Collaborative Writing among Second Language Learners Using Google Docs in a Secondary School Context

  • Debbie Lawrence Faculty of Psychology and Education, Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  • Kean Wah Lee Faculty of Psychology and Education, Universiti Malaysia Sabah
Keywords: Google docs, collaborative, writing, scaffolding, Vygotsky’s ZPD


This study investigates the use of web-based, task-oriented and collaborative writing for academic purposes. Twenty Form 5 students of proficiency levels ranging from moderately proficient to weak used Google Docs to construct an argument of a given topic in pairs. The duration for this study was one month. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of collaborative writing in a Web-based writing context. Details of the students’ writing processes and their perceptions of the online collaborative writing were examined via a questionnaire and interviews. Coding’s were created via document analysis of students’ written texts; while a survey was conducted to explore students’ perceptions. Findings suggest that students’ collaborative writing were focused more on forms than on meanings. A great deal of grammatical changes was made but not all errors were correctly revised, indicating a lack of mastery of grammatical accuracy. Survey results indicated that the students participated positively to the ease of using Google Docs. This study proves that the nature of ESL writing can experience change in a positive manner and students can be directed to experience a more autonomous learning.