Here's how it could happen with SNAPP, which is a software tool that helps online instructors analyze the communication patterns among students who use the LMS' communication tool:
- the instructor would allow communication to happen using the LMS, perhaps providing some task guidance or parameters to inspire the online discussion.
- The network visualization (like the one at the right, from the SNAPP group) could be shared with the students, who would use the visualization to help them think critically about how communication unfolded and what they individually added to the discussion.
- Learners could then be challenged to change the visualization by changing their own communication patterns as a group, thereby gamifying the system.
Learners would gain insight into their group communication processes and play with different communication roles. This might be especially useful in a management or communication course, but such insights would be valuable to anyone no matter their course of study. But what learners might also gain, in addition to learning about communication principles, is insight into how such systems can be manipulated, and how the systems might also be used to manipulate learners -- both worthy learning goals.
P.S. thank you Shane Dawson, for a fantastic presentation yesterday about SNAPP for the learning analytics massively open online course!