4 Ts model

The 4 Ts model has been conceived by ITD-CNR (Persico & Pozzi, 2011) and then refined during a workshop by a group of researchers in the field of CSCL (Pozzi et al., 2011). It is rooted in the CSCL (Computer Supported Collaborative Learning) research field and is aimed to support pedagogical planning, i.e. to provide guidance and support to CSCL designers during the design process, that is, when they have to take critical design decisions.

The model identifies 4 dimensions as the main elements around which it is possible to design and structure an online collaborative learning activity: Task, Team(s), Time and Technology. The model can be referred to as the ‘4Ts model’.

The idea underpinning the model is that – generally speaking – Task, Teams, Time and Technology can be considered the characterizing elements of online collaborative activities. Thus a collaborative activity may be seen as the resultant of: a Task to be accomplished by students which usually envisages the production of a final output, the Teams which students should be aggregated into in order to accomplish the Task and their mode(s) of interactions, and the Time schedule proposed to students to carry out the activity. The whole activity takes place within a Technology Enhanced Learning environment, providing also the communication channel through which interactions among participants occur.
While designing an online collaborative learning activity, the CSCL designers have to take decisions concerning these 4 elements, as well as concerning the relationships among them, given that the choices on one element may affect the others (see Figure).
So conceived, the model can be used as a conceptual framework to support the design of any online collaborative learning activity, and it is general enough to encompass the existing perspectives and approaches in the field of CSCL design.

Links to extended descriptions

Persico, D., & Pozzi, F. (2011). Task, Team and Time to structure online collaboration in learning environments. World Journal on Educational Technology, 3 (1), 1 – 15.

Pozzi, F., Persico, D., Dimitriadis, Y., Joubert, M., Tissenbaum, M., Tsovaltzi, D., Voigt, C. & Wise, A. (2011). Structuring online collaboration through 3Ts: Task, Time and Teams. White Paper at the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous 2011.

institution developing / maintaining the tool: ITD-CNR

Francesca Pozzi, pozzi@itd.cnr.it
Donatella Persico, persico@itd.cnr.it