Category Archives: Lugesin kord

What is teacher’s professional development?

I started wondering, do I handle the concept “teacher professional development” too easily? What is it exactly, how it can be measured, what are the phases or characteristics of this phenomena? As Evans (2008) said: Yet if we want to know how to get the best out of teachers we need to understand teacher development. Essentially, we need to understand the process involved: what must happen in order for teachers to develop. After reading different authors, I highlight following definitions:

Evans (2008): the enhancement of their professionality, resulting from their acquisition, through a consciously or unconsciously applied mental internalisation process, of professional work-related knowledge and/or understanding and/or attitudes and/or skills and/or competences that, on the grounds of what is consciously or unconsciously considered to be its/their superiority, displace(s) and replace(s) previously-held professional work-related knowledge and/or understanding and/or attitudes and/or skills and/or competences. It is a form of personal enlightenment, on a scale that may range in magnitude from being enormous to miniscule, that is relevant to the individual’s professional life and practice. It is a mental, not a practical, process – though it may (and often does) motivate practice. Since it is a mental process it is also an independent, not an interpersonal, process – though its stimulus may be (and often is) found in interaction with others. Internalisation process that occurs within someone’s mind: the mental process whereby an individual arrives at the stage of knowing something (in relation to his/her professional work) that s/he did not previously know, or of understanding something that s/he did previously understand, or of knowing how to do something that s/he did not previously know how to do, or of holding attitudes that s/he did not previously hold.

Evans proposed model for teacher professional development which is illustrated in the figure below.

She explains the model:

behavioural development definition: the process whereby people’s professional behaviour or performance are modified with the result that their professionalism, professionality or professional practice may be considered to be enhanced. Her definitions of attitudinal and intellectual development differ from this only by the replacement of the words ‘professional behaviour or performance’ with, respectively, ‘work-related attitudes’ and ‘professional-related knowledge, understanding or reflective or comprehensive capacity or competence’.

In relation to second tier dimensions, labels are intended to be generic, umbrella, labels rather than narrowly stipulative. By epistemological change she means change in relation to the bases of what people know or understand and to their knowledge structures. Rationalistic change is about change to the extent and nature of the reasoning that people apply to their practice. Analytical change refers to change to the degree or nature of the analyticism that people apply to their working lives. Comprehensive change involves the enhancement or increase of knowledge and understanding. Perceptual change refers to changes in perceptions, viewpoints, beliefs and mindsets. By evaluative change she means changes to people’s professional- or practice-related values, including the minutiae of what they consider important: that is, what matters to them. Motivational change refers to increased motivation and levels of job satisfaction and morale. Processual change is about change to the processes that constitute people’s practice – how they ‘do’ or ‘go about’ things. Procedural change similarly relates to changes to procedures within practice. Competential change involves the increase or enhancement of skills and competences. Finally, productive change refers to increase of people’s output: to how much they achieve, produce or ‘do’.

Day’s (1999) definition: Professional development is the process by which, alone and with others, teachers review, renew and extend their commitment as change agents to the moral purposes of teaching; and by which they acquire and develop critically the knowledge, skills, planning and practice with children, young people and colleagues through each phase of their teaching lives.

Ganser (2000): Professional development includes formal experiences (such as attending workshops and professional meetings, mentoring etc) and informal experiences (such as reading professional publications, watching television documentaries to an academic disclipline etc.). When looking at professional development, also have to be examined the content of the experience,  the process by which the professional development will occur and the contexts in which the professional development will take place.

Villegas-Reimers (2003) have pointed that professional development of teachers’ has several characteristics:

– it is based on constructivism rather than on a “transmission-oriented model”. Teachers are treated as active learners who are engaged in the certain tasks of teaching, assessment, observation and reflection.

– it is perceived as a long-term process, teachers are expected to learn over time.

– it is perceived as a process that takes place within a particular context. Villegas-Reimers refers to Darling-Hammond (1998) by stating that the most effective form of professional development is that which is based in schools and is related to the daily activities of teachers and learners. The most successful teacher development opportunities are on-the-job learning activities such as study-groups, action research and e-portfolios (Wood and McQuarrie, 1999).

