Social comparison and motivation: Experience of being the best versus being one of the better ones
Wednesday, June 27 4:00-4:30 PM
With the goal of improving learner participation in online learning communities, this study investigated the potential of social comparison information, which emphasizes individuals’ effort, as an extrinsic motivator to share knowledge in a two-phase task setting. The findings of the study showed that the experience of being the most frequent contributor (i.e., being the best) in a prior phase significantly impacted participants’ willingness to share knowledge in a later phase. The same was not true of the prior experience being one of those who contributed more than average (i.e., being one of the better ones). This study contributes to the literature by providing theory-based, empirical evidence supporting the potential of different types of social comparison information used as an extrinsic motivator to contribute in an online learning community. The study also presents practical means to improve learner participation in online learning communities.