Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Informational Boundaries and Interaction Styles: Learning as Change and Collaboration

Robert F. Brooks.

This study tested the ability of the Information Interaction Styles (IIS) model to predict student collaboration in distance learning courses. The model proposes that individuals encounter three informational boundaries (material data, personal relationships, and socio-cultural ideologies) and engage those boundaries to varying degrees in the course of learning. Information interaction is conceptualized in the communicative activities of exploration and construction of new information. These activities manifest in the informative practices of seeking new information, sifting through alternative impressions, sorting impressions into relevant constructs, and sharing constructions with others. The informative practices find expression in four styles: Hesitant, Engaged, Preempted, and Aware. Conceptualization of the model was informed by symbolic interactionism, social constructionism, personal construct theory, and experiential learning. Operationalization was informed by a review of empirical work on Ego-Identity Statuses, Identity Styles, and Openness to Experience.

Although external validity issues exist, the model shows promise in predicting an individual’s openness to sharing knowledge and redefining self in the face of change. The instrument used to measure styles obtained moderate to good inter-item consistency. As expected, a significant difference in frequency of entries to discussion boards was found between Aware and Preempted and a nearly significant difference was found between Engaged and Preempted. An unexpected finding was that Preempted had a higher frequency of entries to chat rooms than Aware or Engaged, implying a difference in information interaction with use of different communication media. This study supports the conceptualization and operationalization of information interaction and interaction styles.


Robert F. Brooks  (United States)
Assistant Dean and Faculty Administrator
School of Information Studies
Florida State University

Robert F. Brooks retired from the USAF as a Chief Master Sergeant in 1996. He earned a doctorate in Communication from Florida State University in 2001. His research interests are the personal, social, and organizational implications of new communication technologies and the nature of learning and leadership in contemporary society.

  • Information Interaction Styles
  • Open Learning
  • Openness to Change
  • Predicting Scholastic Success

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)