What is Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)?
By Jy Wana Daphne Lin Hsiao

Computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) has grown out of wider research into computer supported collaborative work (CSCW) and collaborative learning. CSCW is defined as a computer-based network system that supports group work in a common task and provides a shared interface for groups to work with (Ellis et al. 1991).

Collaborative learning is defined as groups working together for a common purpose (Resta, 1995). The differences between CSCW and CSCL are that CSCW tends to focus on communication techniques themselves, and CSCL focuses on what is being communicated; CSCW is used mainly in the business setting, CSCL is used in the educational setting; the purpose of CSCW is to facilitate group communication and productivity, and the purpose of CSCL is to scaffold or support students in learning together effectively. They both are based on the promise that computer supported systems can support and facilitate group process and group dynamics in ways that are not achievable by face-to-face, but they are not designed to replace face-to-face communication.

CSCL and CSCW systems typically tailored for use by multiple learners working at the same workstation or across networked machines. These systems can support communicating ideas and information, accessing information and documents, and providing feedback on problem-solving activities.

The research of CSCL and CSCW covers not only the techniques of the groupware but also their social, psychological, organizational, and learning effects.

If you want to read more about CSCL and the theories behind look here


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