An investigation of "agreement" in the context of interprofessional discussion online: a "netiquette" of interprofessional learning?

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Submitted by National Center... on Mar 14, 2014 - 11:15am CDT

This article suggests that "agreement" is a predominant feature of online discussions amongst undergraduate health and social care professionals, which is an area of concern. The context for the research is an online interprofessional learning pathway completed by ~2,800 students each year. The concept of agreement, how and why it is reached and what it indicates in an online interprofessional group is examined. The underpinning educational rationale for instigating online interprofessional dialogue was the potential to provide a powerful interface for bringing together students across a wide range of professional groups, which is necessary to promote interprofessional learning. Discourse analysis was used to analyze digital texts of interaction in online forums. The discussion forum discourse shows evidence of increased interprofessional knowledge and understanding, as well as capacity for interprofessional dialogue. Discussions were largely characterized by agreement, although some disagreement was evident. These findings support previous research in online dialogue. However, they are interpreted in an interprofessional context as constituting a specific type of "netiquette" in relation to the participants and their identification with professional discourses and to the learning activities that shaped discussions. The research has significance for teachers, researchers, and practitioners involved in promoting interprofessional learning through online discussion forums.

PubMed URL:

Clouder, Deanne Lynn
Goodman, Simon
Bluteau, Patricia
Jackson, Ann
Davies, Bernadette
Merriman, Linda
Journal Citation: 
Journal of Interprofessional Care. 25(2):112-8, 2011 Mar.