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Diversity in Communities of Learning

The Influence of Hierarchical Position on


Individuals’ Activity and Performance
Martin Rehm
EDiNEB 2010, London
10th of June, 2010
Organizational Training

• contributing to the competitive advantage of


organizations

• traditional methodologies continue to dominate


ambiguous results

• superiority of collaborative learning methods


“hothouse for new ideas and thoughts”
(Schlager, Fusco & Schank, 2002)
Community of Learning (CoL)

• “engaging in collaborative learning and reflective


practice involved in transformative learning”
(Paloff & Pratt, 2003, p. 17)

“ins-and-outs”

“Expert” “Novice”

“up-to-date”
Diversity
+ sharing of experiences & effectively processing
new information
(Jehn & Bezrukova, 2004)

— create varying degrees of anxiety inhibiting


cognitive functioning
(Jehn, 1995)
Hierarchial Position
• “major obstacle to collaborative learning
processes”
(Romme, 1996)

• ambiguous research results


Research Hypothesis

• H1: Positive Relationship between Hierarchical


Position & Level of Activity
(Edmondson, 2006; Owens, et al., 2000; Yates & Orlikowski, 1992)

• H2: Positive Relationship between Hierarchical


Position & Performance
(Bunderson, 2003b; Gijselaers, et al., 2006;)
Setting

• Global training program (“Economics”)


• 14 weeks of e-Learning
• 30 CoLs
• 264 participants
– 90 “Low” position
– 100 “Middle” position
– 74 “High” position
• asynchronous discussions forums:
– Café-Talk
– Content-Related (real-life tasks)
Hierarchial Position & Level of Activity
18,00

16,00

14,00

12,00
Average Contributions

10,00
Café-Talk Forum
Content-Related Forums
Total
8,00

6,00

4,00

2,00

0,00
"Low" "Middle" "High"

http://disney.go.com/toystory/#/characters
Hierarchial Position & Performance
10,00

9,00

8,00

7,00

6,00
Average Grade

Participation Grade
5,00 Exam
Final Grade

4,00

3,00

2,00

1,00

0,00
"Low" Middle" "High"

http://disney.go.com/toystory/#/characters
Implications

• better able to anticipate behaviour

• valuable input to design collaborative activities

• “hothouse for new ideas and thoughts”


(Schlager, Fusco & Schank, 2002)
Limitations & Future Research

• “surface level measurements”


(Stijbos, et al., 2006)
• “subjective performance measurements”
(DeChurch & Mesmer-Magnus, 2010)

Social Network Analysis


Content Analysis

Cluster Analysis
“Sneak Preview”

http://disney.go.com/toystory/#/characters http://www.figuredetails.com/images/Hot-Toys/Martian-Soldier-Mars-Attacks/Martian-Soldier-Mars-Attacks-Hot-Toys-2.jpg
Diversity in Communities of Learning
The Influence of Hierarchical Position on
Individuals’ Activity and Performance
Martin Rehm
EDiNEB 2010, London
10th of June, 2010