The evolution of research on collaborative learning

Abstract : For many years, theories of collaborative learning tended to focus on how individuals function in a group. More recently, the focus has shifted so that the group itself has become the unit of analysis. In terms of empirical research, the initial goal was to establish whether and under what circumstances collaborative learning was more effective than learning alone. Researchers controlled several independent variables (size of the group, composition of the group, nature of the task, communication media, and so on). However, these variables interacted with one another in a way that made it almost impossible to establish causal links between the conditions and the effects of collaboration. Hence, empirical studies have more recently started to focus less on establishing parameters for effective collaboration and more on trying to understand the role which such variables play in mediating interaction. In this chapter, we argue that this shift to a more process-oriented account requires new tools for analysing and modelling interactions.
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Pierre Dillenbourg, Michael J. Baker, Agnès Blaye, Claire O'Malley. The evolution of research on collaborative learning. Spada, E. and Reiman, P. Learning in Humans and Machine: Towards an interdisciplinary learning science., Elsevier, Oxford, pp.189-211, 1995. ⟨hal-00190626⟩

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