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Strijbos, Jan-Willem; Martens, Rob L. and Jochems, Wim M. G. (2004): Designing for interaction. Six steps to designing computer-supported group-based learning. In: Computers and Education, Vol. 42, No. 4: pp. 403-424 [PDF, 305kB]


At present, the design of computer-supported group-based learning (CS)GBL) is often based on subjective decisions regarding tasks, pedagogy and technology, or concepts such as ‘cooperative learning’ and ‘collaborative learning’. Critical review reveals these concepts as insufficiently substantial to serve as a basis for (CS)GBL design. Furthermore, the relationship between outcome and group interaction is rarely specified a priori. Thus, there is a need for a more systematic approach to designing (CS)GBL that focuses on the elicitation of expected interaction processes. A framework for such a process-oriented methodology is proposed. Critical elements that affect interaction are identified: learning objectives, task-type, level of pre-structuring, group size and computer support. The proposed process-oriented method aims to stimulate designers to adopt a more systematic approach to (CS)GBL design according to the interaction expected, while paying attention to critical elements that affect interaction. This approach may bridge the gap between observed quality of interaction and learning outcomes and foster (CS)GBL design that focuses on the heart of the matter: interaction.

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