Patterns of knowledge sharing in an online affinity space for diabetes

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Our research explores how people learn as part of everyday contexts and settings and specifically, we explore the discourse of an online affinity space for diabetics, where participants engage in knowledge sharing and storytelling around disease management. We frame the analyses by examining participants’ meaning making discourse for advancing knowledge and practices situated in everyday, practical activity. Social network analyses were conducted to visualize the structure of the community. Analyses of discourse in the affinity space revealed three primary patterns of knowledge sharing: (a) sharing information; (b) extending perspectives; and (c) communicating repertoires of practice. Our analyses describe recurring narratives, discourse patterns, and constructions, which can be seen as part of the cultural model that defines the diabetes affinity space. We found that personalized storytelling, which included sharing of personal experiences and data such as blood glucose levels, acted as a primary pattern of language use. Our results contribute to an understanding of the role of discourse in supporting personal and community practices and learning in online affinity spaces, as well as implications for the design of technology in supporting knowledge sharing in such spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-275
Number of pages29
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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