ERIC Number: ED446224
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Electronic Learning Communities: Lessons from the Ether. CRLRA Discussion Paper Series.
Owen, Christine; Pollard, Jennifer; Kilpatrick, Sue; Rumley, Diane
Research into indicators of learning occurring in e-mail discussion groups investigated how to maximize factors that enhance learning and networking using e-mail and how to minimize factors that inhibit learning using this medium. Data from a range of e-mail discussion groups formed the basis of the research, with focus on e-mail discussion that supports informal learning contexts. These three professional development groups were followed: organizational development and learning (Group A), primary and high school administrative issues (Group B), and women's health (Group C). Five days of discussion and three topics per group were analyzed to explore how communication was being mediated and managed. Findings indicated the prevalence of challenge in the interactions among members in all groups. Group A exhibited a consistently positive outcome from the challenges. Features contributing to this outcome included high moderator involvement; a climate of respect, support, and consideration for the other members; minimum of personal attacks; successful clarification processes; and a discussion that progressed and developed. Factors that contributed to an increase in dissonance in Groups B and C and to lack of progress and positive development were individual misunderstandings and misinterpretations of a previous post and spending more time on restating opinions rather than discussion. (Contains 57 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Active Learning, Adult Education, Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Cooperative Learning, Developed Nations, Discussion Groups, Dissent, Electronic Mail, Foreign Countries, Group Dynamics, Informal Education, Interpersonal Communication, Media Research, Professional Development, Regional Characteristics
Centre for Research and Learning in Regional Australia, P.O. Box 1214, Launceston, Tasmania 7250, Australia, Tel: 03 6324 3142, Fax: 03 6324 3040, E-mail: Lamanda.Harris@utas.edu.au, Web site: http://www.crlra.utas.edu.au ($3 Australian).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Australian National Training Authority, Melbourne.
Authoring Institution: Tasmania Univ., Launceston (Australia). Center for Research and Learning in Regional Australia.
Identifiers - Location: Australia