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Title: Insights into the Emergence of Convergence in Group Discussions
Authors: Kapur, Manu
Voiklis, John
Kinzer, Charles
Black, John
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Kapur, M., Voiklis, J., Kinzer, C., & Black, J. (2006). Insights into the Emergence of Convergence in Group Discussions. In Barab, S. A., Hay, K. E., & Hickey, D. T. (Eds.), The International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Indiana University 2006. Proceedings of ICLS 2006, Volume 1 (pp. 300-306). Bloomington, Indiana, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: Understanding how complex group discussions converge presents a major challenge for collaborative problem-solving research (Fischer & Mandl, 2005). From a complex systems perspective, convergence in group discussions is an emergent behavior arising from the transactional interactions between group members. Leveraging on the concepts of emergent simplicity and emergent complexity (Bar-Yam, 2003), a set of theoretically-sound yet simple rules was hypothesized: Interactions between group members were conceptualized as goal-seeking adaptations that either help the group move towards or away from its goal, or maintain its status quo. Operationalizing this movement as a Markov walk, we present quantitative and qualitative findings from a study of online problem-solving groups. Findings suggest high (low) quality contributions have a greater positive (negative) impact on convergence when they come earlier in a discussion than later. Significantly, convergence analysis was able to predict a group's performance based on what happened in the first 30-40% of its discussion.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2006

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