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Hedp_a_443705_oEDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST, 45(1), 15–27, 2010Copyright C Division 15, American Psychological AssociationISSN: 0046-1520 print / 1532-6985 onlineDOI: 10.1080/00461520903433539 Cognitive–Situative Divide and Combining In this article we propose that in order to advance our understanding of motivation in collab-orative learning we should move beyond the cognitive–situative epistemological divide andcombine individual and social processes. Our claim is that although recent research has recog-nized the importance of social aspects in emerging and sustained motivation in collaborativelearning activities, the social is mainly conceived as a unidirectional source of influence onindividual motivation. In the article we examine the significance of motivation in research oncollaborative learning. We discuss two characterizations of the role of the social in concep-tualizations of motivation, namely, social influence and social construction, and outline ourcase for moving beyond the cognitive–situative divide and combining individual and socialprocesses in research on motivation. Finally, we present illustrations from recent research onmotivation in collaborative learning that has attempted to bridge the cognitive–situative divideacross theoretical perspectives or using different methods.
In this article we argue that in order to advance our under- social interactions in a group learning activity. We propose standing of motivation in collaborative learning, both indi- that research on motivation in collaborative learning move vidual and social processes need to be considered. Our claim beyond the cognitive–situative epistemological divide and is that although recent research has recognized the impor- combine individual and social processes theoretically and tance of social aspects in the development of motivation in collaborative learning activities, the social is generally con- Our proposal is based on the assumption that in collabo- ceived as a unidirectional source of influence on individual rative learning, individual group members represent interde- motivation. Although this approach is conceptually useful pendent self-regulating agents (cognitive angle) who at the as it can reveal the mediating role of (meta)cognitions on same time constitute a social entity that creates affordances individual engagement, it is not sufficient in our view to un- and constraints for engagement in the activity (situative an- derstand how motivation emerges and is sustained through gle). It is our contention that a situative angle focusing ongroup processes is necessary to capture the social construc-tion and enactment of motivation but that it needs to be Correspondence should be addressed to Sanna J¨arvel¨a, Department of complemented by a cognitive angle, which taps into the me- Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, P.O. Box 2000, 90014 Uni-versity of Oulu, Finland. E-mail: email@example.com diating role of individual members’ metacognitive reflections and interpretations. Supported by the theoretical argument Although the motivational benefits of learning with oth- that social and individual processes occur concurrently and ers are well documented (Blumenfeld, Kempler, & Krajcik, represent distinct systemic levels (Volet, Vauras, & Salonen, 2006), less is known about how motivation emerges and is 2009), we argue that these processes are in need of joint sustained in collaborative learning activities. Motivation in consideration to advance our understanding of motivation in learning is generally defined as the psychological drive that leads to cognitive engagement and ultimately achievement.
The article is divided into five sections. We first examine The literature on self-regulation of learning (e.g., Boekaerts, the significance of motivation in research on collaborative Pintrich, & Zeidner, 2000; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2001, learning. We review studies reporting the multiple socio- 2007) has conceptualized motivation in two complemen- emotional challenges experienced by groups and individu- tary ways, first as the direction and drive for self-regulated als as they participate in group learning activities, and the learning (e.g., through goal orientation, personal goals, mo- consequent need for regulation of motivation and engage- tives, or learning intentions) and second as an integral ment. The second section examines two conceptualizations part of effective self-directed learning, which needs to be of motivation that attend to its social nature, namely, social regulated to sustain productive engagement (e.g., Wolters, influence and social construction. The strengths and limita- 1998). The extent to which these conceptualizations are ad- tions of each conceptualization for understanding motivation equate to understand the role of motivation in socially chal- in collaborative learning are discussed. We note a similar, lenging collaborative learning activities has not been fully ongoing epistemological debate on the respective roles of the psychological and the social in research on learning and As widely documented in the educational literature (e.g., conceptual change. The third section outlines our case for Blumenfeld, Marx, Soloway, & Krajcik, 1996; Bosworth & moving beyond the cognitive–situative divide and combin- Hamilton, 1994; Burdett, 2003; Pauli, Mohiyeddini, Bray, ing individual and social processes in research on motivation Michie, & Street, 2007; Salomon & Globerson, 1989; Webb in collaborative learning. We argue that individuals as inter- & Palincsar, 1996), groups can face multiple types of social dependent self-regulating agents with metacognitive capac- challenges, which interfere with the social process of learn- ities, and the group as a social system with its own dynam- ing and task completion. Research in university contexts has ics, need to be conceived as jointly coregulating motivation revealed that challenges can range from perceived incompat- and engagement in collaborative learning. The fourth sec- ibility of personality characteristics to emerging problems in tion presents illustrations from recent research of motivation social relationships. During a group learning activity, for ex- in collaborative learning that have attempted to bridge the ample, challenges can arise due to differences in respective cognitive–situative divide across theoretical perspectives or goals, priorities and expectations, or conflicts generated by using different methodologies. The fifth section summarizes interpersonal dynamics, such as different styles of working our argument and presents directions for future research.
or communicating, the tendency of some individuals to relyon others to do their share of the work, and power dynamicsamong members (Arvaja, Salovaara, H¨akkinen, & J¨arvel¨a,2007). Groups that are culturally diverse can face further challenges due to greater differences in background charac- teristics. These can include language and familiar communi-cation style, as well as prior cultural-educational experiences, Research on real-life collaborative and cooperative learning which leave students unprepared to break out of their zone has increased dramatically over the last two decades, with of comfort and interact with less familiar peers (e.g., Volet strong theoretical and empirical support for the cognitive and & Ang, 1998; Volet & Karabenick, 2006).
