Networked Learning


The network is a network of people: networked learning aims to understand social learning processes by asking how people develop and maintain a ‘web’ of social relations used for their learning and development (de Laat)

Networked learning does not necessarily involve ICT, though in specific cases it may make use of technology. What makes learning networked is the connection to and engagement with other people across different social positions inside and outside of a given institution.  The network is supportive of a person’s learning through the access it provides to other people’s ideas and ways of participating in practice as well as of course through the opportunity to discuss these ideas and ways of participating and to potentially develop nuanced, common perspectives (Carvalho and Goodyear)

Networked learning may utilize ICT but it might me also supported by other means such as physical artefacts or artistic stimulation of senses and feelings while connections may also be drawn spontaneously by the learners themselves (Bober & Hynes)

The network is a network of situations or contexts: connections between the diverse contexts in which the learners participate as significant for understanding learning beyond online learning spaces, and, indeed, within them as well. This is the sense in which the network, under-stood as a network of situations, supports learning: by offering tacit knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known situations for re-situated use in new ones. Networked Learning’ on this under-standing is the learning arising from the connections drawn between situations and from the resituated use in new situations of knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known ones (Dohn)

The ‘network’ is one of ICT infrastructure, enabling connections across space and time: The support for learning provided by the network is one of infrastructure, i.e. the ease of saving, transporting and retrieving content for future use. Learning, it would seem, will be ‘networked’ whenever it is ICT-mediated, by that very fact; perhaps with the proviso that the situations of learning should indeed be separated in space and/or time so that the infrastructure (the ‘network’) is actually brought into play. This proviso would differentiate the field of networked learning somewhat from the field of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), where many studies concern ICT-facilitated group work between physically co-located students. The re-search field of Networked Learning is characterized, not only by focusing on ‘networks’, but also by taking a certain approach to learning, focusing critically on aspects of democratization and empowerment (Czerniewicz and Lee)

The ‘network’ is one of actants: consisting of both human and non-human agents in symmetrical relationship to each other. It is a systemic approach to learning, where individual learners’ interaction and learning may be analyzed as a result of socio-material entanglement with objects and other people. The network supports learning in the sense that any learning is in fact the result of concrete socio-material entanglement of physical, virtual, and human actants (Wright and Parchoma; Jones)



Bonderup Dohn, N., Sime, J-A., Cranmer, S., Ryberg, T., & de Laat, M. (2018). Reflections and challenges in Networked Learning. In N. Bonderup Dohn, S. Cranmer, J-A. Sime, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Networked Learning – reflections and challenges (pp. 187-212). Switzerland: Springer. Research in Networked Learning,

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Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Grudin



1984: twenty people from MIT and Paul Cashman of Digital Equipment Corporation organized a workshop to explore technology’s role in the work environment. they used the term CSCW to describe their findings

Office Automation, an earlier approach to group support, had ran out of steam. The problems were not just technical but understanding human requirements. OA practitioners needed more info on how people worked in groups.

CSCW: it started as an effort by technologists to learn from economists, social psychologists, anthropologists, org theorists, educators etc/ it became a place for system builders to share experiences and tell others about tech constraints through tele-videoconferencing, collaborative authorship applications, electronic mail.

CSCW draws from all rings and from preexisting development culture. There is however, a great interest in small groups applications. Product developers focus more on human-computer interface/ Organizational system developers fixate on functionality.

The greatest challenge of CSCW is being multidisciplinary: it represents a merging of issues, approaches, languages, making sense is a lively process. It can be frustrating when the others are ignorant of work one considers to be basic. Participants from different domains use the same terms in subtly different ways.


References + Image

Grudin, J., 1994. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: History and Focus. In Journal Computer, Volume 27 Issue 5, May 1994, Page 19-26, available here

Coping with the monsters of technology


The explanation runs as follows. Technological innovation is a rich source of new phenomena. These phenomena have to be appropriated to make them fit into our lives and practices. The appropriation process has various aspects, because new technology has to fit into diverse existing orders: social, technical, organizational and others. During the appropriation process both technology and existing social and technical orders are mutually adapted, as a central insight of Science and Technology Studies (STS) tells us. However, new technology also has to be attuned to cultural order, since our perception of technology is mediated by our cultural categories and contemporary myths regarding nature and what it is to be human. Domestication of new technology is a process in which cultural imagination and technological change are intertwined. (Smits: 499)

Smits detects four types of approaches:

  • exorcism: it demonizes the monsterns and hence expels them from engineering education
  • adaption: it reduces the monsters to rational problems
  • embracement: when we fully accept the monsters as part of reality and are
  • assimilation: portrays the technological monsters in their cultural context and in that way reveals the opposite as uniting rather than absolute (only in MODE 3 knowledge)



Smits, M., Taming monsters: The cultural domestication of new technology. In Technology in Society 28 (2006) 489–504

Borsen, T., Botin, L., 2013. Hybridity and Social responsibility. In Proceedings from the 41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium

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Design with a capital D


RCA Report on the nature of design with a capital D

  • central concern is “the conception and realization of new things”
  • it encompasses the appreciation of “material culture” and the application of “the arts of planning, inventing, making and doing.”
  • at its core is the ‘language’ of ‘modelling’; it is possible to develop students’ aptitudes in this ‘language’, equivalent to aptitudes in the ‘language’ of the sciences – numeracy – and the ‘language’ of humanities – literacy
  • design has its own distinct ‘things to know, ways of knowing them, and ways of finding out about them’

