Identifying and facilitating group-development processes in virtual communities of teacher-learners

Murphy, Elizabeth and Laferrière, Thérèse (2005) Identifying and facilitating group-development processes in virtual communities of teacher-learners. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2 (4). ISSN 1550-6908

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Through analysis of the written trace of asynchronous communication messages among teacher-learners in a virtual community, processes of social interaction were investigated in order to gain insight into how communities of learners may collaborate. Using group-development theory focusing on how a group that is meeting face-to-face moves through stages of initial distrust to trust, an eight-point scale instrument was developed to code messages from two groups of teacher-learners participating in online discussions. Results indicated that there was growth leading to interinfluence but that the group did not fully reach a stage of shared understandings. Group development in virtual communities can be facilitated through use of the various assessment tools provided by group-development theory. Group moderators and participants can formatively evaluate group interactions through an ongoing analysis or monitoring of written traces of communication of electronic messages.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 2471
Keywords: Content analysis: online discussions, group development theory, computer-mediated communication, virtual communities, online facilitation
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: April 2005
Date Type: Publication
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