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

My theory, that peer-supported groups diminish the dependency on organizational help desks, has become a reality for our organization. Even after the completion of my quasi-experimental study, the objective of reducing the number of demands placed on technical support staff is continuing to have a positive effect. Although the situations, methods and tools used in this action research project may change in the future, the principle remains the same—peer-to-peer support groups can and do work. Few studies exist on this subject, and in this researchers opinion, more should be conducted. The problem of overburdened help desks and frustrated employees will only get worse as we move deeper into the Information Age. We should better prepare ourselves for the increasing demands of higher usage of technology, more sophisticated equipment and complex software programs.

I believe, and as my action research demonstrated, that inspiring fellow employees to help themselves and each other in a spirit of collaboration provides a more positive, productive and rewarding work environment. Strengthening and motivating others to share their knowledge has had a positive effect on my learning as well. I have gained a greater understanding and insight into WestEd’s culture and its growing body of exceptional work produced by an expansive community of professionals. WestEd attracts knowledgeable workers with diverse interests that possess multiple abilities and skills. WestEd exemplifies a successful organization, characterized by staff who feel a sense of empowerment and take pride and ownership in their accomplishments.

Through the process of conducting action research in my community of practice, I have formed trusted relationships, learned how to work more effectively in a collaborative environment and have come to understand how to be more flexible and humble. This project was a humbling experience for me. I was forced to examine my strengths and weaknesses amidst a community of excellence. Finding the stamina and determination to holdfast to my commitment was, at times, a daily struggle. My research took many turns along the way, and learning how to adapt quickly and willingly to change was invaluable.

My goal in undertaking action research, to experience learning through personal and social growth, was realized. I improved my personal practice by obtaining a deeper understanding of myself in relationship to others. What a motivating, personal discovery to learn exactly how good I became at quickly building trusted relationships with near strangers. I gained a better sense of stability and direction by continuing the literature review throughout my entire action research process; even adding additional articles at the final draft stage. Last but not least, was the extraordinary interaction with a brilliant core group of learners I came to cherish and embrace during my incredible OMET journey.

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