– professional development process should me intimately linked to school reform as it is a process of culture building not just skill training.

– a teacher is conceived of as a reflective practitioner, someone who enters the profession with a certain knowledge base and who will acquire new knowledge and experience based on that prior knowledge

-professional development is conceived of as a collaborative process

According to Villegas-Reimers (2003), the most traditional form of professional development is the typical “in-service staff training” that includes the use of workshops, short seminars and courses. Another types of professional development forms are for example case-based professional development, self-directed professional development, collegial development (professional dialogues, peer-supervising etc), observations of excellent practice, increasing teacher participation in new roles, skills development model, reflective model: teacher as reflective practitioner, project-based models, portfolios, action research, teacher narratives, the cascade-model or training-of-trainers model, coaching-mentoring.


Recently I had an useful discussion with Samuel Mathews from University of West Florida about my PhD plan. He asked my how do I measure my teachers’ professional development and as I have been struggled here a bit and admitted that maybe this phrase has been used to easily,  he totally agreed with me. Then he brought good example about his own development: He used to use paper-based textbooks with his students for years. Suddenly he discovered that electronic materials are more up-to-date and start using them instead of books. That can be considered as his professional development – moving from paper-based approach to e-approach.

What about my target group? He suggested that if there is starting to develop the conversation between school practice supervisors and university supervisors, then professional development of these educators have been taken place. They did not collaborate before, but now they do. It can be measured, how often, on what issues, with which responses they do communicate. Or pre-service teachers or induction year teachers who present their development portfolios to university or commission currently mainly paper-based. But if they start to using e-portfolios, professional development have occurred.

Sam also pointed that I can measure if with the implementation of e-portfolio, the communication between school-university-pre-service teacher will change less formal; if the questions that will be asked in e-portfolio, change somehow in time, if the reflections of pre-service teachers will develop and go more in depth in years – all these aspects measure the professional development of my stakeholders.

This discussion gave me really valuable input as I was a bit in trouble in that issue really.


Day, C. (1999) Developing Teachers: the challenges of lifelong learning (London, Falmer).

Evans, L. (2008). “What is teacher development and how is it achieved? Ontological and processual models”. Paper presented within the symposium, Issues in European Teacher Development: linking theory and practice, at the European Conference on Educational Research, Gothenburg, Sweden, September 10-12

Ganser, 2000Ganser, T., (2000). An ambitious vision of professional development for tacher, In NASSP, Bulletin, 84

Villegas-Reimers, Eleonora. 2003. Teacher Professional Development: An International Review of the Literature. Paris: UNESCO, International Institute for Educational Planning.

Wood, F.H., & McQuarrie, F. (1999, Summer). On-the-job learning. Journal of Staff Development, 20(30), 10-13.


Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

Vygotsky (1978) defined the ZPD as the distance between a child’s independent problem solving capability and the higher level of performance that can be achieved with expert guidance.

In teacher education context, the ZPD can be seen as some space, where pre-service teacher candidate, induction year teacher or in-service teacher develops her/his knowledge and competencies together with more experienced peers, who shares feedback, tips etc. Technology support may influence is more effectively. The social networking, which is important aspect in teacher training, but also emphasized by Vygotsky, can be easily implemented with portfolio for example.

ZPD can be seen as all the learner’s tools and resources (knowledge, networks, competencies, skills, tools) for performing some task or activity.

Valsiner (1997) proposed two further zones to account for development in the context of children’s relationships with the physical environment and other human beings: the Zone of Free Movement (ZFM), representing environmental constraints that limit freedom of action and thought; and the Zone of Promoted Action (ZPA), a set of activities offered by adults and oriented towards promotion of new skills.

Zone of promoted action can be seen as support for performing a task or activity with certain tools, which I don’t have yet (tools I mean). ZPA is like helping had for achieving ZPD.

