Employing a structured interface to advance primary students' communicative competence in a text-based computer mediated environment

Chiung Hui Chiu, Chiu Yi Wu, Sheng Jieh Hsieh, Hsiao Wei Cheng, Chung Kai Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether a structured communication interface fosters primary students' communicative competence in a synchronous typewritten computer-mediated collaborative learning environment. The structured interface provided a set of predetermined utterance patterns for elementary students to use or imitate to develop communicative competence including comprising grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic competence. Two intact classes of fifth graders; each with 33 students, participated in this study. The students in each class were randomly arranged into triads. Members of a triad were designated to separate computers, seated at a proper distance and required to collaboratively accomplish a shared learning task (concept mapping). One class was provided the structured communication interface. The other class used a generic (non-structured) interface. It was found that students who used the structured communication interface had significantly better communicative competence development, especially in strategic competence and discourse competence, than students using the unstructured condition. In addition, students using the structured interface continued to demonstrate better collaborative productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1



  • Communicative competence
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Primary education
  • Structured communication interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

Cite this