motivational benefits of collaborative, as opposed to com- Groups and individuals also face challenges generated petitive and individualistic learning activities (e.g., Webb, by the cognitive processes required in collaborative learn- Nemer, & Ing, 2006). Students’ productive engagement in ing, such those involved in creating a common ground in collaborative interactions (e.g., Barron, 2003; Van Boxtel, shared problem solving (e.g., M¨akitalo, H¨akkinen, J¨arvel¨a, van der Linden, & Kanselaar, 2000), socially shared coreg- & Leinonen, 2002), negotiating multiple perspectives, and ulation (e.g., Salonen, Vauras & Efklides, 2005; Vauras, handling complex concepts (e.g., Feltovich, Spiro, Coulson, Iiskala, Kajamies, Kinnunen, & Lehtinen, 2003), and elab- & Feltovich, 1996). Finally, challenges can also be triggered orative cognitive partnerships (e.g., King, 1998, 2002) is by circumstances external to the task itself. For example, viewed as facilitated by the group’s coordinated engagement group members may experience practical hurdles that con- in the shared problem space (Roschelle & Teasley, 1995).
strain their full engagement and participation (e.g., J¨arvenoja Achieving such coordination is not an easy process, as each & J¨arvel¨a, 2009; Volet & Mansfield, 2006). These challenges group member is a self-regulating agent with unique cog- place significant emotional pressure on individuals to restore nitions and emotions, which can create major challenges to their wellbeing, maintain motivation, and achieve personal motivation in social interactive contexts.
The actual process of collaborative learning therefore rep- Research grounded in a sociocognitive perspective has resents a major source of situational appraisals, which have investigated the significance of the social environment on a significant impact on motivation. When individuals’ char- motivational beliefs, achievement motivation, goals, and ap- acteristics, goals, and situational demands clash and create praisals. This work is diverse, not only in terms of the mo- conflicts, strong negative emotions are aroused, forcing in- tivational constructs under investigation but also in the way dividuals to exercise control over their emotions, their mo- the social environment has been conceptualized. It has been tivation, and sometimes their social environment. Given the argued that multiple levels of contexts need to be considered challenging nature of most group activities, the regulation to understand the complexity of macro- and microlevel influ- of personal emotions is needed for continued engagement ences on learning and motivation, including the nested nature and progress toward goal achievement (Boekaerts & Corno, of some of these contexts (Gurtner, Monnard, & Genoud, 2005; Efklides & Volet, 2005; J¨arvenoja & J¨arvel¨a, 2005; 2001; Volet, 2001). Social contexts and their influences can Salonen et al., 2005; Wolters, 2003).
range from microlevel influences of the peer group (Salo- Overall, although motivation is an essential component nen et al., 2005), to meso-level influences of classroom goal of successful collaborative learning, students’ motivation is structures (Urdan, Kneisel, & Mason, 1999) and teacher dis- continually challenged. Based on the collaborative and coop- course (Krapp & Lewalter, 2001; Turner, Meyer, Midgley, & erative learning literature, many challenges to group mem- Patrick, 2003), through to broad cultural-educational influ- bers’ productive participation appear to be socio-emotional in ences at the macrolevel of educational systems and societal nature and emerging through interactions during the activity.
values (Salili, 1996; Triandis, 1995). Consistent across stud- Examining the role of the social in current conceptualizations ies is evidence that individual motivation and engagement of motivation is therefore critical for a better understanding in learning activities, whether self-reported in questionnaires of its significance in productive collaborative learning.
and interviews or inferred from observations, can be relatedin a meaningful way to the norms, values, or characteristicsof those social contexts.
Research on social goals and social goal orientation is another body of literature from a sociocognitive perspective that reflects the social influence characterization. There issubstantial evidence that students’ goals to engage in learn- According to Nolen and Ward (2008), two distinct charac- ing activities are not only directed at the task or their own terizations of the role of the social in conceptualizations of performance but also reflect the social context of which they motivation can be identified. The first considers motivation as are an integral part. This is highlighted in the range of so- a characteristic of individuals, which is socially influenced by cial goals identified in the literature, for example, social the context. The second considers motivation as socially con- approval goals, social responsibility goals, social interac- structed through interactions, and conceptualizes individuals tion goals, social relationship goals, social status goals, con- and context as inseparable and mutually constitutive.
textual goals, or prosocial goals (Boekaerts, de Koning, &Vedder, 2006; Ford, 1992; J¨arvel¨a & Salovaara, 2004; Ur-dan & Maehr, 1995; Wentzel, 1991). At the macrolevel, it is well documented that differences in cultural-educational The view that motivation is socially influenced has been the and societal values are reflected in levels of achievement most prominent perspective in research on learning for the motivation and social responsibility goals (Dowson & McIn- last few decades (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2007). This char- erney, 2003; Urdan & Maehr, 1995). At the microlevel, the acterization is based on the assumption that motivation is a impact of social influences is reflected in goals to gain peer psychological phenomenon and that the social context has acceptance or social status, to please the teacher or parents, an impact on individuals’ motivation to engage in learning or alternatively to avoid getting in trouble (Boekaerts, 2002; activities. A substantial body of empirical research supports Mansfield, in press; Wentzel, 1999). Students’ interpreta- this assumption. Most of that research is grounded in a so- tions of their interactions with peers have revealed how their ciocognitive perspective on the role of individual motivation goals are shaped through those interactions (Boekaerts & within self-regulated learning theory and its individual-in- Minnaert, 2006) and how the actions of group members can context extension to accommodate the significance of con- have both positive and negative influences on individual moti- texts. According to Nolen and Ward (2008), recent work vation (J¨arvenoja & J¨arvel¨a, 2005; Volet & Mansfield, 2006).
