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Research at TECFA

Distributed Cognitive Systems

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning / Work

Some pointers illustrating trends in CSCL Research.

Mica (FNS Project 2005 - 2006)

Computer learning environments have evolved from the “computer-based learning” approach, in which resources and activities were presented in a digital format, to the “computer support for learning” approach, in which the interactive and comput-ational potential of computers is used to support the learning process . The originality of the project lies on the integration of two theoretical perspectives in a complementary framework: the impact of metacognitive regulation on learning, and the potential role of traces of the learning activity in supporting the regulatory processes.
Up to now, research that has documented the important role of metacognition in learning has devoted much attention to the regulatory processes. In this view, conscious awareness is generally believed to be a necessary condition of metacognitive activity. However, the processes of regulation, such as monitoring and control, often lack conscious deliberation. We propose a method of confrontation aiming at supporting conscious awareness of regulation. It consists in confronting learners with the traces of another learner’s activity (individually or with a peer-tutoring approach) in order to explicit the procedures they used to realize the learning task and to improve them.

Research on this topic is currently founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2005 -2006), in collaboration with Françoise Détienne (INRIA, Rocquencourt, FR) and Ghislaine Chabert (Université de Savoie, FR). Further research project on this topic is in development in collaboration with Alain Mille (LIRIS, Université de Lyon, FR)

Contact persons: Laurence Gagnière and Mireille Betrancourt


Grounding in multi-modal computer-supported collaboration: how two people build a shared solution in a MOO enriched with a whiteboard. (NSF project ended november 1996)
Contact: Pierre Dillenbourg
Semi-structured Interfaces and Problem Solving
Effect of using sentence openers on peer interaction for a scheduling task. (Master Thesis ended october 1996).
Contact: Patrick Jermann
Spatial Coordination in a Virtual Space
How does the MOO support the coordination by providing spatial awareness. (Master Thesis ended october 1996).
Contact : Lydia Montandon
Learning in Humans and Machines. Task Force 5: Collaborative learning
Multidisciplinary research program on collaborative learning in psychology and computer science. (European Science Foundation, ongoing)
Contact: Pierre Dillenbourg
Study the regulation of the interaction amongst peers in a problem solving task. Does the presentation of a graphical feed-back influence the interaction ? (ongoing PhD project).
Contact: Patrick Jermann

Human Computer Interaction

ACCUS Assitant
Improving the ergonomics and designing on-line documentation for aa geostatistical packages developed by FSS consultants for ELF Aquitaine. (Private funding, on-going project)
Contact: Pierre Dillenbourg & Cyril Roiron
Help desks
Analysing the functionning of help desks in various swiss companies. (ongoing Master Thesis). Contact: Cyril Roiron

Learning & Collaboration with Artificial Agents

Implementation of a learning environment including pedagogical agents based on Artificial Intelligence techniques. (NSF Project, ended 1994)
Contact: Pierre Dillenbourg
Implicit Coordination in Distributed Systems
Implementing artificial agents on the MOO on the basis of the empirical findings of the BOOTNAP Project. (NSF funded cooperation with eastern countries)
Contact: Pierre Dillenbourg

Last update: April 2005

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