International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Does collaborative learning design align with enactment? An innovative method of evaluating the alignment in the CSCL context

4 days 9 hours ago
Abstract

This study reports on a novel design methodology, namely, design-centered research (DCR), developed to analyze and evaluate the alignment between an online collaborative learning design and its enactment. The approach is illustrated in a study involving 40 groups in total. Twenty different online collaborative learning activities were designed and enacted by 20 groups of three students in each of two iterations. The collaborative learning design plans from the first round were adjusted after reflecting on misalignments observed through the method during the enactment, and then enacted and tested again by another 20 groups in the second round. The proposed method involves an interaction path graph as well as three proposed indicators of group functioning. These three indicators include: (a) the range of activated knowledge, (b) the degree of knowledge building, and (c) an interactivity of the approach. This approach to quantification of alignment between a collaborative learning design and its enactment was successful in revealing areas for improvement of the design. The results of the two round study indicate that the alignment significantly improved after the optimization of the collaborative learning design based on the analysis of the first round. The findings also suggest that optimizing a collaborative learning design using this method is associated with improvements in group performance. Building on these findings, the collaborative learning design framework is discussed in detail in this article, and resulting implications for practitioners are discussed in depth.

Capturing the participation and social dimensions of computer-supported collaborative learning through social network analysis: which method and measures matter?

6 days 9 hours ago
Abstract

The increasing use of digital learning tools and platforms in formal and informal learning settings has provided broad access to large amounts of learner data, the analysis of which has been aimed at understanding students’ learning processes, improving learning outcomes, providing learner support as well as teaching. Presently, such data has been largely accessed from discussion forums in online learning management systems and has been further analyzed through the application of social network analysis (SNA). Nevertheless, the results of these analyses have not always been reproducible. Since such learning analytics (LA) methods rely on measurement as a first step of the process, the robustness of selected techniques for measuring collaborative learning activities is critical for the transparency, reproducibility and generalizability of the results. This paper presents findings from a study focusing on the validation of critical centrality measures frequently used in the fields of LA and SNA research. We examined how different network configurations (i.e., multigraph, weighted, and simplified) influence the reproducibility and robustness of centrality measures as indicators of student learning in CSCL settings. In particular, this research aims to contribute to the provision of robust and valid methods for measuring and better understanding of the participation and social dimensions of collaborative learning. The study was conducted based on a dataset of 12 university courses. The results show that multigraph configuration produces the most consistent and robust centrality measures. The findings also show that degree centralities calculated with the multigraph methods are reliable indicators for students’ participatory efforts as well as a consistent predictor of their performance. Similarly, Eigenvector centrality was the most consistent centrality that reliably represented social dimension, regardless of the network configuration. This study offers guidance on the appropriate network representation as well as sound recommendations about how to reliably select the appropriate metrics for each dimension.

Talking about group (but not individual) process aids group performance

6 days 9 hours ago
Abstract

The discourse of small groups of 3–4 adults enrolled in a graduate business course was audio-recorded as they participated in a computer-supported simulation in which the group represented a firm and worked over a series of eight sessions in making a series of decisions. Discourse transcripts were analyzed using a coding scheme that classified utterances expressed during group interaction as types of topic-talk (constituting a part of the activity itself) vs. meta-talk (reflecting on the activity). Supporting our hypothesis regarding the importance of meta-level discourse about group process in a group’s achieving coordinated action and a successful outcome, analysis suggested that discourse about the group’s process, but not discourse about individuals’ actions, was associated with superior group outcomes.

Regulating self-organized collaborative learning: the importance of homogeneous problem perception, immediacy and intensity of strategy use

1 week 4 days ago
Abstract

Very often, university students deliberately form self-organized study groups, e.g. to study collaboratively for an upcoming exam. Yet, very little is known about what regulation problems such self-organized study groups encounter during their learning process and how they try to cope with these problems. Therefore, this study investigates how completely self-organized groups (i.e., non-guided groups outside the classroom that form without external impulse) regulate their collaborative learning process when faced with different kinds of regulation problems. More specifically, we tested the hypotheses that members of self-organized study groups are more satisfied with their group learning experience (a) the more homogeneous their problem perceptions are within their group, (b) the more they apply immediate (rather than non-immediate) strategies to remedy their regulation problems, and (c) the more frequently they apply regulation strategies. In a longitudinal study, N = 122 students, voluntarily studying for their exams in N = 52 groups, were asked to indicate the types of problems they experienced, the types of strategies they used to tackle those problems, and their satisfaction with their group learning experience after each of their self-organized study meetings. Hierarchical linear modeling confirmed all hypotheses. Qualitative analysis of two selected groups’ self-reported situational data provided additional insights about the mechanisms that may have contributed to the results. Our study provides important directions for future research, including the recommendation to identify the processes by which groups (a) can reach homogeneity of problem perceptions and (b) coordinate the choice of appropriate strategies within the group.