Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Abstract - Peer Collaboration: Building an Infrastructure for Enhancing Technical Support

The purpose of my action research project was to establish a peer-supported network, within my workplace, that would help to reduce the number of calls to an already overburdened Information Services (IS) help desk. At the time of the study, IS staff was soon facing the roll out of a new, company-wide email system that was sure to generate a massive amount of requests from employees for assistance. My action research question was, “In what ways does a peer-to-peer support group, within WestEd, alleviate the demand on our Information Services help desk?” I sought to investigate whether implementing a peer-to-peer support group specifically within the Mathematics, Science and Technology program would improve conditions for the help desk personnel.

I used a force field analysis to better understand and make clear the forces affecting my proposal of change. Though authors described a number of obstacles in their individual support group studies, the review of literature revealed that the outcomes of the majority of the studies were very promising. The fact that a number of peer-supported groups have been working successfully for several years provided encouragement for my action research project.

My action research has shown that inspiring fellow employees to help themselves and others in an atmosphere of collaboration provides a more positive, productive and rewarding work environment. Strengthening and motivating people to share their knowledge has had a positive effect on my learning potential and personal practice as well. This was a lived experience! By being personally involved in both the investigation and the action needed to solve the problem, I gained a sense of empowerment, acquired new knowledge and experienced positive social change in my community of practice at WestEd.

 
  Kathleen L. Lepori - Peer Collaboration: Building an Infrastructure for Enhancing Technical Support ©