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Nistor, Nicolae (2016): Newcomer integration in knowledge communities: development of the strat-I-Com questionnaire for MMORPG-based communities. In: Smart Learning Environments, Vol. 3, No. 3 [PDF, 665kB]


Players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) build online knowledge communities that can serve as learning environments for informal adult learning. Hence, newcomer integration in MMORPG player communities can be regarded as a first step in an informal learning process. Newcomer integration strategies have been identified in face-to-face communities, but not yet in MMORPG-based communities. Extending the previous findings and providing quantitative models of specific processes may enhance the development of smart technologies. With this aim, the present research proposes and validates questionnaire survey scales that quantitatively explore the process of newcomer integration in German MMORPG player communities. Two correlational studies within samples with a total of N = 276 participants were conducted, allowing the identification of five reliable scales (recruitment, knowledge assessment, negative welcome, modeling and consistent training strategies) in the first study and four reliable scales (centrality, recruitment evaluation, monitoring and evaluation of newcomer integration) in the second. The perceptions of newcomer integration strategies were correlated with participants’ gender, age and community exposure time. These perceptions were further correlated with participants’ centrality and sense of community. The findings add to knowledge communities research and make headway in smart community technology development by suggesting quantitative models for social processes in MMORPG communities. Follow-up research will further explore newcomer integration employing automated analysis procedures with cross-sectional as well as longitudinal research designs.

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