The first Networked Learning Conference Hotseat with Peter Goodyear has attracted a lot of interesting discussion. Most of the discussion has centred on what is meant by networked learning and there seem to be as many definitions as there are people in the forum. Most agree that networked learning is about connecting people and ideas, but beyond that people’s ideas seem to be positioned somewhere along the following continuums
Virtual >>>>>> Non-virtual
At a distance >>>>>> Predominantly F2F
Open environment (e.g. a MOOC) >>>>>> Closed environment (e.g. a HE course)
Cooperative >>>>>> Collaborative
Questions have been raised around:
- why people join particular networked events/venues,
- understanding the norms/language of a network,
- whether collaboration and cooperation is necessary for learning in a network,
- what keeps people committed to the network,
- the role of weak ties in a network ,
- creating and maintaining social relationships in a network
……. all of which to me seem to imply that there is some confusion about the difference between a community of practice and a network.
The question was also raised about where/what is the overlap between connectivism and networked learning – and there is also confusion there.
So an interesting discussion – with lots of references being posted (great for those doing a PhD or other research) – but not a lot of clarity about what networked learning is. I think it would help to say what it is not – and that might help to distinguish it from communities of practice (although Wenger et al have already published about this) and connectivism. I think Stephen Downes and George Siemens are clearer about what connectivism is and is not.
From the discussion thus far – Networked Learning seems to incorporate anything from constructionist to constructivist approaches to learning – but the discussion isn’t over yet – so there is still time for it all to become a bit clearer🙂