Special Issue "Networked Learning—Expanding and Challenging Theory, Design and Practice"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ryberg
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
Interests: networked learning; communication and informatics; pedagogy and learning; education
Prof. Dr. Maarten De Laat
Website
Guest Editor
University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia
Interests: networked learning; informal learning; professional development; knowledge management
Prof. Dr. Nina Bonderup Dohn
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Universitetsparken 1, 6000 Kolding, Denmark
Interests: learning theory; web 2.0; epistemology; learning sciences; philosophy of education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We hereby invite you to submit a paper to a Special Issue on “Networked Learning—Expanding and Challenging Theory, Design and Practice”. The purpose of the issue is to expand and challenge our current theoretical conceptualisations of networked learning; to explore emerging practices and new arenas for networked learning; and to widen our knowledge of how we can design for, and analytically approach novel networked learning practices.

Over the years, particular understandings of networked learning have emerged and solidified through the biennial Networked Learning Conference and the Networked Learning Research Book Series. Networked learning has particularly been associated with collaborative or cooperative forms of learning informed by critical pedagogy highlighting humanist, emancipatory and dialogical perspectives (Dohn, Sime, Cranmer, Ryberg, & Laat, 2018; Hodgson, McConnell, & Dirckinck-Holmfeld, 2012; Ryberg & Sinclair, 2016). In networked learning the notion of connections has been a key term in emphasising the technology-mediated interactions between people, material technologies and resources, and it has been stressed that interactions with technologies and resources are not sufficient in themselves to constitute networked learning (Jones, Ryberg, & Laat, 2015). Traditionally, networked learning has been thought of as higher education online courses with individuals in their homes, connected through digital networks to other learners in ‘virtual conference rooms’. However, it is clear that networked learning is becoming increasingly more diverse than that and the places and contexts of where and how networked learning is happening have widened dramatically and rapidly (Carvalho, Goodyear, & Laat, 2017; Ryberg & Sinclair, 2016).

The scope of this Special Issue is to expand and challenge our current understandings of networked learning and also to invite alternative conceptions or views of networks, connections, collaboration, humans, technology, and design. Our aim is to explore novel or emerging practices and places for networked learning and how we can design for and analyse such practices in the domain of the learning sciences. This includes, but is not limited to:

How do we theoretically conceptualise and understand networks, connections, collaboration and relations between humans and technology?

  • What do we mean by the term ‘network’ in relation to learning? Are networks necessarily digitally mediated? Can we conceive of learning networks not involving human actors or de-centring the human actor?
  • What are the relations between humans and technology in networked learning? Are affordances of digital technologies appropriated for learning via social processes, or are learners appropriated by digital technologies? Do we need alternative post-humanist or post-digital conceptualisations to understand these relations?
  • How do we conceptualise ‘collaboration’ and ‘cooperation’ across different levels of scale such as small groups, networks, communities, and crowds in relation to networked learning.

What are the emerging and novel places and practices of networked learning. How can we design for and analyse such practices?

  • How are new practices and forms of networked learning emerging in the intersections between institutions and the public, and in the intersections between formal and informal learning settings? What ‘hybrid’ models of networked learning are emerging?
  • How does networked learning unfold ‘in the wild’ or in ‘open practices’ of distributed work, knowledge sharing and socialising?
  • How do changes in the digital landscape affect where, when and how people learn and how does learning occur and develop across different places or contexts?
  • How do we design for and analyse networked learning occuring in the wild, as part of hybrid context or learning that unfolds through open practices.
  • How do these changing practies challenge us to reconceptualise the theory, design, practice and methodological approach to networked learning.

