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Coding schemes as lenses on collaborative learning

Yuxin Chen (Department of Learning Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington School of Education, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)
Christopher D. Andrews (Department of Learning Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington School of Education, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)
Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver (Center for Research on Learning and Technology, Indiana University Bloomington School of Education, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)
Cynthia D'Angelo (Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 12 December 2019




Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is widely used in different levels of education across disciplines and domains. Researchers in the field have proposed various conceptual frameworks toward a comprehensive understanding of CSCL. However, as the definition of CSCL is varied and contextualized, it is critical to develop a shared understanding of collaboration and common definitions for the metrics that are used. The purpose of this research is to present a synthesis that focuses explicitly on the types and features of coding schemes that are used as analytic tools for CSCL.


This research collected coding schemes from researchers with diverse backgrounds who participated in a series of workshops on collaborative learning and adaptive support in CSCL, as well as coding schemes from recent volumes of the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative learning (ijCSCL). Each original coding scheme was reviewed to generate an empirically grounded framework that reflects collaborative learning models.


The analysis generated 13 categories, which were further classified into three domains: cognitive, social and integrated. Most coding schemes contained categories in the cognitive and integrated domains.

Practical implications

This synthesized coding scheme could be used as a toolkit for researchers to pay attention to the multiple and complex dimensions of collaborative learning and for developing a shared language of collaborative learning.


By analyzing a set of coding schemes, the authors highlight what CSCL researchers find important by making these implicit understandings of collaborative learning visible and by proposing a common language for researchers across disciplines to communicate by referencing a synthesized framework.



Chen, Y., Andrews, C.D., Hmelo-Silver, C.E. and D'Angelo, C. (2019), "Coding schemes as lenses on collaborative learning", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 1/2, pp. 1-18.



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