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Learning in a Social Network

Reynolds, Cheryl and Bennett, Elizabeth (2009) Learning in a Social Network. In: Making IT Personal, 2nd June 2009, Greenwich. (Unpublished)

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Educators are increasingly using social networks and exploiting their affordances as a mode of delivery. There is a consequent need to evaluate teaching strategies within this new context, uncovering important caveats and promoting the most effective approaches.

Masters students at the University of Huddersfield had expressed dissatisfaction with Blackboard, perceiving it to lack the personalisation and community feeling associated with social networks like FaceBook and Ning. Consequently, a Ning network was created to support a single, Masters level module. This study explored how best to use the platform to promote interaction and improve learning outcomes.

Tutors gathered ethnomethodological data, documenting the seemingly trivial interactions between members of the network in order to uncover the social processes at work and shed light on the meaning which members attach to this behaviour. The case study was conducted over 3 months, involving twenty students and two tutors.

Learners were polled at the end of this period with over ninety percent preferring Ning to Blackboard. Some clear indicators for what they expected of a tutor in this kind of environment were also uncovered.

The findings endorse the use of social networks in educational contexts and inform optimal teaching strategies in future iterations. Where the results concur with wider studies of learner perceptions of e-learning, they are potentially generalisable to similar contexts.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: social networks learning
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice
School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Teaching, Public Pedagogies and Professionalism Research Group
School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Technology Enhanced Learning Research Group
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References: Brown, J. S, Collins, A and Duguid, P (1989), Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning, Educational Researcher, Vol. 18, No. 1, 32-42 JISC (2006) Learner experiences of e-Learning [online] Available at [Accessed 30th March 2009] McIntosh, E. (2006), Unleashing the tribe: small, passionate communities, [online] Available at [Accessed 30th March 2009] Ten Have, P (2004), Understanding Qualitative Research and Ethnomethodology, London: Sage Publications Incorporated
Depositing User: Liz Bennett
Date Deposited: 31 May 2011 08:58
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:07


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