"Make It Explicit!": Improving Collaboration through Increase of Script Coercion

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Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
This paper investigates the impact of the proposed “Make It Explicit!” technique on students’ learning when participating in scripted collaborative activities. The method posits that when asking students to proactively articulate their own positions explicitly, then improved peer interaction is triggered in a subsequent collaborative session. Forty two (42) students worked collaboratively in dyads on a peer review scripted task with the aid of a web-based technological system. Students were asked to individually study the same material and produce answers to study questions, review their peer’s work and, finally, produce collaboratively revised common answers to the study questions. Dyads were randomly assigned in two conditions: Low Coercion (LC) and High Coercion (HC). In the HC condition students were required to write and submit to the system their reviews, prior to the task of producing the common answers to the study questions. In the LC condition, instead, submitting the individual review to the system was optional. By collecting and analyzing both quantitative (pre- and post-test scores, measures of individual and collaborative learning) and qualitative (interviews, log files) data, it is shown that students in the HC condition applied better collaboration patterns and outperformed students in the LC condition in acquiring domain conceptual knowledge. Overall, this work analyzes key aspects of implementing the “Make It Explicit!” technique and concludes that it can efficiently improve collaborative learning outcomes by increasing script coercion.

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