Understanding and analysing activity and learning in virtual communities

Abstract : The purpose of this study is to provide a preliminary framework to observe, analyse and evaluate both activity and learning in virtual communities. So various types of virtual communities will be studied by examining their relationship to socialisation and learning. After a presentation of the main ideas of Wenger's social learning theory, the principal components of the social context of the emergence and evolution of virtual communities will be described. It will show how taking this context into account enables the definition of four principal types of virtual communities: community of interest, goal-oriented community of interest, learners' community and community of practice and describe how the activity of these communities develops according to the goals they set for themselves and to the strategies they adopt to reach them. For each type of virtual community, an attempt will be made to determine the process of negotiation of meaning at the base of learning, and to describe the learning performed in terms of participation and reification processes.
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France Henri, Béatrice Pudelko. Understanding and analysing activity and learning in virtual communities. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Wiley, 2003, 19, pp.474-487. ⟨hal-00190267⟩

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