from a sociocultural perspective also represents the social The view that the social environment exerts an influence on influence characterization, because the focus is on mediated individual motivation has led Wosnitza and Volet (2009) to individual action, internalization of the social world, or indi- claim that in a collaborative learning activity, learning, per- vidual appropriation as an outcome of participation in social formance, and affect goals can be in the service of others or interactions, rather than on a negotiated, coconstructed social the group as a whole (“we” type goals) rather than just at the To date, research on the role of the social in motivation from a sociocognitive perspective has predominantly used The second conceptualization of motivation that reflects its self-report data. This reflects the assumption that the im- social nature is the social construction perspective, which pact of social influences is mediated by cognitions and in- builds upon the idea that motivation emerges through inter- terpretations and that these can provide useful indicators of actions in a social situation (J¨arvel¨a & Volet, 2004; Nolen & a person’s motives and drives to engage in a learning ac- Ward, 2008). This situative perspective is based on the as- tivity. It is worth noting that studies examining social in- sumption that motivation is a social phenomenon and that fluences on motivation across macrolevel types of contexts actual engagement represents enacted motivation. This (e.g., family, school, educational system, cultural group) have process-oriented perspective views engagement, or enacted implicitly conceptualized social influences as having an uni- motivation, as socially created and maintained through an ac- directional impact, whereas work examining the impact of tive and ongoing process of socially shared or coregulation.
social influences at the classroom level has often recognized The social system that individuals are part of is assumed that during interactions, individuals and contexts may exert to provide affordances and constraints for members to fully reciprocal influences on each other (Gurtner et al., 2001).
engage, to stay at the periphery until ready, or alternatively The idea of reciprocal influences is reminiscent of recip- to avoid engagement (Hickey, 2003; McCaslin & Hickey, rocal determinism, which has a long history within social 2001). By conceptualizing motivation as coconstructed and cognitive theory (Bandura, 1989). The social influence per- negotiated among the collective, interactive, and even shared spective on motivation is consistent with Bandura’s complex activity of group members (J¨arvel¨a & J¨arvenoja, in press; model of causation, which postulated dynamic and recip- J¨arvenoja & J¨arvel¨a, 2009), the social construction perspec- rocal interactions between personal factors, behaviors, and tive distinguishes itself from reciprocal determinism. More the environment, each exerting a source of influence on the specifically, the social construction perspective on motiva- tion does not postulate reciprocal sources of influence that Recent work framed in a sociocultural perspective has individuals may exert on each other but instead assumes that also examined how the social, conceptualized as actual so- groups as social entities coconstruct their collective engage- cial interactions that students engage in, influences motiva- ment in joint activities. Accordingly, from a social construc- tion. For example, Walker and colleagues (Pressick-Kilborn tion perspective, social and individual processes are con- & Walker, 2002; Walker, Pressick-Kilborn, Arnold, & ceptualized as occurring simultaneously, as they represent Sainsbury, 2004) argued that situational and personal inter- adaptive processes that take place concurrently at different ests are created through participation in meaningful class- systemic levels (Volet et al., 2009).
room activities, which provide affordances and constraints In the context of collaborative learning, it is expected that for the development of individual motivation and engage- participants bring along their motivational beliefs, tenden- ment. To investigate this process, Pressick-Kilborn and cies, and goals and that these will play a mediating role in Walker examined the social norms and meanings that make their actual engagement in the group activity. From a situative up classroom activities and the role that these play in indi- perspective (Nolen & Ward, 2008), however, and consistent viduals’ displayed interest, alongside the meaning that indi- with the social construction conceptualization of motivation viduals themselves make from that interest. This approach it is argued that the extent to which a group engages produc- revealed how the environment can constrain or enable the de- tively in the activity cannot be predicted from the aggregated velopment of individual interest through a process of “canal- motivational characteristics of its members (Hickey, 2003).
ization.” Canalization by the social world refers to the ways As revealed in research on collaborative learning, each group in which other people, consistent with their values and goals, generates its own social dynamics and it is through mem- channel a learner’s activities in certain ways. Through the no- bers’ interactions that engagement, as enacted motivation, tion of canalization Valsiner (1992) explained how the social is afforded or constrained (J¨arvenoja & J¨arvel¨a, 2009). This world and the opportunities available to individuals create the raises the importance of better understanding the “dynamics context in which interest may emerge. The importance given and interpersonal coordination of shared and self-regulatory to social interactions and participation in the sociocultural processes” (Vauras, Salonen, & Kinnunen, 2009), which take perspective brings this approach close to the social construc- place in collaborative learning activities.
