Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Ingrid Guerra-Lopez


The purpose of this study was to develop community redesign strategies to support community members' participation in the CaribExams online Community of Practice and to investigate the impact of these strategies on members' participation levels and trajectories.

CaribExams online community was developed to assist out-of-school learners who were preparing to sit for the Caribbean Examinations Council's regional English exam. The redesign project was developed to address an ongoing problem of low participation by members in the online community. A second purpose of the study was to investigate and empirically validate theoretically grounded design principles based on social practice learning theory advanced by Lave and Wenger (1991). Using a theory-grounded design method the critical attributes of the Community of Practice concept were extracted from the social practice learning theory framework. Generalized design principles were developed based on concept attributes and these were contextualized into redesign strategies for the CaribExams online community redesign


The redesign strategies were implemented over a four week period. 20 CaribExams community members agreed to participate in the study. The design and development study used a mixed method research design and collected data using semi-structured interviews, website data logs and participant observation. Results revealed that although members' participation in the CaribExams online community improved as a result of the redesign strategies, these changes were not significant nor maintained long enough to represent a sustained trajectory toward full participation. Members' participation levels were only minimally affected by the implementation of the redesign strategies.