In many contemporary collaborative inquiry learning environments, chat is being used as a means for communication. Still, it remains an open issue whether chat communication is an appropriate means to support the deep reasoning process students need to perform in such environments. Purpose of the present study was to compare the impact of chat versus face-to-face communication on performance within a collaborative computer-supported modeling task. 44 Students from 11th-grade pre-university education, working in dyads, were observed during modeling. Dyads communicated either face-to-face or through a chat tool. Students’ reasoning during modeling was assessed by analyzing verbal protocols. In addition, we assessed the quality of student-built models. Results show that while model quality scores did not differ across both conditions, students communicating through chat compressed their interactions resulting in less time spent on surface reasoning, whereas students who communicated face-to-face spent significantly more time on surface reasoning.
- Computer-mediated communication
- Cooperative/collaborative learning
- Interactive learning environments
- Secondary education