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ERIC Number: ED516439
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 132
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-4261-9
Does Gender Matter? Collaborative Learning in a Virtual Corporate Community of Practice
Tomcsik, Rachel E.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
The purpose of this study was to investigate how gender identity construction in virtuality and actuality affect collaborative learning in a corporate community of practice. As part of a virtual ethnographic design, participants were employees from a major American corporation who were interested specifically in social networking applications. The participants took part in four half-hour collaborative learning sessions delivered in Second Life on a weekly basis, using self-constructed avatars for the duration of the study. At the sessions' conclusion, telephone interviews were conducted to obtain the impressions participants had during the session, the reasoning behind their particular impressions, and how these beliefs may have influenced the effectiveness of the collaborative learning in the sessions. Data analysis of session transcripts and interviews used a constructivist grounded theory approach. Concepts of anonymity and credibility, conformity and norms, individual identity and group identity, purpose, respect, and connection emerged as crucial themes. Findings indicated that actual and avatar gender had minimal impact on collaborative learning in virtual corporate communities of practice, with group identity and corporate culture mitigating the impact of gender. In addition, a set of instructional design strategies is proposed for maximizing collaborative learning through creating an environment organized around a shared purpose, sense of respect, and connection among members. Ultimately, the study determined that gender only minimally impacts virtual corporate communities of practice on the subconscious level, mitigated by group identity, collaboration, and the corporate environment. These results will encourage instructional designers to take advantage of the importance of group identity to maximize collaborative learning. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A