Electronic Learning Communities LO20047

Jennifer Pollard (jpollard@utas.edu.au)
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 13:39:46 +1100

[Host's Note: With permission and by prior announcement, this group
analyzed exchanges here on LO and on other mailing lists. I hope we can
discuss their finding here on learning-org. In addition, they will
distribute a short survery here. ...Rick]

Dear List Participant,

In November/December of 1997, we undertook some research which examined
learning as it occurs through email. We contacted your group to seek
permission to "listen in" to email conversations for one month, and your
list and list owner agreed to participate. The collected data was
analysed for evidence of learning, and for factors that might enhance
and/or inhibit learning. Using a range of indicators for learning, we
concluded that inquiry and learning were occurring within the email lists.
We also noted some interesting patterns of communication, in particular
how challenge, disagreement and misunderstandings were conveyed to and by
participants. There were a number of factors which seemed to contribute
to the outcomes of these interactions; such as level of moderator
involvement, the climate that was maintained by group members and the
occurrence and handling of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

We think that these findings are informative and have implications for
email list owners, moderators and participants. Consequently, we would
like to continue our research by looking at 'off-list' activity, and the
strengths and weaknesses of participating in email discussion. In order
to do this, we plan to send a very short survey to your list. You should
receive this in about a week.

We would like to take this opportunity to say that we appreciate your time
and participation in this research. We will be happy to answer any
questions you might have on the report or these findings; please contact
Jennifer Pollard on jpollard@utas.edu.au Also, Jennifer will be
subscribing to the list for the purposes of distributing the report, the
surveys and to respond to any comments or queries you might have.

A copy of the Executive Summary and the full Report are available from the
Centre for Reserach and Learning in Regional Australia (CRLRA) web site:

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Pollard, Christine Owen and Dr. Sue Kilpatrick
(Investigators for the Centre for Research and Learning in Regional Australia)


Jennifer Pollard <jpollard@utas.edu.au>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>