iSpot Analysed: Participatory Learning and Reputation

Clow, Doug and Makriyannis, Elpida (2011). iSpot Analysed: Participatory Learning and Reputation. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, 28 Feb - 01 Mar 2011, Banff, Alberta, Canada, pp. 34–43.




We present an analysis of activity on iSpot, a website supporting participatory learning about wildlife through social networking. A sophisticated and novel reputation system provides feedback on the scientific expertise of users, allowing users to track their own learning and that of others, in an informal learning context. We find steeply unequal long-tail distributions of activity, characteristic of social networks, and evidence of the reputation system functioning to amplify the contribution of accredited experts. We argue that there is considerable potential to apply such a reputation system in other participatory learning contexts.

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