The purpose of this paper is to report on a research project that sought to discover the value of the online KM discussion list, ActKM, to its members; how members manage the postings, the degree of off‐list activity generated through the list; and the impact of the list on KM practice.
Data were collected through the use of web‐based questionnaires to the full list membership and a second questionnaire to members of the list's core management team. Telephone interviews were conducted with a sample drawn from the frequent contributors to the list. A basic assumption of the research was that the discussion list ActKM is a community of practice.
The results indicated that ActKM is indeed a community of practice and that off‐list activity is considered a valuable extension of community life. Other finings are that ActKM is a significant tool that facilitates learning for members and there is strong agreement about the type of postings that are preferred.
The paper provides useful insights into the value of list membership for individuals. However, while the results suggest that there has been an impact on the practice of KM more generally, this research is not able to identify the degree to which this has occurred.
Online discussion lists proliferate. This paper provides useful guidance for list managers and for those wanting to support and nurture online communities of practice.
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