Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This could have been such an interesting paper had the authors not succumbed to what is a disease in our field, small (n=33) and unrepresentative (graduate students pursuing a master's degree in education) samples. The idea was to determine the impact of small group size on social presence in learning, where social presence was measured in three dimensions:

  • The Work Group Cohesion Index, developed by Price and Mueller (1986), was used to measure workgroup cohesion in organizational contexts.
  • The Sociability Scale (Kreijns et al., 2007) was originally designed to determine the perceived degree of sociability of computer supported collaborative learning.
  • The Sociability Scale (Kreijns et al., 2007) was originally designed to determine the perceived degree of sociability of computer supported collaborative learning.

Oh, what a larger scale and more comprehensive study could have done with this, actually getting into the differences in these three models, looking at the nuance a large sample size would provide, and perhaps identifying conditions (cultures, subject area, personalities) in which one or another is a more useful tool. Ah, but we get none of this. We get only this: "Our results suggest that by manipulating group size, students' perceptions of cohesion, and sociability were positively increased." Sigh.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 6:44 p.m.