University of Oulu

Palmgren-Neuvonen, L., Littleton, K. and Hirvonen, N. (2021), "Dialogic spaces in divergent and convergent collaborative learning tasks", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 122 No. 5/6, pp. 409-431.

Dialogic spaces in divergent and convergent collaborative learning tasks

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Author: Palmgren-Neuvonen, Laura1; Littleton, Karen2; Hirvonen, Noora1
Organizations: 1Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Well-being, Education and Language Studies, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-13


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine how dialogic spaces were co-constituted (opened, broadened and deepened) between students engaged in divergent and convergent collaborative learning tasks, orchestrated by teachers in Finnish primary and secondary schools. The concept of dialogic space refers to a dynamic, shared resource of ideas in dialogue and has come to represent an ideal form of educational interaction, in the contexts of collaborative learning, joint creative work and shared knowledge-building.

Design/methodology/approach: A socio-cultural discourse analysis of video-observed classroom dialogue, entailing the development of a new analytic typology, was undertaken to explore the co-constitution of dialogic space. The data are derived from two qualitative studies, one examining dialogue to co-create fictive video stories in primary-school classrooms (divergent task), the other investigating collaborative knowledge building in secondary-school health education (convergent task).

Findings: Dialogic spaces were opened through group settings and by the students’ selection of topics. In the divergent task, the broadening of dialogic space derived from the heterogeneous group settings, whereas in the convergent task, from the multiple and various information sources involved. As regards the deepening of dialogic space, explicit reflective talk remained scarce; instead the norms deriving from the school-context tasks and requirements guided the group dialogue.

Originality/value: This study lays the groundwork for subsequent research regarding the orchestration of dialogic space in divergent and convergent tasks by offering a typology to operationalise dialogic space for further, more systematic, comparisons and aiding the understandings of the processes implicated in intercreating and interthinking. This in turn is of significance for the development of dialogic pedagogies.

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Series: Information and learning science
ISSN: 2398-5348
ISSN-E: 2398-5356
ISSN-L: 2398-5348
Volume: 122
Issue: 5-6
Pages: 409 - 431
DOI: 10.1108/ILS-02-2020-0043
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 518 Media and communications
Funding: The study was funded by the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 299112).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 299112
Detailed Information: 299112 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © Laura Palmgren-Neuvonen, Karen Littleton and Noora Hirvonen. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at 4.0/legalcode.