Measuring social space in online group learning: Preliminary validation of the social space scale using the Rasch analysis approach
Abstract: Currently, there is much interest of higher education institutions including distance education institutions, to integrate group learning in their online courses. However, online group learning faces a number of challenges. Group members experience that it is much more difficult to become a performing group and to maintain this critical status. The issue is particularly important in distance education where group members often are strangers and are dependent on the mainly asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC)-tools and electronic platforms. An online setting is more vulnerable to emotionally challenging situations caused by group conflicts that are detrimental for the group’s social space. If a sound social space is lacking, it is obstructing the group performance. To get insight in the degree of soundness of the social space in online learning groups, a measure is needed. This paper presents the validation of a measure of social space using the Rasch analysis approach.