Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I found this to be an interesting observation: "Some researchers offer definitions for the online learning community: The participants have a shared goal, support one another, produce material collaboratively, show a sense of belonging to the community, and are interested in the welfare of its members. Excellent as these qualities are, current research indicates that they are neither aspired to nor achieved by the design of online communities." This is offered as a reason to examine the role of social networks in the context of structured learning. But it's interesting that, left on their own, communities aren't interested in the formal trappings of learning, as described above. Anyhow, the focus of the current paper is a set of 29 interviews with participants in one MOOC.

The experiment nearly went off the rails ("instead of thinking about the process we had a couple of people who were arguing about whether social media was any good, so it kind of got a bit out of hand …") and in the end, some of the people pursuing online learning weren't interested in social media. "First, they did not believe that there was any learning value in using social media sites, and that it was a waste of their time. Second, they found the social media landscape too confusing and intimidating. Third, they did not want to blur what they perceived as the social-professional divide." The authors conclude, "online designers need to ensure that learners are not given too many social media options, as more is not always better. Instead, more options may lead to confusion, intimidation, and learners who log off altogether." Image: Bottom-Line Performance.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Dec 02, 2023 07:35 a.m.

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