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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


PERALTA, Nadia Soledad; ROSELLI, Néstor Daniel  y  BORGOBELLO, Ana. The sociocognitive conflict as a learning tool in collaborative contexts. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2012, vol.29, n.2, pp.271-286. ISSN 1668-7027.

Socio-cognitive conflict (SCC) has been defined as the exchange of different points of view when two or more people are working in a task together. It is cognitive because the points of view are intellectually supported and social because it takes place during an interaction. The concept of SCC was developed in the Geneva School of Educational Social Psychology and has been traditionally studied as an important factor in children development. These original studies were made using an experimental methodology, with samples of children between 6 and 7 years old. The basic learning tasks evaluated were piagetian tasks of conservation, for example, with liquids, length, quantity, etc. Nowadays, there is a new research field which takes this approach to study the SCC concept in formal learning contexts. This gave place to more varied designs. However, not many designs take SCC as their central aspect. The present study focuses on developing the SCC in pairs of university students using a pretest / post test experimental design. The collaborative learning environment is particularly critical for SCC to take place. This scenario is appropriate for the development of SCC because when pairs are working together sharing the same goal, the interaction increases. In this study the intervention focused on three signs of SCC: symmetry, peer evaluation and the cognitive differences between students. Researchers regulated a ‘symmetrical’ participation encouraging both students to participate in a similar amount of times and tasks. ‘Peer evaluation’ takes place when both students express their agreement or disagreement with the other one’s speech. Researchers also asked students to express their disagreements even if they were shown as non-verbal expressions to increase the cognitive differences between them. In other words, the intervention was not focused on teaching concepts (as professors usually do in their classes); the goal was to guarantee the interaction between the students themselves. In order to evaluate the effect of the intervention on learning and on the interaction processes, three groups of students were constituted. One of them was the experimental group which was constituted by pairs who received the intervention of a researcher. The other two groups were control groups: one of them was integrated by pairs of students who worked independently, and the other one, by participants who worked alone. The sample had 120 participants, 60 students of an exact science career and 60 of a social science career. All students were in the first year of university. Post test evaluations show that encouraging SCC is effective in academic learning. In the experimental group there was more symmetry in participation and homogeneity in the learning process. In addition the written productions in this group were more complete, coherent, and logically structured than the control groups’ productions. Educational implications for university level are discussed. These kinds of results are important because they could be used as an instrument for the classroom organization. It is also important as an example to consider ways to develop (especially with the university students), skills like dialogue, mutual understanding, team work, cognitive explanation, peer evaluation, self-evaluation, and respect for peers’ points of view. All these skills can be developed with teachers who are interested in increasing SCC in collaborative learning environments.

Palabras clave : Socio-cognitive conflict; Collaborative learning; University learning; Collaborative interaction.

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