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Informal Learning and Motivation in a Virtual Community of Practice: A Study of Email List Communications among K-12 Technology Coordinators in the State of Hawaii

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Item Summary

Title:Informal Learning and Motivation in a Virtual Community of Practice: A Study of Email List Communications among K-12 Technology Coordinators in the State of Hawaii
Authors:Quigley, Polly
Date Issued:May 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Abstract:The purpose of this qualitative analysis was to examine how informal learning takes place in a virtual Community of Practice. The objective of this research was to analyze the components and characteristics associated with a group called the tech cadre who communicate via a listserv for the purpose of knowledge exchange. This study sought to identify the type of informal learning occurring through this computer mediation communication as well as the motivating factors that contribute to membership engagement. A grounded theory methodology was employed using a divergent method guided by Strauss and Corbin’s (1999) grounded theory approach, which consisted of purposeful sampling. This qualitative analysis used the constant-comparative approach (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) for this study. This methodology approach was suitable given that the key purpose of this study was to help gain an understanding of a situation (Merriam, 2001) – informal learning that takes place among Hawaii K-12 public school technology coordinators engaging in knowledge sharing via a listserv, rather than to predict, prove or disprove underlying hypotheses.
Wenger’s (1998) conceptual framework on communities of practice and Sobrero’s (2008) framework on virtual communities of practice were used to guide this study.
Data was collected through an electronic survey emailed to all members of the listserv and findings were sent to some participants for the purpose of member checking. To ensure validity of the data inter-rater reliability was employed.
The findings revealed that this unique virtual community of practice is valued by its members and is an efficient and effective tool for acquiring knowledge, sharing knowledge and improving job performance. Motivational factors that contribute to membership engagement within this community were also identified with most members finding knowledge sharing and problem solving as primary motivators. Members also acknowledged that although listserv technology serves this community well there might be other more effective computer mediated communication tools worth exploring. This study, as it relates to this unique virtual community of practice, may indeed have implications for other virtual communities of practice that engage in knowledge sharing through listserv technology.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Education

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