Awareness of Complementary Knowledge in CSCL: Impact on Learners’ Knowledge Exchange in Small Groups

  • Melanie ErkensEmail author
  • Sven Manske
  • H. Ulrich Hoppe
  • Daniel Bodemer
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11677)


Existing research covers the positive impact of two significant support measures on reciprocal knowledge exchange in small groups: grouping learners with complementary knowledge and enhancing the awareness on co-learners by providing cognitive information on them (cognitive group awareness). Although a combination of both seems obvious, its benefits have not yet been investigated. Thus, we conducted an experimental study in a real classroom setting using a 2 × 2 mixed design to investigate the effects of support in knowledge-complementary groups (with/without cognitive group awareness) and the level of co-learners’ knowledge (high/low) on self-assessed communication behavior. Although our results did not confirm interaction effects, the additional objective observation of one third of the learning groups (6 out of 18) yielded a different picture: In supported groups, co-learners exchanged knowledge in a more intended way and chose a better order of talking about topics, both indicating an added value of providing the learners cognitive information.


Group formation Cognitive group awareness CSCL 



We thank the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Dinslaken for the great cooperation. Furthermore, we thank Jessica Gärtner for helping us collect the data and coding the questions and explanations, and Patrick Schlottbom for analyzing the communication sequences and visualizing the results. Special thanks go to our deceased colleague and friend Sören Werneburg, who, as a former teacher at the school where the study was conducted, not only established the contact with the teachers and made the cooperation possible, but also accompanied the study with the greatest enthusiasm.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany

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