Oerter characterises the ZPA as the set of activities and objects “the mastering of which is desired” by more experienced partners.

Oerter has claimed that the ZFM is characterised by the “segment of culturally provided opportunities or objects available to an individual” at a given time.

In teacher training context, ZFM can be interpreted as constraints within the school environment for pre-service teacher candidates like the curriculum provided by the university; students in school, where the practice is hold; learning materials and assessment by the facilitators; institutional and cultural traditions and cultures. The ZFM represents the barriers the individual may face while interacting different elements of the environment, suggests what teaching actions are possible. On the other hand, ZPA represents the efforts of a supervisors’ from school and university, to  promote particular teaching skills or approaches.

Pre-service teachers develop under the influence of two ZPAs – one provided by their university curriculum, the other by their supervising teacher(s) during the practice at school– which do not necessarily coincide. ZPA, ZFM and ZPD  constitute a system that can account for the dynamic relationships between opportunities and constraints of the teaching environment, the teaching actions specifically promoted, and the development of the novice teacher’s pedagogical identity.

Questions in instrument should be

To be continued..

Read more:

NordLearn kursuse iseseisev lugmine vol 2

Ludvigsen, S., Rasmussen, I., Krange, I., Moen, A. Middleton, D. (in press). Intersecting trajectories of participation; temporality and learning. In Ludvigsen, S., Lund, A., Rasmussen, I., Säljö, R. (Eds.). Learning across sites – new tools, infrastructures and practices.

Knorr Cetina, K. (2001): Objectual Practice. In T. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina, E. von Savigny (Eds), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (pp. 175-188). London: Routledge.

Author want to develop some concepts designed to capture the affective and relational undergirding of practice in areas where practice is creative and constructive. Current conceptions of practice emphasize the habitual and rule-governed features of practice. Though much debate surrounds the exact specification  of the relevant rules and habits, most authors seem to agree that practices should be seen as recurrent processes governed by specifiable schemata of preferences and prescriptions.

It is characteristic of current times that many occupations and organizations have significant knowledge base and one would expect practitioners to have to keep learning and specialists who develop the knowledge base to continually reinvent their own practice of acquiring knowledge.

knowledge society argument

Callon, Michael (2002) Writing and (re)writing devices as tools for managing complexity. In John Law; Annemarie Mol, Eds, Complexities: Social studies of knowledge practices. Duke University Press.

Management sciences. Management tools. Too little attention to the tools used by actors as they organize themselves. Without tools for collecting, constructing, processing and calculating information, agents would be unable to plan, decide or control.
The importance of the management tools becomes even more obvious as organizations and their environments evolve.
Author wants to explore the role of a category of recently developed management tools important to the service economy. He calls them writing and rewriting devices.
The discussed material was collected during two field studies made on 1995 and 1996. The first was a company that organizes cruises on the Seine and other was a company developing meal-vouchers.

Writing devices
Mentioned two firms had previously established and developed management tools intended to better define demand and develop customer loyalty, the concern was with quality.
*putting service provision into words (how the date and place of delivery of checks suggested by the customer are guaranteed etc)
*putting the customer into words (how clean were the toilets, temperature of the food etc).
*putting into words the sequence of actions making up the service (like handbook or bible, which contains all the needed information about cruise e.g, but most important – this is a process that puts actions into words without being a mere statement of what happens: writing down the sequences of elementary actions defines the content of service).

The writing device as mediation between individual and collective action.
Writing devices play a crucial role in constructing and objectifying services, their consumers and more broadly, the collective actions that make it possible to deliver services. Writing devices thus mediate between different actors on the one hand and the collective (the organization and its customers or partners) on the other.The extraordinary effectiveness of writing devices derives from the fact that they solve a theoretical question – in practice.

The work of writing:
– writing by several hands involves tough negotiations
– deleting and rewriting (handbook is written by several people)
-distributed writing – who writes and behalf on whom?

