The importance of task appropriateness in computer-supported collaborative learning
The study of learning in collaborative electronic environments is becoming established as Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) - an emergent sub-discipline of the more established Computer Supported Co-operative Work (CSCW) discipline (Webb, 1995). Using computers for the development of shared understanding through collaboration has been explored by Crook who suggests that success may depend partly on having a clearly specified purpose or goal (Crook, 1994). It is our view that the appropriateness of the task given to the student is central to the success or otherwise of the learning experience. However, the tasks that are given to facilitate collaborative learning in face-toface situations are not always suitable for direct transfer to the electronic medium. It may be necessary to consider redesigning these tasks in relation to the medium in which they are to be undertaken and the functionality of the electronic conferencing software used.
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