Group Support Systems as Collaborative Learning Technologies: A Meta-Analysis

Group Support Systems as Collaborative Learning Technologies: A Meta-Analysis

John Lim (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Yin Ping Yang (National University of Singapore, Singapore) and Yingqin Zhong (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-238-1.ch006
OnDemand PDF Download:


Computer-based systems have been widely applied to support group-related activities such as collaborative learning and training. The various terms accorded to this research stream include virtual teams, e-collaboration, computer-supported collaborative work, distributed work, electronic meetings, and so forth. A notable and well-accepted aspect in the information system field is group support systems (GSS), the focus of this chpater. The numerous GSS studies have reported findings which may not be altogether consistent. An overall picture is much in want which attends to the synthesizing of the findings accumulated over decades. This chapter presents a meta-analysis study aimed at gaining a general understanding of GSS effects. We investigate 6 important moderators in GSS experimental research: group outcomes, namely group size, task type, anonymity, time and proximity, level of technology, and the existence of facilitation. The results point to important conclusions about the phenomenon of interest; in particular, their implications vis-à-vis computer-supported collaborative learning technologies and use are discussed and highlighted along each dimension of the studied variables.
Chapter Preview


Team-based or group work and collaborations are an integral part of education and learning environments. With the advance of information communication technologies, there has been a growing potential for utilizing computerized systems to support idea generation, project assignment, and instant communication among the IT-age students and educators. The phenomenon has attracted interest from the fields of education as well as Information Systems (IS). In this connection, an emerging area in the instructional technology field called computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) has focused on the ways to support group learning using different forms of technologies; some examples are electronic discussion environments, distance learning systems, and intelligent agents (e.g., Koschmann, 1996; Strijbos et al., 2003; Ready et al., 2004; Bosco, 2007).

Group Support Systems (GSS) research has accumulated a substantial body of knowledge on the effects of computer-based systems in supporting group work in relation to a variety of tasks such as idea generation and decision making. Based on the successful use of GSS technology to support groups in non-academic settings, researchers have begun to explore ways to apply GSS technology in classroom to support and enhance group-based learning (Tyran & Shepherd, 2001). GSS are used in a classroom setting or distance learning groups to support and structure group communication and learning activities (e.g., Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995; Sawyer et al., 2001; Alavi et al., 2002; Gill, 2006).

