The Role of Collaboration, Computer Use, Learning Environments, and Supporting Strategies in CSCL: A Meta-Analysis

Juanjuan Chen, Minhong Wang, Paul A. Kirschner, Chin-Chung Tsai

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234 Citations (Scopus)


This meta-analysis synthesizes research findings on the effects of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) based on its three main elements: (1) the collaboration per se, (2) the use of computers, and (3) the use of extra learning environments or tools, or supporting strategies in CSCL. In this analysis, 425 empirical studies published between 2000 and 2016 were extracted and coded, and these generated the following findings. First, the collaboration had significant positive effects on knowledge gain (ES [effect size] = 0.42), skill acquisition (ES = 0.64), and student perceptions (ES = 0.38) in computer-based learning conditions. Second, computer use led to positive effects on knowledge gain (ES = 0.45), skill acquisition (ES = 0.53), student perceptions (ES = 0.51), group task performance (ES = 0.89), and social interaction (ES = 0.57) in collaborative learning contexts. Third, the use of extra learning environments or tools produced a medium effect for knowledge gain (ES = 0.55), and supporting strategies resulted in an ES of 0.38 for knowledge gain. Several study features were analyzed as potential moderators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-843
Number of pages45
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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