The question of the author

Who is the author? – undefined. Refers to the Foucault, who suggests: 1.  treating author as the results of a process of attribution; 2. author as a scribe, as the one who writes, who holds the pen; 3. emphasize the ownership – author may be identified on the basis of property rights; 4. beyond Foucoult – writing is a contract that binds three types of actor together: the firm, its employees and its customers.


Companies’ writing devices are used to interrelate a whole series of heterogeneous requirements and to make them compatible.

Writing devices lie at the heart of the organization in action and that without them organization would not exist, as it does, in a location between knowing and acting.

Eklund, A.-C., Mäkitalo, Å., Säljö, R. (in press). Noticing the past to manage the future. On the organization of shared knowing in IT-support practices. In S.Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen, R. Säljö (eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices.

Nordlearni kursuse iseseisev lugemine

Guile, D. (2009). Conceptualizing the transition from education to work as vocational practice: lessons from the UK’s creative and cultural sector. British Educational Research Journal, 35 (3) , pp. 259-270.

Article focus on statement that in the context of UK, transition from education to work should be re-thought as the development of vocational practice rather than the acquisition of qualifications. There is no use if individual collects himself some certain competences according to some standard document if he has no practical skill to implement this competence.

Author claims that the UK government, like the European Union, assumes that qualifications are a proxy measure for the development of ‘vocational practice’ (i.e. mix of knowledge, skill and judgement) and that employers can match qualification outcomes un- problematically to occupational profiles. And here author tries to argument by bringing some bottle-necks.

First, despite their rhetoric about the global economy, policymakers do not appear to understand the outcomes of the change in the ‘character’ of large swathes of work in the global economy

Second, policymakers appear to be unaware that the massification of higher education has created a new post-degree ‘vocational need’ because although studying for a degree provides a grounding for new entrants to the labour market, it rarely provides an ‘expectation or understanding of what was required in vocational contexts’.

The concept of practice and its relation to learning:

1. The traditional conception of practice and its legacy in UK qualifications

2. The quasi-natural genesis of practice: intra-community mediation, where Lave and Wenger are being presented with the learning by doing and communities of practice aspect. They conceptualize practice as a triangular-mediated relation between people, tools and context that evolves as a result of tensions between ‘old timers’ and ‘newcomers’ (i.e. legitimate peripheral participants) with the result that new forms of knowing and learning are constituted.

For this possibility to be realised, newcomers require access through a ‘learning curriculum’ to the ‘technologies of practice’ (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 101), that is, the tools, protocols, procedures etc, that experienced members of a community use to develop the embodied forms of knowledge, skill and judgement associated with a particular practice and the requisite vocational identity and, having done so, to identify the way in which the technologies or the practices are in need of revision and work collaboratively with, or clash with, old-timers as regards the development of practice and its technologies.

Thus Billett, like Lave and Wenger, adopts an anthropological or quasi-natural perspective on learning and maintains that individuals learn as they participate in workplace practices. Where he differs from them is in making the development of personal identity more explicit and drawing attention to the continual remaking of cultural practices.

People learn as they engage with pre-given pedagogic conditions (i.e. legitimate peripheral participation) and/or perceive affordances in the environment and use collective and/or individual agentic activity to evolve practice.

3. The epistemic genesis of practice: intra-professional mediation

Knorr-Cetina makes a two-fold argument about knowledge societies and practice. First, that the transition to a knowledge society presupposes not only the presence of more experts, more technological gadgets and more specialists rather than participant interpretations, but also the existence of ‘epistemic practice’ (i.e. knowledge-generating processes). Second, that although epistemic practices have traditionally been associated with science, scientists’ knowledge-generating prac- tices, for example, the accumulation, verification and distribution of knowledge to remediate practice, are becoming a constitutive feature of other professions.

Knorr Cetina articulates a conceptualization of practice that reflects her understanding of the implications of the shift towards a knowledge-based society: practice is intentional and prospective (i.e. concerned with the here-and-now and the future) epistemically-mediated through the use of resources that are external to its context.

