Material matters for learning in virtual networks: A case study of a professional learning programme hosted in a Google+ online community.
In this paper, we draw on Actor–Network Theories (ANT) to explore how material components functioned to create gateways and barriers to a virtual learning network in the context of a professional development module in higher education. Students were practitioners engaged in family learning in different professional roles and contexts. The data comprised postings in the Google+ community, email correspondence, meeting notes, feedback submitted at the final workshop and post-module evaluation forms. Our analysis revealed a complex set of interactions, and suggests multiple ways human actors story their encounters with non-human components and the effects these have on the learning experience. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a more holistic understanding of the components and dynamics of social learning networks in the virtual world and consider the implications for the design of online learning for continuous professional development (CPD).
Keywords: professional education and training; learning communities; higher education; Actor–Network Theories
(Published: 14 August 2015)
Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2015, 23: 26677 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v23.26677
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors contributing to Research in Learning Technology retain the copyright of their article and at the same time agree to publish their articles under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.