Project

Argumentative Knowledge Construction in social media: Supporting social and cognitive learning processes

Goal: In my habilitation research programme (completed), I investigated possibilities to leverage the richness of interactions of SNS for learning. Due to their technological basis, SNS allow the easier collection of data and the investigation of informal social learning processes. They allow testing the social theories of learning and central concepts like socio-cognitive conflict that are otherwise hard to test in the wild. As such, social media can be seen as the next generation of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments. They supply a basis for bringing existing knowledge on learning to this new context and, at the same time, serve as a bridge that can help to understand the new emerging learning culture, extend and develop social theories of learning. SNS in particular, due to the primary dialogic mode of communication they afford, offer themselves as platforms of argumentative knowledge construction (Kimmerle, Moskaliuk, Oeberst, & Cress, 2015). Argumentative Knowledge Construction (AKC) is the deliberate practice of elaborating learning material by constructing formally and semantically sound arguments with the goal of gaining argumentative and domain-specific knowledge (Weinberger & Fischer, 2006). However, argumentation quality in online communication is often poor (Marttunen & Laurinen, 2001). Conflicting opinions and inconsistencies are regularly dismissed, rendering the quality of the emergent knowledge questionable (Kanuka & Anderson, 1998). As such, it seems that the resolution of conflicts is emotional, relational and unproductive for learning (Darnon, Muller, Schrager, Pannuzzo, & Butera, 2006). This can lead to polarisation of opinions (Kuhn, & Lao 1996) as opposed of exploiting the potential for multiperspective deliberation. Supporting argumentation quality in SNS can help overcome these barriers and lead to individual and collective learning. Through a series of studies, we investigated argumentative knowledge co-construction in SNS. To encipher socio-cognitive processes of learning in social media and their effects on learning, we investigated the extent to which successful instruction in formal settings of CSCL can be leveraged to include self-directed informal social processes of learning in social media and foster learning outcomes. We tested the extent to which CSCL instructional methods transfer to learning in SNS, which principles of CSCL learning persevere in this context shift, which principles are challenged and which new ones need to be incorporated in a more coherent theory of learning. We aim at offering solution for structuring social media so as to foster productive argumentation in real life. On the whole, there are some positive effects of scripts that structure the argumentationt to enhance its quality. Especially in combination with awareness tools, scripts can foster learning and attitude change. The effects are visible long term and seem to depend on expectations on collaborative processes (individualistic vs. collaborative approaches).

