Socio-cognitive Regulation Strategies in Cooperative Learning Tasks in Virtual Contexts

  • Denisse Margoth López-BenavidesEmail author
  • Ibis Marlene Alvarez-Valdivia


This study validates a theoretical framework for identifying social and cognitive regulation strategies employed by students during the process of joint construction of meaning in cooperative tasks in a university’s virtual learning environment. The study explored the regulation strategies of five groups of students, during two cooperative tasks. These tasks were based on written argumentation, supported by virtual discussions and its completion was defined through a written report. Through a case study methodology and by means of discourse analysis, three modes of regulation during cooperative tasks: self-, external and co-regulation were identified. Students’ interactions revealed how they alternated and combined the use of strategies to regulate the social and the cognitive dimension of their behavior. Moreover, it was possible to identify four models of interaction; which reflected social and cognitive regulation strategies at different stages of cooperative work. We believe this theoretical framework opens up possibilities for educational intervention during the execution of cooperative activities, since it offers clues to evaluate these mechanisms and to promote them.


Cooperative learning Socio-cognitive regulation Virtual learning environments Higher education 


  1. Angeli, C., Valanides, N., & Bonk, C. J. (2003). Communication in a web-based conferencing system: The quality of computer-mediated interactions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arvaja, M., Salovaara, H., Hakkinen, P., & Järvelä, S. (2007). Combining individual and group-level perspectives for studying collaborative knowledge construction in context. Learning and Instruction, 17(4), 448–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boakaerts, M., & Minnaert, A. (2006). Affective and motivational outcomes of working in collaborative groups. Educational Psychology, 26(2), 187–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Casanova, M. (2008). Cooperative learning in a virtual university context of asynchronous communication: A study on the process of peer interaction through discourse analysis (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved October 14, 2010, from
  5. Covarrubias, M. A., & Estrevel, L. B. (2006). Some affective-cognitive elements involved in the constructive process of self-regulation. Psicología y Ciencia Social, 8(002). Retrieved October 14, 2010, from
  6. Dillenbourg, P., & Fischer, F. (2007). Basics of computer-supported collaborative learning. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 21, 111–130.Google Scholar
  7. Dillenbourg, P., Schneider, D., & Synteta, P. (2002). Virtual learning environments. In A. Dimitracopoulou (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd Hellenic conference on information & communication technologies in education (pp. 3–18). Greece: Kastaniotis Editions.Google Scholar
  8. Durán, D., & Monereo, C. (2005). Styles and sequences of cooperative interactions in fixed and reciprocal peer tutoring. Learning & Instruction, 15, 179–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garrison, D., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century. London: RoutledgeFalmer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garrison, D., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical thinking in a text-based environment: computer conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2 (2–3), 87–105.Google Scholar
  11. Gunawardena, C., Lowe, C., & Anderson, T. (1997). Analysis of a global online debate and the development of an interaction analysis model for examining social construction of knowledge in computer conferencing. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 17 (4), 395–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Henri, F. (1992). Computer conferencing and content analysis. In A. Kaye (Ed.), Collaborative learning through computer conferencing (pp. 117–136). London: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Hung, D., & Der-Thanq, Ch. (2001). Situated cognition, Vygotskian thought and learning from the communities of practice perspective: implications for the design of web-based E-learning. Educational Media International, 38(1), 3–12.Google Scholar
  14. Järvelä, S., & Hakkinen, P. (2002). Web-based cases in teaching and learning–the quality of discussions and a stage of perspective taking in asynchronous communication. Interactive Learning Environments, 10(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Järvelä, S., Näykki, P., Laru, J., & Luokkanen, T. (2007). Structuring and regulating collaborative learning in higher education with wireless networks and mobile tools. Educational Technology & Society, 10(4), 71–79.Google Scholar
  16. Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1999). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning (5th ed.), Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  17. Kirschner, P., & Kreijns, K. (2003). The sociability of computer-mediated collaborative learning environments: Pitfalls of social interaction and how to avoid them. Educational Technology & Society 5 (1), 8–22.Google Scholar
  18. Lipponen, L. (2002). Exploring foundations for computer-supported collaborative learning. Proceedings from Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 2002 (pp. 72–81). Boulder, Colorado.Google Scholar
  19. Lipponen, L., Rahikainen, M., Hakkarainen, K., & Palonen, T. (2002). Effective participation and discourse through a computer network: Investigating elementary students’ computer-supported interaction. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 27(4), 353–382.Google Scholar
  20. López-B, D. (2009). Behavior regulation during joint construction of meaning in cooperative tasks within virtual written and asynchronous learning environments (Master’s thesis). Retrieved October 2010, from
  21. Mercer, N. (2004). Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analyzing classroom talk as a social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 137–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the development of children’s thinking. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Panitz, T. (1996). Collaborative versus cooperative learning: A comparison of the two concepts which will help us understand the underlying nature of interactive learning [On-line] Retrieved October 2010, from
  24. Raitman, R., Zhou, W., & Nicholson, P. (2003). Exploring the foundations of practicing online collaboration. In W. Zhou, P. Nicholson, B. Corbitt, J. Fong (Eds.), Advances in web-based learning–ICWL 2003: Second international conference (pp. 532–541). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reznitskaya, A., Kuo, L.-J., Glina, M., & Anderson, R. (2008). Measuring argumentative reasoning: What’s behind the numbers? Learning and Individual Differences, 19(2), 219–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D., & Archer, W. (2001). Methodological issues in the content analysis of computer conference transcripts. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 12(1), 8–22.Google Scholar
  27. Salmon, G. (2002). Mirror, Mirror, on my screen. Exploring online reflections. The British Journal of Educational Technology, 33 (4), 383–396.Google Scholar
  28. Salonen, P., Vauras, M., & Efklides, A. (2005). Social interaction – what can it tell us about metacognition and coregulation in learning? European Psychologist, 10(3), 199–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vauras, M., Iiskala, T., Kajamies, A., Kinnunen, R., & Lehtinen, E. (2003). Shared-regulation and motivation of collaborating peers: A case analysis. Psychologia, 46(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Volet, S., Summers, M., & Thurman, J. (2009). High-level co-regulation in collaborative learning: How does it merge and how is it sustained. Learning and Instruction, 19(2), 128–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [Original work published 1934].Google Scholar
  33. Wegerif, R., Mercer, N., & Dawes, L. (1999). From social interaction to individual reasoning: an empirical investigation of a possible socio-cultural model of cognitive development. Learning and Instruction, 9(6), 493–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weinberger, A., & Fischer, F. (2006). A framework to analyze argumentative knowledge construction in computer-supported collaborative learning. Computers & Education, 46(1), 71–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Whipp, J., & Chiarelli, S. (2004). Self-regulation in a web-based course: A case study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(4), 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Winters, F., Greene, J., & Costich, C. (2008). Self-regulation of learning within computer-based learning environments: A critical analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 429–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zimmerman, B. (1997). Becoming a Self-Regulated Writer: A social cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22, 73–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zimmerman, B., & Tsikalas, K. (2005). Can computer-based learning environments (CBLEs) be used as self-regulatory tools to enhance learning? Educational Psychologist, 40(4), 267–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denisse Margoth López-Benavides
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ibis Marlene Alvarez-Valdivia
    • 2
  1. 1.Universitat Oberta de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations