Communication patterns in computer mediated versus face-to-face group problem solving

  • David H. Jonassen
  • Hyug KwonII


Research has shown that when group problem solving is computer mediated, communications become more task oriented with clearer role expectations, while face-to-face communications are more cohesive and personal. None of this research has examined those patterns of interactions in terms of the problem solving activities engaged. In this study, we compared the perceptions of participants, the nature of the comments made, and the patterns of communication in face-to-face and computer-mediated groups in terms of problem-solving activities while solving well-structured and ill-structured problems. The quantity of messages in the computer conference was smaller but more task related than in the face-to-face conversations because participants reflected more on ideas and perspectives in reaching their decisions. A cluster analysis of communication patterns showed that computer-mediated group decisions more closely resembled the general problem-solving process of problem definition, orientation, and solution development as group interaction progressed, while the face-to-face group interactions tended to follow a linear sequence of interactions. Participants who solved problems through computer conferencing were more satisfied with the process and believed that there was a greater quality in the problem-solving process.


Communication Mode Simple Disagreement Group Problem Phasic Period Simple Agreement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Jonassen
    • 1
  • Hyug KwonII
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MissouriUSA
  2. 2.Hyundai Learning CenterKorea

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