While much work has been done in examining the impacts of GSS on group outcomes, the findings are not altogether consistent. Several early meta-analyses exist (e.g., Benbasat & Lim, 1993; McLeod, 1992; Shaw, 1998). Other reviews involve tabular methods which are unavoidably less rigorous (Fjermestad & Hiltz, 1999). Tyran and Shepherd (2001) presented a GSS research framework for analyzing the impact of collaborative technology on group learning, by referring to an earlier framework concerning electronic meeting systems on group processes and outcomes (Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 1990). Nevertheless, as the framework is built based on face-to-face or “same time, same place” research studies (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995), it is somewhat limited in its applicability to group work or learning in other forms such as distributed work or web-based distance learning. Dennis and Wixom (2002) examined five moderators (task, GSS tools, type of group, group size, and facilitation) and their potential effects on GSS use. The necessityhas been noted to look deeper than and beyond “the overall effects of GSS use” (p. 236, Dennis and Wixom, 2002). A pertinent question is under what conditions collaborative technology use would improve group performance because there are moderators that influence the specific effects of GSS (Dennis & Wixom, 2002; Beauclair, 1989).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Nikos Karacapilidis
Chapter 1
Martha Cleveland-Innes, Randy Garrison, Ellen Kinsel
Learners experiencing an online educational community for the first time can explain the adjustment required for participation. Findings from a... Sample PDF
The Role of Learner in an Online Community of Inquiry: Responding to the Challenges of First-Time Online Learners
Chapter 2
Xinchun Wang
Although the pedagogical advantages of online interactive learning are well known, much needs to be done in instructional design of applicable... Sample PDF
Students' Attitudes toward Process and Product Oriented Online Collaborative Learning
Chapter 3
Teresa Lang, Dianne Hall
Development and sale of computer-assisted instructional supplements and course management system products are increasing. Textbook sales... Sample PDF
Cognition, Technology, and Performance: The Role of Course Management Systems
Chapter 4
Kholekile L. Gwebu, Jing Wang
Improvements in technology have led to innovations in training such as Electronic Learning (E-learning). E-learning aims to help organizations in... Sample PDF
The Role of Organizational, Environmental and Human Factors in E-Learning Diffusion
Chapter 5
Wm. Benjamin Martz Jr., Morgan Shepherd
Almost 3.5 million students were taking at least 1 online course during the fall 2006 term. The 9.7 % growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds... Sample PDF
Distance Education: Satisfaction and Success
Chapter 6
John Lim, Yin Ping Yang, Yingqin Zhong
Computer-based systems have been widely applied to support group-related activities such as collaborative learning and training. The various terms... Sample PDF
Group Support Systems as Collaborative Learning Technologies: A Meta-Analysis
Chapter 7
M.C. Pettenati, M.E. Cigognini
This chapter considers the affordances of social networking theories and tools in building new and effective e-learning practices. We argue that... Sample PDF
Knowledge Flow and Learning Design Models towards Lifewide E-Learning Environments
Chapter 8
Larbi Esmahi
This paper provides an overview of personalized e-learning services and related technology and presents a multi-agent system for delivering adaptive... Sample PDF
An Agent Based Framework for Personalized E-Learning Services
Chapter 9
Dimitris Kotzinos, Giorgos Flouris, Yannis Tzitzikas
The development of collaborative e-learning environments that support the evolution of semantically described knowledge artifacts is a challenging... Sample PDF
Supporting Evolution of Knowledge Artifacts in Web Based Learning Environments
Chapter 10
Amit Kumar Mandal, Chittaranjan Mandal, Chris Reade
A system for automatically testing, evaluating, grading, and providing critical feedback for submitted ‘C’ programming assignments has been... Sample PDF
Interface and Features for an Automatic ‘C' Program Evaluation System
Chapter 11
Anastasios A. Economides, Chrysostomos Roupas
Many educational organizations are trying to reduce the cost of exams, the workload, delay of scoring, and the human errors. Also, organizations try... Sample PDF
Evaluating Computerized Adaptive Testing Systems
Chapter 12
Holim Song, Emiel Owens, Terry T. Kidd
With the call for curricular and instructional reform, educational institutions have embarked on the process to reform their educational practices... Sample PDF
Technology Integration Practices within a Socioeconomic Context: Implications for Educational Disparities and Teacher Preparation
Chapter 13
Elizabeth Avery Gomez, Dezhi Wu, Katia Passerini, Michael Bieber
Team-based learning is an active learning instructional strategy used in the traditional face-to-face classroom. Web-based computer-mediated... Sample PDF
Utilizing Web Tools for Computer-Mediated Communication to Enhance Team-Based Learning
Chapter 14
Rakesh Babu, Vishal Midha
The transformation of the world into a highly technological place has led to the evolution of learning from the traditional classroom to e-learning... Sample PDF
Accessible E-Learning: Equal Pedagogical Opportunities for Students with Sensory Limitations
Chapter 15
Nikos Karacapilidis, Manolis Tzagarakis
Providing the necessary means to support and foster argumentative collaboration is essential for Communities of Practice to achieve their goals.... Sample PDF
Supporting Argumentative Collaboration in Communities of Practice: The CoPe_it! Approach
Chapter 16
Christina E. Evangelou, Manolis Tzagarakis, Nikos Karousos, George Gkotsis
Collaboration tools can be exploited as virtual spaces that satisfy the community members’ needs to construct and refine their ideas, opinions, and... Sample PDF
Personalization Services for Online Collaboration and Learning
Chapter 17
Willem-Paul Brinkman, Andrew Rae, Yogesh Kumar Dwivedi
This paper presents a case study of a university’s discrete mathematics course with over 170 students who had access to an online learning... Sample PDF
Computer-Aided Personalised System of Instruction for Teaching Mathematics in an Online Learning Environment
Chapter 18
Sandy el Helou, Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Yassin Rekik
The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is developing a Web 2.0 social software called eLogbook and designed for sustaining interaction... Sample PDF
Social Software for Sustaining Interaction, Collaboration, and Learning in Communities of Practice
Chapter 19
Agnès Guerraz, Cécile Roisin, Jan Mikác, Romain Deltour
One way of providing technological support for communities of teachers is to help participants to produce, structure and share information. As this... Sample PDF
Multimedia Authoring for Communities of Teachers
About the Contributors