Computer Support for Knowledge Construction in Collaborative Learning Environments

P.J. Beers*, Henny Boshuizen, P.A. Kirschner, W.H. Gijselaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Web of Science)


Organisations increasingly use multidisciplinary teams to construct solutions for complex problems. Research has shown that multidisciplinary teams do not guarantee good problem solutions. Common ground is seen as vital to team performance. In this paper an ict-tool to support complex problem solving is studied. A framework for knowledge construction inspired the design of computer support for knowledge construction. The basic support principle consisted of making individual perspectives explicit, which serves as a basis for negotiating common ground. This principle was embedded in a collaborative learning environment in three ways, which differed from each other in the extent to which users were coerced to adhere to the embedded support principles. Coercion, as expected, was correlated with negotiation of common ground; the more coercion, the more participants would negotiate the meaning of contributions to the ict-tool, and the more common ground they would have. Self-report data suggested that intermediate coercion resulted in the least common ground. This may have been caused by some disruption of group processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-643
Number of pages21
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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