning, information and communication technology, Internet services, co-operation, text communication, face-to-face communication, social interaction
The article argues that group learning in the form of virtual teams whose members communicate with each other via the Internet requires students to get over a whole range of communication barriers caused by information and communication technologies. On the basis of analysis of expert sources from abroad that deal with the challenges and barriers presented by computer-supported group learning the study identifies and explores a total of six communication barriers. First it considers the issue of the accessibility and reliability of digital technologies that make collaboration at a distance possible, including the provision of technical support for students. It then points out the risk of information overload and loss of privacy in virtual teaching media, which are problems that can be addressed by selection of an agreed, trustworthy information tool. The study goes on to deal with the problem of effective exchange of reports between members of a group, and in this context emphasises the need for completed communications. At the same time it opens up the question of the non-verbal element of communication, which is a natural part of face-to-face communication. Finally the study looks at the negative effects of lack of social interactions on the solidarity of the group, mutual trust between the students and the overall effectiveness of group learning. In the conclusion to the study it appeals for further research on communication barriers in computer supported group learning, and stresses that it is desirable to focus on the information literacy and group skills of students and to tackle the question of technological barriers on a wide and comprehensive basis.