Informal Learning in Online Knowledge Communities: Predicting Community Response to Visitor Inquiries

  • Nicolae NistorEmail author
  • Mihai Dascălu
  • Lucia Larise Stavarache
  • Yvonne Serafin
  • Ștefan Trăușan-Matu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9307)


Informal learning in online knowledge communities (OKCs) comprises visitor inquiries on specific topics. Learning can occur only if the OKC adequately respond. This study aims to predict OKC response, using a social learning analytics approach based on computational linguistics and Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. Observing the blog topic (cooking vs. politics & economics) and the visitor inquiry format (off-topic vs. on-topic), a field experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial design was conducted on a sample of N = 68 blogger communities with a total of 25,303 members. For the entire sample, the community response was influenced only by the inquiry format. In a separate examination of experimental groups, only for one examined topic (cooking) this remained true, while for the other (politics & economics) the community response only depended on the previously established dialog quality. The findings suggest identification criteria for responsive communities, which can support OKC integration in learning environments.


Social learning analytics Computational linguistics Informal learning Online knowledge communities 



This work has been partially funded by the 644187 RAGE H2020-ICT-2014 project, as well as by the Sectorial Operational Program Human Resources Development 2007-2013 of the Romanian Ministry of European Funds according to the Financial Agreements POSDRU/159/1.5/S/134397 and 134398.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolae Nistor
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mihai Dascălu
    • 4
  • Lucia Larise Stavarache
    • 4
  • Yvonne Serafin
    • 2
  • Ștefan Trăușan-Matu
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesLudwig-Maximilians-UniversitätMunichGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Human SciencesUniversität der Bundeswehr MünchenNeubibergGermany
  3. 3.Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership Walden UniversityMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of Automatic Control and ComputersUniversity “Politehnica” BucharestBucharestRomania

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