Collaborative Process Analysis Coding Scheme (CPACS): Examining the Macro- and Micro- Level of Students’ Discourse in a Virtual World

Collaborative Process Analysis Coding Scheme (CPACS): Examining the Macro- and Micro- Level of Students’ Discourse in a Virtual World

Shannon Kennedy-Clark (Learning and Teaching Centre, Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, NSW, Australia) and Kate Thompson (Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/jvple.2013040102


The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the value of using discourse analysis to understand users’ interactions in a scenario-based virtual environment. This study investigated six dyads’ synchronous discourses while they worked side-by-side to plan and implement goal-related decisions in a virtual inquiry. The Collaborative Process Analysis Coding Scheme (CPACS) was adopted for the analysis. The cumulative analysis indicates that the participants in the control group spent more time on average defining the problem and developing solutions, and spent less time off task than the participants in the experimental condition. Overall, the pairs that were able to plan goals, reflect on past experiences and use the workbooks were better able to progress through the inquiry.
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This research study was conducted in a scenario-based virtual environment. Here, we differentiate between this type of environment and places, such as Second Life, due to the intended purpose of the immersive environment. The main distinction between a virtual environment and a scenario-based virtual environment is that a virtual environment often mimics “real” life in that lectures, meetings, classrooms are all held within the immersive virtual space (Dalgarno, Lee, Carlson, Gregory, & Tynan, 2011; Kirriemuir, 2010). A scenario or narrative-based virtual world is founded on a story or narrative and information is built into the environment (Barab et al., 2009). In Quest Atlantis, the story is presented through an introductory video, novel and comic book, which involve mythical characters and a set of social commitments. The “questor” (participant) is invited to the mythical planet of Atlantis to investigate a range of social and environmental problems that are parallel to issues on Earth (Barab et al., 2005). The narrative helps to establish continuity among the core elements and helps to link the fictional world of Atlantis with the real world of Earth. River City is another well-known virtual environment that is scenario-based (Ketelhut, Clarke, & Nelson, 2010). Both of these environments have been designed for secondary school students, rather than higher education institutions.

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