Using social network theory and analysis, Dr. Cho examined the interplay between technology and social systems in the context of Computer- Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and Cooperative Work (CSCW). He argues that traditional approaches to CSCL/CSCW suffer from having too narrow a theoretical and methodological orientation. This in turn, has led researchers to examine individual learners or task groups, rather than considering how the larger social structures constrain or enable individual as well as collective behaviour
When a computer network connects people or organizations, it is a social network. How do people develop and maintain social networks using Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) systems? How does technology constrain or enable the ways in which people develop social capital? How do network structures evolve over time and how do they affect the spread of information and knowledge in the community?
By adopting a relatively new analytical tool in this field—social network analysis—he examined how collaborative social structures emerge over time, and what influences such processes of change.
He investigated the building processes of emergent social infrastructures in a CSCL community, where 31 distributed members had collaborated on an engineering design project using an online collaboration tool.
Also, he tested whether pre-existing social relationships and personality traits (e.g., communication styles) had functional or dysfunctional effects for individuals in terms of developing social and intellectual capital.
His research findings showed that pre-existing social relationships acted as a social liability that constrained individuals’ ability to renew their social capital when they participated in a new computer-mediated learning environment.
He also found that individuals’ learning performance was significantly determined by their networks positions. Central actors in collaborative social networks achieved better learning outcomes and became key decision makers in distributed learning/work communities.
Dr. Cho has worked on several research projects. His research topics include:
Development of computer supported collaborative learning networks in a distributed learning community
The complex and dynamic relationship between individual attributes (e.g. personality, communication styles) and network structure and position
The impact of network position and social capital on learning performance
Collaborative information sharing in intercultural CMC groups
Visualization of web traffic data using social network approach
Cho, H., Gay, G., Davidson, B., and Ingraffea, A. (In press). Social networks, communication styles, and learning performance in a CSCL community. Computers and Education
Cho, H., Lee, J., Stefanone, M., and Gay, G. (2005). Development of CSCSN in a distributed learning community. Behaviour and Information Technology. 24(6), 435-448.
Lee, J., Cho, H., Gay, G., Davidson, B., and Ingraffea, T. (2003). Technology acceptance and social networks in distance learning. Educational Technology & Society, 6(2), 50-62.
Cho, H., Stefanone, M., and Gay, G. (2002). Social information sharing in a CSCL community. Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (CSCL), pp.43-50.
Cho, H., Lee., J., and Yeo, E. (2005). Social information sharing among inter-cultural CMC groups. Paper presented at 55th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, New York, NY, May 26-30, 2005.
Lee, J. S., & Cho, H. (2005). The influence of social relations on online behaviours. Paper presented at the 2005 Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies Conference, Gyeongju, Korea.
Cho, H., Lee, J., & Gay, G. (2002, February). Visualization of web browsing patterns. Paper presented at the 22nd International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, New Orleans, LO.