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Dimitra Tsovaltzi
added a research item
Students use Facebook to organize their classroom experiences [1], but hardly to share and form opinions on subject matters. We explore the benefits of argument diagrams for the formation of scientific opinion on behaviorism in Facebook. We aim at raising awareness of opinion conflict and structuring the argumentation with scripts [2]. A lab study with University students (ten dyads per condition) compared the in-fluence of argument structuring (students built individual argument diagrams before discussing in Facebook) vs. no argument structuring (only Facebook discussion) on opinion formation, measured through opinion change. The argumentation script was implemented in the web-based system LASAD to support sound argumentation [3]. Fig. 1. View of LASAD diagram Facebook discussions and conflict awareness led students of both conditions to change their opinions, t(39)=8.84, p<.001. Evidence suggests a connection between opinion change and the number of conflicts in a discussion. Together with a high correlation for no argument structuring between opinion change and knowledge gains, r(20)=.54, p<.05, the results suggest benefits of raising awareness of opinion conflicts in Facebook to facilitate scientific opinion formation and change. References.
Dimitra Tsovaltzi
added 2 research items
This article investigates the influence of scripts, individual preparation and group awareness support on argumentative learning in Facebook, three instructional approaches known from standard CSCL, but yet quite unexplored for learning in social networks. Social networks already afford a social component that is beneficial for interaction, which can be enhanced in a subtle way by group awareness support. However, a missing element in social networks that might be necessary for learning is structure. Individual preparation and argumentation scripts may offer structure to improve argumentation quality and complement group awareness support. We investigate the potential interactions of scripts, individual preparation and group awareness support in social networking sites on individual and group learning outcomes. We present the combined results of three studies. Contrary to previous CSCL results, we present negative results of individual preparation and group awareness support in this socially defined platform. Positive effects are found for argumentation scripts, which however cannot counterbalance the negative effects of group awareness support or individual preparation when combined with either of them. We discuss the results and their implications for leveraging Facebook’s social impact and ‘native’ interactions for learning and point out benefits and risks of using CSCL instructions in this context.
This study investigates how group awareness support and argumentation scripts influence learning in social networking sites like Facebook, which may be conducive to informal learning, but often lacks argumentative quality. Supporting participants’ group awareness about the visibility of the arguments they construct and about prospective future debate with peers in order to promote argument quality may be particularly suited for learning in Social Networking Sites. Additional argumentation scripts may directly foster argumentative knowledge construction. In a 2 × 2 study (N = 81), we isolated and investigated the effects of group awareness support and argumentation scripts during individual preparation in a Facebook app on domain and argumentative knowledge. Our results reveal that group awareness support of upcoming argumentative processes can be counterproductive for learning in Social Networking Sites. Argumentation scripts in Facebook may remedy possible negative effects of such awareness. Process analysis showed that group awareness support promotes individual argument elaboration but reduces broad analysis of the domain.
Dimitra Tsovaltzi
added 2 research items
Social Network Sites (SNS) like Facebook bear potential for collaboration through rich social interactions, but the shared arguments are often poorly elaborated, and lack epistemic quality. In a controlled 2 × 2 study (N = 128), we investigated how individual preparation and argumentation scripts can support argumentative knowledge co-construction in Facebook. Individual preparation has been shown to motivate participants, activate prior knowledge, reduce process losses and promote unbiased arguments. Argumentation scripts can support quality of argumentative discussions and evidence-based argumentation. Their combination may, thus, enhance the argumentation quality in SNS interactions and facilitate domain knowledge acquisition. We found negative effects of individual preparation, ascribable to lack of knowledge co-construction and knowledge convergence, that point to knowledge consolidation. Scripting argumentation has some positive effects, but not in combination with individual preparation. We identify possibilities and risks of applying standard collaborative learning instructions in the context of SNS, and discuss theoretical consequences.
150 words) (Arial, 10 pt) New self-organized and large-scale forms of communication, like SNS (social networking sites), bring new possibilities for supporting argumentative learning, that is learning through argumentation. Because of the social character of the interactions in SNS, SNS may extend our knowledge on group processes and outcomes of argumentative learning like attitude change. This article presents a comparison of different supports for argumentative learning in a university teacher-trainee course on communication theory that included weekly SNS discussions: Group Awareness Tools (GATs), to increase attitude conflict awareness, vs. argumentation scripts, as a cognitive guidance to help learners capitalize on this awareness. We use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to analyze conversational data and data from a communication attitude questionnaire on group-level processes relevant to attitude change during argumentative SNS discussions: number of interactions, information flow control, influence distribution, and attitude similarity. Both GATs and argumentation scripts influence argumentative processes, but scripts influence more processes. Extended summary (paper presentation: 1500 words) a) Group Awareness Tools and Argumentation Scripts for Attitude Change through Argumentative Learning in SNS Communication competence can help teachers communicate well with students, parents, colleagues, and school administrative staff. Teacher trainees have pronounced negative attitudes towards the need for communication skills (Ihmeideh & Al-omari, 2010) and communication theory seminars are offered to change their attitudes and improve their skills. However, attitudes tend to be stable (Erber, Hodges, & Wilson, 1995) and attitude change presupposes long-term deep learning and conflict awareness (Erber, Hodges, & Wilson, 1995). Deep learning can be obtained through argumentation which supports Argumentative Knowledge Construction (AKC). AKC is the deliberate practice of elaborating learning material by constructing formally and semantically sound arguments with the goal of gaining knowledge (Weinberger & Fischer, 2006), but also co-construction of opinions and attitudes (Andriessen,). The social character of SNS may leverage attitude differences and lead to socio-cognitive conflict and attitude change beyond what is possible in purpose-specific collaborative learning tools. On the other hand, public discussions encourage the focus on attitudes and may rather reinforce private beliefs Lampert, Rittenhouse, & Crumbaugh (1996). To seize the social affordances for attitude change, GATs can visualize covert information about the group processes (Buder & Bodemer, 2008), and make attitude differences salient, which is a prerequisite of dissonance and attitude change (Festinger, 1957). In the collaborative setting of SNS this may lead to a higher number of interactions in an attempt to collaboratively understand and resolve differences, less centralized information flow control, distributed influence, and maybe more
Dimitra Tsovaltzi
added a project goal
In my habilitation research programme (completed), I investigated possibilities to leverage the richness of interactions of SNS for learning. Due to their technological basis, SNS allow the easier collection of data and the investigation of informal social learning processes. They allow testing the social theories of learning and central concepts like socio-cognitive conflict that are otherwise hard to test in the wild. As such, social media can be seen as the next generation of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments. They supply a basis for bringing existing knowledge on learning to this new context and, at the same time, serve as a bridge that can help to understand the new emerging learning culture, extend and develop social theories of learning. SNS in particular, due to the primary dialogic mode of communication they afford, offer themselves as platforms of argumentative knowledge construction (Kimmerle, Moskaliuk, Oeberst, & Cress, 2015). Argumentative Knowledge Construction (AKC) is the deliberate practice of elaborating learning material by constructing formally and semantically sound arguments with the goal of gaining argumentative and domain-specific knowledge (Weinberger & Fischer, 2006). However, argumentation quality in online communication is often poor (Marttunen & Laurinen, 2001). Conflicting opinions and inconsistencies are regularly dismissed, rendering the quality of the emergent knowledge questionable (Kanuka & Anderson, 1998). As such, it seems that the resolution of conflicts is emotional, relational and unproductive for learning (Darnon, Muller, Schrager, Pannuzzo, & Butera, 2006). This can lead to polarisation of opinions (Kuhn, & Lao 1996) as opposed of exploiting the potential for multiperspective deliberation. Supporting argumentation quality in SNS can help overcome these barriers and lead to individual and collective learning. Through a series of studies, we investigated argumentative knowledge co-construction in SNS. To encipher socio-cognitive processes of learning in social media and their effects on learning, we investigated the extent to which successful instruction in formal settings of CSCL can be leveraged to include self-directed informal social processes of learning in social media and foster learning outcomes. We tested the extent to which CSCL instructional methods transfer to learning in SNS, which principles of CSCL learning persevere in this context shift, which principles are challenged and which new ones need to be incorporated in a more coherent theory of learning. We aim at offering solution for structuring social media so as to foster productive argumentation in real life. On the whole, there are some positive effects of scripts that structure the argumentationt to enhance its quality. Especially in combination with awareness tools, scripts can foster learning and attitude change. The effects are visible long term and seem to depend on expectations on collaborative processes (individualistic vs. collaborative approaches).