Conceptualizing the designs of authentic computer-supported collaborative learning environments in schools

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A major perspective within research on computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) approaches learning as a cultural practice and considers the implications of this on the way classroom learning environments are designed. Often referred to as authentic learning, many innovative approaches to the design of learning environments come with the intention that practices of the people who are experts in a domain are enculturated by the participating students. Different approaches taken given the constraints of educational settings have led to conceptual fragmentation in this area of CSCL scholarship. Therefore, the dual aim of this research is to advance our understanding of the relevant cultures at play when designing for authenticity and show how these cut across different approaches taken for the design of authentic CSCL environments in schools. Using the constant-comparative method, we looked back at the past quarter century of sociocultural research to analyze the way different variations of sociocultural activities, scenes, participants, time, and cultural tools have been designed within authentic CSCL environments. A refined conceptualization of authentic learning that elucidates the relationships between intended, current, and authentic cultures emerged coupled with a novel coding scheme and visualization tool that can help the field rise above the wide variation in designs for authenticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.


  • Authentic learning
  • CSCL
  • Design
  • Enculturation
  • Sociocultural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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