Analysis of peer interaction in learning activities with personal handhelds and shared displays

Chen Chung Liu, Chen Wei Chung, Nian Shing Chen, Baw Jhiune Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Collaborative learning is extensively applied in classroom activities, but the screens on handheld devices are designed for individual-user mobile applications and may constrain interaction among group learners. The small screen size may lead to fragmented and tête-à-tête communication patterns and frequently obstruct the externalization of the learning process. This study compares two learning scenarios, one using only handheld devices and the other integrating handheld devices with LCD shared displays, in order to explore whether shared displays in classrooms can augment handheld devices to facilitate articulation and communication among participants. This study involved 15 graduate students enrolled in a Statistics and Data Mining course. Data were collected on the course over a period of eight weeks. Students were required to solve problems collaboratively and content analysis was performed on student dialogue and nonverbal interactions in the two different learning scenarios. In the environment with shared displays, each discussion thread attracted more students and demonstrated more shared visual focus than in the one-to-one setting by a significant margin. Students, when studying in an environment with shared displays, exhibited more lively interaction with each other, including frequent hand-pointing behavior. Furthermore, students proposed more arguments and positions in the Shared-Display environment than in the environment without shared displays. Therefore, shared displays can not only improve articulation processes, but can also promote student engagement by establishing a social workspace for learning with handheld devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-142
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • CSCL
  • Groupware design
  • Handheld devices
  • Interaction analysis
  • Shared display


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