Layout Considered Harmful: On the Influence of Information Architecture on Dialogue

  • Peter Purgathofer
  • Naemi Luckner
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8523)


Discussions are an important tool for students to engage with new content, bring up new ideas and generate knowledge. This paper focuses on the representation of asynchronous online discussion forums in an e-learning context and how it influences the outcome of discussions. We compare the results of a traditional discussion visualisation - a vertically threaded comment system - to the two dimensional system Discourse, in which every new statement of the discussion opens a new subthread. We draw our conclusions from a qualitative analysis of pairs of discussions on the same topic conducted in both systems. Our findings suggest that discussions in Discourse are more focused and goal-oriented than in traditional threaded system.


Online Discussion Knowledge Forum Thread Discussion Information Architecture Discussion System 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Purgathofer
    • 1
  • Naemi Luckner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Design and Assessment of TechnologyVienna University of TechnologyAustria

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