1 University of Illinois at Chicago (UNITED STATES)
2 Tecnológico de Monterrey (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 756-761
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1146
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The creation of organizational knowledge was examined at two institutions to investigate how learning communities comprised of ‘segmented networks’ might be instrumental in achieving and sustaining change in higher education.

Organizations that have been able to transcend 'transformation through technology’ do so because “technology is not merely used as a lever, but rather used to appropriately fill in the methods and approaches in a transformative redesign process” (Groff, 2013, p.4). Most organizations have not been able to attain this. Organizational learning, defined as a change in the organization’s knowledge that occurs as a function of experience, seems to impact only marginally the way teaching and learning happens in higher education, especially at public institutions. This study explores the internal dynamics of learning communities as the potential source for transformational change and suggests practical insights that may be useful to others in their technology adoption.

Methodology and analysis:
This research used an instrumental case study that examined the experience of two large universities as they implemented large-scale technological innovations. The dynamic interaction between technology implementation, organizational change, knowledge and learning at both institutions was investigated from observations, comparative analysis of institutional documents, formal and informal conversations, and in-depth interviews. Such qualitative approach was used as the methodology for this study because the focus is to describe the specific case of a general phenomenon, and therefore best suited for the purpose of inquiry.

Technology innovation events were examined at two universities: Tec de Monterrey, a multi-campus private university system in Mexico with a long standing tradition of innovation and well established as a pioneer institution in the field of educational technology in Latin America; and the University of Illinois at Chicago, a major public research university in the United States with of 29,000 students, known for its diverse student body. This study describes the networks formed in the case study institutions as a result of the implementation of Tec21 and the creation of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities at UIC. Using Argote and Miron-Spektor’s (2011) framework of the active and latent context, we identified the members, tools, and tasks that made change possible in both institutions, and analyzed the type of networks that were formed and the dynamics that were developed.

There are two major documented means in the literature to promote faculty development: these are faculty learning communities (FCLs) and faculty development programs (FDPs), both of which focus on fostering faculty members’ teaching ability. This case study focuses on the dynamics of groups within the FLCs because we believe this is where many key types of learning happen that either enable or inhibit technology adoption within universities, especially for public universities. Particularly, we investigate the composition of learning communities, its motivations and interrelations as a key to promote organizational learning. The researchers argue that independent of the resources, the creation of a favorable context to build ‘segmented networks’, communities with varying competences and a common interest, can be beneficial to implement and sustain change and lead to innovation.
Innovation, technology implementation, organizational learning, learning communities, organizational knowledge.