Resta, P., & Laferrière, T. (2007). Technology in support of collaborative learning. Educational Psychology Review, 19(1), 65-83.


The article goes over the ways where technology support social interaction and collaborative learning to gain knowledge in higher education. It focuses on previous research in the field of using technology for collaborative learning. The significance of the study is to find the gaps and issues of previous research in CSCL. It contains many sets of recommendations about methods of merging technology and education. It covers issues and challenges found in previous researches as well as evidence in order to understand the merging of technology and collaborative learning. The authors concludes that one of the biggest challenges that previous research faced was the diversity of their results.

Summary of Key Points

  • Technology supports social interaction among students because:
    • It supports asynchronous and synchronous communication between students
    • On campus and online students can easily communicate
  • Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)provides an environment to:
    • Support collaboration between learners to ensure their learning process
    • Make the collective learning process easier
    • Facilitate the groups’ cognition
  • The size of the learning group matters
    • Small groups work better
  • CSCL is an interdisciplinary field including: cognitive science, learning science, educational psychology, educational technology, communication, epistemology, social psychology, artificial intelligence and informatics.
  • Previous research of the CSCL used different methodologies, such as: experimental research, ethnography research, action research, and design research.
  • The diversity of previous research results is due to:
    • The differences in learning context and knowledge domain
    • The differences in complexity
    • The differences in duration of learning tasks
    • The differences in type and size of the group
    • The differences in methodological approaches, such as: ethnography, discourse analysis, interaction analysis, and qualitative research procedures.
  • Example Work

    Biggs’ (1989) 3Ps model that tests the value of CSCL in higher education including:

  • Presage variables : students’ characteristics, technology affordances
  • Process variables: intervention approaches, pedagogical approaches, interaction approaches, time of education experience, type of student interaction, assessment, and the use of distance learning.
  • Product variables: academic achievement, development of higher order thinking skills, student satisfaction, individual and group products, and group cognition.
  • Discussion Questions
  1. How is CSCL different when it’s used for E-learning rather than in a face-to-face classroom?
  2. How can educators measure the effectiveness of CSCL?
  3. What factors affect the validity of CSCL?
  • Additional Resources

Journal Publications of Gerry Stahl: http://gerrystahl.net/publications/#J  











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