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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Norms and Influence in Virtual Education

Students create norms with each other in the same way as people in face-to-face situations. Those norms create shared perceptions on how the group views others and the type of choices they are to make. The power of shared norms and peer relations create stronger online educational cultures that enhances academic achievement.

Interaction creates shared values and perception of in-group behavior that reduces inter-group conflict (De Tezanos-Pinto, Bratt, & Browth, 2010). The more people contact and interact the more quickly they are able to create these shared perceptions. This can be pronounced in higher education where in and out-group can be defined through education level or the type of school one attends.

Students in a class also feed off of each others comments. According to a study in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research confederates that chose certain answers impacted the way in which the rest of the class answered (Rayburn-Reeves, et. al 2013). Students actively looked at previous responses of other students before formulating their own responses.

The same norms that apply to our physical world also apply to the virtual world. At times these norms are positive while at other times they can be very destructive. Listing to the type and kinds of conversations people have can determine which of the cultures are being formulated. Developing strong online cultures can create powerful business cultures. 

Rayburn-Reeves, et. al. (2013). Do as we do, not as you think: the effect of group influence on individual choices in a virtual environment. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 6 (1).

Ferris, et. al. (2015). Ostracism, self-esteem and job performance: when do we self-verify and when do we self-enhance? Academy of Management Journal, 58 (1).

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