Ina Blau, Avner Caspi (2010) What Type of Collaboration Helps? Psychological Ownership, Perceived Learning and Outcome Quality of Collaboration Using Google Docs
One hundred and eighteen Open University of Israel undergraduate students participated in an experiment that was designed to test the differences between sharing and collaborating on a written assignment. Participants were randomly allocated to one of five groups that differ in types of collaboration: two groups share their draft with either an unknown audience or known peers, two other groups collaborated by either suggesting improvements to or editing each other’s draft, and an additional group in which the participants kept the draft for themselves served as a control group. Findings revealed differences between groups in psychological ownership, perceived quality of the document, but not in perceived learning. In addition, students believe that a document that was written collaboratively might have higher quality than a document written alone. Nonetheless, they reported that while their contribution improved a draft written by a colleague, the colleagues contribution deteriorated their own draft. Perceived quality of the document and the improvement from draft to final version predicted perceived learning. Thus, the present study implications are that collaboration is superior to sharing, that students prefer suggestion over editing.
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