Multivocal Analysis

Multiple Perspectives in Analyzing Interaction

Authored by: Kristine Lund , Daniel Suthers

International Handbook of the Learning Sciences

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138670594
eBook ISBN: 9781315617572
Adobe ISBN:


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The role of interaction in learning has long been recognized, whether through deliberate design of social settings for learning (e.g., Slavin, 1990) or as intrinsic to human learning (e.g., Vygotsky, 1978). Human interaction is a complex process that lends itself to study from many different points of view. These points of view are also present within research on how learning occurs within groups, or how teachers, peers, or technology may facilitate collaborative learning. Researchers in a given tradition will choose to focus on particular aspects of human interaction that are emphasized by that tradition’s theoretical and methodological framework. While there is nothing surprising about this per se, it’s good science to want to understand how these particular aspects of human interaction fit together in a broader framework. However, a broader framework is not so easy to build, because each tradition teaches researchers different assumptions about what one should pay attention to and how one should do research. In this chapter, we present a collaborative approach to analysis that can help make these assumptions explicit and explore the level of integration that is possible between traditions. We begin by describing a selection of major methodological traditions that form claims about learning in groups, and then consider where and how integration can occur across traditions that are interested in collaborative learning.

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