Investigating the effects of prompts on argumentation style, consensus and perceived efficacy in collaborative learning

  • Owen M. Harney
  • Michael J. Hogan
  • Benjamin Broome
  • Tony Hall
  • Cormac Ryan


This paper investigates the effects of task-level versus process-level prompts on levels of perceived and objective consensus, perceived efficacy, and argumentation style in the context of a computer-supported collaborative learning session using Interactive Management (IM), a computer facilitated thought and action mapping methodology. Four groups of undergraduate psychology students (N = 75) came together to discuss the negative consequences of online social media usage. Participants in the task-level group received simple, task-level prompts in relation to the task at hand, whereas the process-level group received both task-level prompts and more specific, and directed, process-level prompts. Perceived and objective consensus were measured before the IM session, and were measured again, along with perceived efficacy of the collaborative learning methodology, after the IM session. Results indicated that those in the process-level prompt groups scored significantly higher on perceived consensus and perceived efficacy of the IM methodology after the session. Analysis of the group dialogue using the Conversational Argument Coding Scheme revealed significant differences between experimental conditions in the style of argumentation used, with those in the process-level prompt groups exhibiting a greater range of argumentation codes. Results are discussed in light of theory and research on instructional support and facilitation in computer-supported collaborative learning.


Computer supported collaborative learning Prompts Facilitation Consensus Argumentation 


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Owen M. Harney
    • 1
  • Michael J. Hogan
    • 1
  • Benjamin Broome
    • 2
  • Tony Hall
    • 1
  • Cormac Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Hugh Downs School of Human CommunicationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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