Collaborative Digital Problem-Solving: Power, Relationships, and Participation

Gloria E. Jacobs, Jill Castek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study examines the collaborative nature of problem solving as dyads and triads of adults were grouped to solve digital problems using online resources. Digital problem solving involves the nimble use of skills, strategies, and mindsets to navigate online in everyday contexts using novel resources, tools, and interfaces, in efficient and flexible ways, to accomplish personal and professional goals. Findings address the nature of collaborative talk during digital problem solving through three interrelated categories of themes gleaned from discourse analysis: (a) power, (b) relationships, and (c) participation. These themes offer a nuanced understanding of collaborative interactions during digital problem solving. Implications from this research suggest ways to design collaborative activities and support dialogic interaction, whether among adolescents or adults, during online learning, in formal education settings or informally in other settings where collaboration occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Adolescent learning
  • Adult learning
  • Collaboration
  • Digital literacies
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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