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Visualisation of agreement and discussion processes during online collaborative learning. Jeroen Janssen, Gijsbert Erkens, Marcel Broeken, Jos Jaspers & Gellof Kanselaar Research Centre Learning in Interaction Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

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Visualisation of agreement and discussion processes during online collaborative learning

Visualisation of agreement and discussion processes during online collaborative learning

Jeroen Janssen, Gijsbert Erkens, Marcel Broeken, Jos Jaspers & Gellof Kanselaar

Research Centre Learning in Interaction

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

EARLI Special Interest Meeting, June 21-23, 2006

projectnumber 411-02-121


Computer supported collaborative learning cscl

Computer-supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)

  • Electronic learning environment that facilitates collaborative learning.

  • Supports exchange and sharing of information.

  • Computer-mediated communication (CMC).

  • Positive expectations (combination of collaborative learning and ICT).

  • But also problems during CSCL (e.g., Thompson & Coovert, 2003; Hobman, Bordia, Irmer, & Chang, 2002; Lipponen et al., 2003).

    • Conflicts

    • Free riding behavior

    • Dominance, etc.


Problem 1 communication problems

Problem 1: Communication problems

  • Communication is sometimes difficult during CSCL (Fjermestad, 2004).

  • Possibly too little “media richness” because facial expressions and intonation of voice are lacking (Daft & Lengel, 1986).

  • Group tasks may not suit communication mode of CSCL (Mennecke, Valachich, & Wheeler, 2000).


Problem 2 quality of discussions

Problem 2: Quality of discussions

  • Critical yet constructive discussions (exploratory discussions) are important, but occur seldomly.

  • Students give few arguments and explanations (Kuhn & Udell, 2003; Van der Meijden & Veenman, 2005).

  • Students may not possess the necessary skills.

  • Interpretation of discussions may be more difficult during CSCL (is there agreement or discussion?).

  • Role of group norms (Postmes, Spears, & Cihangir, 2001).


Cscl environment vcri

CSCL-environment: VCRI

  • Virtual Collaborative Research Institute = VCRI.

  • Groupware, tools are shared by group members.

  • Research tasks, inquiry tasks.

  • Communication is synchronously (chat) and asynchronously (forum).

  • Several different tools (sources, shared text processor).

  • Separate tool for

    teachers.


Cscl environment vcri1

CSCL-environment: VCRI

Teacher

Students


Possible solution shared space 1

Possible solution: Shared Space (1)

  • Shared Space visualizes agreement and discussion during online collaboration.

  • Shared Space discerns episodes during online collaboration.

  • Message is analyzed using a filter based on 1300 rules

  • Filter uses “discourse markers”.

  • Categorizes messages into 29 dialogue acts.

  • Confirmations, acceptations and positive evaluations signal agreement.

  • Denials, verification questions, negative evaluations and counterarguments signal discussion.


Possible solution shared space 2

Possible solution: Shared Space (2)

Chat-fragment of group of two girls and a boy.


Possible solution shared space 3

Possible solution: Shared Space (3)

Possible advantages Shared Space:

  • Providing feedback.

  • Raising awareness.

  • Making communication easier: Understanding whether there is discussion or agreement.

  • Group discussion about the manner in which discussions are conducted: critical or consensual?

  • Stimulating more critical, exploratory group norms.


Research design

Research design

  • Posttest-only design with experimental (n=59) and control group (n=58).

  • Pre-university, secondary education students (+/- 16 years).

  • Group size: 2-4.

  • Course: History.

  • Group task: Inquiry task about the first four centuries of Christianity. 3 different parts.

  • Duration: 8 lessons in 4 weeks.

  • Data collected using questionnaires and protocolanalyses.


Results media richness

Results: Media richness

  • Question: Do students with access to the Shared Space perceive higher media richness? I.e.: Is communication made easier?

  • Instrument: 15 items on a 5-point scale.

  • Example item: “I could easily explain things during the chat”.

  • Results: Students with access to the Shared Space perceive marginally higher media richness (p = .06).


Results group norms

Results: Group norms

  • Question: Do students with access to Shared Space hold other, more critical group norms?

  • Instrument: 3 scales in questionnaire:

    • Critical group norm (3 items, “Our group was a critical one”).

    • Consensual group norm (3 items, “In this group people generally adapt to each other”).

    • Exploratory group norm (7 items based on the work of Mercer et al. (1999), “During collaboration critism and counter arguments were accepted”)

  • Students with Shared Space report a more exploratory group norm perception.

  • No differences regarding critical and consensual group norm perception.


Results perception of collaboration

Results: Perception of collaboration

  • Question: Do students with Shared Space hold more positive perceptions of their collaboration?

  • Instrument: 3 scales in questionnaire:

    • Positive group behavior (7 items, “We helped each other”).

    • Negative group behavior (5 items, “We had conflicts”).

    • Effectiveness of group task strategies (8 items based on the work of Saavedra et al. (1993), “We planned our group work effectively”)

  • Students with Shared Space report more positive group behavior and higher perceptions of effectiveness of group task strategies.

  • No differences for negative group behavior.


Results collaboration process

Results: Collaboration process

  • Question: Do students with Shared Space collaborate differently?

  • Instrument: Coding scheme for online discussions.

  • 4 main categories:

    • Task-related activities.

    • Regulation of task-related activities.

    • Social activities.

    • Regulation of social activities.


Results collaboration process1

Results: Collaboration process

  • Collaboration:

    • Mostly regulation of task-related activities (planning: 22%, monitoring: 13%).

    • Lot of time devoted to reaching and maintaining shared understanding (20%).

    • Many positive social remarks (10%).

  • Some differences in collaboration processes.

    • Shared Space: Asking less task-related questions.

    • Shared Space: Less negative remarks about the electronic learning environment.

    • Shared Space: Less effort devoted to reaching and maintaining shared understanding.


Results quality of group products

Results: Quality of group products

  • Question: Do groups of students with Shared Space produce group products of higher quality?

  • Instrument: Assessment form which assesses, for each of the three parts of the task:

    • Content and argumentation

    • Presentation (language, text construction, etc.)

  • Groups with Shared Space obtain higher scores for presentation for part 1 of the group task.

  • Groups with Shared Space obtain marginally higher scores (p < .07) for content and argumentationfor part 1 of the group task.

  • No differences for part 2 and 3 of the group task.


Conclusions

Conclusions

Shared Space:

  • Makes online communication easier (higher media richness, less effort is needed to reach and maintain shared understanding).

  • Stimulates critical, exploratory group norm.

  • Contributes to positive perceptions of the collaboration process.

  • Has some influence on students’ collaboration processes. However, students do not discuss group processes more.

  • Has an impact on the quality of part 1 of the group task.


Discussion 1

Discussion (1)

  • Unclear why Shared Space had influence on group norm perception and perception of collaboration, but influence on actual collaboration process is limited.

  • Only a small effect of the Shared Space on quality of the group products. Possibly because of the small effect of Shared Space on collaboration process.

  • Are results replicable with other group tasks?

  • Influence of individual and group factors is unknown (e.g., familiarity of group members, gender).


Discussion 2

Discussion (2)


Questions

Questions?

E-mail: j.j.h.m.janssen@fss.uu.nl

URL: http://edugate.fss.uu.nl/~crocicl/


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