Group awareness tools: It’s what you do with it that matters

Jeroen Janssen*, Gijsbert Erkens, Paul A. Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    This study examined the effect of using a group awareness tool on online collaboration. Furthermore, we examined whether the effect of using a group awareness tool on online collaboration is mediated by group awareness (i.e., students’ awareness of their group members’ levels of participation). To answer these questions, we determined how often and how long 107 secondary education students used the Participation-tool (PT), a group awareness tool designed to visualize group members’ relative contribution to the online collaborative process. Our analyses show that duration of PT use (how long students displayed the tool on their screens) significantly predicted group members’ participation in the online dialogue, their participation when writing collaborative texts, equality of participation within the group, and coordination and regulation of activities in the relational space (i.e., discussing the collaboration process with group members). No effect of using the PT on group performance was found. Mediation analyses showed that the effect of using the PT is only partially mediated by group awareness: an indirect effect of using the PT, via enhanced group awareness, on student participation during chat discussions and the collaborative writing process was found.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1046-1058
    Number of pages13
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Issue number3
    Early online date14 Jul 2010
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • Group awareness
    • Tool use
    • Computer-supported collaborative learning
    • Group performance
    • Coordination and regulation


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