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An Empirical Analysis on How Participants' Characteristics and Forum Quality Influence their Expectation and Satisfaction in Social Learning Forum

포럼 품질이 만족도에 미치는 영향에 대한 실증분석: 포럼 참가자 특성 및 기대감의 조절효과를 중심으로

  • Received : 2016.12.19
  • Accepted : 2017.03.11
  • Published : 2017.03.31

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to analyze empirically analyze how the characteristics of participants in educational and social learning forums and the quality of events influence expectations and satisfaction of forums. The study also aims to provide strategic implications for forum organizers and give them suggestions on how to set up target audience, manage forum contents, speakers, and services, improve attendee satisfaction, and ultimately maximize overall outcomes. As exchanges among individuals, enterprises, and organizations, as well as countries are growing rapidly, the convention industry has become a key player in the market. Conventions have also become a venue for people to discuss a specific agenda or topic, exchange information and learn knowledge and insights. Especially, the forum - as part of the convention industry - plays a vital role providing educational and social learning opportunities as scholars and expertise come together to share their knowledge and experience through a variety of discussions. With its role, many of forums are taking place in recent years; however, there have been few empirical studies upon the forum itself. Also, there have been few attempts to research how the quality of forums affect participants' satisfaction along with their characteristics and how much of practical knowledge is provided throughout the events. This study is meaningful in that it is the first practical study that takes a deep understanding of the forum and sees how the quality of the forums influences participants' satisfaction and whether the characteristics of participants have a moderating effect in increasing the level of satisfaction. Forum organizers could also take a strategic approach as their major concerns are to increase the number of participants and raise degree of satisfaction by providing significant information. There are four key elements that determine success or failure of a social learning forum. The four elements are contents, speakers, services, and participants. Content plays an important role in providing rich information and knowledge for participants. Speakers are the main knowledge providers who contribute to the forum's social learning role. Also, the services provided by forum organizers such as simultaneous interpretation services, program brochures, lunch and refreshments, and the overall design of event hall can also influence the level of participants' satisfaction. Lastly, the participants and their characteristics are important since they are the ones who receive knowledge from the providers. The results of this study show that the quality of forum (content, speaker, and services) has a decisive effect on the participants' satisfaction and there are some differences in expectation among the participants in the forum. Also, some groups of participants were more likely to be stimulated by the quality of forum when determining their satisfaction. The study is modeled after MBN Y Forum 2016 and its participants' characteristics. The forum is one of the most representative social learning forums of South Korea and its audiences are mostly young people. It has analyzed how the participants' characteristics influence their satisfaction by grouping them into ${\Delta}participants$ who have invited for free and those who paid for the entrance fee, ${\Delta}first-time$ participants and returning participants, ${\Delta}voluntary$ and involuntary participants, ${\Delta}participants$ who registered through web and those who did through mobile, and ${\Delta}participants$ who registered during pre-sale opens and those who registered during general opens.

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