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Argument Diagrams in Facebook: Facilitating the Formation of Scientifically Sound Opinions

D. Tsovaltzi; A. Weinberger; Oliver Scheuer; Toby Dragon; Bruce McLaren
In: A. Ravenscroft; S. Lindstaedt; C.D. Kloos; D. Hernández-Leo (Hrsg.). 21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills. European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL), September 18-21, Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany, Springer, Berlin, 2012.


Students use Facebook to organize their classroom experiences [1], but hardly to share and form opinions on subject matters. We explore the benefits of argument diagrams for the formation of scientific opinion on behaviorism in Facebook. We aim at raising awareness of opinion conflict and structuring the argumentation with scripts [2]. A lab study with University students (ten dyads per condition) compared the in- fluence of argument structuring (students built individual argument diagrams before discussing in Facebook) vs. no argument structuring (only Facebook discussion) on opinion formation, measured through opinion change. The argumentation script was implemented in the web-based system LASAD to support sound argumentation.Facebook discussions and conflict awareness led students of both conditions to change their opinions, t(39)=8.84, p<.001. Evidence suggests a connection between opinion change and the number of conflicts in a discussion. Together with a high correlation for no argument structuring between opinion change and knowledge gains, r(20)=.54, p<.05, the results suggest benefits of raising awareness of opinion conflicts in Facebook to facilitate scientific opinion formation and change.