Vol. 33 No. 1 (2018)
Research Articles

Exploring the behavioural patterns of knowledge dimensions and cognitive processes in peer-moderated asynchronous online discussions

Hajar Ghadirian
Department of Curriculum Development & Instruction Methods, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Iran
Keyvan Salehi
Department of Curriculum Development & Instruction Methods, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Iran
Ahmad Fauzi Mohd Ayub
Department of Foundation of Education, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Selangor, Malaysia
Published May 20, 2018
  • peer moderation,
  • asynchronous online discussions,
  • quantitative content analysis,
  • lag sequential analysis
How to Cite
Ghadirian, H., Salehi, K., & Fauzi Mohd Ayub, A. (2018). Exploring the behavioural patterns of knowledge dimensions and cognitive processes in peer-moderated asynchronous online discussions. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education / Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 33(1). Retrieved from https://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/1030


Peer moderation has been used as a beneficial strategy in asynchronous online discussions to assist student learning performance. However, most studies in peer-moderated asynchronous online discussions (PMAOD) have focused only on learning effectiveness and perceptions of students rather than on students’ knowledge dimensions and cognitive processing patterns. This study combined quantitative content analysis (QCA) and lag sequential analysis (LSA) to explore student knowledge dimensions and cognitive processing patterns in PMAOD. The participants were 84 students in an undergraduate blended course from University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia. The Revised Bloom Taxonomy (RBT) was used as the codification scheme to code the discussion transcripts of participants assigned the role of peer moderators in a reciprocal manner over seven weeks. Behavioural distributions and patterns of high- and low-quality discussion groups were compared. Results showed that students were primarily sharing knowledge dimensions and cognitive processes of metacognition and understanding, respectively. Additionally, it was found that there was a modest proportion of off-topic discussions. Nonetheless, by means of LSA, it was found that PMAOD exhibited a certain degree of self-sustainability in knowledge and cognitive process behaviours, with the exceptions of procedural knowledge and the cognitive process of applyingand, in terms of diversity in knowledge dimension and cognitive processing, high-quality discussion groups outperformed low-quality groups.


La modération par les pairs dans les discussions asynchrones en ligne a été utilisée comme une stratégie visant à favoriser la réussite des étudiants. Cependant, la plupart des études sur les discussions asynchrones en ligne modérées par les pairs (DALMP) se sont seulement centrées sur l’efficacité de l’apprentissage et les perceptions des étudiants plutôt que sur les schèmes caractérisant le partage d’éléments de connaissance et de processus cognitifs par les étudiants. Cette étude combine une analyse quantitative de contenu (AQC) et une analyse séquentielle d’écarts (ASÉ) pour explorer les schèmes de partage des éléments de connaissance et des processus cognitifs des étudiants dans un contexte de DALMP. 84 étudiants de premier cycle suivants des cours hybrides à l’université Putra Malaysia (UPM), en Malaisie, ont participé à l’enquête. La taxonomie révisée de Bloom (TRB) a été utilisée comme modèle de codification pour coder les transcriptions des propos tenus par les participants qui se sont réciproquement vus assigner le rôle de modérateur auprès de leurs pairs durant sept semaines. Les distributions comportementales et schèmes de qualité (élevée ou faible) des discussions de groupes ont été comparés. Les résultats ont montré que les étudiants partageaient tout d’abord des schèmes relatifs à des éléments de connaissance puis des processus cognitifs de métacognition et de compréhension. De surcroit, une petite part de discussions hors sujet a été relevée. Néanmoins, l’ASÉ a permis de mettre en avant que la DALMP fait ressortir un certain degré d’autosuffisance dans les comportements relatifs au processus cognitifs et à la connaissance, exception faite de la connaissance procédurale et du processus cognitif d’application. Les groupes de discussion de qualité élevée surpassent ceux de faible qualité en termes de diversité des éléments de connaissance et des processus cognitifs.


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  69. Authors
  70. Hajar Ghadirian is in the Department of Curriculum Development & Instruction Methods, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Iran. E-mail: hajar.ghadirian@ut.ac.ir
  71. Keyvan Salehi is in the Department of Curriculum Development & Instruction Methods, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Iran. E-mail: keyvansalehi@ut.ac.ir
  72. Ahmad Fauzi Mohd Ayub is in the Department of Foundation of Education, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail: ahmad_fauzim@hotmail.com