Collaborative problem solving means approaching a problem responsively by working together and exchanging ideas. Collaboration is a useful tool, especially when speciﬁc expertise is needed (and available), and relies on factors such as a readiness to participate, mutual understanding, and the ability to manage interpersonal conflicts. Collaborative problem solving is particularly useful when dealing with problems that are complex.
In the learning sciences there was a major shift in the 1990s to move from “cooperative learning” towards “collaborative learning”. While many authors use these terms interchangeably, a key difference was identiﬁ ed by Dillenbourg and colleagues (1996). According to their distinction, cooperation is referred to as an activity which is accomplished through division of labour. In other words, while cooperative learners might coordinate at some points of their activity, they often work in parallel. Many scholars have noted that cooperative learning neither makes full use of a group’s potential nor requires the whole set of social skills that people rely on when working together.
In academic settings, learners are regularily required to solve problems together. As Barron (2003) brillliantly demonstrated in her article, put learners together, as smart as they are, is not sufficient to guarantee sucessful group outcomes. On the contrary, group success heavily depends on the kind of interaction, especially the responsiveness to the other group members. Which kinds of group processes forge successful collaboration is still an open question in research. In such context, emotions experienced by collaborators could give insights on what is going on, both in terms of working atmosphere and in the way people bring into play collaborative problem solving strategies.
Master in Cognitive Sciences, 2012
Ecole Normale supérieure (ENS - ULM)
Master in neuropsychology, 2013
University Paris Descartes