Exploring group interactions in synchronous mobile computer-supported learning activities

Martina Holenko DLAB, Ivica BOTICKI, Natasa HOIC-BOZIC, Chee Kit LOOI

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a study of synchronous mobile computer-supported collaborative learning (mCSCL) that emphasized levels of pre-structuring in the context of primary school participants who need more guidance to benefit from the collaborative work. The male and female participants, who were, on average, 8-year-old primary school students, used Internet-connected mobile devices to work synchronously in small groups on mathematics tasks. The study examined two mCSCL interaction modes. In the first mode, each group member is assigned a role, and should have completed one part of the task before the group members negotiated their solutions. In the second mode, all group members completed parts of the task individually, and then negotiated their solutions to progress through the activity. The two interaction modes were compared in terms of student task completion attempts and incorrect completion attempts. The study results are of medium to large effect size and indicated that for tasks of lower difficulty, task distribution using roles led to statistically significantly more incorrect task completion attempts compared to the design without roles. For tasks of greater difficulty, there were more incorrect task completion attempts in groups with no explicit distribution of work compared to the groups with roles. The design of synchronous mCSCL technology emphasizes the importance of state preservation mechanisms, synchronization mechanisms, and immediate feedback messages. Practical implications of this study are that teachers must actively consider the type of mCSCL design they choose when preparing their mobile collaborative lessons, and choose an adequate design for the planned task difficulty level. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103735
JournalComputers & Education
Early online dateOct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


Dlab, M. H., Boticki, I., Hoic-Bozic, N., & Looi, C. K. (2020). Exploring group interactions in synchronous mobile computer-supported learning activities. Computers & Education, 146. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103735


  • Mobile computer-supported collaborative learning (mCSCL)
  • Elementary education
  • Group work
  • Interactive learning environments
  • Roles


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