Mental models and social media personas: a case of amateur palaeontologists
by Lisa Lundgren; Kent J. Crippen; Eleanor E. Gardner; Victor J. Perez; Ronny Maik Leder
International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments (IJSMILE), Vol. 6, No. 1, 2018

Abstract: This study explores social palaeontology - an inclusive and collaborative form of science occurring across digital habitats. The purpose was to: 1) examine conceptualisations of amateurs via expressed mental models and 2) use the unified media-user typology (MUT) to explore any relationship between these models and social media persona. Data collection involved a survey, modelling task and interview. Findings reveal that persona was demonstrated in subtle ways, offering limited evidence for a relationship between persona and mental model. Sequential models were most common, but more so for advanced personas. Expertise development was expressed through the number of conventions used during modelling. However, the degree of inaccuracy suggests a lack of metacognitive awareness, implying that any increase in expertise with persona was not conveyed as such. The results bolster the capacity to design community-centred social spaces and inform understanding of science learning and the utility of MUT as a predictive tool.

Online publication date: Fri, 01-Jun-2018

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