What interdependence can tell us about collaborative learning: a statistical and psychological perspective

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Lenka Schnaubert
Daniel Bodemer


When learning collaboratively, learners interact and communicate transactively. Interventions to foster collaborative learning frequently target such interactive processes and thus may drastically change how learners engage with and thus influence each other. One statistical phenomenon related to collaborative learning is the interdependence of data gained from learners collaborating. Often viewed as a mere statistical phenomenon, on a conceptual level, statistical interdependence is a similarity between learners mainly resulting from the mutual influence learners have on each other while collaborating and is thus closely related to collaborative practices. In this paper, we report data of an exemplary study (N = 82) to illustrate how information on interdependence and within- and between-dyad variance may add to data interpretation. The study examined how providing metacognitive group awareness information during collaboration affects individual learning outcomes. We found indications that the information fosters knowledge gain, but not confidence. Surprisingly, the data revealed different levels of interdependence between conditions, which led us to assume interdependence to be part of the treatment effect resulting from differential collaboration processes. We discuss reasons and implications of varying levels of statistical interdependence and their impact on inferential and descriptive statistics.

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Schnaubert, L., & Bodemer, D. (2018). What interdependence can tell us about collaborative learning: a statistical and psychological perspective. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 13. Retrieved from https://rptel.apsce.net/index.php/RPTEL/article/view/2018-13016