Please note: The Article Processing Charge (APC) for accepted papers will be covered by the Networked Learning Conference committee.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ryberg
Prof. Dr. Maarten De Laat
Prof. Dr. Nina Bonderup Dohn
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • networked learning
  • pedagogical practice
  • design for learning
  • technology enhanced learning.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
How ‘Networked’ are Online Collaborative Concept-Maps? Introducing Metrics for Quantifying and Comparing the ‘Networkedness’ of Collaboratively Constructed Content
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10100267 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
With the growing role of online multi-participant collaborations in shaping the academic, professional, and civic spheres, incorporating collaborative online practices in educational settings has become imperative. As more educators include such practices in their curricula, they are faced with new challenges. Assessment of [...] Read more.
With the growing role of online multi-participant collaborations in shaping the academic, professional, and civic spheres, incorporating collaborative online practices in educational settings has become imperative. As more educators include such practices in their curricula, they are faced with new challenges. Assessment of collaborations, especially in larger groups, is particularly challenging. Assessing the quality of the collaborative “thought process” and its product is essential for both pedagogical and evaluative purposes. While traditional quantitative quality measures were designed for individual work or the aggregated work of individuals, capturing the complexity and the integrative nature of high-quality collaborative learning requires novel methodologies. Network analysis provides methods and tools that can identify, describe, and quantify non-linear and complex phenomena. This paper applies network analysis to the content created by students through large-scale online collaborative concept-mapping and explores how these can be applied for the assessment of the quality of a collective product. Quantitative network structure measures are introduced for this purpose. The application and the affordances of these metrics are demonstrated on data from six large-group online collaborative discussions from academic settings. The metrics presented here address the organization and the integration of the content and enable a comparison of collaborative discussions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Conditions for Enhancing Critical Thinking in Networked Learning: Findings from a Secondary School Learning Analytics Environment
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040287 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Networked learning provides opportunities for learners to develop their critical thinking, an important 21st century competency, through dialogue with fellow learners to consider other perspectives and negotiate and critique ideas and arguments. However, much extant literature has not examined networked learning environments among [...] Read more.
Networked learning provides opportunities for learners to develop their critical thinking, an important 21st century competency, through dialogue with fellow learners to consider other perspectives and negotiate and critique ideas and arguments. However, much extant literature has not examined networked learning environments among younger learners nor the optimal conditions for enhancing critical thinking. Therefore, a study was carried out to investigate these conditions. A learning analytics networked learning environment was designed and 264 secondary three students participated in the 10-week long intervention as part of their English curriculum. Individual and collective social network metrics, critical reading scores, and self-reported survey data were used to quantitatively evaluate students’ critical reading performance in relation to their participation in networked learning. Results highlight several optimal conditions, notably that it is not just participation of the learner that enhances critical thinking but the learners’ reciprocity in replying and the distance of those posts in the network. Discussions and implications of the findings follow to provide insightful understanding of how the rich and complex settings of networked learning can enhance critical thinking capacities in secondary schooling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Teaching Using Digital Technologies: Transmission or Participation?
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9030226 - 28 Aug 2019
Abstract
Digital technologies are becoming seamlessly incorporated in all we do, no less in teaching and learning. As technological developments and interdependent social change steer us deeper into a postdigital existence, higher education institutions are observed increasing the availability of learning technologies and related [...] Read more.
Digital technologies are becoming seamlessly incorporated in all we do, no less in teaching and learning. As technological developments and interdependent social change steer us deeper into a postdigital existence, higher education institutions are observed increasing the availability of learning technologies and related academic development initiatives. Alongside these developments, models of teaching as transmission are popularly criticized and set in contrast to models of teaching as participation, which are commended and avowed as more suited for the present day digital university. This paper presents the research findings of a qualitative study, which was specifically taken up in response to observed developments. The findings derive from phenomenographic analysis mapping variation in the accounts of 27 academics describing their experiences using digital technologies for teaching. These results represent a wide-ranging description confirming previous research findings and add new detail. They reaffirm teaching orientations of transmission and participation as important and significant facets of teaching moreover existing claims based on logical argumentation. These research results potentially serve professional development constructively supporting academics seeking to incorporate contemporary digital technologies in their teaching practices. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
How do Online Learning Networks Emerge? A Review Study of Self-Organizing Network Effects in the Field of Networked Learning
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040289 - 06 Dec 2019
Abstract
In this article we want to understand in more detail how learning networks emerge in online networked learning environments. An adage in Networked Learning theory is that networked learning cannot be designed; it can only be designed for. This adage implicitly carries the [...] Read more.
In this article we want to understand in more detail how learning networks emerge in online networked learning environments. An adage in Networked Learning theory is that networked learning cannot be designed; it can only be designed for. This adage implicitly carries the idea that networked learning is seen as learning in which information and communication technology is used to promote (emergent) connections between learners and their peers, learners and tutors and learners and learning resources. Emergence entails a self-organizing component. However, there is no comprehensive understanding of how self-organizing network effects occur in networked learning environments, how they influence possible learning outcomes and how these network effects can be enhanced or frustrated by the design elements of different networked learning environments. By means of a review we investigate how the three most known self-organizing network effects occur in networked learning environments, namely preferential attachment, reciprocity and transitivity. Results show that in most studies self-organizing network effects are significantly present. Moreover we found important (design) elements related to the people, the physical environments and the tasks of the learning networks that could influence these self-organizing network effects. Studies that looked at learning outcomes are limited. Based on the review study future research directions for the field of Networked Learning are addressed. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
To Be or Not to Be: Social Justice in Networked Learning
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040261 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
The potential for more egalitarian or democratic forms of engagements among people is accepted to be somehow actualised naturally within collaborative or cooperative forms of learning. There is an urgent need for a theoretical framework that does not limit social justice with access [...] Read more.
The potential for more egalitarian or democratic forms of engagements among people is accepted to be somehow actualised naturally within collaborative or cooperative forms of learning. There is an urgent need for a theoretical framework that does not limit social justice with access or participation, but focuses on the otherwise hidden ways in which group work can yield suboptimal outcomes. This article aims to expand the current understandings of social justice in networked learning practices by challenging the ways in which online subjectivities are conceptualised in communal settings. It is argued that the mediated experience in online spaces should be conceptualised in tandem with one’s social presence and social absence if education is to be studied more rigorously and if claims of justice are to be made in networked learning. Full article
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