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Title: The relationship between group size and advanced level knowledge construction in asynchronous online discussion environments
Authors: Hew, Khe Foon
Cheung, Wing Sum
Keywords: asynchronous online discussion
group size
knowledge construction
computer-mediated collaborative learning
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Paper presented at the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) Conference, Sydney, Australia, 5 - 8 December 2010
Abstract: This study is part of a funded research project that examines possible factors that may influence students' advanced level of knowledge construction. This study examines if group size of the online discussion is related to the frequency of advanced level of knowledge construction occurrences. Group size of an online discussion refers to the number of people who contributed in the discussion. Advanced levels of knowledge construction refer to levels II, III, IV, or V of Gunawardena, Lowe, and Anderson’s (1997) interaction analysis model. Data were collected from 28 asynchronous online discussion forums. Results showed a significant positive correlation between group size and advanced level knowledge construction; suggesting that the larger the group size of the online discussion is, the more frequent the occurrences of advanced level knowledge construction would be. Further analysis between the more successful and less successful forums suggested that a certain critical mass, which appears to be a group size of about 10 participants may be required to direct the discussion to advanced levels of knowledge construction.
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