Abstract—A literature review in e-learning technology, group work and activity theory revealed a knowledge gap as what knowledge activities happen or how collective knowledge works in the use of online group work technology in distance education. This article explores how knowledge could be exchanged and shared successfully amongst distance education students in their online group work activities. In particular, it discusses the types of technological tools that support the knowledge sharing and knowledge exchange activities. The research is articulated within an activity theory framework. It adopts a qualitative case study method using the data collection techniques participatory observation, documentation and online survey questionnaire. The research investigated student knowledge activities in a postgraduate subject called “Information Management in Organizations”. It explored a learning management system (LMS) on a Sakai platform called Interact. Distance education students were grouped together to work online with team members geographically located in Australia and around the world. With knowledge sharing and knowledge exchange that happened through the project timeframe, students duly developed their assignment in Wikis for submissions. It was discovered that students could effectively use group work tools for their communication and storage of documents. A model of an activity system is developed to explain how knowledge exchange and knowledge sharing activities are represented through activity theory notions for distance education online group assessments. It also explains various ways of improving knowledge sharing and knowledge exchange activities.
Index Terms—Knowledge sharing, knowledge exchange, online group work, learning and teaching, distance education.
Cite: Lisa Soon, and Campbell Fraser, "Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Exchange in Distance Education Online Group Work," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 156-162, 2011.