Why do some collaborations lead to fruitful outcomes and some don’t? What are the differences between effective collaboration and ineffective collaboration? These questions remain unsolved in spite of the great progress in collaboration research. In this study, we propose an assessment framework for evaluating collaborative problem solving (CPS) skills from a theoretical perspective of constructive interaction. The framework comprises observational and analytical methods. The observational method lets children solve knowledge-rich problems both individually and collaboratively and assesses the differences in performance between these two modes and processes. The analytical method analyzes the performance data and the process data from conversational and cognitive analyses. We have collected data from 110 elementary school pupils belonging to five schools. We chose three math problems from the Type B problems of the National Assessment of Academic Ability that are not easy to solve alone. We assigned one problem from the three to each pupil, asking him or her to first solve it individually in 8 minutes, then with the nearest partner in 8 minutes, and finally individually again. The results indicate that the pupils’ performances in the paired phase mostly were enhanced compared to those in the individual phase. However, there were successful pairs in which both members improved (e.g., solved the problem successfully) and unsuccessful pairs in which neither did. The cognitive analysis showed that the successful pairs discussed the meanings of numbers in the problem and tried to connect them with their knowledge or experiences more than the unsuccessful pairs did. In the successful pairs, the different levels of abstraction in the pupils’ ideas prompted them to reconsider their own ideas from different viewpoints, which further caused the members of those pairs to question or challenge each other. We propose that CPS skills should be defined as learners’ persistent endeavor to deepen their understanding in reaction to others’ contribution by tying their experiential and conceptual knowledge.
In Bunraku, a Japanese traditional performing arts, a play is performed in cooperation with the three elements, which called “Sangyo”; Tayu (narrator), Shamisen player,and Ningyo-tsukai (puppeteers). When such collaboration is successful, we say “breathe together” in Japanese. The word “breath” used in this way is in general regarded as a kind of metaphor. In the cooperative acts such as ensembles, however, performers have been reported to show synchronous breathing. The previous study (Shibuya et al., 2012) showed that breathing of puppeteers (chief puppeteers) in Bunraku become more aperiodic when they performed a play to Joururi which a Tayu narrated with a Shamisen than when they did without Joururi. This suggests a possibility that puppeteers coordinate their breathing to Joururi. In order to explore this possibility, this study analyzed the synchronous relationship between breathing of puppeteers (chief puppeteers) and some Joururi elements in Bunraku. As a result, the following two things are shown: first, a start point of expiration by a chief puppeteer has a tendency to be synchronized with the beginning of a continuous narration in Joururi where a Tayu starts expiration; second, a start point of inspiration by a chief puppeteer has a possibility of being synchronized with the first Shamisen sound between two successive continuous narrations in Joururi where a Tayu is likely to start inspiration. These tendencies of synchronous breathing with Joururi elements are more apparent in a puppeteer with long career than in a puppeteer with short career, suggesting that such synchronization in breathing becomes acquired along with proficiency.
The present study aimed to verify whether topic description affects ease of metaphor production. It also aimed to verify whether the effect of topic description differs between metaphor and literal expressions. In Experiment 1, participants (N = 23) recalled and explained their past emotional experiences using an expression in two different topics:(i) actions, and (ii) emotional states they had at that time. In each topic, participants had to make two different expression types separately: (a) metaphor, and (b) literal. As indexes of ease of producing an expression, explanation time and subjective difficulty rating in producing each expression were recorded. We observed an interaction effect between expression type and topic description: In the metaphor condition, explaining actions took a longer explanation time and was subjectively rated more difficult to explain than actions. In Experiment 2 (N = 41), we put strong syntactical limitation on participant responses, and recorded thinking time in expression production and subjective difficulty rating. We observed an interaction effect between expression type and topic description: In metaphor condition, thinking about expression of actions took a longer time than actions. These results suggest that topic description affects ease of metaphor production.
The purpose of this study was to gain insight into overcoming the high dropout rate issue in computer-based learning. For this purpose, we focused on goal setting that acts as a source of motivation. We investigated how learners can be motivated by encouraging them to set effective goals by themselves. We used average scores as reference information and examined its effects on goal setting and task motivation. Three experiments were conducted using a sequential addition task in which participant’s task motivation was reflected in their performance. The presented average scores in comparison with participants’ own scores on the task were manipulated (high / low / no presentation of average score), and we compared goal set points and task motivation between each group. The results showed that participants in high average score condition set higher goals than participants in other groups, and there were positive correlations between goal set points and task motivation. Based on the results, we discussed the effectiveness of presenting reference information to encourage learners to set effective goals for sustainable computer-based learning.