Distributed Educational Influence and Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

César Coll, Alfonso Bustos, Anna Engel, Inés de Gispert, María José Rochera


This article introduces a line of research on distributed educational influence (DEI) that has recently been developed by the research group to which the authors belong. The main hypothesis is that in computer-supported collaborative learning contexts, all participants are potential sources of educational influence (EI). According to this hypothesis, the success of collaboration and its outcomes depend on the extent to which participants take responsibility for being both providers and recipients of aid, such that EI becomes adequately distributed among the group as a whole. The paper is organized into four sections that deal respectively with: (1) the concept of DEI, its origin and its characteristics, with special attention being paid to the demands inherent to the exercising of EI in online collaborative learning; (2) an empirical approach to the study of DEI, based on case studies and a multimethod perspective that combines structural analysis of participants’ activity with content analysis of their contributions; (3) a review of some interesting results obtained so far and some questions that remain open; and (4) proposals for how the study of DEI could help to enrich research on online collaborative learning.


Computer-supported; Collaborative learning; Content analysis; Distributed educational influence; Educational influence; Multimethod approach; Structural analysis.

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ISSN 2013-9144


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