Tag Archives: networked learning

Perspectives on identity within network learning

Well my notes on Neil Selwyn’s keynote got lost but am back for as session on identity issues in network learning with @janedavis13, @catherinecronin and @catspyjamasanz collaborating together on identity research. See #nlcID

Jane Davis on the conceptualisation of identity linked to roles in networked learning. Identities as Jane as me/ myself; as a student; researcher and practitioner. As a student, her roles included as practitioner, mother, student and partner but these roles changed over time especially over salience (as most prominent) at any given point in time.

So roles and identities merge over time and impact on what students do/ how they act.

So participants now to create diagram of own roles as students. As so individual to each student so we can suggest each student identity is unique.

In considering student identity, role identity depend on expectations in a wider social context. Shaped by family experience, or someone elses experiences, marketing of HE etc.

Again, these expectations are different to the individual.

Dimensions of student role identity as (i) academic responsibility; (ii) sociable; (iii) intellectually curious – scanner out seeking new knowledge; (iv) personal assertive – want to win awards, prixes etc. Each student has some of each dminension alongide expectations and roles but we try to aggregate all students as just ‘students’. And these change over time according to most salient role and porosity of roles.

Impact on student participation in networked learning:
relational nature of affordance of the learning place; nature of engagement/ practice with technology for learning reflecting practices of visitor, tourist, tenant or resident). The more intellectually curious student more likely to adopt resident behaviours while the responsible student will adopt tourist behaviour using the technologies suggested / required by the tutor.

Catherine Cronin. Quotes Joi Ito on education as about becoming a node in a broad network of distributed creativity. Jenny Mackness: “space prepares to receive or respond”.

Networked individual (Castells) – based on social networks emerged with easier travel, use of telephone etc. while the internet brought in notions of openess while space and time redefined by mobile tech
Danah boyd defined networked publics as created through technologies and networks and communication now public by default.
Alec Couras came up with the concept of the networked teacher. That a teacher is a networked individual – is multimodal, networked and immediate.
Students are also networked individuals. So the question is where do networked students adn teacher encounter one another: physical spaces; bounded online spaces and open online spaces. Much teaching uses all three spaces depending on pedagogical and other choices.
Physical classrooms do not require lectures but that involves fighting against the architecture of the lecture hall. Bounded online spaces also have architectures that are more flexible and less temporally bounded and a bit freerer in how identities are defined and instructors are privileged. In open online identities allow reconstruction of identities as multiple, culturally contingent and contextual. This is true of all identities but more explicit and messy in open online spaces.
Instructors can join networks with students and share networks with students within consistent or multiple/ ‘play’ identities. Instructors can be seen modelling themselves as learners.
Her research is exploring the idea of a third space where student and teacher scripts – the formal and informal – intersect creating the potential for authentic interaction. Involves using formal and informal communication to enhance the learning experience. So the third space links formal and informal learning and link communities and networks. Using skills and confidence development in learning and community spaces to spread out to networks. ref Wenger “negotiation of productive identities”. The third space offer opportunities for teacher and student identity development.
Joyce Seitzinger on exploring online identity through social curation. How do we currently discuss curation in terms of online information resources with earlier academic literature is vague discussions of information resources and information flow, sharing and acquiring. Van der Klink talks about curation as learning.
On google can see an increase in searching on the term ‘curation’. Curation can be categorised as digital curation (digital repositories); content curation involves SEO and driving web traffic; social curation where the intent is to do something social. Defines social curation as:
“The discover selection collection and sharing of digital artefacts for social purposes”
Involves collecting in a cluster of resources eg, on Pinterest, Scoop It etc..
But users need to find the resources. For a student this may be through the LMS but as learners become more independept so using social cites like Flipboard, Facebook etc… and then select resources of interest which can be collected privately or openly and then shared. Sharing can happen simultaneoulsly to collecting, eg on Scoop-It.

Online identity through exhibition, ref Goffman’s presentation of self through social curation of ‘this is what I like”. Enacting an identity by sharing resources of a third party.
boyd, discusses online identity in SNS as involving connections while social curation does not involve connecting directly to an individual as a follower etc. Also, such curation identities does not involve a lot of self-disclosure online. Also avoids some of the difficulties of collapsed contexts between teachers and learners. Also community curation can present identities through supporting online communities.

