This paper reports a classroom study in which group learners brainstormed ideas in virtual group space and justified their ideas through articulating their rationales in the shared rationale space. The investigation focused on the learners' practices of articulating and sharing rationales. The results suggest that group members would brainstorm the ideas and generate rationales to justify the ideas before reading the others' ideas and rationales. Also, the members in general brainstormed all the ideas first and then elaborated the rationales to justify the ideas; and grouped the shared rationales according to their authors. The group members' reasoning styles were examined by using Rhetorical Structure Theory to analyze the shared rationales. It was found that similar reasoning styles existed across the groups. Additionally, the group context seemed to have affected the members' strategies of using contextual and additional information to justify their ideas. Several design implications are presented to support the practices of articulating and sharing rationales in virtual group workspace. The authors also articulate how their work contributes to other research areas such as project management, crowdsourcing, and online deliberation. Based on their study, the authors argue for a rationale-based knowledge management approach to complex collective activities in the online environment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Networks and Communications