The Long Tail

Interesting post about the lack of participation in online communities by the long tail ( link here).

The Pareto principle says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is a favorite anecdote to cite that 20% of the employees in an organization do 80% of the work, or that 20% of the customers are those that generate 80% of the profits.

In online settings, such inequalities are often amplified. For Wikipedia we have the 1% rule, where 1% of the contributors (this is 0.003% of the users) contribute two thirds of the content. In the Causes application on Facebook, there are 25 million users, but only 1% of them contribute a donation.

Does this also apply to educators/trainers using online communities in the classroom?

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2 Responses to The Long Tail

  1. Kate says:

    I agree with this premise. As an educator, it is evident that many of our students do not actively engage in the classroom, whether real or virtual. While many will go through the motions of completing the assignments, doing the readings, maybe even posting a response, few actually engage enough in the material to make it meaningful to them. Online learning communities(wikis, blogs, etc) have sought to make the content more accessible and “exciting” to students. The reality is that the same percentage of students who are active participants in their learning and seek to truly know the concepts are the same students who post on the blogs, add insight to the wikis and even add their own threads. The other 80% will continue to give the face time and not truly learn.

  2. Pingback: The Long Tail part 2 | EDUMACATED.WORDPRESS.COM

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