Inducing socio-cognitive conflict in Finnish and German groups of online learners by CSCL script

  • Armin WeinbergerEmail author
  • Miika Marttunen
  • Leena Laurinen
  • Karsten Stegmann


Collaborative learners are often meant to be guided by collaboration scripts to identify, discuss, and resolve differences of opinion and knowledge. How learners engage in and resolve conflict, however, may be highly dependent on learners’ cultural background. In this article, we examine the extent to which a peer-critique collaboration script induces socio-cognitive conflicts within Finnish and German groups of online learners. In a 2 × 2-design (Finnish/German × without script/with script), we analyzed online discussions in a problem-based learning environment of 16 German and 28 Finnish groups of three (132 participants in total) with or without script support. Trained coders rated the extent to which learners engaged in socio-cognitive conflicts, by indicating either agreement or disagreement. The results show that the peer-critique script could develop socio-cognitive conflicts. The German groups were affected more strongly by the script, even though the interaction patterns of unscripted German groups were already more conflict-oriented than those of unscripted Finnish groups. Agreement in Finnish groups mostly indicated that learners integrate arguments of learning partners into their own line of reasoning. Agreement in German groups, however, served coordination and continuation of discourse, e.g., by indicating comprehension of others’ ideas. The results showed that learning environments and collaboration scripts need to be designed with respect to culture. Furthermore, the findings emphasized that findings on computer-supported collaboration scripts cannot simply be generalized across different cultures.


Socio-cognitive conflict Collaboration script Online learning Finnish German Cross-cultural studies Script theory of guidance 



This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the EU Network of Excellence ‘Kaleidoscope’, European Research Team CoSSICLE (Computer-Supported Scripting of Interaction in Collaborative Learning Environments). We would like to thank Päivi Häkkinen, Frank Fischer, Maarit Arvaja, Raija Hämäläinen, and Carita Kiili for making this research possible within the CoSSICLE context.


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc. and Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armin Weinberger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miika Marttunen
    • 2
  • Leena Laurinen
    • 2
  • Karsten Stegmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologySaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Ludwig-Maximilians Universität MünchenMünchenGermany

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