An international research team analyzed 425 studies conducted since 2000 and concluded computers that support student collaboration beneficially affect learning.
The researchers targeted studies exploring the impact of applying information and communication technologies to support collaboration, emphasizing outcomes like knowledge improvement, attainment of skills like problem-solving, students' attitudes and beliefs toward learning and themselves, and social interactions.
In a randomized experiment, the impact of computer-mediated and face-to-face communication on student learning was compared in the context of a seven-session task for U.S. teacher-education undergraduates; subjects who used online communication tools like Skype "submitted significantly higher-quality essays."
The researchers said, "Learners with computer-supported collaborative learning achieved significantly greater knowledge gains, exhibited better skills, and had more positive perceptions than their counterparts in computer-supported individual learning."
The team cited "group awareness" tools for monitoring or visualizing group members' interactions and supplying cues about their knowledge and experience levels, as especially helpful technologies.
From Education Week
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