The right tool for the wrong task? Match and mismatch between first and second stimulus in double stimulation



Using Vygotsky’s notion of double stimulation as an analytical tool, we discuss the complex relationship between tasks, tools, and agency in CSCL environments. Empirically we examine how learners in a Norwegian senior high school class learning English as a foreign language approach and respond to an open-ended and collectively oriented task using a wiki. Our findings show that collectively oriented knowledge and language production takes place locally in small groups as well as in the larger collective of the class, and that learners find it difficult to maintain awareness of both levels of activity. However, when facing a breakdown in the wiki application, learners sustained strategies that carried many of the characteristics of collective production. We argue that there is a need to further theorize the task-tool relationship in activities involving collective knowledge production and that we need to align pedagogical as well as technological designs in order to give support for such efforts.


Double stimulation Wiki Tasks Collaborative knowledge construction 



The writing of this article is supported by the strategic research effort Competence and Media Convergence (CMC) and the “TWEAK” (Tweaking Wikis for Education and Knowledge Advancement) project at the University of Oslo. We thank the learners and teacher at the Secondary School we report from, Ole Smørdal and Thomas Drevon for their design work and productive discussions, Sten Ludvigsen, Svein Olav Norenes, colleagues at InterMedia, and David Middleton for reading and commenting on earlier versions of this paper. Also, we would like to extend our thanks to the reviewers and the editors for the very constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.InterMediaUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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