Participant activities on mapping our curated collections and whether their are in bounded or spaces and therefore how transferable these are, eg, if moving jobs/ employer.

Point made on distinguishing between private and professional identities but also the academics tend to identify with their discipline communities rather than specific institutions.

A question on the quality of curation, eg. including a comment on a Scoop. But value is not just added by commenting but also by the act of curation – that adding a resource to a collection already adds value and is a comment in its own right.

Q. that links third space with liminality as a between spaces. But using third space as a description of a transformative space between formal and informal learning spaces.

Q. on data identity such as through netflix of spotify data that curates an identity.
A. yes, this is an area of interest. Also looking at how links/ networks form around the curated collections.

Professional learning, informal learning and ‘wicked’ problems

This is a diagram I’ve drawn based on Peter Sloep’s Chapter on Networked Professional Learning in Littlejohn, A. and Margaryan, A. (2014) Technology Enhanced Professional Learning: Processes, Practices and Tools. London: Routledge:

Learning, creativity and knowledge work


I’ve posted previously on Peter Sloep’s work on learning networks. I found this chapter to be a useful analysis of the concept of networked learning in relation to professional learning specifically (and that’s an important distinction). What the diagram attempts to summarise is that professional and knowledge-based integrated work and learning tends to take place where learning is predominately informal (as needed and highly situated) as professionals are addressing ill-defined and complex work problems. Such problems require (interdisciplinary) professional knowledge creatively applied. Valuable professional knowledge work and valuable professional learning takes place through tackling ‘wicked’ problems. 

So how might learning and development functions and professionals best support and enable learning in these wicked problems? Does professional education currently develop the creative and meta-learning capabilities required for working in and on wicked problems?

Working and learning in networks

I’m currently pulling together various thoughts on issues surrounding organisational design, networks and workplace or occupational learning. Initially, I’m drawing on:

the notion of learning networks, defined by Sloep (2008) as: “online, social network that is designed to support non-formal learning in a particular domain” to frame a discussion of the use of social technologies for workplace learning and the management of knowledge. In particular, the affordances of social technologies in enabling learning outcomes traditionally seen as vicarious by-products of work activities to be captured and made explicit as micro-learning objects (Peschl 2006; Schmidt 2005), will be explored in the context of professional learning that focuses on responding to complex and ‘wicked’ problems (Margaryan et al, 2013).

From this, I’m looking to explore


… how technology enabled learning networks act as mechanisms for personal professional competence development. How might or how do professionals combine and use self-selected digital tools to support the integration of work and learning as Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) (Pata 2009; Ralagopal, et al 2012) and approaches to Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) (Redecker 2009)?

So I *think* the argument I’m developing is that increasingly for *some* occupations, workplace learning is in practice operationalised as a ‘web of relations’ (Fenwick 2008) within and across organisational and professional boundaries and so the long-standing practices of L&D functions are increasingly redundant in this context. By extension, I’d suggest that there are various implications arising form this for much higher education provision: for example, is the privileging of knowledge content really justified, can the assumptions that students are effective learners in such a context justified, where or what may indicate knowledgeable authority in such a context?

Connected & networked higher education

I was interested to read the Connected Learning Environments paper over at Educause. The briefing looks at connected learning environments in higher education and states that:

While e-learning often connotes delivery of information in a sequential, linear fashion, the connected learning environment is integrative, personalized, interconnected, and authentic. Across higher education, leaders and learners are taking note of this evolution in education.

Such environments have the characteristics of (a) a seamless integration with student support services including careers services. This appears to emphasise a function to supporting the student in identifying their own curricula and linking their longer-term goals with module and programme learning outcomes and so may well be a re-articulation of attempts at common credit accumulation and transfer schemes; (b) personalised learning helping students engage with the best learning opportunities through competency based education and (c) authentic learning experiences linking students to research academics, employers, communities etc. in addressing real world problems.

The briefing seems to buy in to the broader discourse of a need to transform or disrupt higher education by breaking down/ permeating institutional boundaries enabling students to study across different institutions and engage in learning through multiple stakeholders.

The briefing does include various examples of elements the connected learning environment being delivered by different institutions which is useful albeit USA-centric.