When social comparisons are (dys-)functional: The influence of social comparisons, knowledge awareness, and comparison motivation in collaborative learning

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/73790
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2016
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Erziehungswissenschaft
Advisor: Sassenberg, Kai (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2016-12-13
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
370 - Education
Keywords: Lernen , Vergleich
Other Keywords:
social comparison
collaborative learning
knowledge awareness
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Collaborative learning has received increasing attention in all levels of education (Johnson et al., 2007; Webb & Mastergeorge, 2003). Under the right circumstances, learners can achieve higher knowledge levels and better learning outcomes in collaboration than individual learners (e.g. Dillenbourg et al., 1996; Garrison et al., 2001; Johnson & Johnson, 1999). The nature of collaborative learning is in itself to work with another person. Thus, collaborative learning carries with it the potential for social comparisons (Festinger, 1954). Therefore, it comes to no surprise that social comparisons are strongly facilitated when learning with others (Dijkstra et al., 2008). Structured collaboration as in computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) with knowledge awareness is often used to heighten the efficiency of collaborative learning settings (Dillenbourg et al., 1996) but might also introduce the aforementioned comparisons more strongly than traditional collaboration. How this in turn influences learners’ engagement and learning is unclear and understudied. Furthermore, for the duration of collaboration in CSCL learners’ comparison options are often constrained. However, before collaboration, learners might be free to seek learning partners according to their individual needs and motivations. Generally, having a choice in their learning partner provides learners with a sense of control over their situation as well as motivates students to engage in learning (Pintrich, 2003). Therefore, giving learners a choice might be beneficial for collaborative learning. However, this choice might also encourage social comparisons with potential learning partners. Based on this assumption, this dissertation examines if social comparison already influence learning partner choices before collaboration. How social comparisons facilitated by CSCL settings influence a learner’s behavior and engagement and if comparisons influence learning partner choices likewise is core to this dissertation. This was addressed in a set of empirical studies. The findings indicate that social comparisons facilitated by knowledge awareness in CSCL can lead to knowledge hoarding and lowered learning outcomes for more knowledgeable learners. In contrast, for less knowledgeable learners social comparisons facilitated by knowledge awareness can lead to heightened engagement and learning outcome. Furthermore, social comparisons also influence learners before actual collaboration: social comparisons can hinder strategic learning partner choices and thus potentially harm learning.

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