Intertwining synchronous and asynchronous communication to support collaborative learning—system design and evaluation



This paper presents the design and evaluation of the CSCL-system KOLUMBUS 2 that integrates synchronous and asynchronous communication support and the joint work on material. The design is theory driven and is based on characteristics of collaborative learning, context-oriented communication theory and media synchronicity theory. The description of the design of the system follows a model that shows the interweavement of asynchronous and synchronous functionalities. The evaluation showed mixed acceptance: concerning the interweavement a successful technical solution with limitations in its usage was found. The technical functionalities were widely used but the usage also reveals potentials for improvements. Based on the description of the study and its results the paper ends with proposals for these improvements of the integration as well as for the redesign of the functionalities.


CSCL Synchronous communication Asynchronous communication Integration of different communication media System design Evaluation 



I thank the KOLUMBUS 2-Team at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany for the development of KOLUMBUS 2 and the student group PG 454 for the development of KOLUMBUS Chat and the analytical tools. Many thanks also to Marcus Reinecke who carefully prepared and organised the seminar and all the participants of the seminar for their willingness to test KOLUMBUS 2. Last but not least I thank Torsten Holmer for Chatline and his support during the follow-up study and Angela Carell and Martin Wessner for their helpful hints on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI)DarmstadtGermany

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