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Investigating the extent to which mobile phones reduce Knowledge Transfer barriers in Student Project Teams

Kyobe, M. E; Shongwe, M.M

Abstract:
Group learning plays a key role in the transfer of knowledge. In institutions of learning, it enhances students’ understanding, critical thinking, integration of knowledge and knowledge sharing. However, the transfer of knowledge in group projects is often impeded by factors such as time and budget constraints, individual and social barriers, and a lack of motivation. Institutions of learning are increasingly adopting information and communication technologies (e.g. mobile technologies) to provide solutions to the challenges facing them. Whilst the integration of the mobile context and technologies in learning environment has been encouraged over the years, and indeed many students today can use mobile phones, the effectiveness of these technologies in reducing impediments to knowledge transfer in group learning has not been investigated. This study investigated the extent to which mobile phones reduce the barriers to knowledge transfer in project groups. The impediments examined include the nature of knowledge, social barriers, lack of time and lack of motivation. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to collect and analyse the data. The sample consisted of 85 students engaged in group projects in the departments of Information Systems, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Engineering. The results show that mobile phones reduce all four knowledge transfer barriers investigated in the project groups. We found no significant difference in the nature of knowledge shared by teams with weak and strong ties. This suggests that teams with weak social ties who normally experience difficulty sharing complex (tacit) knowledge can easily do so with the aid of mobile facilities. In addition, frequent users of mobile phones were motivated to share explicit knowledge with their peers whilst those who often work with tacit knowledge could convert it to explicit form and share it with others. Mobile features like short messaging service and multimedia messaging service (SMS & MMS or what some people refer to as ‘texting’), and email were mainly used to share knowledge and were perceived to reduce knowledge transfer time more than voice facilities.

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Document Title: Investigating the extent to which mobile phones reduce Knowledge Transfer barriers in Student Project Teams
Journal: South African Journal of Information Management
Volume: 13
Issue: 1
No. of Pages: 424-435


Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Teaching and Learning
Country:International
Keywords:ICT (Information & Communication Technology), Impact Studies, Learning, Learning Activities, Learning Styles


File Size:776 KB
Rights:The Authors
Date Added:07 September 2012


Kyobe, M. E;Shongwe, M. M (2011) Investigating the extent to which mobile phones reduce Knowledge Transfer barriers in Student Project Teams, SA Journal of Information Management 13(1), Art. #424, 10 pages. doi:10.4102/sajim.v13i.424