ERIC Number: EJ785077
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Examining the Effect of Problem Type in a Synchronous Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) Environment
Kapur, Manu; Kinzer, Charles K.
Educational Technology Research and Development, v55 n5 p439-459 Oct 2007
This study investigated the effect of well- vs. ill-structured problem types on: (a) group interactional activity, (b) evolution of group participation inequities, (c) group discussion quality, and (d) group performance in a synchronous, computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environment. Participants were 60 11th-grade science students working in three-member groups (triads) who were randomly assigned to solve a well- or an ill-structured problem scenario on Newtonian Kinematics. Although groups solving ill-structured problems generated more problem-centered interactional activity (a positive effect), they also exhibited participation patterns that were more inequitable (a negative effect) than groups solving well-structured problems. Interestingly, inequities in member participation patterns exhibited a high sensitivity to initial exchange and tended to get "locked-in" early in the discussion, ultimately lowering the quality of discussion and, in turn, the group performance. Findings and their implications for theory, methodology, and scaffolding of CSCL groups are discussed.
Descriptors: Group Discussion, Problem Solving, Cooperative Learning, Problem Based Learning, Comparative Testing, Test Format, Virtual Classrooms, Communication Research, Cognitive Style, Science Process Skills, Investigations, Grade 6
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6
Authoring Institution: N/A