Title: Emergent dialogue as a prerequisite of learning and innovation in professional virtual communities

Authors: Helena Kantanen; Jyri Manninen; Jani Kontkanen

Addresses: Business School, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland ' School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ' School of Applied Education and Teacher Training, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland

Abstract: In this paper we explore virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) and the way in which educational professionals learn and generate innovations therein. The point of departure is that innovation practice is based mainly on the interaction and communication between professionals and that virtual communities add a new dimension to this interaction. Our empirical data were collected from three web discussion threads of a virtual discussion forum. 677 statements were classified into 15 dialogue themes. Using the five cycles of value creation by Wenger et al. (2011), these themes were further classified into different stages in the innovation development process. The contribution of this study is in showing that the cycles of value creation can be used to describe the processes of networked learning and innovation development in virtual communities used by professionals. We found out that copious information and idea flows precede learning and innovation in these communities. Therefore, from the point of view of practical implications, we emphasise the importance of emergent dialogue as a prerequisite of learning and innovating.

Keywords: communities of practice; computer-mediated communication; CMC; emergent dialogue; innovation development; networked learning; virtual communities; web based communities; online communities; professional communities; value creation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2014.060356

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2014 Vol.10 No.2, pp.211 - 231

Available online: 11 Apr 2014 *

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