The epistemic genesis of practice: inter-professional mediation

In contrast to situated theorists who are concerned with meaning making and theorists in science studies such as Knorr Cetina who are concerned with the largely unknown effect of working with epistemic artifacts, Engestro ̈m (1999, 2001) writes from the perspective of activity theory. Thus, he focuses on the ‘object of activity’, that is, the mediated relation between the social purpose and organization of an activity, such as the provision of healthcare, and the individual and collective motives for engaging with, and the outcomes from, that engagement.

Professionals in modern societies and organizations (in his terms, an ‘activity system’) are, according to Engestro ̈m (2004), increasingly forced to collaborate because such systems are characterized by contradiction:

that is historically accumulating structural tensions within and between activity systems. The activity system is constantly working through tensions and contradictions within and between its elements. Contradictions manifest themselves in disturbances and innovative solutions. In this sense, an activity system is a virtual disturbance- and innovation-producing machine. (p. 150)

These contradictions emerge in activity systems as individual participants begin to question and deviate from established norms. Engestro ̈ m (2001) maintains, however, that providing members of those systems have access to forms of pedagogic support that will enable them to re-think or ‘expand’ the object of activity (p. 150), they are able, in principle, to transform an activity system.

It is difficult, if not impossible, in these circumstances to establish a boundary- crossing laboratory because work is distributed over a mix of ‘traditional’ (i.e. offices) and ‘new’ (i.e. coffee shop) sites. Nevertheless, the concept of the object of activity can be used to analyze the formulation (i.e. figuring out) and instantiation (i.e. negotiating the work process) of new artefacts and practice in this type of work context.

Reconceptualizing vocational practice

New conceptions of vocational practice

Based on the above discussion it is possible to derive a number of new conceptions of vocational practice that are analytically distinct from one another, because each one rests on a different idea about the generative basis of practice, yet related because they are predicated on an acceptance of the embodied, relational and situated character of practice.

Transition as vocational practice: issues for research and policy

In addition to providing a new language of description—evolutionary, laterally- branching and envisioning—for practice that allows us to distinguish between different expressions of creativity within, resources for, and outcomes from practice, the new conceptions also have significant implications for research into and policy for transition into the labour market.

Although the paper accepts Hager’s premise that the context of work has changed and that people can learn valuable aspects of practice in the workplace that can never be replicated in formal education, it does not abandon the notion of an occupation, occupational identity and occupationally-specific knowledge and skill. From this perspective, generic skills such as team working are not context-free skills (i.e. occupationally non-specific), rather they are rooted in accordance with the normative conventions that underpin the styles of thinking, reasoning and acting associated with a particular vocational field. Thus it follows that although academic and vocational programmes of study at any level can provide a grounding and inspiration for learners, they are unlikely to provide the conditions to develop vocational practice. This requires opportunities to work in a commercial environment with vocational communities who laterally branch out or re-envision their practice.

To enact the implications of this shift in focus, it will be necessary for policymakers to:

acknowledge the different contributions that accredited, industry-recognized and networked strands of activity make to the development of vocational practice; and

devolve for funding these strands of activity to regional stakeholders so they can design bespoke solutions for their skill needs

In conclusion, author points out that the transition from education to work should no longer be conceived as the accumulation of qualifications and, instead, should be re-thought as the develop- ment of vocational practice. Second, that re-thinking transition as the development of vocational practice presupposes the replacement of routinised with a more multi- faceted conception of vocational practice in UK educational policy. To this effect, the paper has: formulated a new language of description for vocational practice— evolutionary, laterally-branching and envisioning; argued that these new conceptions capture the different modalities of practice and the forms of working and learning required to develop them; and identified a number of strategies to support aspiring entrants to develop these different modes of vocational practice.

Author believes that the re-thinking of the relationship between vocational practice, qualifications and transition into the labour market is particularly timely. The introduction of the European Qualification Framework has resulted in educational institutions attempting to standardize qualifications throughout Europe through the use of programme specifications and learning outcomes. This development is likely to re- affirm the idea pan-Europe that qualifications constitute a proxy measure for vocational practice. This is deeply worrying because, as Richard Sennett (2008b) has most eloquently argued, the knowledge associated with any ‘craft’ (i.e. field of vocational practice) is always broader than any qualification and requires opportunities for people to ‘conduct inquiries’ and not ‘rehearse procedures’.


