City Research Online

Studying and Supporting Activity Awareness in Collaborative Learning Groups: Using a Persuasive Social Actor

Al Ashaikh, R. (2017). Studying and Supporting Activity Awareness in Collaborative Learning Groups: Using a Persuasive Social Actor. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Collaborative learning is known as an effective learning method and various different kinds of technologies have been developed to support and facilitate collaborative learning. Many of these technologies are used to support the functional activities of a group of learners by enabling students to communicate, share documents and materials, track the work of the group, or distribute and allocate tasks.

One factor that influences the success of collaborative groups is the awareness that members have of each others' activities i.e. activity awareness (Gutwin et al., 2004). Limited attention has been paid to promoting activity awareness in the collaborative learning literature. The work that does exist has focused on enhancing activity awareness by capturing and sharing details of the activity (e.g. Ganoe et al., 2003; Carroll et al., 2003). In contrast, there are no technologies that focus on the learners’ attitudes and behaviours with regard to activity awareness without considering the functional aspects of the group's work.

This PhD hypothesises that persuasive technologies can offer a novel way of promoting activity awareness by changing learners’ attitudes and behaviours and persuading them to be more aware of fellow group members’ activities. This approach to enhancing activity awareness was investigated by using a persuasive social actor to change the attitudes and behaviours of learners who were working on collaborative learning projects over extended periods of time.

Four studies were conducted: a pilot study to explore collaborative learning groups, an exploratory study to understand collaboration and activity awareness, a follow-up study to study activity awareness in depth, and a main study where a persuasive social actor for activity awareness in collaborative learning groups was developed and tested. All of these studies focused on a specific collaborative learning setting, in which small numbers of students (3 to 5) worked together in collaborative groups to complete real learning projects over approximately 6 weeks.

This thesis makes four contributions to the fields of HCI and collaborative learning. The main contribution is a novel approach to enhance activity awareness in collaborative learning groups by changing learners’ attitudes and behaviours using a persuasive technology i.e. a persuasive social actor. The second contribution is a new method to evaluate activity awareness in collaborative learning groups. The third contribution is insight into how the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model (Oinas-kukkonen & Harjumaa, 2009) can be used in the design and evaluation of a persuasive social actor. The fourth contribution is an analysis of how students collaborate in long-term collaborative learning projects in naturalistic settings.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Al-Ashaikh, Reem(Redacted).pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (9MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login