Instructional Science

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 949–970 | Cite as

A group psychotherapeutic perspective on transforming participation in a learning community

  • Yotam Hod
  • Dani Ben-Zvi


The aim of this study is to investigate learners’ transforming participation as they enter and engage in a learning community. To do this, we investigated the micro-development of two students’ learning and collaborative practices in the context of a unique learning community that was fostered within a graduate level course. Interpretations of the data, which were reviewed by the researchers and triangulated by a group of expert and novice peers, led us to suggest three dimensions of transforming participation that is based on a group psychotherapy framework: (a) the social microcosm—examining one’s learning and collaboration practices in the LC in comparison with one’s everyday life; (b) developing the motivation to change based on dissatisfaction or a desire to grow; and (c) making incremental changes to practices in a socio-cultural context. We discuss the intricacies and implications of this framework for future research on learning communities.


Group psychotherapy Learning community Micro-development Participation transformation Social microcosm theory 


  1. Ben-Zvi. D. (2007). Using wiki to promote collaborative learning in statistics education. Technology Innovations in Statistics Education, 1(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  2. Barab, S. A., Barnett, M., & Squire, K. (2002). Developing an empirical account of a community of practice: Characterizing the essential tensions. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 11(4), 489–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barzilai, S., & Zohar, A. (2014). Reconsidering personal epistemology as metacognition: A multi-faceted approach to the analysis of epistemic thinking. Educational Psychologist, 49(1), 13–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bielaczyc, K. (2006). Designing social infrastructure: The challenge of building computer-supported learning communities. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(3), 301–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 269–292). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Bielaczyc, K., Kapur, M., & Collins, A. (2013). Cultivating a community of learners in K-12 classrooms. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, A. M. O’Donnell, & C. Chan (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 233–249). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Bion, W. R. (1948). Experiences in groups. Human Relations, 1(3), 314–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brabender, V. (2010). Group development. In R. K. Conyne (Ed.), Oxford handbook of group counseling (pp. 182–204). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, A. L., & Campione, J. C. (1994). Guided discovery in a community of learners. In K. McGilly (Ed.), Classroom lessons: Integrating cognitive theory and classroom practice (pp. 229–272). Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cobb, P., & Yackel, E. (1996). Constructivist, emergent, and sociocultural perspectives in the context of developmental research. Educational Psychologist, 31(3/4), 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Granott, N., & Parziale, J. (Eds.). (2002). Microdevelopment: Transition processes in development and learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hagani-Mor, S., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2010). The design of wiki-based dialogue-enhanced collaborative learning environment (in Hebrew). In Y. Yair (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eight Annual Conference of MEITAL (the Inter-University Center for e-Learning, IUCEL). Ra’anana: The Open University of Israel.Google Scholar
  16. Hakkarainen, K., Paavola, S., Kangas, K., & Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P. (2013). Sociocultural perspectives on collaborative learning: Toward collaborative knowledge creation. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, A. M. O’Donnell, & C. Chan (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 57–73). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Hod, Y., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2014). Productive failure in an emerging learning community: A group developmental perspective. In Y. Eshet-Alkalai, A. Caspi, N. Geri, Y. Kalman, V. Silber-Varod, Y. Yair (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth Chais Conference for the Study of Innovation and Learning Technologies: Learning in the Technological Era (pp. 60-64). Raanana: The Open University of Israel.Google Scholar
  18. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Learning groups. In S. A. Wheelan (Ed.), The handbook of group research and practice (pp. 441–461). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kling, R., & Courtright, C. (2003). Group behavior and learning in electronic forums: A sociotechnical approach. The Information Society, 19(3), 221–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Konja, M., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2008). Collaborative learning processes in wiki-based environments in higher education. In Y. Eshet, A. Caspi & N. Geri (Eds.), Proceedings of the Third Annual Chais Conference on Instructional Technologies Research (pp. 165–170). Ra’anana: The Open University of Israel, February, 2008.Google Scholar
  21. Lave, J. (1993). The practice of learning. In S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context (pp. 3–32). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lee, K., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2002). Macro- and micro-developmental research: Assumptions, research strategies, constraints, and utilities. In N. Granott & J. Parziale (Eds.), Microdevelopment: Transition processes in development and learning (pp. 243–265). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rogoff, B. (1994). Developing understanding of the idea of communities of learners. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1(4), 209–229.Google Scholar
  24. Rogoff, B., Turkanis, C. G., & Bartlett, L. (2001). Learning together children and adults in a school community. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Salomon, G. (2006). Does peace education really make a difference? Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 12(1), 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sawyer, K. (2006). Introduction: The new science of learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning science (pp. 1–18). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Sawyer, R. K., & Greeno, J. G. (2006). Situativity and learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning science Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 347–367). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Schoenfeld, A. H. (2007). Method. In F. K. Lester (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 69–107). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Siegler, R. S., & Crowley, K. (1991). The microgenetic method. American Psychologist, 46(6), 606–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Webb, N. M., & Palincsar, A. S. (1996). Group processes in the classroom. In D. Berliner & R. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (3rd ed., pp. 841–873). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Yalom, I. D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of HaifaHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations