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Abstract

The paper is aimed at exploring how CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication) systems and other factors influence distributed and collaborative learning processes for the purpose of systems design. The paper proposes Anselm Strauss’ interactionist theory on action as an analytical framework for understanding the pedagogical and technological conditions of distributed and computer-mediated collaborative learning. The paper presents an overview of experiences based on ten years of practice and research at Aalborg University in Denmark with the analytical framework. The experiences of using this framework show that CMC-based distributed collaborative learning entails additional work for the geographically dispersed learners rather than assisting the construction of knowledge and negotiation of meaning. The computer system cannot, in and by itself, support the collaboratively based processes of learning. Rather, distributed collaborative learning is accounted for by entirely different and far more complex factors grounded in the pedagogical approach to learning.

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