Learning by doing versus learning by viewing: An empirical study of data analyst productivity on a collaborative platform at eBay

Yue Yin, Itai Gurvich, Stephanie McReynolds, Debora Seys, Jan A. Van Mieghem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigate how data-analyst productivity beneits from collaborative platforms that facilitate learning-by-doing (i.e. analysts learning by writing queries on their own) and learning-by-viewing (i.e. analysts learning by viewing queries written by peers). Learning is measured using a behavioral (productivity-improvement) approach. Productivity is measured using the time from creating an empty query to irst executing it. Using a sample of 2,001 data analysts at eBay Inc. who have written 79,797 queries from 2014 to 2018, we ind that: 1) learning-by-doing is associated with signiicant productivity improvement when the analyst’s prior experience focuses on the focally queried database; 2) only learning-by-viewing queries that are authored by analysts with high output rate (average number of queries written per month) is associated with signiicant improvement in the viewer’s productivity; 3) learning-by-viewing also depends on the łsocial inluencež of the author of the viewed query, which we measure ‘locally’ based on the number of the author’s direct viewers per month or ‘globally’ based on the how the author’s queries propagate to peers in the overall collaboration network. Combining results 2 and 3, when segmenting analysts based on output rate and ‘local’ social inluence, the viewing of queries authored by analysts with high output but low local inluence is associated with the largest improvement in the viewer’s productivity; whereas when segmenting based on output rate and ‘global’ social inluence, the viewing of queries authored analysts with high output and high global inluence is associated with the largest improvement in the viewer’s productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number193
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume2
Issue numberCSCW
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • Alation
  • Collaborative data platform
  • Data analysts
  • EBay
  • Expert roles
  • Learning-by-doing
  • Learning-by-viewing
  • Productivity
  • SQL Query
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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