An invisible preference for intrinsic motivation in computer-mediated communication
A large number of studies in CMC have assessed how social interaction, learning processes and outcomes are intertwined. Although recent research findings indicate that learners differ with respect to the amount and type of discourse contributed in virtual settings, little is known about the underlying causes and its consequences explaining differences between participants' contributions to discourse. The present research investigates how motivational orientation of a learner influences the interaction patterns with other learners in a virtual network. Our research among 100 participants in six virtual teams indicates that three sub-groups were formed within each virtual network. These subgroups were generated by a K-means cluster analysis of academic motivation measured by AMS. Extrinsically motivated learners prefer to connect to intrinsically motivated learners. Intrinsically motivated learners prefer to discuss mainly among themselves, implying that extrinsically motivated learners will receive less feedback and discourse possibilities from other members within the virtual network.