Monday, November 24, 2008

Participation Inequality

This is a couple of years old but it's the first time I've seen it. No surprise for any of you who've ever participated in an online community, online course discussion board, looked at Wikipedia...

"In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.
All large-scale, multi-user communities and online social networks that rely on users to contribute content or build services share one property: most users don't participate very much. Often, they simply lurk in the background."

See the whole article for ideas on ways of better equalizing participation.


Ryan said...

What I think might be more curious about this is how well it reflects a typical learning enviroment, or perhaps say, a classroom.

In a high school classroom, you have the one person who is always talking, 3-4 people who talk quite a bit, and the rest of the people either asleep or shy. I'm not saying that's a scientifically accurate representation, but it's one I think makes some sense. Plus, if your the one doing all the posting, your spending the majority of your time just exposing your own thoughts, rather than aggregating the different ideas of others.

I actually recognize this as a positive trend.

Jane Bozarth said...

So much talk about e-learning describes it in terms of making it 'as good as' (or per your comment, as bad as) the traditional classroom. Given the leveling nature of the online environment, can we use this information to make the online experience BETTER than the classroom?

Ryan said...

I would hope so.

I think a bigger issue with e-learning is they really don't know how to define a e-learning classroom, so they sometimes restrict themselves to the bounds of a typical classroom. Once instructors become more diversified and can acclimate themselves to more "outside the box" presentation methods I think Online classrooms have the potential to consistently out-perform traditional classrooms.

I think the freedom from social stigma associated with traditional classrooms is both a positive and a negative.