Lahn, Leif (in press): Professional learning as epistemic trajectories. In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen & R. Säljö (eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices.

Authors want to make a theoretical exploration into the concept “learning trajectory”, they will restrict themselves to the literature on professional learning and development where it has become more and more common to talk about  that concept.

This state of the art is understandable for several reasons. First it reflects a more common discontent in many fields of research with static notions like “competence”, “expertise”. Secondly, to speak of trajectories rather than a developmental process makes the diversity and multidimensionality of learning processes more salient. And thirdly this term points to the embeddedness of trajectories in systems that varies along temporal and spatial dimensions. Professionals are members of a range of different institutions at the same time, and these may work together to provide very distinct learning opportunities.

For our purpose it may be useful to make a rough classification of “learning trajectories” into three categories: Educational learning trajectories, informal learning trajectories and organisational learning trajectories.

The first category could also be referred to as didactic. It describes the formal stages in a school subject when these are constructed on the basis of an understanding of the students’ learning processes. The second is better known through labels like “lifetime learning trajectories”, “learning careers” and is used within adult education and life course research as terms that underlines informal and multi-linear processes of personal development. The third, that we have called “organizational learning trajectories”, is a generic term that includes both ladders in occupational careers and more horizontal moves that turn newcomers into proficient professionals.

The term “educational learning trajectories” includes two research traditions that have a legacy in cognitive psychology. The first has coined “hypothetical learning trajectories” (HLT) and is a conceptual framework and methodology for studying the steps taken by students to become proficient in a knowledge domain, for example mathematics. The second tradition is closely associated with the research on expertise and is more relevant when we are dealing with professional learning.

When using methods for mapping educational learning trajectories, one should be attentive to the framing of the target behaviour and the sampling of time and spaces. This last point reminds us that professional performance and learning events may take the shape of shorter or longer cycles. For example, when we contrast the surgical work and training episodes of medical doctors and nurses with the defence of a lawyer and the familiarization of students in legal argumentation. Clearly these situations differ in formats – in terms of “body language” on the first and formalised language in the second. In addition the expert surgeon may provide personal experiences of cases, whereas the law students often are offered a written material to work on.

Biographies and Lifetime Learning Trajectories

The term “learning trajectories” is widely circulated within the research literature on adult and lifelong learning and has been defined in a number of ways. For our purpose one could distinguish between an autobiographical and life-course-oriented approach and a historical and work-oriented approach. The former is for examplerepresented by different texts on “lifetime learning trajectories”– sometimes implying that earlier stages in life have a determining influence on later.

Community Participation as Trajectories

From the booming literature on social constructivist approaches to learning, the theoretical frameworks of Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger, John Seely Brown and others seem the most relevant ones when we study professional learning – since they take their empirical evidence from expert communities in working life. One of the main conceptual pillars in the edifice of Lave and Wenger (1991) is “legitimate peripheral participation”.

Wenger vacillates between different understandings of the term “trajectory”. In the following extract it is not clear whether he refers to subjective (individual/collective) patterns of identity formation or structural attributes of communities and work organizations: “Identities are defined with respect to the interaction of multiple convergent and divergent trajectories” (Wenger, 1998, p. 154). The later interpretation is strengthened by the many references that are made in his texts to different types of transitions within and across professional communities. Wenger introduce a series of so called “boundary crossing” devices that facilitate these movements, like structures for negotiation and brokering of knowledge and skills, foroverlapping membership and multiple commitments like in project organizations.

