Coercing shared knowledge in collaborative learning environments

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Multidisciplinary teams are used in industry, government, and education for solving complex problems because they allow different perspectives to be brought to bear on a problem and thus enrich the problem space. This, in turn, is expected to allow for rich problem analyses and solutions. However, multidisciplinarity is not always advantageous. Good team solutions require team members to possess a good degree of common ground. To address this, researchers and educators often chose techniques such as collaboration scripts or scenarios to structure collaboration or how ICT-tools are used. They do this by making use of formalisms or constraints to structure conversation and discourse among collaborators with the aim of guiding the exchange of knowledge and information or both. Such techniques and tools have attained good results on cognitive aspects of group learning by focusing on task aspects. However, they have not explicitly addressed the problem of how teams with expertise diversity reach common ground. This article presents the results of a series of experiments that have shown that a tool that is capable of scripting the negotiation of both meaning and standpoint can have very positive effects on achieving common ground.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-420
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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