Blikstein, P., Abrahamson, D., & Wilensky, U. (2008). The classroom as a complex adaptive system: An agent-based framework to investigate students’ emergent collective behaviors.

In P. A. Kirschner, F. Prins, V. Jonker & G. Kanselaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference of the Learning Sciences—International Perspectives in the Learning Sciences: Cre8ing a Learning World (ICLS2008) (Vol. 3, pp. 12-13). Utrecht, The Netherlands: ISLS.

This study applies agent-based modeling methodology to investigate individual and social factors underlying inequitable participation patterns observed in a real classroom in which an experimental collaborative activity was implemented. We created agent-based simulations of simplified collaborative activities and qualitatively compared results from running the model with the classroom data. We found that collaboration pedagogy emphasizing group performance may forsake individual learning, due to preference for short-term group efficacy over individual long-term learning. The study may inform professional development and pedagogical policy.