Parallel-pattern Versus Linear-pattern Discussion Online Collaborations

Open Access
Bai, Lu
Graduate Program:
Instructional Systems
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Roy Clariana, Thesis Advisor
  • Collaborative learning
  • Online discussion
  • Patterns
  • Participation
  • Interaction
While online learning can enable synchronous and asynchronous collaboration among distance learners, a lack of clarity exists regarding the nature of online collaboration for interaction effective patterns, and for methods for engaging in collaboration. A more effective learning environment could excite learners’ motivations, and, for instructors, could enhance the evaluation of the learning process while enabling faster conveyance of information. This investigation proposes the online interactional pattern “Parallel-pattern Collaboration (PPC),” which differs from the traditional “Linear-pattern Collaboration (LPC)” discussion. This investigation, which compares Google docs (PPC) discussion to ANGEL discussion boards (LPC), considers the effects of peers’ collaborative asynchronous interactions to explore the avenues by which students interact online in two different interactional environments. Henri (1992) and Cakir et al. (2005) described “desirable” and “less desirable” patterns, and this study uses these methods to characterize PPC and LPC from data obtained from participants (N=44), randomly divided into two groups. Based on the study’s results, Google Docs is more effective at increasing certain desirable learning interactions compared to ANGEL discussion boards. Understanding patterns of collaborative interactions that improves effective learning serves as a guide for designing instructional interventions.