Social Aspects of CSCL Environments: A Research Framework

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    Although there are research findings supporting the positive effects of computer-supported col- laborative learning (CSCL), problems have been reported regarding the learning process itself, group formation, and group dynamics. These problems can be traced back to impeded social interaction between group members. Social interaction is necessary (a) for group members to learn from each other in a CSCL environment and (b) for socioemotional processes to help cre- ate a social space where trust, sense of community, and strong interpersonal relationships exist. This article introduces a theoretical framework consisting of three core elements: sociability, social space, and social presence, along with their relationships with group members’ mental models, social affordances and learning outcomes. It postulates that the three core elements influence the social interaction needed for both learning and the emergence of a social space. This framework serves as a basis for a research agenda for systematic social CSCL research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-242
    Number of pages14
    JournalEducational Psychologist
    Issue number4
    Early online date30 Apr 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


    • CSCL
    • social interaction
    • social space
    • theoretical framework
    • sociability
    • social presence


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