Coding schemes as lenses on collaborative learning

Yuxin Chen, Christopher D. Andrews, Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver, Cynthia D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: 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. Design/methodology/approach: 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. Findings: 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. Originality/value: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInformation and Learning Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2020


  • CSCL
  • Coding schemes
  • Collaboration
  • Content analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Technology-rich learning environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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