A Comparison of Participation Patterns in Selected Formal, Non-formal, and Informal Online Learning Environments

March 9, 2013

Does learner participation vary depending on the learning context? Are there characteristic features of participation evident in formal, non-formal, and informal online learning environments?

Six online learning environments were chosen as epitomes of formal, non-formal, and informal learning contexts and compared. Transcripts of online discussions were analyzed and compared employing Transcript Analysis Tools for measures of density, intensity, and reciprocity of participation (Fahy, Crawford, & Ally, 2001), and mean reply depth (Wiley, n.d.). This paper provides an initial description and comparison of participation patterns in a formal, non-formal, and informal learning environment, and discusses the significance of differences observed.

Canadian Journal of  Learning and Technology

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