The three types elaborated above, the educational, the lifelong and the cultural, lean on different academic traditions. They could be compared and contrasted along some key dimensions. The first revolves around the dichotomy of “subjective” and “objective” where trajectories are constructions of the individual mind, human interactions or the cultural mind on one side and structural or systemic characteristics on the other. The second source of variation is the different time scales that are used withinthe research traditions that we have reviewed. A trajectory ranges from students’ performance on school tasks to life course transitions or cultural typifications of collective experiences. A third dimension that is related to both analytical levels and spatio-temporal scaling is content. Do trajectories refer to cycles of individual problem solving, learning processes, paths of participation, cultural / institutional patterns? As pointed out several times above, it is far from clear what is learned – and thus what is put on a trajectory. In both the life history and the community approach the concept of learning is quite open – or diluted.

Artikkel nr 3

Billett, S., Smith, R., & Barker, M. (2005). Understanding work, learning and the remaking of cultural practices. Studies in Continuing Education, 27(3), pp. 219-237.

Understanding how both learning and remaking of the cultural practices that comprise work occurs in workplaces has important practical and conceptual purposes. Practically, at a time when the requirements for work are in constant change and turmoil, there is a need to understand how individuals can best learn these changing requirements through work and throughout their working life. It seems reasonable to propose that the most likely and accessible environment to assist this learning will be workplaces themselves. The possibilities and capacities of providing effective and ongoing skill development in vocational education systems or universities can only be partial, at best. The evidence suggests that workplaces can be generative of much of the knowledge required for work performance. However, they also have significant limitations in terms of the distribution of opportunities for learning, the prospects of securing effective learning experiences and the issue of recognition of that learning.

Kuidas töötab “friend recommendation” sotsiaalse võrgustiku lehel?

Täna ma lugesin bussis minu jaoks väga ebatavalist artiklit. Seoses teadusmetodoloogia kursusega otsisin ma ükspäev M.J.Mulleri artikleid, et vaadata, millest ta veel kirjutab ja nüüd jäingi ühte pikemalt sirvima, kus ta on üks autoritest – “Make New Friends, but Keep the Old” – Recommending People on Social Networking Sites (Jilin Chen, Werner Geyer, Casey Dugan, Michael Muller, Ido Guy).

Valik oli seetõttu ebatavaline, kuna kohati oli artikkel üsna tehniline, aga tehnilised kohad lasin enamvähem diagonaalis üle. Lugema jäin seda aga üldse sellepärast, et olen varem Facebookis ja Orkutis samale funktsioonile vaatama jäänud, mis mulle sõpru soovitab, et huvitav, kuidas see töötab…

Artikli kaks uurimisküsimust olid:

1. Kui efektiivsed on erinevad algoritmid sotsiaalse võrgustike lehtedel kasutajate jaoks potensiaalsete sõprade soovitamisel lähtudes võõrad vs tuttavad kasutajad?

2. Kas selline soovituste süsteem tõesti suurendab kasutaja sõpruskonda sotsiaalse võrgustiku lehel ja kuidas see omakorda mõjutab süsteemi üldiselt?

Vastuste leidmiseks töötati välja inimeste sõbraks soovitamise süsteem, mida rakendati ühe asutuse sisesel sotsiaalse võrgustiku lehel. Kasutati nelja algoritmi ja tehti kaks eksperimenti. Üks personaalne vaatlus 500 töötajaga ja kontroll eksperiment, kuhu kaasati 3000 lehe kasutajat.

Asutusesisene sotsiaalne võrgustiku leht Beehive, mida kasutavad IBMi 38 000 kasutajat, on nagu iga teine taoline keskkond (Orkut, Facebook jne). Keskkond võimaldab luua oma isiklik profiili ja sinna ümber oma sõpruskond, jagada fotosid jm sisu sõpradega ning sõprade ja nende sisu kommenteerimist. Mõiste “sõber” on selles keskkonnas sarnane Flickri keskkonna “sõbrale”, kus kasutaja saab ühepoolselt endale kasutaja sõbraks lisada ja teine pool saab sellest vaid teavitava e-kirja. Orkutis aga peab kasutaja heakskiitma “sõbraks saamise” avalduse ja ühepoolselt sõber olla pole võimalik.


