Skip to main content


The Dynamics of Non-Convergent Learning with a Conflicting Other: Internally Persuasive Discourse as a Framework for Articulating Successful Collaborative Learning

THINK research seminar: Professor Yifat Kolikant (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Successful collaborative learning is often conceptualized in terms of convergence, a process through which participants’ shared understanding increases. We argue and demonstrate that this conceptualization does not capture certain successful collaborative learning processes. We propose an additional conceptualization, based on Bakhtin’s (1981) dialogical theory, especially on the notion of Internally Persuasive Discourse (IPD). IPD highlights the quality of collaboration as manifested in the dialogic agency developed by discussants, regardless of whether or not their knowledge converged.

Event details

We present a model aimed at fostering collaborative learning amidst conflicting voices, the Doing History Together model, and examples of non-convergent successful learning processes within 52 Israeli Jewish and 52 Israeli Arab high-school students who collaboratively e-investigated a historical event related to the Israeli-Palestinian shared troubled past within the framework of this model.

Utilizing a bi-dimensional qualitative analysis, we identify four dynamics of discussion, leading to different learning outcomes. A specific type of discursive event, termed ‘fission’, was common, characterized by new understandings and situations of intersubjectivity emerging within the disputatious interactions. We discuss the comparative suitability of the convergence and IPD conceptualizations for capturing the essence of such processes, and conclude that the notion of IPD is useful in explaining a wider variety of learning situations.

Finally, we argue that setting IPD as an educational goal is feasible and beneficial, since it aligns the goals of nurturing skills of knowledge creation and collaboration, even in contexts of multi-cultural societies and political and social conflict.


EMS Building G18