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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social loafing and free riding in online learning groups
by Piezon, Sherry L., Ph.D., The Florida State University, 2011, 167; 3477200
Abstract (Summary)

Social loafing research has spanned several decades and fields of study. Research has provided support for both the existence of social loafing and its antecedents within the laboratory, classroom, and work place. Studies regarding the perceptions of social loafing and its effects in the online learning environment, however, are largely non-existent. In 2008, a research study was conducted with the Naval War College and two public universities (Piezon & Ferree, 2008). This study surveyed 227 online learning students who were participating in online learning groups. The study sought to determine whether the perception of social loafing existed within online learning groups. In addition, several psychosocial factors identified in face-to-face environments were analyzed to determine their impact in online learning groups. The study provided evidence that supports both the perception of social loafing in online learning groups as well as similarities between social loafing antecedents in face-to-face groups and those in the online learning environment.

This current research project extends the 2008 study to include community college and undergraduate students in addition to the graduate students and Naval War College students in the original study. In addition, the study was expanded to include both qualitative and quantitative data. This extended study included 343 web-based survey participants and 28 interview participants. This study sought to determine whether social loafing exists at the two-year, four-year, and graduate level. In addition, the data was examined for differences in perceptions between each of the four study groups and relationships between the survey sub-scales. Finally, this study sought to determine the ability of the social loafing sub-scales to predict social loafing behaviors in online learning groups at the two-year, four-year, and graduate level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Burnett, Gary
School: The Florida State University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Educational psychology, Information science
Keywords: Collaborative learning, Free riding, Group work, Online learning, Social loafing
Publication Number: 3477200
ISBN: 978-1-124-91874-7
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