#Change11 #CCK12 Online Social Networks and Formal Learning Environments

Here are my comments in response to George’s interesting post on Online Social Networks – Formal Learning Environments.  I would like to refer to Assumption Theory in my postulation of assumptions.

Hi George,
There are certain assumptions relating to whether “students tend to mix social and educational participation.”

Assumption 1: the setting up of criteria of assessment would impact on how and why students would post and comment on those site. For instance, students may be expected to discuss only course related posts, and be focused, and so their comments would be assessed too in terms of relevance, evidence collected to support their arguments.

Assumption 2: Students are expected to follow the norms set up by the fellow students, and such norms including the setting up or negotiation of rules, such as how long should such a comment be made – one paragraph? Or whether one could be allowed to share ideas tangentially (which normally is not viewed as a good idea), despite that some brainstorming of ideas could lead to improved creativity and connectedness.

Assumption 3: How the teacher and fellow students would role model such behaviors would set the precedence for others? This is especially important to encourage everyone to participate, especially in a traditional online course, where the students would like to wait and see who would be leading the conversation (especially if the instructors would likely be posing any challenging questions, or be part of the conversation).

Assumption 4: Whether the students are more interested in getting good grades as a result of participation and interaction, and thus collaboration, or they would really gain a lot of learning through those interaction, and collaboration, as perceived by the students. Here educational activities and social interaction might be blended together, as questions and responses may relate to the assessment activities, and or the academic advice, and emotional support that are given and shared by instructors, peers and other support staff.

Assumption 5: To what extent would the participants (the students) fully reflect on their feelings and perceptions in a research study? Most students do like to share the great learning from their course, but may be hesitant to reflect on the social sides of their learning, mainly because they are looking for achieving the learning outcomes from the course. For instance, in the case of the traditional courses, is the assumption that:”Nearly all students are looking for a qualification, not the “social learning” that informal learners or lifelong learners are looking for, as in the case of learning via FB or Twitter”.

In summary, I think your study reflects what may be typical with University students doing an online course with specific learning goals, in order to complete a formal qualification. How far would that be reflective of the situation of online learning for other sorts of learners – like those learning not for the degrees (like the MOOC) or the informal learners on the networks?

Pictures: Google Image


4 thoughts on “#Change11 #CCK12 Online Social Networks and Formal Learning Environments

  1. Dear John,
    Thank you for your comments. The five assumptions that you describe are potential explanations of what we are seeing in this study. As I discuss in my post there are many explanations of why we saw what we saw – we are not sure however which ones of these are true and which are not because we did not study the reason why (and given that we were interviewing participants, I would be hesitant to ask them to explain why they did not do something). I would like to say however, that all of the reasons that you are describing above could be true at the same time.

    Regarding your question: “How far would that be reflective of the situation of online learning for other sorts of learners – like those learning not for the degrees (like the MOOC) or the informal learners on the networks?” That’s a great question. Our study however, occurred in a traditional higher education setting. Thus, our results may not apply at the settings that you are describing. I would be interested in seeing how exactly results differ across contexts, and I look forward to individuals following up on our study and comparing our results to other settings.

    Thanks again for your comments, John!

  2. Dear George,
    Thanks so much for your elaboration, and wonderful insights. I am interested in seeing how exactly results differ across contexts too. I would like to follow up on your study and compare results with MOOCs.


  3. Estoy aprendiendo de los MOOCs (es primera vez que participo formalmente en uno). Me resulta muy interesante tener la posibilidad de concentrar a personas que pueden ser maestros y alumnos al mismo tiempo. Por ciento que todo dependerá del interés y disposición del alumnos tanto como de la capacidad y habilidad de los maestros para cautivarlos o remecerlos.

    English translation:
    I’m learning from MOOCs (is my first time participating formally in one). I find it very interesting to be able to concentrate on people who can be teachers and students at the same time. Percent of all depend on the interest and willingness of both students and the capacity and ability of teachers to captivate or shake them.

  4. Pingback: Week 22: Pierre Levy, The IEML Philosophy | The Georgia Tech MOOC

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