Education in any of these ‘cultures’ entails the following three aspects:

  • the transmission of knowledge about a phenomenon of study
  • a training in the appropriate methods of enquiry
  • an initiation into the belief systems and values of the ‘culture’

If we contrast the sciences, the humanities, and design under each aspect, we may become clearer of what we mean by design, and what is particular to it.
the phenomenon of study in each culture is:

  • in the sciences: the natural world
  • in the humanities: human experience
  • in design: the man-made world

the appropriate methods in each culture are:

  • in the sciences: controlled experiment, classification, analysis
  • in the humanities: analogy, metaphor, criticism, evaluation
  • in design: modelling, pattern-formation, synthesis

the values of each culture are:

  • in the sciences: objectivity, rationality, neutrality, and a concern for ‘truth’
  • in the humanities: subjectivity, imagination, commitment, and a concern for ‘justice’
  • in design: practicality, ingenuity, empathy, and a concern for ‘appropriateness’

Perhaps it would be better to regard the ‘third culture’ as technology, rather than design (…) Technology involves a synthesis of knowledge and skills from both the sciences and the humanities, in the pursuit of practical tasks.



Cross, N., 1982. Designerly ways of knowling. In Design Studies, Vol. 3, no. 4 pp. 221-227

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Visitors and Residents, White & Cornu


Visitors and Residents’ is a continuum of modes of engagement which has been well established as a valuable way to understand how individuals engage online (…) a Visitor mode of engagement was likened to people using the Web as a garden shed which they went into to select a tool for a particular purpose. Having completed their task, they shut the shed door and left no visible trace of their entrance or use of the tool behind them. A Resident mode of engagement, on the other hand, was likened to inhabiting a part or parts of the Web. Social media platforms, in particular, offered opportunities to ‘meet’ others, to chat and converse, and to develop relationships. Key to this mode of engagement was the fact that it leaves strong evidence, visible traces, of personal presence through, perhaps, creating a profile, or posting photos, or interacting and communicating with others in a variety of ways

Mapping the range of ways in which individuals engage with the Web, taking into account not only their modes of engagement but also what sort of activities they do in what context and to what extent was the subject of inquiry for two programs dating back in 2009 (Isthmus-Open Habitat project). But with the 2014 “The challenges of Online Residency” program, 17 institutions  were brought together in an attempt to pilot the mapping process in a more formal way (…) the project was designed to help teaching staff better understand the way their students were engaging online (…) The result, after having removed maps we considered to have been created without a proper grasp of the process, was 345 maps from across a broad range of disciplines, educational levels, and higher education providers.

Overall it is clear that engagement genre is not significantly contingent on discipline, level, age, or any other factor. The way people choose to engage online is highly personal, just as their approach to learning is. However, even in this convenient sample a number of broad patterns emerge. Among others:

  • Social Science and HSC have the most Resident-only activity in the institutional portion of the maps
  • The most obvious data pattern is the prominence of the V–R genre, or a map in which every quadrant had some activity in
  • Much of the activity in the IR quadrant is based in fairly mundane platforms such as the VLE and e-mail


Full article and Image available here

Historical Progression of Virtual Worlds, by Messinger et al, 2008


  • Arcade Games: element of real-time video interactivity
  • Console Systems: started as games for single players but subsequent generation permitted players to compete against each other
  • LAN Games: computer-based instead of console-based, unlimited number of participants
  • Internet Connectivity: 90s consoles with compact disks and 32 and 64 bit systems/ 00s ability to connect to the internet, the landscape of video games became more expansive
  • Unstructured Games: freedom for the player to roam around a large world, realistic features like the progression of time etc
  • Games with Player Generation of Content: near-total freedom to within the gaming environment, player omnipotence, players however, still played a game with online components but did not exist in a virtual world.
  • Worlds with Designer-Provided Objectives: avatars can wander where they wish but also gain skills and strengths by earning experience points (MMORPGs)
  • Social Networking Sites: not games per se but helped the creation of virtual worlds, profile creation and support of authorized viewers.
  • Open Virtual Worlds: social interaction between people and their avatars in 3d immersive environments with user-chosen objectives, user-generated content and social networking tools



Messinger, P.R., Stroulia, E., Lyons, K., 2008. A typology of Virtual Worlds: Historical Overview and Future Directions. In Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Vol. 1, no. 1, “Virtual Worlds Research: Past, Present & Future,” July 2008.

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Virtual Communities/ VCs, Porter 2004


VC Definition:

a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms.

VC Typology:

The proposed typology of virtual communities includes two first-level categories: Member-initiated and Organization-sponsored (…) At the second level of the typology, virtual communities are categorized based on the general relationship orientation of the community. Relationship orientation refers to the type of relationship fostered among members of the community. Member-initiated communities foster either social or professional relationships among members. Organization-sponsored communities foster relationships both among members (e.g., customers, employees) and between individual members and the sponsoring organization.

VC Attributes:

The literature suggests that five attributes could be used to characterize virtual communities:

  1. Purpose : or discourse focus
  2. Place: as in a bounded location (structural) and a sense of shared values (socio-psychological)_ a virtual space is comprised by both a sense of presence and location
  3. Platform: determines synchronicity which in turn enables real-time interaction, focuses only in the technical design of interaction
  4. Population Interaction Structure: 1. VCs as computer supported social networks/ 2. VCs as small groups or networks/ 3. virtual publics versus VCs
  5. Profit Model: tangible economic value



Porter, C.E., 2004. A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research. In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (1), Article 3.

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