Investigation 3. A Relational, Indirect, Meso-level Approach to CSCL Design in the Next Decade

Chris Jones*, Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Berner Lindtröm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This paper reviews some foundational issues that we believe will affect the progress of CSCL over the next 10 years. In particular, we examine the terms technology, affordance, and infrastructure, and we propose a relational approach to their use in CSCL. Following a consideration of networks, space, and trust as conditions of productive learning, we propose an indirect approach to design in CSCL. The work supporting this theoretical paper is based on the outcomes of two European research networks: E-QUEL, a network investigating e-quality in e-learning; and Kaleidoscope, a European Union Framework 6 Network of Excellence. In arguing for a relational understanding of affordance, infrastructure, and technology, we also argue for a focus on what we describe as mesolevel activity. Overall this paper does not aim to be comprehensive or summative in its review of the state of the art in CSCL but rather to provide a view of the issues currently facing CSCL from a European perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheoretical Investigations : Philosophical Foundations of Group Cognition
EditorsGerry Stahl
Number of pages20
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-49156-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-49157-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesComputer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Bibliographical note

This is a reprint of a journal article from 2006:

Published online: 21 March 2006
International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc., Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006
Jones, C., Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L., & Lindstrom, B. (2006). A relational, indirect, meso-level approach to CSCL design in the next decade. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning. 1(1), 35–56.


  • CSCL
  • Networked learning
  • Affordances
  • Infrastructure
  • Meso level
  • Indirect design


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