What is Beehive?

Beehives are social structures in which bees work and thrive in collaboration. Beehives have recognizable patterns, that bees have developed over generations of 'good practice'.

WEG's Beehive is an application that allows teachers and instructional designers to create multimedia collaborative learning activities using educational best practices described by educational design patterns

With Beehive, an instructor can create a synchronous collaboration space on the fly, that is optimized for a particular type of online learning activity (ie. group discussion, brainstorming session, debate, etc.) The tools and scaffolding that come together in this specialized space are based on the research-based educational design patterns available for that type of activity. An instructor can go further with advanced options and customize the space for their particular needs, or create their own activity type from scratch. They have a wide array of multimedia tools at their disposal, from video, audio, and text chat to stopwatch, slideshow and notetaking tools. They can also define a collaboration script, which describes how students will collaborate over time within a multiple-activity session.

Technology behind Beehive

Beehive is standards-based, and utilizes the IMS Learning Design specification with extensions, for describing its learning activities. The Beehive system integrates a host learning management system (currently Beehive runs on Sakai and .LRN) with Macromedia’s Flash Communication Server, and runs in the Flash Player on the client side.

Online activities supported

Beehive supports a range of pedagogical and collaboration models useful across industries and levels, including:

  • Some-to-some : Brainstorming, Group discussion, Round Table discussion, Jigsaw, Pro/Contra, Group Nomination, Buzz group discussion, Think Pair Share, and Case studies
  • Some-to-many: Debate, Role playing, Panels
  • One-to-many: Lecture, and Symposium
  • One-to-one: One to One Tutoring


The project was funded by the Australian Research Council and the New South Wales Institute of Sport who will use Beehive within the context of athlete and coach training.

Resources and Publications

Multimedia presentations/tutorials:


  • Turani, A. and Calvo, R., The Potential Use of Collaboration Scripts in Synchronous Collaborative Learning. in International Conference on Interactive Mobile and Computer Aided Learning, (Amman, Jordan, 2007),pp. 143-154.
  • Turani, A. and Calvo, R.A., Educational design patterns with Beehive. (Manama, Bahrain, 2007),pp. 24-36.
  • Turani, A. and Calvo, R.A., Stepping Forward in Applying Computer Support for Collaborative Training. (Manama, Bahrain, 2007),pp. 224-234.
  • Turani, A and Calvo, R.A. Beehive: A Software Application for Synchronous Collaborative Learning. Campus Wide Information Systems.
  • A. Turani, and R. Calvo. Sharing Synchronous Collaborative Learning Structures using IMS Learning Design, International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education & Training, (Sydney, 2006), pp. 119-129.
  • A. Turani, R.A. Calvo, and P. Goodyear. "An Application Framework for Collaborative Learning". in ICWE 2005, D. Lowe and M. Gaedke (Eds.), LNCS 3579, pp. 243-251, 2005. Springer-Verlag Berlin, 2005
  • Aiman Turani "A Pedagogical Application Framework for Synchronous Collaboration" PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 2007.