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Meaningful Integration in Professional Communities: Examining User Behaviors in Catalyst

Issue: (0) Advance Access

Journal: CALICO Journal

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.20861


Online platforms have the potential to address the issue of world language teacher attrition by building professional learning communities. However, autonomous engagement is not guaranteed by the mere existence of said tools. In this article, we report findings from Catalyst user data analysis. Catalyst is an online professional development social portfolio that connects users to other professionals (in groups and as individuals). Specifically, we examine user behavior patterns in six areas-Group Membership, Goals, Evidence, Connections, Reflections, and Comments. Each feature was chosen because of its potential usefulness in facilitating meaningful and integrative participation in online professional platforms. Results reveal three behavior profiles: 1-Testers, 2-Dabblers, and 3-Embracers. Each profile exhibits unique behaviors of engagement with the portfolio. Users who did not join any group were much more likely to show the lowest level of activity (i.e., Testers), while those who were part of a group and had more connections (i.e., Embracers) demonstrated the highest level of activity. These results support the theoretical foundation for sociocultural approaches to professional learning for teachers (e.g., Kabilan et al., 2011; Kabilan & Kahn, 2012; Kitade, 2014) and highlight the critical, and mutually reciprocal, relationship between social engagement and cognitive development. 

Author: Stephanie W. P. Knight, Julie M. Sykes, Linda Forrest, Carla H. Consolini, Johanna Jimenez

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