This chapter looks at the concept of sociograms that has great illustrative importance in some circumstances, especially for studying small knowledge networks. It is argued that the sociogram approach might be particularly useful for those who view learning and participation in knowledge networks as an inherently social phenomenon. Then, the sociogram approach is described and benefits and limitations of different approaches are discussed. The chapter also includes an exercise, web resources, further readings, and suggestions for possible paper titles.
From Objectivist To Social Perspectives On Knowledge Networks
There are many different perspectives on learning, and the perspective of learning that the managers and members of a knowledge network subscribe to will both explicitly and implicitly influence participation and learning in the knowledge network. In this section, a brief review, which describes how the emphasis has shifted from objectivist perspectives on learning towards more social perspectives on learning, is presented.
Learning has traditionally been based on objectivist theories on learning. The objectivist tradition assumes that knowledge is an object that can be absorbed (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). This assumption originates from the psychological school of behaviourism. The key theory of behaviourism was that of stimuli and response, where stimuli, and combinations of stimuli, were argued to determine reactions (Watson, 1925/1997). The aim was “to be able to reproduce [a] reaction at another time (and possibly in other individuals as well)” by determining “what the situation is that causes this particular reaction” (ibid, p. 20). When applying ideas originating from the objectivist tradition, the goal of the participants of a knowledge network becomes to transfer “knowledge objects” (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992; Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). Prior experiences and human interpretation is not of interest since it is seen as leading to partial and biased understandings (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). Technology is used to transmit knowledge with limited possibilities for conversations among members of the knowledge network (Edelson, Pea & Gomez, 1996).