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Volume 4 / Issue 4

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-004-04-0404


Conditional Reasoning: A Key to Assessing Computer-based Knowledge-building Communication Processes

Milton Campos (São Paulo State University, Brazil and Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Abstract: This article describes a methodological approach to conditional reasoning in online asynchronous learning environments such as Virtual-U VGroups, developed by SFU, BC, Canada, consistent with the notion of meaning implication: If part of a meaning C is embedded in B and a part of a meaning B is embedded in A, then A implies C in terms of meaning [Piaget 91]. A new transcript analysis technique was developed to assess the flows of conditional meaning implications and to identify the occurrence of hypotheses and connections among them in two human science graduate mixed-mode online courses offered in the summer/spring session of 1997 by SFU. Flows of conditional meaning implications were confronted with Virtual-U VGroups threads and results of the two courses were compared. Findings suggest that Virtual-U VGroups is a knowledge-building environment although the tree-like Virtual-U VGroups threads should be transformed into neuronal-like threads. Findings also suggest that formulating hypotheses together triggers a collaboratively problem-solving process that scaffolds knowledge-building in asynchronous learning environments: A pedagogical technique and an built-in tool for formulating hypotheses together are proposed.

Keywords: Piagetian theory, collaborative learning, conditional reasoning, knowledge-building, meaning implication, transcript analysis

Categories: J.4, K.3, K.3.1, K.3.2, K.3.m