Collaborative learning is widely regarded as an effective instructional approach. It has been shown that by having learners collaborate with peers, they may come to externalize their knowledge, monitor each others’ learning, and jointly negotiate meaning. These activities may trigger significant individual cognitive processes that ultimately lead to individual knowledge construction (see Webb & Palincsar, 1996). On a theoretical level, the benefits of collaborative learning are often described in Piagetian and Vygotskyan terms: in collaborative learning, it is argued, that “socio-cognitive conflicts” (Doise & Mugny, 1984) may arise. When learners then try to resolve these conflicts, individual learning is stimulated. In addition, researchers claim that collaborators can provide one another with a “zone of proximal development” (Vygotsky, 1978). This is achieved by mutually scaffolding their activity such that they can perform slightly above their current level of competence.
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