It would appear the emphasis so far has been on an individual’s performance. However, there appears to be growing interest in the collaborative aspect (child-child) of cognitive behaviours and competencies. Research by Blaye (1991) indicates that children working in pairs were twice as likely to succeed on the computer-based problem-solving task than children working alone (the notion that 'two heads are often better than one in problem solving'). This is supported by Mevarech (1991) cited in Littleton (1995) looked at children who worked in pairs and those who worked individually using arithmetic drill-and-practice software and found the former showed significantly greater achievement gains. Moreover, he found that children who had previously worked in pairs on the task were twice as likely to succeed as children who had had the same amount of experience working alone., the pairs that showed the least domination of decision making by one or other child were the most effective. In support, Clements and Nastasi advocate children should solve programming problems co-operatively, believing LOGO environments designed to encourage social interaction may facilitate metacognitive development.
Research by Light and Glachan (1985) recognised children have to engage actively both with the computer and with one another in order for peers to facilitate learning (Bancroft and Carr 1995). This advantage may stem from the fact that questions two children worked together were answered as it was clear to whom questioned were directed.(Webb, Ender and Lewis ,1986) considered However, there is no indication that the computer does not itself guarantee peer facilitation of learning but rather working conditions must be such that they foster both the children’s engagement with the task and their engagement with one another.
Vygotsky’s tenets about learning and development emphasise the importance of social interaction of more capable peers, as well as adults, as a means to guide children to developmental levels they might not independently attain. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development is rapidly influencing diverse educational arenas (Salomon, 1988 cited in Bonk and King, 1994). Some research draws on Vygotskian theory that knowledge is co-operatively produced and shared and is usually applied to adults and children (asymmetrical interactions) as they are of unequal status. The adult is seen as ‘scaffolding’ the child’s learning, facilitating planning and helping the child to understand the sort of problem it is (metacognitive awareness). Social process in computer-based learning may be significantly more than Papert’s emphasis on the individual activity of the child. Crook (1991) extends the collaborative learning aspect of Vygotsky’s ZPD from the idea that two heads are better to one where the exchange with computers actually resembles a kind of 'social' encounter, highlighting the strong social quality of the educational experience.