What Makes Peer Interaction Effective?

October 1999
Amy Soller, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
Alan Lesgold, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
Frank Linton, The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Bradley A. Goodman, the MITRE Corporation
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We describe the empirical evaluation of two collaborative learning tools that automate the analysis of peer interaction and activity. Results from our study confirm that effective learning teams are comprised of active participants who demand explanations and justification from their peers. The results also suggest that structured, high-level knowledge of student conversation and activity appears to be sufficient for automating the assessment of group interaction, furthering the possibility of an intelligent collaborative learning system that can support and enhance the group learning process.

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