Investigating networked learning in corporate context: an embedded design mixed method study examining online knowledge sharing and collaboration via social network analysis

Tufan, Didem
This study, implementing an Embedded Mixed Method Design incorporating Social Network Analysis (SNA), aimed to explore how employees participated and communicated in a networked learning environment within corporate context by investigating employees’ discussions on an online wall platform. For this aim, Learning Management System logs of an e-learning company is used. They included self-organizing social groups, in an informal learning environment. The wall platform data from two social groups, including 50 employees, were examined by implementing Content Analysis (CA), SNA and statistical analysis. CA is conducted by using cognitive presence and social presence constructs of Communities of Inquiry framework. Also, a novel network structure, Multiple Layered Presences Network (MLPN), was introduced to integrate CA results into network structure. The networks were examined by implementing community detection, triadic analysis, symmetric acyclic decomposition and blockmodelling analysis of SNA. Also, the relationship between cognitive presence and social presence of the participants was analyzed with chi-square statistics depending on the interaction similarity of the participants. As a result, self-organizing social groups were found to have unity without any subgroups. Also social groups were found to function according to their establishment aim but mostly in the exploration level of social presence. The study reflected that, information flow in the social group took place among all participants indicating no rigid informal ranking but a mild form of hierarchy. Also, cognitive presence and social presence were found to be related except for the highest level of cognitive presence which is resolution.