Using the Social of Tagging: The Interplay of Social Tags and the Strength of Association in Navigation and Learning Processes


When people navigate through the World Wide Web they choose their path of navigation based on their prior knowledge. This may be problematic when users have a deficient knowledge leading them to suboptimal information. In this study we examined how the externalized knowledge of social tags can be used to change navigation behavior and to trigger learning processes. In an online experiment with 531 participants we investigated the effect of the individual strength of association on navigation processes, and how the collective strength of association, visualized in tag clouds, may affect individual navigation and the strength of association. Results showed the effect of individual strength of association on navigation behavior, selection time and recognition. Furthermore, we found that the collective strength of association affects navigation behavior and triggered incidental learning processes, leading to a change of individual strength of association.

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