tion characterization. A key difference, however, is the focus Consistent with its focus on social interactions and par- on the intraindividual process of internalization, which is ticipation in group activities, this social conceptualization assumed to lead to the development of individual interest of motivation has led to research at the microlevel of learn- and motivation (cf. Vygotsky, 1978). This is in contrast to ing and the use of process data obtained from collaborative the social construction characterization, which is concerned learning activities. For example, J¨arvel¨a and her colleagues with how members of a group, constituted as a social system, have been analysing the socioemotional aspects of peer in- cocontribute to their engagement in a collaborative learning teraction and group learning and illustrated how students’ motivational accounts of the interaction reflect changes in engagement (J¨arvel¨a, J¨arvenoja, & Veermans, 2008; J¨arvel¨a, in a collaborative learning activity cannot be underestimated, Veermans, & Leinonen, 2008). Similarly, Vauras and col- especially if the (meta)cognitions and subjective interpreta- leagues’ (Vauras et al., 2009) microgenetic analyses revealed tions of all participants are elicited. Whether these alternative how individuals’ cognitive, affective, and motivational be- epistemological approaches are theoretically compatible and haviours during real-time activities were related to change can be integrated in research on motivation in collaborative processes in their social relationship patterns. Nolen’s (2006, learning is informed by a parallel, ongoing debate in regard 2007) research also examined the social construction of mo- to research on learning and development (e.g., Anderson, tivation but over an extended period, with a view to capturing Reder, & Simon, 1996; Billett, 1996; Greeno, 1997; Sfard, trajectories of motivation to read and write. Her ethnographic 1998; Volet, 2001), self-related studies (Martin, 2007) and observations of different classroom interactions at several more recently, research on conceptual change (2007 special points in time revealed how students’ motivations were co- issue of the Educational Psychologist, Vol. 42, No. 1).
constructed and negotiated with their teachers and each other.
As argued by Mercer (2007) in regard to research on con- They also found evidence of trajectories from peripheral to ceptual change, the way forward may be to “devise ways of central engagement, which could be interpreted in relation researching the processes of developing understanding that to teacher-learners’ shared goal for writing. In sum, the so- are sensitive to both the cultural contexts in which learning cial construction conceptualization of motivation provides a [in this case, motivation] takes place and to the psycholog- useful theoretical perspective to examine motivation as an ical mechanisms involved when individuals reinterpret the enacted, dynamic, and social process.
world in the light of new experience” (p. 77). We pursue asimilar position in the next section, as we present our casefor the conceptual usefulness of combining individual and Strengths and Limitations of the Two Social social processes in research on motivation in collaborative Understanding Motivation in CollaborativeLearning Overall, the major difference between the two characteriza- tions of the role of the social in conceptualizations of moti- vation is that the social influence approach construes moti- vational constructs as the psychological processes that driveengagement and views them as influenced by the social con- Our case for combining individual and social processes in text (cognitive/sociocognitive angle). In contrast, the social research on motivation in collaborative learning is based on construction approach views these motivational constructs as two assumptions: first, that groups of students engaged in social processes of engagement that emerge through interac- collaborative learning activities form dynamic, constantly tions (situative angle). Each approach has distinct strengths evolving and challenging social systems, and second that and limitations to explain why individuals and groups engage individual group members can be conceptualized as inter- productively in a collaborative learning activity. The social dependent, self-regulating agents with metacognitive capac- construction perspective is conceptually attractive to frame ities. Based on these assumptions, it is claimed that reducing the emerging, enacted and constantly renegotiated nature of research to individual motivational constructs, even if ag- motivation in actual, time-framed collaborative learning ac- gregated at the group level, without paying attention to the tivities. This conceptualization, therefore, blends well with significance of emerging and evolving social processes, or the situative perspective on learning in activity, which em- alternatively reducing research to the group’s actual engage- phasizes cognitive–interactional (Greeno, 2006) and coregu- ment in the collaborative activity without paying attention latory (Volet et al., 2009) processes. A major limitation of the to the significance of mediating individual processes should social construction approach, however, is the lack of attention be avoided. Instead, we argue for the importance of con- given to the mediating role of individuals’ (meta)cognitions sidering the complex interplay of concurrent individual and on their engagement and participation, an issue highlighted social processes in research on motivation in collaborative in Summers and Volet’s (2009) recent research. This limita- tion is one of the strengths of the social influence approach, First is the assumption that collaborative learning activ- especially where a distinction is made between motivational ities take place in evolving and challenging social systems, constructs at several levels of specificity, for example, over- which leads to interest in capturing the social, enacted, and all inclinations such as achievement motivation, tendencies process nature of motivation. From this perspective, the group such as motivational beliefs regarding a particular form of is considered as a social system engaged in a meaningful ac- instruction, and situation-specific appraisals, such as moti- tivity and deploying social processes to regulate interactions vation for an immediate learning activity (Boekaerts, 1999; toward completion of the activity. As widely documented in Volet, 2001). The mediating role of (meta)cognitions and sub- the literature on collaborative learning, as well as in micro- jective interpretations for understanding group engagement genetic studies of group dynamics, groups as social systems can experience disturbances and ongoing challenges. These the processes which characterize the relationship between require coordination of interactions to maintain the system individuals and their context. They focused on teacher dis- as a whole and to restore engagement.
course and its impact on classroom goals and individual stu- Second is the assumption that collaborative learning is dent engagement. In this descriptive study, the data collected constituted of interdependent individuals with metacogni- included observational field notes and audio recordings of tive and agentic capacities. From this perspective, research classroom interactions during mathematics lessons, as well on motivation needs to capture the individual processes that as survey data on student goals and perceptions. By observ- regulate and sustain individual engagement in the joint ac- ing the same students across 2 years with different math tivity. As documented in the literature on group learning, instructors the researchers were able to argue that students’ socioemotional challenges generated during collaborative motivation to participate was determined by the interaction learning activities force individuals to cope psychologically of their personal goals with the affordances and constraints with their emotions to restore their motivation and engage- on participation created by the teachers’ actions. Their anal- ment. These psychological processes are therefore subjec- ysis shows how individual constructs of motivation interact tively adaptive to their social context. This is consistent with with the environment and how social interaction influences the view that individuals who constitute social systems rep- resent self-regulating agents who are concerned, consciously One of Turner and Patrick’s data examples shows or not, about maintaining their integrity (coping) as well as how teachers’ high-level supportive motivational discourse their role (participation) in the social system, which they prompts student mastery orientation and emphasizes effort constitute. In some cases individual regulation processes can (in a situation where the students explained their home- be coordinated with peers, or even mutually shared with the work problems). For example, during a homework check, the teacher answered a student’s question about grading this Next, we present illustrations of studies that attempted to way: “No, I give you points if you did it, but I can see that you bridge the “cognitive–situative divide” in research on mo- tried. I can see that is almost all done, so I can see that you tivation in collaborative learning from different theoretical worked on that. That is what I give you points for and we go perspectives or using different methodologies.
over it in class and you need to correct it yourself” (Turner& Patrick, 2004, p. 1778). With this kind of qualitative datain their 2-year study they were able to show that studentsinteractions with the teacher and the classroom context in- creased students’ engagement and participation from the 1st year to the 2nd. Their data show how student participation in classroom interaction reflects unique interactions between personal factors of individual cognition (e.g., goals) and theopportunities and constraints of the classroom context (e.g., Bridging the Cognitive–Situative Divide From teacher scaffolding). The problematic issue with this kind of approach is that although it provides information about The purpose of this section is to examine empirical work the influence of teachers’ actions on student motivation, it that bridges the cognitive–situative divide between different is not possible to identify the reciprocal influence of student theoretical perspectives. All these studies combine a focus on behavior on teachers from teacher discourse data. Also, the group processes and individual accounts of motivation, but perspective on student engagement is very holistic and the the interpretation of these processes is grounded in different interacting factors of motivation and cognition in student en- theoretical perspectives. The aim is to show that regardless gagement are merged and difficult to identify (cf. J¨arvel¨a, of the theoretical grounding, sociocognitive or sociocultural, research with a combined focus on both psychological and Studies that focus more systemically on interacting peers social processes of motivation can enrich our understanding in social settings have been conducted by Salonen and Vauras of motivation in collaborative learning.
and their colleagues (Salonen et al., 2005; Vauras, Salonen, In their studies on classroom interaction Turner and her Lehtinen, & Lepola, 2001). They posit that motivation is, in colleagues (Turner et al., 1998; Turner et al., 2003; Turner part, a response to various situational demands but that stu- & Patrick, 2004) have considered the role of context as af- dent learning trajectories are formed through ongoing trans- fording or constraining opportunities for individual student actions between student and teacher. They view the individ- motivation. In their studies the individual is seen as em- ual, others in the context, and other characteristics of the bedded in context, but the aim of the research has been to context (e.g., norms, values) as all playing an active part in explain individuals’ motivation as a function of the learn- ing situation. In a multimethod study of student participation In one of their studies, Vauras et al. (2003) investi- in mathematics classes, Turner and Patrick (2004) studied gated shared regulation and motivation of fourth-grade col- motivation with an “influence” metaphor in conceptualizing laborating peers when solving mathematical problems in a technology-based game environment. Their analyses of also important for understanding the way thatvad learners high-ability students took the students’ individual social and and their peers regulate each other’s activities, and their mo- cognitive competencies into account, as well as aspects of the tivated engagement in those activities.
peer interactions and quality of collaboration. Their detailed Arnold and Walker (2008) examined the impact of an analyses of peer interactions during the problem-solving ac- intervention designed to enhance student academic regula- tivity revealed how a pair of students showed not only self- tory activities in fifth-grade primary school classrooms. The regulative activity and task orientation (e.g., checking their intervention took the form of a teachers’ professional de- understanding) but also reciprocal regulation (e.g., giving velopment program that addressed the theory and practice signals to the partner if they were not ready to move on; of creating student regulated learning environments, after Vauras et al., 2003, p. 27). Throughout the collaboration which the teachers established these environments in their their typical discussions included utterances like “Hey, wait own classrooms over a period of 6 months. The study in- a minute. . . . ,” “No, but look at this. It is . . . ,” “I have to volved 131 students located across five classrooms in two check. . . . ,” and “How so?” They also wanted to check if the schools, with two classes in the same school constituting other agreed and was ready to move on, for example, “What the intervention group and the remaining three classes in shall we put on here?” and “Shall we write . . . ?” (Vauras the other school forming the control group. Following the intervention, quantitative, and qualitative data were exam- Vauras and her colleagues’ analysis, employing both an ined for changes in students’ metacognitive and cognitive individual cognitive perspective and an analysis of social pro- skills, academic achievement, and motivation that were ex- cesses, showed that socially shared regulation contributed to pected to result from the intervention. Quantitative data fo- high-quality, peer-mediated learning among high-ability stu- cused on students’ cognition (individual perspective) was dents. They noticed that self-regulated activities (e.g., high obtained via assessment instruments and student self-report awareness and regulation of own thinking) guided the two surveys administered before and after the intervention. Data girls’ work throughout the sessions. However, in their data focusing on social processes, observation, and the record- it was difficult to interpret the overall regulation of problem ing of teacher and student discourse, as well as inter- solving in the peer interaction by using only the concepts views, was used to investigate the nature of teacher scaf- of self- or other-regulation or shared regulation, because the folding of student regulated learning, collaborative group joint activity could not be reduced to mere individual activ- functioning and the level and nature of student regulatory ity and the nature of the shared regulation depended on the type of task or the problem at hand. A limitation to the gen- Their results point to the social context as the develop- eralizability of Vauras et al.’s findings, and of detailed case mental source of self-regulation and provide support for interaction studies in general, is that the context appeared to the contention that teacher scaffolding, involving an empha- be “an ideal condition for peer interaction” and therefore did sis on collaborative learning and opportunities for coreg- not reflect the more complex real-life situation of students’ ulation, provided an appropriate context for students to learn and deploy academic regulatory strategies. They no- The contributions from a sociocultural perspective on mo- ticed that collaborative activities carried out by teachers tivation, by Walker and colleagues (Pressick-Kilborn, Sains- and students in the classroom facilitated transformative in- bury, & Walker, 2005; Walker, in press; Walker et al., 2004) ternalization (learning) and externalization (deployment) of avoid the reduction of personal phenomena to social interac- coregulatory skills, from which self-regulation could subse- tion and recognize the agency of the individual. Their studies quently emerge. Walker and his colleagues’ studies (Pressick- focus on the process of internalization, which is active, con- Kilborn et al., 2005; Walker, in press; Walker et al., 2004) structive, and transformative (Walker et al., 2004), so that the provide support for the conceptualization of motivation as a goals, values, and standards constructed by the learner can- fundamentally social phenomenon, with individual motiva- not be considered to be transmitted by others. Rather, goals, tion emerging from social participation. These studies show standards, and values are actively modified or changed by that methods such as discourse maps of interactions, obser- the learner in the process of internalization. When standards vations, and interviews afford insights into the mechanisms and values have been internalized by a learner they are sub- by which the social becomes individual through the pro- sequently externalized in the form of motivated action, be- cesses of transformative internalization and externalization.
havior, and language, so that internalization may be inferred Not examined in Walker and his colleagues’ work, however, from these expressions of classroom engagement. The nature are the social processes of the group as a whole (the situa- and quality of interpersonal relationships between students tive angle), because the main focus is on the interactions of and their teachers and peers are therefore important in so- individuals that constitute the group. In the final section, we ciocultural perspectives on motivation as they influence the provide an illustration of how individual and social regula- internalization and externalization of motivational standards tion of motivation in collaborative learning can be captured and values. Interpersonal relations and intersubjectivity are Bridging the Cognitive–Situative Divide Using participants’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors and social in- teractions are used to make inferences about their social andpsychological processes of motivation. Indicators of mean- This section illustrates how the cognitive–situative divide can ingful behaviours and interactions include, for example, in- be bridged methodologically using different data sources.
dividual body language, facial expressions, nature and inten- Each data source can be used to capture both individual sity of eye contact, sudden momentary changes in gestures and social processes of motivation. Selected data from a as members relate to each other, and collective movements study by J¨arvel¨a, J¨arvenoja, et al. (2008) provide the basis of members shifting closer or further apart from each other, for this illustration. The aim of that study was to explore how as well as consistency in verbal and nonverbal interactions at socioemotional challenges emerging during a collaborative both individual and collective levels.
learning activity were regulated at individual and group lev- In this short episode, there were several meaningful indi- els to sustain motivation and complete the task. Three data cators of challenges to shared motivated engagement as well sources were used, namely, video recording, a specially de- as regulation of motivation, for example, when Jukka cocked signed questionnaire, and focus group interviews.
his eyebrows and leaned backward away from Henna, fol- The three-part illustration presented next is based on the lowed by the other students supporting Jukka’s comment, collaborative learning activity of one group in a 50-min ses- and Henna subsequently turning away from the group. Even sion. Participants were four preservice teacher education though this particularly unsettling incident lasted only about students (two male [Timo, Jukka] and two female [Riina, 1 min, there were clear indications, looking at the group mem- Henna]) involved in the analysis of a classroom case study.
bers’ facial expressions, that everyone had realized Henna’sfeelings had been hurt. The subsequent verbal contributions Video Recording of Actual Group Interactions that immediately follow, accompanied with a sudden changein body language, highlight that group members were now Analyses of students’ actual social interactions while work- concerned about the impact of their behaviors and were in- ing on the task (video data) were intended to demonstrate directly trying to make up for their unfortunate earlier com- the extent to which the combination of verbal and nonver- ments. This was evident in their softening of their initial bal interactions may be used to infer evidence of individual negative remarks and their bringing in examples from their and social regulation of motivation. One short episode (about own experiences. Such behaviors can be interpreted as ev- 5 min) was selected for this illustration as it enables a more idence of social and individual regulation of motivation to fine-grained analysis of individual and social processes. What address the socioemotional challenge. Henna’s subsequent happened is described first, as recorded on video.
facial expression and gradual change in body language sug-gest that she was sensitive to the others’ attempts to make up, The group appears to be working smoothly and everyone and made an individual effort to cope with her emotions and appears confident to contribute. One member, Henna, tellsa story from her early childhood. The other three members ultimately restore her motivation to participate in the group laugh and question Henna’s ability to remember things from early childhood. Henna gives another example, which the In regard to this particular episode, it can be argued that others question again. After this incident, Henna looks a the rapidity and effectiveness with which group members little upset and stops participating in the conversation. Riina collectively and individually addressed the emerging chal- takes the initiative of asking everyone in an engaging tone, lenge and eventually restored their engagement was due to “How do we comment on this case?” The attention of the their prior successful history of shared motivation as a group, group is again on the case, however, the confident atmosphere as observed before the incident. The video data show limited is not restored immediately. Little by little the group starts struggle to restore the positive emotional atmosphere and joking again. This restores the group discussion and even sense of togetherness within the group. The renewed use of Henna appears focused on the task again. Group members jokes and positive responses to each other’s opinions provide can be observed laughing at each other’s jokes, asking foreach other’s opinion and supporting each other’s ideas. At further evidence of effective social regulation for continued the end of the whole session, everyone appears confident shared engagement throughout the remaining time of their again and the task is completed. It looks like everyone is satisfied with the group’s analysis of the case.
Specially Designed Questionnaire Eliciting The video data shows how the group’s apparent keen- Individual Interpretations of Selected Events ness to work on the task was suddenly challenged by a so-cial incident that disturbed the emotional balance within the The potential of questionnaire data to capture individual and group, how group members reacted and handled the situa- social regulation of motivation is illustrated using the Adap- tion, and how motivation was eventually restored. The point tive Instrument for Regulation of Emotions (AIRE). This here is that the video data allowed this continuity of related instrument (see J¨arvenoja, Volet, & J¨arvel¨a, 2009, for full situated events to be scrutinized. Detailed observations of conceptual grounding and description of its components) is specifically designed to elicit students’ personal goals for an actual collaborative learning activity, their perceptions of socioemotional challenges during that activity, their ac-counts of individual and group-level attempts to regulate the The potential of focus group interview data to capture in- immediate emotions evoked by these challenges, and their dividual and social regulation of motivation is now exam- ined, using as illustration the actual focus group interview In the AIRE questionnaire, socioemotional challenges are conducted with the four students right after their collabora- identified through students’ initial ratings of 14 socially chal- tive learning activity. This group interview revealed several lenging situations (scenarios), which were generated after an meaningful types of individual regulatory processes (deter- extensive review of the empirical literature on collabora- mination to remain open, effort to be flexible, reevaluation tive learning and group work. The scenarios fall into five of own ideas and roles), and shared regulatory processes broad categories corresponding to differences in personal (engagement in joint decision making, pursuit of common priorities, styles of working and communication, team work, goals). Remarkably, the way individual processes were ex- collaborative processes and external constraints. After rating pressed by students suggests that individual regulatory pro- their experience of the 14 possible social challenges, stu- cesses were perceived as shared processes at the same time.
dents identify what they see as the two biggest challenges This was evident in the use of “we” instead of “I” in most stu- in their own group, namely, the challenges that triggered dents’ statements—for example, “We had this certain level the strongest emotions among group members. In regard to which we wanted to reach and we didn’t make it too com- the two biggest socioemotional challenges, students then plicated after we reached that.” This was also evident in rate the self, co-, and socially shared regulatory processes the students’ answers to the interviewers’ questions during that were employed for dealing them. In the final section of the group interview, with many instances of several students the questionnaire, students are invited (alongside other ques- building upon each other’s answers to provide a joint ex- tions) to rate how satisfied they are with their experience planation, for example, “First we discussed . . . (one student) in that particular group learning activity. The AIRE ques- . . . but then we decide together that we will choose this case tionnaire is therefore explicitly designed to obtain data on because it sounds the best . . . (second student) . . . yes! (third individual and social processes of the regulation of motiva- student)” The similarity of this phenomenon with what was tion. The regulatory processes presented for rating are cus- observed in the video data of students’ actual interactions tomised around the specific socioemotional challenges that while working on the task was quite remarkable. This is to students perceived in their group, so that the questionnaire say that when individuals communicate their assumptions, data best capture students’ actual experiences of a current members can add to, continue, agree, or disagree with each other’s explanations, allowing the group to construct shared With regards to the group in the previous illustration, assumptions, and a more comprehensive and accurate in- and consistent with the observations of their interactions terpretation of their situated activity. A critical issue with throughout their learning activity (video data), these stu- this type of data, however, is whether they reflect fairly and dents’ responses to the AIRE questionnaire revealed evi- equally the interpretations of the whole group or just its most dence of both self- and socially shared regulation strategies.
The point is that the questionnaire data “traced” mental pro- In summary, each of the three data sources and method- cesses that were not observable but were nevertheless influ- ologies revealed evidence of both individual and social reg- ential in the construction of motivation at both individual ulation of motivation, and in this respect illustrates how and group levels. Remarkably, all four students identified the cognitive–situative divide can be bridged methodolog- teamwork activities as the major challenge in their group, ically. By their nature, these data sources tend to privilege and the reason for adopting regulation strategies. Further- access to either individual regulation over social regulation more, three of the four students’ ratings of shared regula- of motivation (e.g., questionnaire data) or social regulation tion items were remarkably similar, highlighting a shared over individual regulation (e.g., video data), which calls for understanding of how the group coped with emerging chal- the value of combining findings obtained through different lenges. Finally, all four students expressed satisfaction with methodologies. In this illustration, the video data showed their experience in the collaborative learning activity, with how shared motivation was successfully initiated, sustained two students fully satisfied and two just satisfied (which for a while, then challenged and eventually restored through included Henna). These findings were consistent with the the groups’ effective regulatory processes. In addition, the video data, which revealed an overwhelmingly positive at- use of the AIRE and the focus group interview revealed how titude and effective social and individual regulation when group members, individually and as a group, were able recog- needed throughout the whole collaborative learning activity.
nize the socially challenging nature of the situation and how In sum, it appears that a carefully designed questionnaire they constructed a common motivational grounding for their can be used to capture individual and social processes of shared goals. These types of data revealed individual and group interpretations that could not have been extrapolated from the actual process data. A critical issue with this type of ways, in an attempt to address the fundamental issue of where data analysis, however, is for the researcher to remain con- the psychological self ends and the social begins. In our own scious that these data represent “collections of indicators” of work, we found that an aggregation of multiple subjective motivation from different data perspective. The combination accounts of self-regulation processes, combined with obser- of individual and social perspectives, therefore, should not vations of coregulated processes, was invaluable to under- lead to overgeneralization. Rather, it presents opportunities standing motivation as a social process.
for revealing ambiguities and contradictions that are critical We are still short of understanding how motivation arises to increase validity in data analysis.
in social contexts, such as collaborative learning. For ex-ample, it is not clear from current research why individu-als choose to employ particular strategies and how group members or the shared social context stimulate the ori- gin of new motivational and cognitive activity (Winne &Hadwin, 2008). What makes it effective and can it be pre- In this article we proposed that research on motivation in dicted? The data illustrations in this article were mainly collaborative learning should move beyond the cognitive– drawn from situations that provided a short timeline of how situative epistemological divide and combine individual and group members interpreted the situation and the extent to social processes. Supported by illustrations from recent stud- which they seemed to develop a common view of the shared ies, we suggest the study of motivation as an individual psy- motivational processes. A longitudinal design, similar to chological concept embedded within the social, shared, and the one used by Boekaerts and Minnaert (2006), for exam- ple, would enrich the description of students’ motivational One of the major current conceptual challenges is how best changes as a function of time, within and across learning to study the social processes of motivation in dynamic, so- episodes, and explain these changes in more detail. The cur- cially challenging collaborative learning activities. A broad rent data illustrations unveiled responses to an evolving social review of educational research concerned with motivation situation, but probes would be needed to elicit why individu- reveals a range of assumptions about the origins of motiva- als choose particular strategies over others and what it means tion and the associated cognitive processes. These include to use those strategies in the developing collaborative culture the specific characteristics of a situation or context (Corno of the group. Collaboration between researchers who study & Mandinach, 2004), the sociocultural milieu (McInerney individual psychological processes and those specializing in & Van Etten, 2002), the dual psychological and social phe- social psychology and group dynamics has the potential to nomena (J¨arvel¨a & Volet, 2004), and individualistic thoughts (Winne, 2004). Some strong contextual considerations have From a methodological viewpoint, observations or videos located motivation outside the individual and claimed that are well suited to examine the social construction of motiva- the primary motivators of engagement reside within the tacit tion and emotions during learning, for example, coregulation collective knowledge that defines communities of practice (Hickey, 2003). Our approach has been to conceptualize mo- complemented by interviews, where participants provide ex- tivation as a process of engagement and participation in a planations for their own engagement in the group dynamics social activity, which is situated and dynamic—not decontex- (sociocognitive perspective). Combining data sources and tualized and static—because it is ongoing, constantly shaped, methods of analysis is expected not only to provide a more and reshaped as the activity unfolds.
comprehensive understanding of such psychosocial phenom- How can motivation be operationalized and investigated ena but also to unveil possible contradictions, ambiguities, as a combined individual–social phenomenon? And how and paradoxes, which a single approach would not reveal (Er- can the complex, interactive, and multilayered nature of the cikan & Roth, 2006). In the present illustrations, triangulation social context be studied empirically? In spite of advances of the observations, dynamic questionnaire responses, and in conceptualizations of self-regulation and motivation as interviews provided a way to establish how closely the ques- social and contextual phenomena (e.g., Nolen & Ward, 2008), tionnaire items mirrored students’ experiences. Other types challenges still remain. There is a risk of oversimplify- of self-report data, such as diaries, journals, and experience- ing these complex psychosocial phenomena in empirical sampling methods, can provide further insight into some of work through a reductionist approach that operationalizes the invisible yet powerful aspects of social dynamics and motivation in terms of either individual motivational con- interactions that cannot be accessed via observational data structs or social processes of engagement. Theoretical sup- (Butler, 2006). The point is, following Greeno (2006), that port for an integrative perspective of individual and social actual recordings of the interactions would provide informa- regulation can be found in living systems theory (Miller, tion about shared and contested goals, power dynamics, and 1978; Volet et al., 2009). Moreover, a dialogue between re- other important aspects of motivation in social context.
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