Networked Education and Learning

This is my response to Jenny’s post The Reality of the Networked Learning Conference

Hi Jenny,
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.

3 thoughts on “Networked Education and Learning

  1. Hi Jenny,
    I have responded to your post. I hope you would be excited with our “new” way of researching, as I am more than convinced that we might be the few under the Power Law to practise such collaborative virtual research, or may even be the first few virtual teams who didn’t get any funding, but willing to go for the extra miles to research.

    What is in it for us? I think there are many benefits – like learning and research within a community and network, sharing, cooperating and collaborating with wonderful networkers, educators and researchers in an open environment, and reflecting amongst ourselves the praxis of research and its implication.

    I reckon not many people has tried this sort of research, though the wikipedia “experiment” may be closer to a participatory contribution to content development.

    I think we still need to conduct more researches to reflect on any education and learning theories developed, as it is through such means that we could better understand how networked learning, open education be put into application, rather than just a “theory”, “pedagogy” or model of education for us to consider in present and future education.

    Teaching without such action research would only put us back into a “beliefs” system, where education is based on pure experience – a traditional mindset of what works best is the best practice, without considering some of the advances in technology which could enhance teaching and learning, and the media platforms and learning space which are different from the classrooms.

    Would that be a pity?

    Time will tell.


  2. Hi John,
    You have exceellent pondering in your post. We have a lot to do .. What could be the best research about networked learning? There are traditions and new ways to do.
    We have to follow and study more I suppose.

    You are always so amazingly active how u can do it I wonder

  3. Hi Heli,
    Wonderful to learn from you. I love reading your posts too, so insightful.
    Yes, what could be the best research about networked learning? Still searching and researching…

    I hope I could continue with this way of reflecting.
    Thanks for your encouragement.

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