Incidence of group awareness information on students' collaborative learning processes
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This paper studies how the integration of group awareness tools in the knowledge management system called KnowCat (Knowledge Catalyser), which promotes collaborative knowledge construction, may both foster the students' perception about the meaningfulness of visualization of group awareness information and promote better collaborative processes as well as enhance better task performance. Forty-seven university students participated in a research study, where one group of 23 students used KnowCat without the awareness console (non-awareness group); the other 24 students used KnowCat with the awareness console (awareness group). Both groups used KnowCat during one semester. Data analysis revealed that the awareness group means were higher than those of the non-awareness group in terms of participation, cognitive and metacognitive learning activities, and task performance. Moreover, students revealed that knowing what, where and how much their classmates were contributing acted as positive feedback by encouraging participation and orienting their own behaviour and their contribution to the collaborative work. In this paper, we claim that the visualization group awareness information in KnowCat, a utility allowing students to visualize and track what, where, how much and how often other participants contributed to the KnowCat knowledge area, had a positive impact on the students' collaborative behaviour.