Implementing technology-enhanced collaborative writing in second and foreign language learning: A review of practices, technology and challenges

Ruofei ZHANG, Di ZOU*, Gary CHENG, Haoran XIE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Technology-enhanced collaborative writing (TECW) for second language development is receiving increasing research attention from educators and teachers. However, there have been few review studies investigating how teachers implement this activity, how they use technology for the implementation, and what challenges they have. To better prepare practitioners to use digital tools for collaborative writing among their students, we reviewed 42 relevant studies focusing on their implementation identifying nine main TECW practices. These include: receiving teacher training; grouping students; training students on collaboration; training students on technology; providing students with new knowledge of writing; monitoring processes and giving immediate help; providing sufficient autonomy to students; evaluating outcomes and giving feedback; and encouraging students’ reflection. Technology could support TECW implementation by expediting information delivery, developing group workspaces and group chatrooms, recording students’ writing and collaboration behaviours and visualising their thoughts, enabling teacher commentary and information post, and presenting organised, analysed records of the TECW process. Challenges to TECW included: students’ reluctance to collaborate and difficulties using new technology. Based on the review, we argue that teachers can influence the implementation of TECW from cognitive, metacognitive, behavioural, and motivational aspects. Teacher training, student autonomy, and the size of writing groups are potential areas for future research in TECW.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8041-8069
Number of pages29
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Issue number6
Early online date1 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Research Cluster Fund (RG 78/2019-2020R) and The One-off Special Fund from Central and Faculty Fund in Support of Research from 2019/20 to 2021/22 (MIT02/19-20) of The Education University of Hong Kong and The Teaching Development Grant (102489) of Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Collaborative writing
  • Language teaching
  • Second language writing
  • Teacher practice
  • Technology-enhanced language learning


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