Modelling Social Capital in Virtual Learning CommunitiesThe procedure for examining SC in VLC first involved synthesis of previous and current research on SC in physical communities, singling outthe most important variables and establishing logical relationships amongthe variables. The main variables include: the type of community,attitudes, interaction, shared understanding, demographic culturalawareness, professional cultural awareness, task knowledge awareness,and individual capability awareness, norms, and trust. We representedvarious degrees of influence by the letters S (strong), M (medium), and W(weak). The signs + and - represent positive and negative relationships.The relationships among the variables were mapped into a BBN for SC(see figure 1).
presents the key variables of SC and their definitions
Variable Name Variable Definition Variable States
Interaction A mutual or reciprocal actionbetween two or more agentsdetermined by the number of messages sent and receivedPresent/AbsentAttitudes Individuals' general perceptionabout each other and others'actionsPositive/NegativeCommunityTypeThe type of environment, tools,goals, and tasks that define thegroupVirtual learning community (VLC)and Distributed community of practice (DCoP)SharedUnderstandingA mutual agreement/consensusbetween two or more agentsabout the meaning of an objectHigh/LowAwareness Knowledge of people, tasks, orenvironment and or all of theabovePresent/AbsentDemographicAwarenessKnowledge of an individual:country of origin, language andlocationPresent/AbsentProfessionalCulturalAwarenessKnowledge of people’sbackground training, affiliationetc.Present/AbsentCompetenceAwarenessKnowledge about anindividual’s capabilities,competencies, and skillsPresent/AbsentCapabilityAwarenessKnowledge of people’scompetences and skills inregards to performing aparticular task Present/AbsentSocialProtocols/NormsThe mutually agreed upon,acceptable and unacceptableways of behaviour in acommunityPresent/Absent