An Innovative “Cybernetic” Organization Improvement Plan through Participatory Action Research in Persistent “Open Source” Virtual Worlds

An Innovative “Cybernetic” Organization Improvement Plan through Participatory Action Research in Persistent “Open Source” Virtual Worlds

Nikolaos Pellas (University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7230-7.ch049
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Abstract

The research interest of this chapter focuses on redefining contemporary structures of organizational crossing boundaries, learning processes and diffusion of innovations based on the structure of persistent “open source” virtual worlds (VWs). In this notion, the present study decrypts valuable ways of organizational changes in a virtual learning community and managerial responsibilities of situational complexities that usually interdict on “open-source” VWs, and especially Open Simulator (OS grid). This assumption frequently recapitulated with a “cybernetic” improvement plan that addressed to the organizational structure of collaborative e-learning courses, encountering by the “Viable System Model” (VSM). The participatory action research empowerment appeared initially from the implementation of a multi-dimensional framework for enhancing the dynamic presence of users, according to the “cognitive apprenticeship” model. This establishment approves firstly the latest organizational and administrative practices of an adult learning program, and secondly instructor's progressing through the cybernetic management that the VSM governs.
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Theoretical Underpinnings

The scientific approach is deliberately multidisciplinary, as we try to combine the industry's recent findings of applied linguistics, with these pedagogical and socio-cognitive sciences of Technology and Psychology. Besides, the branch of learning that supports collaboration from distributed users (CSCL: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning) characterized by an interdisciplinary pluralism and convergence from many different areas of research that combines innovative environments, offering a new body of knowledge, according to Contemporary theories of learning. Nevertheless, so far investigations concur that we can reflect on mutual forms, rather than “cooperation” as a widespread and uniform procedure, but as a project that motivates and engages students in learning (Lehtinen, 2003; Nelson & Ketelhut, 2007; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1994).

Furthermore, for the CSCL approach is now well-known the distinction partnership (cooperation) and collaboration that proposed adequately by several studies (Dillenbourg, 1999c; Pea, 1994; Roschelle & Teasley, 1995), but also these types implemented through “communities of practice” (Dede, 2004; Haythornthwaite, Kazmer, Robins, & Shoemaker, 2000). Although, the confusion probably arises from the use of the term “cooperation” which has two different meanings:

  • 1.

    A single type of collective interaction, the most amiable and symmetric collaborative procedures, and

  • 2.

    An “umbrella” that covers all forms of collaborative learning (forms of collaboration).

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