Annotated Bibliography #8

Terrie Lynn Thompson. “Work‐learning in Informal Online Communities: Evolving Spaces.” Information Technology & People 24.2 (2011): 184–196. (Atypon). Web.

This paper seeks to investigate how workers engage with each other in informal online communities to learn about their field of work. It operates from the assertion that, while there is a large amount of work-related learning done through the internet, most of it is situated in formal online courses, implying the need for a more comprehensive understanding of less formal learning spaces. This investigation was conducted through interviews with 11 self-employed contractors and consultants who do not have staff working beneath them. This paper seems to be directed at workers in the same position as those interviewed, but also possibly web designers who have the power to implement the changes argued for into new mediums of field-specific communication between professionals for their own advancement. I chose this source because it examines the usefulness of existing channels for informal learning and how they could be improved and used in the future and because it ties in very nicely with the article I annotated in my post titled Annotated Bibliography #7 in that they both discuss at length the implications of the “Affinity Space” that is developing in online spaces. The only flaw that seems to exist with this research paper is that the sample size (11 individuals) may have been too small to attain accurate results for it’s purposes. Overall, this article would be useful to anyone seeking to explore how the online built environment has influenced discourse between independently employed professionals.

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