This Phd research lays in the intermediate line of three fields: Team Design Research, eLearning design and Communication analysis. Its main goal is to describe, analyze and evaluate the verbal interactions taking place in teams that co-design high-quality distance courses, based on the use of Information and Communication Tecnhologies (ICTs), with the aim to identify, understand and support the team's best practices. More precisely, this research consists of "following" the design teams of two well-established Open Universities (the Open University, UK and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), observing them thoroughly during the production of a specific, innovative on-line course, and analyzing the verbal protocols constructed for each team based mainly on their face-to-face design meetings. In order to do that, a justified "methodological mix" is proposed, bearing mainly on three research frameworks: Cognitive ergonomics, Interaction analysis and Discourse analysis.
The main research questions, to which the current research endeavors to respond, are the following:
a)What is it meant by better co-construction in the context of eLearning co-design?
b)How is this co-construction related to the design process?
Behind these questions, two main assumptions are laying: first, that the level of co-construction in a task-oriented team can be an indicator of the quality of communication among its members; and second, that the socio-cognitive interaction activities cannot be considered outside their context and unrelated to a specific design object. Moreover, the research questions addressed represent open issues in both the Research and Practice of team communication. Thus, the contributions and expected outcomes of this dissertation are two-fold. From a methodological point of view, this research aims at proposing a complete methodological framework of describing, analyzing and qualifying team communication processes. From a practice-oriented point of view, the main goals are to identify a team's best practices in both communication and eLearning design and describe them using the format of patterns as a way to promote the team's self-awareness and enhancement.