This is my response to Jenny’s post The Reality of the Networked Learning Conference
Thanks for this great sharing. As I haven’t attended the conference, I couldn’t answer the questions you raised. I could only share what I perceive to be important in a conference and the issues that should be addressed in networked education.
I feel sorry that you didn’t get the value you expect from such conference. That could be disappointing!
I have got many questions on those issues you raised too.
I resonate with your views relating in particular to the ideals of the research. Why were there little or no interests from the participants in the conference? Why were there no discussion at all?
You mentioned that “If you get your paper presented all is well, but overall I did not get the sense that people were trying to grasp the real issues.” Why don’t people raise the real issues in networked learning in the conference?
May be “the massification, privatisation and globalisation that networked education will have to address” are too difficult to research and resolve under a HE framework, as such issues and discussion could often go beyond the boundary of most researchers, educators, administrators and even institutions. There could even be “conflict of interests” or “alignment issues with vision and mission” amongst different institutions. These are complex issues that are associated with networked education, which are further related to open education, copyrights and intellectual properties, competition amongst different education providers and emergent education pedagogies.
I think these are systemic issues and require an education transformation that could accommodate and embrace networked education amongst institutions.
Is networked education in alignment with the interests of researchers, educational leaders, administrators and educators? Sure! However, most people are still thinking that research in these areas need to be conducted in a traditional research framework (HE), in that these researches have to be funded and approached only if it benefits to the institution. That is the reality.
Is social networked learning considered or recognised as part of formal education in HE? I am afraid that it is still not yet the case. Many HE institutions are contemplating the use of Web 2.0 & networked learning in the courses, but there has only been limited success case studies reported.
May be in an informal social networked learning setting, we could leverage the benefits of networked learning, but when it comes to the implementation of networked education and learning in HE, there are still many constraints that would hinder the education and learning of the people (educators & learners). These have been revealed in our research, when our participants reflected what it means when participating a course within a network or community, and its implications.
Would institutions be interested in funding such further research?
Is it worthwhile to continue doing research in such a way? I share your views in that there may not be a lot of career benefits. However, I think it is worthwhile to continue exploring how people learn in networks and its implications.
I will reflect on further research in coming response post.