Ma proovin nüüd kirjeldada põhimõtteid, kuidas algoritm töötab, mille alusel selline sõbra soovitamine võiks toimuda:

1. Sisul põhinev algoritm lähtub sellest, et kui Sul ja Mul on sarnane sisu üleslaetud keskkonda nagu fotod, muusika või videod, siis võib olla me oleksime huvitatud tuttavaks saamisest, et koos sarnast sisu jagada.

2. Sisu + social link põhine algoritm lähtub sellest, et kahel kasutajal on küll sarnane sisu keskkonnas, kuid lisaks on juba toimunud ühepoolne suhtlus. Näiteks Mina olen lisanud Tema juba oma sõbraks või kommenteerinud Tema sisu, seejärel saab Tema süsteemi poolt soovituse mind sõbraks lisada.

3. “Sõbra sõber” ehk FOAF on puhtalt sõpradel põhinev algoritm. Kui Mari on mitmete minu sõprade sõber, siis ta äkki tahab olla ka minu sõber.

4. Viimane algoritm SONAR arendati IBMi jaoks, mis põhines organisatsiooni avalikul infol nagu intranet, organisatsiooni hierarhia, avalik andmebaas, patentide andmebaas, sõbrustamine, wiki ja blogi, inimeste sildistamine (tags). Sõbra soovitamine käis põhimõttel, et kui kahel töötajal oli näiteks koos kirjutatud artikkel või üks töötaja oli kommenteerinud teise fotot, siis pakkus süsteem välja soovituse, et võib olla soovid sa olla persooniga X sõber.

Tulemustes leidsid autorid, et algoritmid saab jagada kaheks: FOAF ja SONAR põhinevad sotsiaalsetel suhetel ning kaks esimest, millest rääkisin üleval, põhinevad sarnasel sisul. Mis aga oli veel huvitavam, oli see, et sisul põhinevad algoritmid soovitasid rohkem inimesi, keda kasutaja ei tunne, samas sotsiaalsetel suhetel algoritmid olid tugevamad üles leidma neid kontakte, keda kasutaja on aastaid tagasi tundnud, kuid nad pole võib olla veel veebipõhiselt teineteist leidnud.

FOAF laiendab kasutaja suhtlusingkonda nende kontaktide läbi, kes siiani on olnud nö offline. SONARi eeliseks on see, et ta võtab veel lisaks arvesse inimeste sildistamist, kommenteerimist, organisatsiooni sisest suhtlust. Samas suhetel põhinevad algoritmide soovitused võivad pisut nõrgaks, vähemtähtsaks ja ka pealiskaudseks jääda, kui sisulpõhinevad algoritmid soovitavad sõpru, kellega on sarnased huvid ja vaated ja sündida võivad sügavad suhted, koostööd jne.

Võimalus oleks integreerida kaks algoritmi tüüpi – alguses soovitab keskkond FOAFil põhinedes sõpru ja kui kasutajaid ja sisu on juba rohkem, pakuks soovitusi, mis põhineks sisul.

Kasutajate poolsest tagasisidest nii palju, et 82% IBM töötajatest hindas Sonari (mis põhines suhetel + organisatsiooni infol) sõbra soovitused väga heaks, FOAFil põhinevad soovitused hindas väga heaks 79% kasutajatest,  sisu + link põhineva algoritmi soovitus sobis 53% kasutajatest ja vaid sisul põhinevad soovitused vaid täpselt pooltele. Võõraste soovitamine kasutajale, mis põhineb sisul, osutus märgatavalt ebapopulaarsemaks, häid soovitusi oli vähe. Sellest saab järeldada, et mida rohkem algoritm pakub kasutajale sõbraks inimesi, keda ta juba kusagilt ja mingist ajast tunneb, seda rohkem see meeldis IBMi töötajatele. Võõra sõbraks lisamise kohta toodi argument, et “ma sooviks ennem teada vähemalt inimese mainestki midagi, kui ta endale sõbraks lisan”.