chapter  4
17 Pages

Theories of Cognition in Collaborative Learning

ByGerry Stahl (Drexel University)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THEORY An important approach to collaborative learning research is the relatively recent eld of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). is chapter will focus on that eld. CSCL is multidisciplinary by its nature and because of its origins (see Stahl, Koschmann, & Suthers, 2006, for a history of CSCL from a perspective similar to the one here). Consider the name, Computer-supported Collaborative Learning: it combines concerns with computer technology, collaborative social interaction, and learning or education-very di erent sorts of scienti c domains. CSCL grew out of work in elds like informatics

and arti cial intelligence, cognitive science and social psychology, the learning sciences and educational practice-domains that are themselves each fundamentally multidisciplinary. eory in these elds may take the form of predictive mathematical laws, like Shannon’s (Shannon & Weaver, 1949) mathematical theory of information, or Turing’s (1937) theory of computation; of models of memory and cognition; or of conceptions of group interaction and social practice. ey may have very di erent implications for research, favoring either laboratory experiments that establish statistical regularities or engaged case studies that contribute to an understanding of situated behaviors.