Exploring Community Members' Mediated Actions and Perceptions in an English Learning Community on Facebook through the Lens of Activity Theory
|關鍵字:||社群網站;活動理論;線上學習社群;臉書;social networking sites (SNSs);activity theory;online learning community;Facebook|
本研究採活動理論(Engestrom,1987,1999)探究四位社群成員在一個透過臉書成立的英語學習社群活動的動機及其中介行為。根據Engestrom，活動系統裡主要由六個要素組成，包含包括對象(subject)、目標(object)、媒介工具(mediating artifact)、規則(rule)、角色(division of labor)以及學習者所身處的社群(community)，當個體遇到矛盾時，這六個要素將會互相交織影響個體的中介行為。本研究主要探討影響社群成員中介行為的活動系統，並探究這四位社群成員參與這個臉書社群的感受。
In the recent years, the evolutional development of the Internet has changed the ways that people meet, collaborate, and interact with each other. Social networking sites (SNSs), the newly emerging media of online communication, provide spaces for people to join online communities to discuss ideas, exchange opinions, and share knowledge. Language learners show much interest in forming online communities in SNSs in which they seek for learning opportunities and make social connection with other language learners. While the innovative language learning has gradually drawn attention to language learning research, few studies have focused on individual members' mediated actions and perception in online language learning communities. Targeting at an English learning community on Facebook, one of the most popular SNSs, this study attempted to examine how four targeted community members operated in the online language learning community and what factors underlay their mediated actions in the learning community and their perception of participation in the online community through the lens of an activity theory perspective (Engestrom, 1987, 1999). According to Engestrom, six components in an activity system—subjects, objects, mediating artifacts, rules, division of labors, and the situated community—are constantly interwoven with each other when an individual encounters contradictions. Adopting activity theory as the theoretical framework was to map out the complexity of the interwoven relationship of these elements in each individual community member's activity systems. This study adopted qualitative case study methodology. The data were collected from one-year online observations and two formal interviews with the four focal community members. The data were analyzed based on emerged mediated actions shown in their online participation. The interview data were analyzed based on the six components underlying individuals' activity systems. The findings of the study indicated that the four participants' participation included (1) answering questions, (2) showing appreciation, (3) chatting, (4) contributing knowledge, (5) asking questions, and (6) suggesting posting rules. From an activity theory perspective, it was found that the community members' mediated actions were highly influenced by their growing background, learning experiences, the goal they set for participation, and the contextual factors situated in the community. As for the perceptions of their participation, the participants perceived the online experiences differently through the time they participated. At the beginning of their participation, they considered the online participation as a way to have fun, acquire a sense of achievement, and gain friendship. However, through the time they participated, they lost their enthusiasm for participation. Instead, they perceived the online participation as routine work without any strong motivation. Although this study targeted at an out-of-class learning community, there are still several pedagogical implications for language teachers. First, when integrating online learning communities into their classroom, teacher educators need to take students' subject agency into consideration. Second, teachers need to carefully design online activities which can enhance community members' interaction to arise students' interest in participating in the online discussion actively. Third, teachers should take the responsibility to ensure that the online learning community is in order in order to keep the community alive.
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