I haven’t been able to go over the methodology closely, but this finding fascinated me:
Participants in all groups believed that collaboration improved the document quality. However, evaluation of the real contribution of collaboration was asymmetrical – students felt that while they did not exacerbate the document they read or edited, others worsened their own document by reading, suggesting or editing it. We therefore suggest that collaborative learning may be improved by encouraging collaboration mainly through suggesting and receiving improvements and less by editing each others’ writing.
The big caveat is this seems to measure (in my admittedly cursory glance) only student perceptions, not skill outcomes. But an interesting finding nonetheless. Reminds me in some ways of the Peer Instruction vs. Group Work divide, with the fundamental difference in PI being that students take recommendations but retain full ownership of decisions — ownership seems to matter. In any case, article is probably a must read for people using Google Docs for collab.