Interplay Between Roles and Discourse in a CSCL Classroom

In the first year of my PhD, I studied how roles emerged as four middle-school students engaged in a 12-week inquiry-based physics curriculum. The processes of role differentiation and role formation seemed to emerge in conjunction with students’ discursive habits. One student contributed most of the group discourse related to conceptual understanding and showed a pre-post conceptual gain of 77% on a physics assessment. Another student contributed mostly talk about task management (and also managed the shared computer throughout the unit). This student demonstrated a pre-post conceptual loss of 17% on the physics assessment. The two other students showed modest conceptual gains (11%) on the physics assessment. While the sample size was limited due to the granularity of this study, we thought that this potential linkage between contributions to conceptual discourse and learning gains warrants further investigation, especially if there are reciprocal impacts between discursive habits and role formation during collaborative group work.

Dornfeld, C. & Puntambekar, S. (2015, June). Emergent roles and collaborative discourse over time. In O. Lindwell, P. Hakkinen, T. Koschman, P. Tchounike, & S. Ludvigsen (Eds.), Exploring the Material Conditions ofLearning: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) Conference 2015, Volume 1 (pp. 380-387). Gothenburg, Sweden: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.