The CSCL environment provides equal opportunities for students to participate in knowledge sharing, interaction, and argumentative behaviors inside and outside classrooms, and provides opportunities for students to construct, elaborate, and discuss in formal and informal environments. In the CSCL environment, the students need not give the answer immediately; they can discuss, negotiate, argument, look up the materials, and look for help which support them to achieve the learning goals effectively (Weinberger, 2011; Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
However, many students are difficult to take advantage of this environment to maximize their learning outcomes, e.g. lose motivation easily, cannot activate to engage in the activity, have little knowledge and competence about how to debate and argument, cannot traverse border of cultural difference, minimal requirement of learning task, superficial consensus building, and so on (Weinberger, 2011; Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013). Therefore, it needs some methods and tools for students, especially in the CSCL learning environments, which help them to regulate motivation and emotions, manage efforts and behaviors, have knowledge and skills to argumentation, and facilitate collaboration competences in the learning processes. In the recent CSCL research, the collaboration scripts have been decided as suitable and better tools that support students to work in the collaborative learning settings.
Types of scripts
Micro and macro scripts
Micro scriptsprovide specifying and distributing roles and activities within a group of students. It instructs students what to do and how to work in the specific learning activities, and it presents procedural knowledge, such as constructing arguments, express explanation, restructure the way of thinking, deep elaboration, show discourse, and so forth, which are helpful for students to use when they engage in the learning processes. Meanwhile, the micro scripts also prompt students to participant actively and get benefits through collaborative learning processes (Weinberger, 2011; Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
Marco scripts arrange the learning activities through organizing groups, distributing different materials and roles, and sequencing various learning arrangements. The macro scripts can reduce process losses of coordination and bring on clear expectation of learning sequences and arrangements (Weinberger, 2011). According to the macro scripts, students start with the solo phase, then they go into the class and discuss in the class form, after that they build groups and argument collaboratively, then they go back to the solo phase to study individually, after that they go back to the group and work together, finally they complete the task and get learning outcomes (Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
The jigsaw scripts can help students to obtain specific domain knowledge and general domain knowledge, enhance deep understanding, foster engagement, and keep track of collaborative learning. With the jigsaw scripts, the students are distributed into the basic groups and given a task. Then the task is being divided into several subtasks and will be solved in expert groups. So the expert groups are organized with different subtasks, e.g. one group is on subtask 1, one group is on subtask 2, and so on. Each of the students is supposed to come to the expert group and work for the subtask collaboratively. Then they come back to the basic group, tutoring each other about specific expertise, and put the task’s solutions together (Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
The peer-review scripts assign and rotate students’ roles as analyst and constructive critic, provide students with complementary learning resources, and promote students to build conflict-oriented consensus. It is effectively to increase the transactivity of students’ argumentation, make collaborative task more challenging, and improve individual learning outcomes (Weinberger, 2011; Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
Internal and external scripts
The internal scripts prefer to the students’ own procedural knowledge and rules about how to work collaboratively and solve the task. The external scripts prefer to the given activity program in order to improve students’ specific, beneficial interaction patterns for collaborative learning. If students do not have specific or effective internal scripts, they should be provided more detailed external scripts to assist them engage in the collaborative learning processes. Conversely, if students have effective internal scripts, it is not necessary to provide more detailed external scripts which make them keep motivation and self-regulation (Weinberger, 2011; Videolecture by Weinberger, 2013).
Principles of scripts
The aim of computer-supported collaboration scripts is to design the environments where improve students’ productive interactions in the specific activities in the collaborative learning processes. Based on the aim, Weinberger (2011, p192) summarizes five principles of scripts:
•Regulate learning activities
•Provide complementary procedural knowledge
•Provide process-oriented instruction
Regulation of learning activities
The scripts can guide students’ attention focus on the task, model the procedure of problem-solving, and supply helpful learning materials and strategies to students which enable students to develop internal scripts, master knowledge and skills, and promote motivation and emotions in the learning processes.
Complementary procedural knowledge
The scripts are able to present some procedural knowledge and transactive strategies for students to acquire and internalize their script procedures. The students can build a system to store the distributed knowledge and strategies, and then understand deeply the procedural knowledge provided by scripts, thus regulate their collaborative learning performances.
The scripts can provide some instructions and patterns that make students engage collaboratively in the task, align the performances in a correct sequence, assign roles and activities to students, instigate role rotation in the various learning performances, expect students to understand and follow instruction, and increase frequencies of transactive discourse activities.
Substitution of coordination efforts
The scripts address coordination demands and reduce process losses. It can coordinate students to make groups, assign tasks to the individual student in the same group, coordinate discourse and encourage contribution, and take away some effects that are not related to the students’ tasks so as to make them focus on the main activities.
The scripts can change the expectation about goals and social argumentative interactions that students develop in their minds, such as the distributions and rotation of roles, responsibilities, tasks, and interaction patterns within the group. The students are informed of the general script structure beforehand and preview of the collaboration process which is in favor of alleviating some motivational problems and raise individual responsibilities in the collaborative learning processes.
Weinberger Armin (2011). Principles of transactive computer-supported collaboration scripts. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, Vol. 6, Nr 03, 189-202
Videolecture by Weinberger Armin:
1.CSCL and me—some background
2.Cooperative and Collaborative Learning
5.A CSCL Script Example Study—epistemic and peer-review scripts