This lightning talk will report on ongoing research in the area of open networked learning in higher education. The core question of the research project is: How can academic staff in higher education support students in bridging the divide between informal and formal learning? For our students, to be in higher education is to learn in two worlds: the open world of informal learning and the predominantly closed learning spaces of the institution. As networked individuals, students navigate multiple online spaces and identities. Open, networked practices enable them to form social connections, but also to engage in community, civic, and political activity, and to connect, create, and share in interest-driven networks — i.e. to engage in connected learning (Ito, et al, 2013). Yet discussions between students and staff about students’ informal learning practices, networks, and tools (e.g. use of Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and more) rarely take place (White, et al, 2014). In general, students experience a dissonance between their experiences of formal, institutional learning and their broader experiences of open online culture and networked learning. This short talk will report on preliminary findings of this project as well as plans for the next stage of research.
Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., Schor, J., Sefton-Green, J. & Watkins, S.C. (2013). Connected learning: an agenda for research and design. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, Irvine, CA, USA.
White, D., Connaway, L.S., Lanclos, D., Hood, E.M., & Vass, C. (2014). Evaluating digital services: A digital visitors and residents approach. JISC InfoNet.