Two lab experiments revealed that triads are more likely to take advantage of the unique skills/expertise of group members than are dyads. Discourse coding revealed consistent effects across two studies that more evaluative behaviors emerge in the discourse of triads, and this elicits more knowledge sharing. The result is that students who interact with at least one skilled member in a triad perform better on both group problem solving tasks and individual transfer tasks. Dyads do not learn from each other in the same way, nor do they generally engage in mutual evaluation of reasoning. The same overall learning result was replicated in the context of an intact Research Methods course in Psychology. Current studies are attempting to support these effective discourse behaviors in both dyads and triads, with role assignment and explicit instruction to evaluate propositions.
Wiley, J. & Jensen, M. (2006). When three heads are better than two. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
Wiley, J. & Bailey, J. (2006) Effects of Collaboration and Argumentation on Learning from Web Pages. In A.M. O'Donnell, C. E. Hmelo-Silver & G. Erkens (Eds.) Collaborative Learning, Reasoning, And Technology (pp. 297-321). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Wiley, J. & Jolly, C. (2003) When two heads are better than one expert. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
This project expects to generate scripts for effective small group scientific reasoning/problem solving activities.