Now I am writing about a topic which I hardly understand myself. Let’s begin with a story. When the course CCK08 was ending and I told in Finland that 20 students were commenting at the end of the course, I got a quick comment from a network expert: it is the 1-9-90 principle. I did not believe any principles, I thought it was a coincidence (2000 registered, 200 active, 2o at the end commenting and 2 stars). After that I have found that principle many times. What should I understand about it?
I have tried to understand the different ways, which participants use in their web life. Digital natives are born to it, immigrants have to learn (Prensky/never liked this ). Digital residents live and have social connections in the web, visitors use the web for certain purposes (David White/liked very much). There are more definitions and I have a blog post about lurkers, networkers, active participants etc. here
All those concepts tell something about living and participation in the web. But is it really so, that the Pareto law (1-9-90) , Power law knows the distribution about free and open web life, for instance MOOCs? I have an image which demonstrates my ideas.
My experiences have proved that the number of active people is always very small and the participation curve goes down very fast.
It is said to be ‘not scalable’ and it is the opposite of random, which gives us the Gauss bell form. ‘Not scalable’ is more random than random?
Today I met this phenomenon in fslt13, when I tried to analyze the actions of students and facilitators in the Moodle.
When I discussed with a Finnish expert Erkka Peitso (the image is based on his presentation), he explained that it is the resources which are limited. People do not have time and other resources for all the interests, which they dream of. This seems to be true in MOOCs. It can be described as a tunnel which becomes narrower all the time. Doug Clow has a blog post about this funnel. It is a presentation from LAK13 – I have to take time to read them all.
Another image which can help to understand is taken in Change11, Howard Rheingold speaking in a collaborate session.
He knows what he is speaking about. The concepts of collaborative or collective intelligence are challenging, but the participation curve takes the form of the power law. High engagement with a community is rare. There is Core and Periphery, I can’t help 🙂
When we have a course with participants who aim to the university credits and only a small number of free moocers, the core group consists of teachers and these ‘real’ students. Time will tell. We have some weeks left in fslt13. Actually Doug Clow claims that “it is not power law”. We should explore the process and don’t believe in simple laws. As I said, I don’t know what to think about this post.
We have an interesting experiment about using expert participants, exploring what we can do… are we helpful or more harmful?