Learning in open knowledge repositories: A virtual ethnographic study
This virtual ethnographic qualitative study explored the impact of navigating an overabundance of information on learners in an open knowledge repository. Learners from an online open-source community were studied. The name of the online open-source community investigated was concealed and is referred to as X.org throughout the study. X.org was identified as an open online knowledge initiative used by learners during problem solving. X.org’s online forum was confirmed as the community’s open knowledge repository. The research questions investigated the learning methods used, perceived barriers, and common issues faced by open online knowledge repository learners. The current study highlighted areas of congruence within the knowledge and learning literature streams, by examining the acceleration of information located within a knowledge repository (organizational memory) by social Web 2.0 tools. More research was required to understand how learning occurs in open knowledge initiatives. During the investigation, the researcher discovered that probing was an effective prevalent learning method used by knowledge repository learners. The following social learning features were discovered during the research project and introduced as a social cycle of digital learning model: initiation, investigation, trial-and-error, searching, sharing, and supplying. Learners who focused on engaging in the social cycle of digital learning activities minimized distractions related to navigating an overabundance of information in the repository.
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