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Formal VLC model

Non-formal
environments

?
Research Questions
• Are characteristics identified in
formal virtual learning communities
found in a non-formal online learning
environment, and do unique
characteristics emerge?
• How does the context and structure
of the course influence self-directed
learning undertaken by participants?
Non-formal Learning
Environments

Non-formal
Formal Informal

Fits somewhere between formal and informal


environments; often contains elements of
both.
Non-formal Learning
Environments
Intentional
Voluntary
Structured
Expectations that arise from
structure
A degree of learner control is present
Context
Year-long course on teaching in
higher ed for new professors
10 participants
Blended environment
Bi-weekly F2F group sessions
Online community site
Data
Transcripts of discussion threads and
blog entries
Focus group session – recorded
semi-structured interviews
with participants
Codes
From the original VLC model
Ideas identified in previous
research on similar contexts
(learning processes)
Emergent codes identified during
analysis
Data Analysis
•Transcript Analysis Tool (TAT)
Density
Intensity
Reciprocity
•Model coding & free coding
•Frequencies and themes
Findings

It’s dead, Jim


Findings
• Mostly empty, with
a couple of exception
Findings
High frequency codes:

•Concept awareness – awareness of


how a particular activity or piece of
knowledge fits into an individual’s
existing knowledge.

• Engagement – confronting or
exploring ideas or resources first
presented by someone else in the
Findings
Zero frequency codes:

•Historicity – references to the history


and/or culture of the community.

• Trajectory – the sense that the


community is moving in a direction,
typically towards the future, or growth,
or toward resolution of a goal.
But Why??

Participants were highly talkative and


engaged during F2F sessions. Why was
the online environment such a flop?
But Why??

Time:
• professors are busy people
• other priorities come first, and ther
is little time left for online works
But Why??

Expectations:
• Participants often feel to
expected to produce
carefully composed
postings
But Why??

Perception:
• Unfamiliarity breeds contemp
• Optional = low priority
For more information about
Virtual Learning Communities

and updates on further


research, please visit:
http://www.vlcresearch.c
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