The vicarious learner group has been developing a multimedia database system to promote and enhance the role of dialogue in learning. A specific interest, and the origin of the projects' collective name, is in the question of whether and how dialogue can be helpfully ‘reused’. What benefits can students gain from dialogue as observers, not just as participants? We describe our initial attempts to generate and capture educationally effective discourse exchanges amongst and between students and tutors. Problems encountered with available CMC discourse formats led to our development of a set of Task Directed Discussions (TDDs). A medium‐sized corpus of discourse exchanges was collected using the TDDs. A selection of nearly two hundred of these TDD exchanges formed the multimedia discourse database to the implemented prototype system, Dissemination. Initial results from a controlled experiment and evaluation of Dissemination are outline
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